by: Darren Baker [ ]
Many modellers like to display their builds in a setting, either in a vignette or a full blown diorama. One of the problems encountered is replicating the vegetation which is all around and making it look realistic. The modeller has used a number of items to overcome this problem, from tree roots to replicate bushes and trees to seeds and herbs to replicate leaves, and used a host of products both natural and artificial, all of these items have their place in the hobby. But what about when you want to depict an interaction between a figure and the vegetation around that figure, or indeed just want to make the vegetation identifiable as a specific plant?
Eduard has, to my knowledge, only recently started producing photo etch plants in a number of forms from low plants such as wild flowers and ferns, tall plants such as sunflowers, creepers such as ivy, and finally cultivated plants such as grapevines which is the subject of this review.
The photo etch set is packaged in typical Eduard style, that being a reseal able plastic sleeve with a card stiffener in the packaging to help prevent damage to the set. This set is made up of one printed photo etch fret and one page of instructions.
The grapevines supplied in colour printed photo etch contains seven duplicate runs of grapevines, with each run duplicating the detail three times. Each run is just over 130mm long which gives you the best part of 32 metres in total when scaled up. The photo etch has two colours printed to replicate the leaves and another two colours printed to replicate the fruit. The photo etch is 0.13mm thick and so will be very easy to bend and shape as required
This colour photo etch set cannot just be secured in place or you will have a flat 2 dimensional plant that will not look natural, and will quickly be spotted for what it is rather than what it is supposed to represent. To use this colour photo etch set you must first use a small ball bearing to impart a dome effect to each of the leaves, and thus give them the appearance of three dimensions. In order to achieve this effect you place the leaves on some vulcanised rubber and gently rub the ball bearing over the centre of one side, this will impart the dome effect you are after and make them three dimensional.
The bunches of grapes are made using three pieces of colour photo etch. Eduardís instructions instruct you to secure one of each of the small bunch detail to both sides of the larger bunch attached to the vine. This will work but I would suggest using the same method as applied to leaves on the smaller bunches before securing them to the larger bunch as this will impart a more pleasing three dimensional look to the bunches.
This is one of a number of an interesting range of products which I had not considered using before, and as with every other aspect of the hobby will require learning skills to make the best of them. I do have one concern about the product which may or may not be correct, my concern is that the only grapes I have ever seen growing run along traces such as in a vineyard, and if you wish to show your vines in that configuration there are no stems coming up from the ground, which are usually nude. This could of course be overcome via the use of a piece of tree root or such.
Eduard have shown the product as being used growing straight up from the ground, and being a vine I assume climbing up some kind of frame either natural or artificial. I have included some images of cultivated vines and wild vines in order that you can judge for yourself for which use this set is best suited, for me it has to be cultivated vines.