- Published on Sunday, 27 November 2011 01:00 Nick Mayhew
1/35 and 1/72 Diorama Accessories from Form-u-Lay
Form-u-Lay offer a range of modelling accessories from fantasy and historic figures to white metal aircraft, but are probably best known for their diorama range plastic moulds which the modeller fills with plaster of Paris and, once set, removes to reveal the relevant building or base. The moulds can be re-used provided that you are careful when peeling them away from the set plaster. Each of the following sets measures approximately 30"x10" (45x25cm).
FL24: Two Tunnel Entrances – 1/72
This set comprises two pieces, designed to be either end of a brick lined tunnel. Although it is officially 1/72 scale, I can see diorama possibilities for the imaginative 1/35 scale modeller. I am not sure if any of the main railway scales would fit in – probably not. Either way, the sides of the pattern angle up from the 'ground' and away from the tunnel, so to use these you are going to have to create significantly sized embankments on both sides.
FL02: Cobbled Main Road with Tramlines and Shell Crater – 1/35
Pretty self-explanatory – the main road appears tarmac'd as far as I can tell, whilst the tramway is cobbled. The pavement is made up of larger slabs, and there is bomb crater which one can position anywhere in the diorama. I am not familiar with the gauge of tram ways, but the lines are approximately 4cm apart. The lines are straight enough, but rather vague, and not that sharp.
FL03: Cobbled Main Road with Tramlines and Pavement Grills – 1/35
A companion set to the FL02. so in theory you could end up with a road or tramway that is about 10" / 25cm long. The grills or manhole covers look rather 'clunky'. There are three additional moulds for two doors and a broken piece of wood (flooring or similar) – these will also require clean-up or sharpening once cast by the look of things.
FL93: Bank / City Building – 1/35
This is the most dramatic and imposing of the three 1/35 sets, and when put together will provide a corner of a heavily damage but still rather substantial stone and brick built building: the entrance is nearly one inch thick for example. There is heavy damage along the tops / sides of the building; no window frames as such are provided, but these could quite easily have all been blown out given the damage. At its highest, the building will be about nine and half inches tall (24cm), so this will certainly be a diorama in three dimensions!
So What Do We Think?
This is the first time I have seen moulds like these at first hand. Whilst impressed at their size and value for money (all of the above are either £4 or £4.50 each, and as mentioned, can be re-used again and again), I was also surprised at the rather crude nature of the mouldings, and the vagueness of some of the detail. Having said that, I am really mid to large scale armour and aircraft modeller, where standards of moulding are perhaps higher – tolerances on the part of modellers are certainly lower.
Would I use these? Probably not, only because I am not sure I have the skill to bring them up to the standard of my kits; at present I certainly don't have the experience. I think these types of moulds will suit those at the extremes, but not (like me) those in the middle: if you want something cheap that will grab attention from afar, then these are for you; and similarly, if you are an expert diorama maker, I am sure that you can turn each of these moulds into something both quite intricate and also spectacular.
For those on a budget, or those with good diorama skills.
With thanks to Form-u-Lay the review sample.
Form-u-Lay products can be purchased directly here.