by: Darren Baker
Originally published on:
When it comes to parts for a diorama MiniArt has to be one of if not the most prolific manufacturer of sets for various scenes. MiniArt started with the built structures and now releases a number of sets to make the production of your own scenes a less daunting prospect. MiniArt has provided scenes in a box with their cafe tables and the like and now we get an offering that is aimed at civilian scenes that cover both city and rural settings. MiniArt has named this set ‘Water Pump Set’ but that is not even half of the story, so let’s take a closer look.
This offering from MiniArt is in the typical thin glossy card carton that opens at either end, it is no secret that this is my least favourite option where boxing is concerned. The front of the carton has a pleasing artistic representation of the contents of the set, on the rear is a sprue map and instructions for assembly of the product elements. Inside the box is a single small bag containing the sprues.
The bag contains eight sprues of which two of the sprues are repeated three times. Also included is an envelope with a photo etched fret inside, this is an aspect I do like about MiniArt due to how well it protects the photo etched fret and the parts there in. An examination of the sprues reveals good quality mouldings for the most part, there is just a little flash around the rims of some parts. The check of the mouldings has shown me that they have made good use of the slide moulding technique and this has resulted in a realistic look to all of the containers.
The set contains three styles of bucket and you are provided with three of each style. There are two styles of galvanised bucket and the other looks a bit like a ceramic pale. These buckets are all supplied with photo etched handles and separate bottoms due to the slide moulding process. There are also three straight sided containers that I think of as paint tins rather than buckets, these are also provided with photo etched handles. For those modellers around us of a certain age there is a tin bath included that also has photo etched handles. The tin bath is a great addition to this set as during the war a tin bath in front of the fire was considered the norm and a bit of a luxury.
The main element of this set is the water pump. These were usually made of cast iron and in the UK at least painted gloss black, I do not know if different countries had different colours preferred for their water pumps. You do not see many working water pumps today, but they are fairly common as garden decorations and these garden decorations are often ones from reclamation yards. I have seen many designs of water pump but this offering is a typical example of the pump. One of the things about water pumps is they were often or usually located over a drain, MiniArt has remembered and supplied a drain with separate grate in the set.
The last two items included with this offering are what I would call milk churns, but I presume that during the World War 2 period and earlier that these were also used for water transportation and storage. These churns have been slide moulded and have separate lids, the lids have been supplied with photo etched handles, and the handles on the churns themselves are injection moulded offerings.
This offering from MiniArt is another nice addition to their range of diorama elements. The use of photo etch has been kept to the minimum while still providing the modeller with nice detail. I do think that where the buckets are concerned MiniArt missed a trick by not providing a wooden bucket in the mix. The moulding is good in all aspects and I can see a number of the buckets in the set being hung from armour that cover a broad time period.