Almost picture-perfect

We tested the 'Scenery-Kit' by Noch (art.no. 98910)

alle Teile des Scenery-KitsYou are not the advanced modeller but would like to build a picturesque scenery diorama? You can! That is, at least, a promise made by the German NOCH company. In cooperation with WOODLAND Scenics, well-known American manufacturer of model railway accessories, they offer an imposing box filled to the top with different modelling materials. Among other items, we found a piece of railway track, a variety of paints, glues, leave and grass imitation materials, grit, stones, miniature rocks and even some ready-sawn hardboard frame parts.

The contents had been packed carefully, but the packages were all covered with a thin film of white powder - obviously plaster. Furthermore, we found enclosed the recent NOCH product catalogue which, however, did not really help us to get over a missing tree. Pictures and list of contents promise three trees, but we found only two of them in the set - maybe a temporary problem with NOCH's quality control system…

The enclosed construction manual is simply the best we’ve ever got our hands on. 52 lavishly illustrated pages full of step-by-step information! Only the price quotation on the cover reveals that this ‘manual’ actually is a separately available guide to scenery modelling with NOCH products (art.no. 98900)...

Those who want to build the diorama described in it should definitely decide to buy the tested kit instead of the single items - the complete set is half the price and your dealer might be out of some of the materials needed. But enough of words, let’s get started!

Rahmen mit BahntrasseThanks to the exactly sawn hardboard frame parts we got a first feeling of success quite soon. While the manufacturer suggests to cut the bottom plate - which is not included - from the cardboard package, we took another piece of more robust hardboard instead.

Our photo also shows the crossing board for the railway track. To get a hilly scenery, we folded newspaper pages to small packets and fixed them with adhesive tape. After being put into the frame, they were covered with white plaster cloths.  

This was quite simple and gave us another feeling of satisfaction. But, at that point, the manual should better strongly recommend to stroke the moist plaster clothes with your hands until they are really smooth without any punctures. Otherwise an extra application of plaster will be necessary.

Fitting the rocks into the scenery structure and painting them was no problem. All we needed were a sharp knife, some more plaster and the varnish paint included in the modelling set.

die Gipslandschaft mit vorab eingepassten und kolorierten FelsenFinally the flora had to be applied to the plaster scenery. Doing so, the usage of the ’Scenic-Cement’, a transparently drying fixing glue, was very 'exciting'. Depending on the objects to be fixed, it can be applied with a brush (not included), a pipette (also not included) or the enclosed sprayhead. Well, apart from the fact that its suction tube was too long and had to be shortened before usage, the glue’s consistency remained a big mystery to us: Some massive jelly-like lumps swam in the liquid milky substance and blocked our pipette and the sprayhead nozzle again and again.

Shaking and stirring the glue did not help at all; maybe it had just been kept in bad storage conditions before we bought the kit. As a consequence, applying the liquid evenly on the grass imitations was impossible, the glue was rather spat than sprayed upon the materials, and the scenery really looked as if its creator had just had a bad sneezing fit… But! After ‘planting’ the remaining vegetation elements like bushes and trees and applying some stones and grit, the diorama was similar to the pictures in the manual and it really was andas fertige Diorama - ein Stück Welt im Modell!
amazing sight! The mysterious ‘Scenic-Cement’ had invisibly fixed everything, and in front of us was a fascinatingly realistic, unspoilt mountain scenery which could be an impressive 3-D-backdrop for the presentation of our model locomotives and coaches.

conclusion

NOCH’s ‘Scenery-Kit’ really is a good way of getting familiar with landscape modelling but not only suitable for beginners. Even advanced modellers will appreciate the amazing results you can get within just a few hours. Anyway, we are looking forward to some self-planned future diorama projects - there are plenty of modelling materials left in the box…

 

synopsis*
Packaging (100) 82
Protection of the parts from damage (25) 20
Unpacking the parts (10) 8
Information content (45) 37
Accordance of the product pictures with the real product (20) 17
Parts and materials (250) 205
Cleanliness (30) 27
Condition of the parts(40) 35
Completeness (35) 15
Fitting accuracy of the parts (40) 30
Quality rating (25) 22
Wealth of detail (40) 38
Fineness of detail (40) 38
Construction manual (150) 142
Intelligibility (40) 37
Pictures (35) 32
Accordance of pictures and description with the actual parts  (20) 20
Indication of additionally needed tools and materials (15) 15
Layout (20) 18
Paper quality (10) 10
Printing quality (10) 10
Assembly (300) 267
Preparing the parts / materials (30) 25
Assembling variability (50) 48
Feasibility of the manufacturer's guidelines (60) 55
Variety of different assembly steps (60) 55
Suitability for beginners (50) 39
Total time needed for assembly (50) 45
Overall impression of the assembled product  (200) 190
'First impression'  (40) 39
Attention to detail (40) 37
Closeness to reality (40) 38
Colours (40) 38
Closeness to scale (40) 38
Gesamtwertung: sehr gut  886
(max. 1000)

*Find out more about the test criteria for modelling kits here.

Tested October 2006     German flag   © Volker Labitzke - www.tiny-world-BIG.com - please visit our  main page