Hobblestone

We tested the cobblestone sheets by BRAWA (art.no. 2805)

Preiserfrau, viele Steine und ein großer Gullideckel

Ms Preiser was really flabbergasted: Never in all her life had she seen such a massive manhole cover! And anyway, the cobblestones in Brawaville were the biggest she had ever come across! Well, joke aside. Looking for miniature pavement sheets at our local model railway dealer, we eventually bought the BRAWA set art.no. 2805. At home we read on the package that we had allegedly purchased cobblestone sheets - can you imagine our surprise?

The package (see-through plastic bag with cardboard strip) doesn’t provide you with much information, but allows you at least to see the product before purchase. We don’t know why the sheets were pretty bent; maybe it was the result of the bag hanging on a presentation hook for a longer time. Nevertheless, gluing them to a wooden board (diorama or model railway layout) won’t cause bigger problems thanks to the sheet being very thin.

Packung mit InhaltBut, using the BRAWA cobblestone sheet, would a street in the historic centre of a town or city really look as authentic and medieval as desired by the modeller (and the councillors of the miniature urban area)? Apart from the fact that the cobblestones look rather like big modern paving slabs, alas, they are identically shaped and perfectly arranged as well.

BRAWA recommends in the leaflet (we have translated the German text): ‘The application of dark grey paint which is being removed with a damp cloth immediately will increase the realistic appearance [of the cobblestones, editor’s note]’. At least, depending on the lighting situation, the paving looks three-dimensional even without the suggested treatment. But compared to real cobblestones, the miniature stones can’t be called ‘true to scale’ by any means because of their huge size.

When we have to judge on the originality of the tested product, the cobblestone sheets don’t score big either because every major manufacturer of model railway accessories has got paving solutions in their product range.

Let’s have a closer look at the manhole cover which can be found once on each of the two sheets. Its real size would be 90 cm (approx. 3 ft), as if it had to guide monsoon rainfall into the urban sewerage system regularly. Apart from that, its big slots would present an extreme danger to Preiser children on their way to school.

By the way, the few burrs near the manhole cover (see our first photo) as well as on the back of the sheets can be easily removed with a sharp knife and some sanding paper.

das angelegte Lineal bestätigt Zweifel an der Maßstäblichkeit

The colour quality of the plastic is very good. Its light grey colour is an ideal base for further treatment with some paint (e.g. weathering) by the ambitious modeller.

conclusion

As we had intended when purchasing the BRAWA sheets, we will use them to reproduce a realistic, contemporary city pavement. Who wants to create a historical atmosphere on a diorama or model railway layout however won’t get much satisfaction from the tested product. At least the cobblestone paving sheets are very reasonably priced: Our local model railway dealer asked for EUR 3.20 (purchase: Sept. 2006); in reality the cobbled area would have an overall size of 227 square metres.
 

test synopsis*
Packaging (15) 9
'First impression' (15) 9
Originality (15) 6
Closeness to reality (15) 6
Wealth of detail (15) 6
Fineness of detail (15) 9
Closeness to scale (15) 6
Condition of all parts (15) 12
Quality of colours, prints or painting (15) 15
Gesamturteil: verbesserungsbedürftig 78
(max. 135)

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

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