Monday, March 16, 2009

Product Review: Miniature Scenery Paint Racks

I have been eyeballing the products over at Miniature Scenery for a while now. Since I'm getting my work space organized, I thought I'd go ahead and pull the trigger. And, since I planned to do a review here on the blog, I decided to get the Master Workstation Combo... to provide the best information to my readers of course!

First off, the purchase itself. The company's website has a lot of information to try and explain their international shipping. They even have charts and graphs that would make a mathematics major blush. However, the gist of it is, the price they charge for international orders is higher than for Australian orders but the shipping is subsidized into the price. There is also weight and method of shipment to take into account. I'd say, if you're interested, drop some stuff in their online basket and see what you get with shipping. For this purchase, the fastest shipping was actually the cheapest and because of the subsidy ended up crediting me about $4 off the price. With the purchase out of the way, let's continue to customer service and shipping time. I purposefully emailed the orders department and inquired when my purchase might ship. Within 12 hours I had a response explaining that Monday was a holiday in Oz and there would be no post, but that it would ship out Tuesday. I was promptly sent a shipped notice when the items were in the post which included a tracking number (note: not all shipping methods include tracking). Friday early afternoon, and my product had arrived here in Texas. Not a bad three days to make it from Australia to Texas!

The products arrived in a smaller box than I had envisioned, but all was accounted for and packed neatly within.

Each 'module' of the paints and tool racks is individually packaged.

The modules are, of course, supplied in kit form on sheets of 3mm thick MDF approximately A4 in size.

Assembly is not too complicated, nothing an experienced gamer/modeler can't handle. The instructions are simple but to the point. It's not rocket science and it doesn't pretend to be. The only thing I would caution is to make sure you know exactly what you are cutting out. Sometimes scrap can look like a part and vice versa. I thankfully had no flubbs, but I did very carefully cut and trim a couple pieces of scrap thinking it looked like something important. Cutting is easy to do with clippers. The pieces of "sprue" need to be trimmed off the parts after they are removed form the frames. This can be done with a hobby knife, files, or as I found out, a belt sander! What a time saver that was. Once the pieces are cut out, you can assemble them using whatever glue you prefer for wood work. I personally use a fast setting wood glue I found at my local DIY store. It sets reasonably fast and is stronger than wood when it's cured. I'm not going to go into the assembly of the modules as I believe that anyone who has even beginner level experience with model building will be able to accomplish this.

The finished product is sturdy. Much more sturdy than you would believe when you hold one of the parts sheets. Everything fit together perfectly and not once did I have to pry, bend, or trim any part to go where it was meant to. Here are some shots of the finished product.

Some corner paint modules details...

The straight paint racks...

The corner tool modules...

And a shot of one of the parts holder modules. Note the opening drawer and removable dividers...

Overall I'm very satisfied with this product and the company that provided it. The customer service was excellent. The product lives up to all the manufacturers hype. The modular design means you can place each piece where ever you feel comfortable. All eight pieces are completely interchangeable (the corners in my layout are actually two pieces each). I don't think the price is cheap, but I do believe it is fair for what you get. It's definitely more of a convenience than a necessity, but I'd say if you have some tax return money or birthday cash laying around... or if you just want to get your hobby more organized, go for it!

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