Review by George Riley/photos by the author
3D printing has revolutionized the manufacture of short-run, specialized products. Instead of requiring expensive molds or tooling, now a drawing file only has to be inputted into a 3D printer to produce an item. The range of materials available for printing ranges from plant- and petroleum-based plastics to metals. All Scale Miniatures, a new model railroad manufacturer, produces scenic details for the hobby in scales currently ranging from Z to O scales and has the capability to handle custom projects as well.
All Scale Miniatures is offering a full catalog of “modern” individual detail pieces such as the ubiquitous blue plastic material drums or iconic gray plastic 35-gallon trash cans which are almost mandatory for anyone modeling the contemporary scene. Their one-piece shipping pallets truly demonstrate the full capabilities of 3D technology since both top, bottom and stringer boards are molded in color in one piece, eliminating the need for assembly by the modeler.
The plastic used in each item takes both enamel and acrylic paints equally well, even though most do not require painting since they are molded in color.
The range of details should be readily demonstrated on a recent workshop/warehouse project that needed detailing to really bring it to life. The structure is a free download from Scale Scenes (www.scalescenes.com) that is printed out on a home computer printer, laminated onto various thicknesses of cardstock and then assembled.
This low-profile structure has two large open bays that just cry out for individual details. While the exterior received the usual trash cans and bins along with some pallets, cinder block stacks and barrels, the left bay was set up as a workshop with welding gear, a tool chest, a tall tool locker, a compressor and kerosene space heater. The right bay next to the office reveals a store of oxygen and acetylene canisters, materials bins and those ubiquitous 55-gallon drums. These are just a few of the many modern details available from the company.
In HO scale, prices range from just over a dollar for many of the details to less than ten dollars for larger items and multi-packs. Among the recent additions to the HO scale offerings are a series of circus wagons that are based on classic designs. These retail between $25.00 and $35.00. Complementing these circus-themed items are a series of animals and carnival figures. The wagons are designed for railroad car lading or scenery around a circus site. They do require some skill at painting and assembly, while nearly all of the individual details require a minimum of finish work before placing on a layout or in a scene.
All Scale Miniatures has truly filled a niche for accurate, modern, miniature details that modelers can use to enhance many scenes. The details are available in a variety of scales and quite reasonably priced. They will add life and realism to any scene.