Built Review
Desert Oasis Diorama Kit
Desert Oasis Diorama Kit
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Woodland Scenics is a pioneer of realistic model scenery. I was buying their soft metal tree trunks and ground-foam for my railroad and dioramas over thirty years ago. Woodland Scenics expanded their product lines to include cast metal buildings and vehicles, man-made scenery (a.k.a., junk piles), hundreds of plastic figures, glues, water simulating resins, plastic vehicles, plastic trees, static grass and natural fiber grass, rock molds, talus, earth color paints, a foam layout system, and now this series of crafty and hobby sets.

Several sets make up this series. Woodland Scenics also produces light plastic bases and shadow boxes to use with the sets.

Several diorama sets are offered:

    Desert Oasis

Each set comes with the supplies necessary to make the particular scene. Not included is the vacuformed Project Base & Backdrop (Large) (set SP4165); it is nice to create your oasis on, but not necessary. I have one so I used it including the accompanying backdrop board.

Desert Oasis Diorama
This kit can be used for:

    Prehistoric Habitats

Packed inside a top-opening light card one-piece box are:

    Desert Sand ReadyGrass Sheet
    Easy Instructions
    Foam Brush
    Foliage Fiber
    Green Grass
    Palm Trees
    Project Glue
    Spray Bottle
    Sticky Bond
    Stir Stick
    Wild Grass
    Yellow Flowers

It is 16" X 11", big enough for smaller 1/24 vehicles, big enough for a busy 1/35 diorama with several vehicles, all but the largest 1/72 aircraft, and plenty of HO (1/87) equipment. The photos demonstrate a 1/35 Italian M13/40 tank holding a North African oasis, a 1/48 Japanese Chi-Ha tank prowling a Pacific island beach, a 1/72 P-40 dispersed on a Pacific island, and an HO heavy-duty dumptruck heading to a construction site.

The full-color multi-fold instruction brochure takes you through the simple process of creating your diorama. It includes techniques and tips for this diorama and other items.

Grow This Desert Garden!
You start by mixing up the Sticky Bond to adhere the Desert Sand ReadyGrass sheet to your base. Pay attention to the mixing instruction and be warned, Sticky Bond is sticky! The successive steps are well illustrated. Take your time and you can make a good scene.

While you can crumple and fold the sand sheet to simulate low ridges and shallow furrows, it is cut to cover small Project Base. You can also push it into rises, limited only by the scale you intend to use. To make the sheet lie flat, I suggest turning it upside down and putting weight in the tray; phone books fit nicely.

Woodland Scenics hosts "How-To" video demonstrations on their website. Explained is how you can wet the Desert Sand ReadyGrass Sheet and scrape off the sand, preparing it for water, a road, etc.

Woodland Scenics included generous amounts of grass, talus and foliage fiber. A good balance of economy and quality, the grass is foam, not the short lengths of static grass. The palm trees look toy-like; more realistic palms and ground cover would raise the price. The fronds look good and some heat and paint can do wonders for them and the trunks. I painted the trunks with variety of light gray paint, mottled with light tan. The fronds took random brushing of olive, and olive mixed with yellow. Finally, I randomly rolled the trunks in my fingers, gently bending as I went.

Once the sand sheet is stuck to the base, you can start adding the foliage. Use the provided project glue in the provided sprayer to put adhesive where you want the grass to be, then sprinkle on the grass from the included sifter. Rocks, shrub fiber, trees, tall grass, all are attached with the project glue. After drying overnight I vigorously shook the loose ground cover off the base. Some grass foam that stuck on the sand was brushed off with a brush.

Closing Thoughts
Overall, this is a nice easy kit for creating a desert scene. You can add to the ground cover or take away from it to suit your vision. The footprint is easily big enough for 1/35 and smaller dioramas.

I found it easy to work with and recommend it.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.
Highs: Complete scenery kit to make a diorama of an arid environment. Ground cover, adhesives, tools -- all are included.
Lows: The palms are toy-like. A base is not included.
Verdict: Overall, this is a nice kit for creating a desert scene. You can add to the ground cover or take away from it to suit your vision. The footprint is easily big enough for 1/35 and smaller dioramas.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: SP4112
  Suggested Retail: $19.99
  Related Link: Scene-A-Rama Basic Kits
  PUBLISHED: Mar 20, 2012

Our Thanks to Woodland Scenics!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Looks great Fred! My Ju88C "dayfighter" would look good on it. Russell
MAR 20, 2012 - 01:58 PM
I think so, too. And we can make it happen!
MAR 20, 2012 - 03:48 PM

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