have released two new additions to their charming range of 1:12 Bonsai tree kits. As with the first two sets (reviewed HERE
), the packaging is quite distinctive, because inside a conventional cardboard box each kit arrives sealed in an expanded polystyrene tray to protect the parts. This is because the plastic trees have “foliage” already attached and it could easily be damaged in transit (in fact, as you can see in the photos, a few of the fibres had still come adrift in the post, but these will simply dust off).
Each tree is modelled in a different style:
is made up of just 4 parts for the tree itself, with a rather ornate 6-part stand, plus a pot and a one-piece plinth to stand it on.
features a rather more elaborate tree with a simpler base. This comprises 7-parts for the tree, plus a pot and, again, the one-piece plinth.
The trees are neatly moulded in brown styrene, and younger modellers will probably be happy to leave this as the final finish. Anyone looking for more of a challenge will probably choose to paint them, and perhaps add a little fine soil around the roots for realism.
The “foliage” is rather like the imitation grass used in dioramas, and the instructions recommend trimming it for the best effect. I initially thought it was simply stylised but, while it can’t hope to replicate miniature leaves, it does actually look surprisingly similar to photos online of the tiny needles on miniature pines.
The kits each come with a sheet of “manga”-style instructions, with a cartoon girl talking you through the assembly. Unfortunately, all the text is in Japanese, so I can’t read it, but the diagrams are very clear and the kits are so straightforward, you can’t really go far wrong. Included on the back of the instructions is a bi-lingual overview of the various bonsai styles. From this, it appears that No. 3 is a Kengai
(cascade) style bonsai, while No. 4 is a Moyogi
The main appeal of the kits is likely to be as ornaments or educational items, but they could equally serve in sci-fi/fantasy vignettes in any scale, where you could really let your imagination run riot in terms of painting them.
’s bonsai trees are among the cutest and most unusual kits I’ve reviewed. My one experience with a real
bonsai ended in failure after struggling for what seemed like ages to keep the poor thing alive, so these styrene versions seem a much safer bet for anyone who, like me, isn’t exactly blessed with green fingers.
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