by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Originally published on:
Foliage was often used as military vehicle camouflage in WW2 as well as in numerous modern conflicts. Attempts to recreate this kind of camouflage in military modeling by employing photoetched plants or dried roots are rarely realistic and in-scale. Enter Mantis Miniatures...
Mantis Miniatures is best known for their 1/35 scale figure and animal sets. The company recently ventured into a new project line, supplying the modeling market with pre-made natural branches designed for 1/35 scale ATV camouflage. This review covers the first 4 sets of branches in Mantis catalogue – Pine branches, Leafy branches, Oak branches and Dry oak branches.
The sets come in plastic blister packing. The box art shows a vehicle segment with branch camouflage, defining the specific type of branches included in the set and stating the branches are handmade and ready-to-use on 1/35 scale vehicles.
The branches are fixed to the bottom of the plastic packing, thus protected from any kind of transport damage. Some of the tiny leaves detached from the branches, but can be carefully glued back if necessary. Each set includes about 10 different branches with a nice variety of shapes and sizes.
Taking the branches from the packing is very much straightforward using a pair of tweezers. I suggest being careful and patient as the branches are delicate and the leaves can detach if manhandled.
Closer examination reveals a very realistic and in-scale appearance of the branches. I’m not sure what the leaves are made of, but they look the part. The promotional images on Mantis website are impressive, however seeing the product in person is even more stunning, as these branches are incredibly lifelike and definitely offer a convincing representation of foliage in 1/35 scale.
Attaching the branches to a vehicle should present no problems. Reference images can help in finding optimal placement of the branches on a specific vehicle, but using some imagination is possible as well. Again, I suggest care not to damage the branches in the process.
Finally, I’m adding number of images to this review showing what talented hands can do with Mantis Miniatures branches. The Panther model is from Lukasz Kapelski. Enjoy.
Branches sets released under Mantis Miniatures label are hand-made natural products suitable for 1/35 scale. Each set includes about 10 slightly different ready-to-use branches which look super-realistic and, in my opinion, provide the optimal way to represent foliage camouflage on military vehicles in scale.