Monday 28 March 2016

Re-Ment Science Room and Sylvanian comparison review

This is for the folks over at the SF Forums. This review will take a look at the new-ish Science Room set and see how well it fits with SF figurines. Mr Huckleberry, a teacher at the local school has agreed to be the model (he really just wants to play with all the new science equipment).

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There are 10 sets in this release. All the sets have names in English as well, and I'm going to use what's written on the packaging. Any Engrish is not my fault :P

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Set 1: An Anatomical Model

I think size wise, it fits SF quite well. All the organs in the model are removable and the figure comes apart from the pedestal as well. Only thing is, it doesn't quite fit in the SF world of anthropomorphic animals.

Re-Ment Science 1

Mr. Huckleberry: How does human anatomy work again? I could have sworn the human heart was located next to the spleen.

Well,  Mr. Huckleberry never claimed to be a science teacher...

Set 2: Experiement of Boiling Water

The second set consists of a beaker, wire mesh, a bunsen burner and a stand. The beaker and the bunsen burner fit quite well with SF, but the stand is way too tall.

Re-Ment Science 2

Mr. Huckleberry: I forgot to add the water. Look, the bottom of the beaker's turning black.

Set 3: Roberval Balance 

I find the scales frustrating. Re-Ment's quality has gone down in recent years, and it really shows in this set. My scale is twisted and uneven and made of a very lightweight plastic that feels like it could break easily. I think it looks a little large for SF, but it could act as a big scale. Comes with some weights, plates and a pair of tweezers.

Re-Ment Science 3

Mr. Huckleberry: It's stamped 'Made in R'lyeh' on the bottom. No wonder the scales don't conform to Eluclidean geometry.  Oh, hey, it's starting to ooze something black. 

Set 4: Experiment of Starch

Ah, this set brings back memories of secondary school. The set has two petri dishes, half a potato, a water dropper, a bottle of iodine and a book. I placed the book face down because it looks nicer, but the inside has the potato experiment scribbled down on the pages. I'd say that everything in this set scales nicely with SF, except for the dropper. Unless you're using it as one of those huge droppers you see in sciencey stock photos, haha.

Re-Ment Science 4

Set 5: Experiment of Water Solution

This set has all the laboratory 'glassware' goodies! A round bottomed flask, a conical flask, a measuring cylinder and a mortar and pestle. I'm a little disappointed by the quality of the glassware though. Re-Ment used to make nicer glass things. The seams are very visible and my round bottomed flask came to me partially cloudy.

Only the measuring cylinder seems too big, everything else looks great.

Re-Ment Science 5

Mr. Huckleberry: A Scientist's Starter Kit. Mad or otherwise is up to the user. 

Set 6: Function of Electric Current

The battery and light bulb experiment was the first school physics experiment I did. I was in grade 1, so technically, my dad did it and I watched. Set comes with wires, a battery and a voltage meter. The wires are detachable. The battery is not a separate piece (I have a feeling in 'old' Re-Ment it would have been), but it's not something that really bothers me in this set.

Re-Ment Science 6

Mr. Huckleberry: So technically I can create a Frankenstein's monster with this, right? Awesoooome. 

Mr. Butterglove (actual science teacher): No, not really. 

Set 7: Dissection of Frog

Set comes with a scalpel, tweezers, medical scissors, a tray and a splayed out frog. The scissors are a bit large but overall, I think the set looks all right with Sylvanians. (lol)

Re-Ment Science 7

Mr. Bullrush: !!!

Mr. Huckleberry: I can explain...

Set 8: Making a Sponge Toffee

Comes with a bunsen burner, a pan, a cake and a stick. I have no idea why making a sponge cake is a science experiment. The bunsen burner is way too big for SF, although the cake in the pan can work.

Re-Ment Science 8

Mr. Huckleberry: Now this is the kind of science lesson I can really get behind!

Set 9: A Microscope

This set is so cool. It comes with two teeny tiny sildes, a microscope, a leaf and a bottle of something. The microscope scales well with Mr. Huckleberry (maybe a little bit on the large side, but I think that's offset by a Sylvanian's naturally large head).

Unfortunately the microscope in my set is bent. :( I have no idea how or if it can even be fixed. The plastic it is made of is a hard brittle kind, with very little give when I try to bend it. I'm afraid of snapping it if I try to put any kind of pressure on it. Otherwise, it's a nice set. It's a good alternative for SF fans who are looking for a microscope and can't get the official SF one (which is much less detailed anyway).

Re-Ment Science 9

Set 10: Cleaning Up

Squee! More lab glassware! Set comes with another round bottomed flask, a beaker, two test tubes and a test tube holder. I only wish they had more test tubes--enough to fill that test tube holder up.

The test tubes fit SF quite well. The official SF versions of test tubes are much shorter.

Re-Ment Science 10

Mr. Huckleberry: Can I drink this?

Mr. Butterglove: No! 

I'm also including a comparison of the Re-Ment Science items and the science items found in the old Sylvanian Families School Master set and the School Watching set. Re-Ment items are on the left, and Sylvanian items on the right (except for the round flasks on the bottom right--I mixed those two up).

Rement and SF science comparison

As you can see, the sizes of the items are mostly quite similar. I'm a bit surprised after doing this review to find out that so many of the items in this Re-Ment set actually fit Sylvanians . Usually Re-Ment items are on the larger side.

One thing to note is that the Sylvanian science accessories are much sturdier and more solid than the Re-Ment ones. Re-Ment is made with adult collectors in mind, so things tend to be far more detailed and as a result, more fragile. This set though, seems more fragile than most other Re-Ment items and the quality control is a bit on the lacking side. I really like the items in this set because they are so unusual (Re-Ment and other miniature companies seem to do more food than anything else), but I wish the overall quality of the items was higher.

If you want to get a set, the cheapest places I've found for it online (after taking into account shipping to Australia) has been AmiAmi and Fan21HK.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Sea diorama

Started work on a seaside diorama base so I have something to put my Seaside Restaurant on. I cut out a piece of wood so it fits into my display shelf. Would have liked for it to be bigger for photographing dioramas, but I really wanted something for a permanent display piece more. I used Ashmimi's tutorial. Go visit her site. That lady's brilliant.

I think I should have used just one layer of foam board instead of two.

Sea diorama base 1

Nicked some sand from the beach next to my work and mixed it up with some watered down Aquadhere (brand of wood glue). The sand dried rock hard--I was impressed. I thought it would be a little crumbly, but it's not. Wouldn't do to get it wet though; Aquadhere is water based.

Also painted the 'sea' bit with acrylics. I tried to mix a turquoise colour, but it came out more green than I wanted. Oh well. This sea is full of algae or something.

Sea diorama base 2

Glued some plastic on the sides and poured resin to make the sea. I've been using Glass Coat as my go-to resin of choice for years, but I learned that Bunnings doesn't carry it anymore. I ran out of Glass Coat half way so I had to go find another resin. Bunnings had Feast Watson, which works just as well.

Sea diorama base 3

I also put some little shells from the beach in the water. I love that little red striped conical one. Unfortunately there was some air trapped in it and it floated to the surface overnight while the resin hardened. I had to do a second pour or resin to stop it from looking like it was bobbing on the surface. The sea was too shallow anyway. My plastic sides weren't watertight so part of the resin leaked out overnight. I had a lot of trouble getting that area to seal well enough to hold all the resin. :/ I used more resin than I wanted, and that stuff is not cheap.

Sea diorama base 4

Ashmimi used a 5 minute curing epoxy for the ripples. The only one I could find that I didn't have to order online for was Araldite, and that stuff is expensive for the tiny tube it comes in. I experimented with shaping the resin as it was curing, but only managed to get a slightly lumpy effect. I tried Mod Podge after seeing some other miniaturists use it, but I guess I can't spread it right. It keeps getting heaps of tiny bubbles in it which leaves many pockmarks on my 'water' surface. I ended up just peeling it off (one good thing about Mod Podge is that it's easily removable from resin) spreading Aquadhere all over it. Aquadhere doesn't hold its shape as well as Mod Podge IMHO, but it'll do.

Sea diorama base 5

Here's the end result. The waves are certainly not natural, haha. I'll have to redo it again someday, but I'll leave it like it is for now.

Sea diorama base 6

Here it is in a photoshoot! I also made the dress, but I'll talk about it in another post.

At the Sea (2)

At the Sea