To those of you with an interest in both Minimates and the Minimates community, Luke Porter will be well known. An ace customiser, his Minimate Factory is a great starting point for those with an interest in customising. Recently Luke started his own online retail store – Luke’s Toy Store and started producing some interesting additions to the Minimates universe, including custom figures, decal sheets and dioramas. Here I take a look at the first two dioramas Luke has created, the Broken Wall Diorama and the Broken Window Diorama. These were available from his store. For full disclosure I did buy these myself rather than be sent review samples.
As non-mass produced items the packaging for these dioramas are understandably low-key. They both come in a baggie, similar to how promotional exclusives have been packaged in the past. The baggie keeps the individual sections safe along with the instructions and decal sheet.
The Broken Wall diorama was the simplest of the two dioramas to put together. As a hand-created piece, there are no tabbed bits to click the wall into the base, instead you have to rely on a more old-fashioned method; superglue. The instructions are very clear. First, scrape the areas you intend to stick together with a knife and then simply glue them together. I hadn’t used superglue for years so had a little bit of difficulty making them stick together (no problem getting my fingers to stick together though!).
Once the glue has dried, the two sections fit very sturdily. The diorama itself is very gritty, it won’t be suitable in tone for every Minimate release but here have been many “dark” Minimates released, such as Punisher, Batman and the Spirit, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The back wall has holes drilled in, simulating bullet holes, but you can also put Minimate weapons in them such as knives or billy clubs. This works well for the Punisher, as you can see in the picture.
The base has some fallen chunks of masonry from the wall, and two footpegs that can be used by any Minimate with C3 feet. The two pegs are fairly close together which would perhaps be a problem for some posing opportunities but not for fight scenes. The peg in the center of the base is positioned nicely to allow the remaining upright walls to flank the figure on either side, which is a very cool look.
Overall, this diorama works well as a base for a single figure or for a fight scene.
MMC Score – 7 out of 10
The Broken Window diorama has more than just the wall and floor sections with it. As the name suggests, it features a broken window, for which you get a decal sheet with 3 different options for the window, including a broken window (natch) and bars suggesting a prison. This is a great idea as it allows you to choose what you want to see, and also if you by more than one set then the window can be different. The decal is simple to apply, just cut round the one you want with scissors and then remove the back to stick it onto the hole in the wall. There is also a grate decal to put on the floor piece, this is accomplished in the same way.
In addition to the decals, the diorama also comes with two planks of wood, cast in beige plastic and with wooden detailing on them. Use these to board up the window by tacking them over the window, or just array them around the display itself for added effect.
The base is clearer than the Broken Wall diorama, with no rubble, and again has two floor-mounted pegs. There is also a wall-mounted peg next to the window, perfect to allow your friendly neighborhood Spider-man to do some wall crawling!
Overall, the extra thought that went into this diorama with the window decal, the planks of wood and the wall-mounted peg, do add a lot to the play-ability of this set.
MMC Score – 7 out of 10
The two individual dioramas are really supposed to be combined together for a longer diorama with more posing and play opportunity. As both feature a gritty tone the idea of combining them together works well, with the main problem being the fact I couldn’t line the two walls up when gluing them to the bases. I tried, but they were at two different angles. This means that the effect is slightly spoiled due to the walls not being seamless, however with the general decay of each wall it’s not too jarring that they are at different angles.
Put together, the two dioramas can house several figures for a big fight scene or just to pose. I think I prefer the broken wall as a pure display piece for one Minimate but the two together do make a nice scene. I am happy with these for the price and if you want to add some spice to your Minimate displays both are recommended. Luke’s next diorama project is a three part “danger room” for any aspiring heroes and villains to perform training exercises.
Review and pictures by Danny Mills