Platz 1/12 Bonsai 3

KIT #: BON-3
PRICE: 1500 yen SRP
DECALS: None required
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Bonsai (盆栽?, "tray planting"   is a Japanese art form using trees grown in containers. Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penjing from which the art originated, and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese hn non bộ. The Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years. "Bonsai" is a Japanese pronunciation of the earlier Chinese term penzai. The word bonsai is often used in English as an umbrella term for all miniature trees in containers or pots.

The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower). By contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container.

There is a great deal more to it than the introduction above so I suggest reading the reference for more information.  


Apparently the first two offerings were somewhat successful. Enough so that Platz, which produces a rather eclectic range of items, had done more of these. Like the others, the kit comes for the most part, in a Styrofoam tray. This tray includes the branches of the tree along with the foliage and the immediate base. This offering has a small table on which the tree sits and there is the standard flat base for this all to perch upon.

Though the pieces fit together to make the model, there are no painting instructions and this really needs to be painted to look nice. However, that does not mean that you cannot simply slam it together and be done with it, but that sort of defeats the fun of it all.  The website link for the product has a how-to video and much of the time is used in doing washes. The plastic is pliable as well as it shows sections being bent slightly to get it all into shape.

Instructions are well done and in full color. They include a listing of tools that one will need, but really, all you need are a pair of cutters, a bit of sandpaper, paints, and a brush. Since it is 1/12 scale, it fits in well with many other items, including figures that are made in this scale. I am not sure how big a hit it will be in the US, but certainly in places that have an appreciation for the art it should do well.


I confess to having built one of these and I found it to be a relaxing experience. It makes for an interesting addition to your display shelf and is the sort of thing that would be perfect for kids (assuming you can get them away from their electronics long enough) and those not interested in the usual subjects.

BTW, I cannot read the sticker on the box, but apparently this series has won some sort of award.


September 2017


My thanks to Platz Model for the preview kit. You can get yours today at this link.

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