Miniart is a Ukranian company manufacturing 1/35 injection model kits with their key focus being on diorama buildings and figure sets. Of late they have also begun producing a number of smaller diorama accessories previously only available in resin. They don’t have a high level of recognition in New Zealand, but those who have worked with their kits know them to be amongst the better ones available.
This kit is one of their earlier ones ( we’re not into Tamiya timelines here, an older Miniart set means a few years, not several decades ) and comes in a medium sized lightwieght open-ended box on two smallish grey sprues. You get five figures together with a small assortment of related tools. The sprues have no numbering, rather a small printout is provided with location numbers corresponding to the sprues, though assembly is pretty self-explanatory.
The assembly guide is provided as a simple “what goes where” set of drawings on the rear of the box together with a painting which provides colour references for use with Vallejo, Testors, Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell, and Mr.Colour paints. The importance of the provision of a paint reference chart can easily be overlooked but when you frequent modelling forums you will see the question asked many, many times “what ’X Brand’ paint is the right one to use to paint ‘Y Kit’ part”. So you’ll actually find this really useful.
The moulding is typical MiniArt, clean, crisp, well detailed with well defined facial features, nicely done uniform detailing and hands that actually look like hands. There’s the usual small ammount of cleanup required but the mould seams on these are very minimal and I must admit that being one of their “older” kits it seems to need a bit of sharpening up compared to Miniart’s most recent offerings but that said these figures are still very nicely detailed ( also do keep in mind that my idea of “sharpening up” means adding ear-holes, scooping out pockets and hollowing out the ends of sleeves etc ). At an average of around 50mm they scale out at around 175cm/5’9″ so are of a good hieght.
The five figures represent a tank crew performing routine maintenance, with three of them using a barrel rod to clean a gun barrel while the fourth takes a drink from a canteen and the fifith stands by holding a small sledge hammer ( the boxart depicts him with a track adjustment wrench so I must admit the sledge hammer was a little disappointing, but then I had also hoped that the pictured toolbox, bucket and jerrycan were included ).
Four of the figures are dressed in shirts with the sleeves rolled up while the fifth wears the traditional SS Panzer wrap. He is hatless, holding his side cap in one hand, as are two of the others, while the last two both wear the standard german billed soft cap.
Equipmentwise there isn’t much, though you do get a two piece gun barrel cleaning rod and a small spanner as well as the small sledge hammer. The drinking figure gets a canteen though you will need to come up with your own cap, strap and cup for it to look fully correct as shown ( but only if you’re as anal as me ). The drinking figure is also pictured on the boxart wearing a sidearm but none is included.
In Conclusion :
Miniart really needs to be commended for this type of set because so often when it comes to sets of tank crews all we get is a group of figures standing around or pointing off to somewhere. This set gives you a well thought out and well put together little vignette which is both interesting in subject and valuable simply for having made available a crew dressed casually which is something we just never get. The quality is very good, the faces in particular are very well done, and these go together without fault. If I had one quibble it would be that the artwork should match the contents as it’s surprising how the absence of a few small things that you expect to be there can make a very good kit seem a little lacking when it really isn’t.
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