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  1. P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt Advanced Kit (48001) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Thunderbolt developed from a series of less-than-successful earlier designs that saw Seversky aviation change to Republic, and the project designation from P-35, to P-43 and P-44, each with its own aggressive sounding name. After a realisation that their work so far wasn't going to cut it in the skies over war-torn Europe, they went back to the drawing board and produced the P-47A that was larger, heavier and sported the new Pratt & Whitney R-2800 18-cylinder radial that would also power the B-26 Marauder, P-61 Black Widow and F4U Corsair. With it they added eight .50cal Browning machine guns aligned along the axis of flight in the wing leading edge. The P-47A was still a small aircraft, and was initially ordered without military equipment to allow faster completion, but it was considered inferior to the competition then available, so an extensive re-design was ordered that resulted in the much larger P-47B, firing up to 100 rounds per second from the eight .50cal wing guns, and with a maximum speed of over 400mph, leaving just the fuel load slightly short of requirements. It first flew mid-1941, and despite being a heavy-weight, its performance was still excellent, and the crash of the prototype didn’t affect the order for over 700 airframes, which were fitted with a more powerful version of the R-2800 and a sliding canopy that made ingress and egress more streamlined, particularly when bailing out of a doomed aircraft. Minor re-designs to early production airframes resulted in a change to the P-47C, which meant that fewer than 200 Bs were made, the C benefitting from improved radio, oxygen systems, and a metal rudder to prevent flutter that had been affecting control at certain points in the performance envelope. A quick way to spot a B is the forward raked aerial mast behind the cockpit, as this was changed to vertical on the C and beyond. The production from a new factory that had been opened to keep up with demand led to the use of the D suffix, although they were initially identical to the C, but the cowling flaps were amended later, making it easier to differentiate. Of course, the later bubble-canopy P-47s were far easier to tell apart from earlier marks, and constant improvement in reliability, performance and fuel load was added along the way. The P-47D-25 carried more fuel for extended range, including piping for jettisonable tanks on the bomb racks for even more fuel. Taking a cue from the British designers, the bubble-top was developed and that improved all-round visibility markedly, although like the bubble-top Spitfires, later models incorporated a fin extension to counter the yaw issues that resulted. Its weight, firepower and seemingly unstoppable character led to the nickname ‘Juggernaut’, which was inevitably shortened to ‘Jug’ and led to many, many off-colour jokes during and after the war. Jokes that are still soldiering on to this day, despite being eligible for a pensioner’s bus pass. The Jug was used extensively in the European theatre as an escort fighter, where it performed well in its ideal high-altitude environment. Later in the war when the Luftwaffe was a spent force, it also went on to become a highly successful ground attack fighter, strafing and bombing targets of opportunity, and eschewing camouflaged paintwork to add some extra speed with a smooth (and shiny) bare metal finish. As well as flying with the US forces, many P-47s were flown by the other Allies, including the British, Russians, and after the war many other countries as the remainder were sold off as war surplus. The Kit This is a reboxing of a brand-new tooling from MiniArt, and is branded an Advanced Kit because it includes an additional sprue of plastic parts, and a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass to increase the level of detail of the kit, including the gun bays, and the ability to open the engine cowlings to display the excellent detail that is hidden away on the Basic Kit. The kit arrives in one of MiniArt’s sturdy top-opening boxes with a dramatic painting of the subject on the front, and profiles of the decal options on one side, reserving the other side for practical details and text. Inside the box are twenty-two sprues in grey styrene, although in our sample many of the sprues were handily still connected by their runners, which simplified photography. There is also a clear sprue, a sheet of PE in a cardboard envelope, two sheets of decals, and the instruction booklet, which is printed on glossy paper in colour, with profiles for the decal options on the front pages, plus detailed painting and decaling information for the weapons and tanks on the back page. Detail is beyond excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt in the last several years, with fine engraved panel lines, recessed rivets, plus raised and recessed features where appropriate, as well as fine detail in the cockpit, wheel bays, plus gun bays in the wings and engine. If you’ve seen their AFV kits you’ll know what to expect, but this is special in this reviewer’s humble opinion. New Sprue & Photo-Etch Construction begins with the highly detailed cockpit, starting with a choice of seat style. One option has the seat put together from base, back and two side parts, which have elements of the seatbelts moulded-in, and are finished off by putting the remainder of the lap belts on the seat pan. The other option uses new parts to build the seat without belts, adding the belts from the PE sheet separately. A pair of support are inserted into recesses in the back of the seat, then it is installed on the ribbed floor, which has control column, plus seat-adjuster, and two other levers inserted, after which the rear bulkhead, one of the cockpit sidewalls and the front bulkhead are fitted, trapping the rudder bar with moulded-in pedals between them. The starboard sidewall has an oxygen hose added, and a scrap diagram shows the detail painting as well as the location of the decals that need to be applied. The head cushion is applied to the head armour, then the other sidewall is detailed with four controls and a PE wiring loom, numerous decals and more detail painting, so that it can be inserted along with the instrument panel and auxiliary panel, both of which have decals for the dials, with a choice of two for the main panel. The tail wheel is made up in preparation for closing the fuselage, building a four-part strut that holds the wheel on a one-sided yoke, then adding a small curved bulkhead with sprung bumper at the front. The fuselage halves are further prepared by adding two extra detail parts to the short sill panels that have ribbing moulded-in, and should be painted to match the cockpit. At the rear on the underside, the supercharger fairing is slotted into the starboard fuselage along with the tail gear bay, and at the front, a cooling vent and an insert are added to the underside, fitting another vent to the port fuselage half in the same place. The fuselage can then be closed around the cockpit, adding the aerial mast into a slot in the starboard spine, although whether that will remain there until the end of the building and painting is a moot point, and I’d be tempted to nip it off at the base, gluing the base in to act as a socket for the aerial after the heavy work is over. The engine is created by joining the two highly-detailed banks of pistons together by a keyed peg, adding the push-rod assembly to the front, the ends of which mate with a circular support that is the frame onto which the cowling panels are added later. The reduction-housing bell is detailed with magnetos and other parts, plus a collet at the centre where the prop-shaft would be. This is joined to the front of the engine as it is mounted to a bulkhead at the rear, again on a keyed ring. The convex firewall at the front of the fuselage is detailed with a ring of fasteners, the cylindrical intakes with PE mesh grilles, or you can utilise the similar less detailed part from the Basic Kit if you plan on leaving the engine covered. There is a fuselage insert in front of the cockpit, and that has the two-part gunsight with clear lens and PE backup sight and link-plate added to the middle, and it is inserted under the coaming and joined by your choice of firewall that closes the front of the fuselage. The intake trunking at the bottom of the nose cowling is made from five parts and installed in the lower panel, and you have a choice of open or closed top cowling panels by using additional parts. To leave the cowling open, the engine is fitted to the detailed firewall along with the lower cowling and the three sections of cooling gills. the closed option is surrounded by all four cowling segments, and at the rear you have a choice of installing open or closed cooling gills, using different parts to achieve the look you want, sliding the assembly over the completed engine, to which you can add the wiring loom if you are feeling adventurous, using the helpful diagrams near the back of the booklet, which also includes diagrams for wiring the gear bays. The rudder is completed by adding an insert at its widest point (the bottom) to avoid sink marks, and it is mated to the fin on three hinges, allowing deflection if you wish. Under the tail, your choice of bare or canvas-covered wheel assembly is inserted in the bay, with doors on each side, or if you are building your model in flight, a closed pair of doors is supplied as a single part, adding a small outlet further forward under the fuselage. The upper wing halves have well-defined ribbing detail for the gear bays moulded-in, which is augmented by fitting two rib sections, front and rear walls, and an additional structure that has a retraction jack pushed through a hole in one of the wall segments. The gun bays and their extensive ammunition stores are supplied in this boxing, using different upper wing panels with the bays opened. The gun bays themselves are built from a mixture of styrene and PE surfaces, making up a four-compartment box into which the gun breeches are inserted, linking them to the outer wall with ammo feed chutes, and placing the ammunition boxes with open tops into the upper wing from within. The closed bay option is shown with just the barrel stubs projecting from the leading edge, while both options install the wingtip lights and a pitot probe in the starboard wing. A scrap diagram of the lower wing shows the location of the flashed-over holes that you can drill out for rocket tubes or pylons, then the flaps are made from two sides, plus a pair of hinges, and these are glued into the trailing edge of the wing with the ailerons, then the lower wing can be glued to the upper, along with two inserts at the tip and to the rear of the gear bay, which includes a flush landing light. Three PE bay edge strips are inserted over the open gun bays, adding a PE indicator and PE bay prop to hold the styrene panels at the correct angle, the gun bay hinging forward, the ammo bay hinging aft. The same process is then carried out in mirror-image for the other wing, omitting the pitot probe and landing light, after which the wheels and their struts are made up, each wheel made from two halves plus a choice of three hub types, and two styles of tyres are also provided, one without a flat-spot, the other under load on the ground, leaving it to your taste. The struts are detailed with separate compressed or relaxed oleo scissor-links plus stencil decals, and they are mated with their wheels, plus the captive gear bay doors, the lower door made from two layers, again to avoid sink-marks. The wings are glued to the fuselage with a stepped joint making for a stronger bond, and the elevator panels are each slotted into the tail, and have separate flying surfaces that can be posed deflected, each one a single part. If you are building your model with the gear down, the inner gear bay doors are fitted to the fuselage, which contains the inner edge of the main gear bays, so remember to paint that while you are doing the bays. If you plan on making an in-flight model, there are two single parts that depict the closed main bays, or you can insert the two struts with their wheels for the grounded aircraft. The four centreline supports are fitted between the main bays for some decal options, then the model can be flipped over to stand on its own wheels so that the canopy can be installed, gluing the windscreen at the front, and deciding whether to pose the blown canopy open or closed. The prop is also fitted, and this is made up from two parts glued perpendicular to each other, each holding two blades in opposition, and the spinner moulded into the front section. The Jug could carry quite a load, whether it was extra fuel, rockets or bombs, and all these are included in the box, starting with the two-part pylons, which can be depicted as empty by inserting a cover over the business end. You have a choice of four styles of tank, a 108gal compressed paper tank with a ribbed nose and tail, a 200gal wide and flat tank, the third 150gal streamlined tank with flat mating surface, and the last one slightly smaller at 75gal. All but the third option has a pair of sway-braces between them and the pylon, which fit into slots in the pylons. They are built in pairs to fit under the wings, but the first two options can also be used solo on the centreline support. The bombs use the same pylons, and can be built in 1,000lb, 500lb or 250lb variants, each one made from two halves for the body and two parts for the square tails or thinner PE fins if you prefer, and mated to the pylon by a pair of sway-braces that varies depending on size. There is also a smoke generator that looks like a drop-tank with a spout on the rear, which would be used to lay smoke for the Allied troops below to cover their actions, at least temporarily. The final option is a pair of three-tubed rocket pods, which are made from two halves, plus inserts front and rear, which have their mounts moulded-in, and attach directly to holes drilled earlier under the wings. A large diagram shows the correct location for all the pylons and their loads, and you are advised that drop-tanks weren’t carried under the wings with the rocket packs, which seems sensible. No-one likes to fly home with their wings blown off, after all. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, and a page near the rear of the booklet shows the location of all the many stencils on a set of grey-scale profiles to avoid cluttering the main profiles. From the box you can build one of the following: 62nd Fighter Sqn., 56th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, July 1944 – Pilot Capt. Frederick Joseph Christensen Jr. 61st Fighter Sqn., 56th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, June 1944 – Pilot Lt. Col. Francis Stanley ‘Gabby’ Gabreski 82nd Fighter Sqn., 78th Fighter Group ‘The Duxford Eagles’, 8th Air Force, Duxford, September 1944 – Pilot Capt. Ben Mayo Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion There are a few other kits of this fighter on the market in this scale of course, but I have a feeling that this will soon become the de facto standard in due course as the selection widens. The detail is exceptional and better still than the alleged ‘Basic Kit’ that preceded it. VERY highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. MiniArt is to release 1/48th Republic P-47D/M Thunderbolt kits. Source: https://miniart-models.com/wp-content/catalogue/2022/index.html - ref. 48001 - Republic P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt - advanced kit - released - ref. 48009 - Republic P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt - basic kit - released - ref. 48015 - Republic P-47D-28RE Thunderbolt - basic kit - ref. 48023 - Republic P-47D-30RE Thunderbolt - basic kit - released - ref. 48029 - Republic P-47D-30RA Thunderbolt - advanced kit Have a look at the kits reference numbers, there's room enough for Mustang, Spitfire, Bf.109, Fw.190, Zero, Hurricane etc. 😜 V.P.
  3. Hello folks, I have just completed my build of an M3 Lee tank, early production, 2nd Armoured Division, US Army 1942. The kit is from Miniart and is an interior build with a load of details as you will see in the coming photo's. There are quite a lot of photo's coming up, but this is an interior build and there are a lot of details to show... Here's a quick tour around the tank..... With interior builds, I always like to show off as much interior as possible, so I have constructed the model so that the engine and top hull panels are removable.... Here are a selection of photo's showing the interior details... A photo showing the turret cage with the turret and cupola on either side... A few photo's with the tank on a very simple base with a pair of Alpine figures... That's it, a brilliant kit to make, a model very highly recommended, hope you like it... Here's a link to the WIP https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235130113-m3-lee-early-production-miniart-35206-interior-kit-finished/#comments all the best Ed
  4. Hello everyone, onto a new project, I had a look at what I have left to build and I still have four Miniart M3's to build. I did one a while back in the M3 group build which I enjoyed making, so I thought now's a good time to do another. Three of them are just normal builds but one is an interior build which I fancy doing now whilst I'm still able to do so. So the one that I have picked is the M3 Lee Early Production, here is the box art... There are eight versions to choose from, three Red Army, two German, a Canadian version and two US Army. The only versions that interest me here are the US ones, one is the 1st Armoured Division and the other is the 2nd Armoured Division US Army. Fort Benning (Georgia) early 1942. This is the version that I will be making. Here is the colour and marking scheme... To start things off I started to work on the baseplate, the parts have nice crisp detail and look fabulous, really looking forward to doing this... I really like doing their interior builds, looking at the instructions there should be plenty of opportunity for panels to be removed later on to show off all the interior details, so that's the plan... That's it for now I have quite a few parts to clean up next for the next stage so will be back soon. all the best Ed
  5. T-34/85 Mod.1945 Plant 112 (37065) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The T-34 was Stalin's mainstay medium tank that was produced in huge numbers by sometimes crude and expedient methods, to be thrown into the fray against the numerically inferior German tanks on the Eastern Front, sometimes even before the paint was fully dry. The designers combined several important advances in design such as sloped frontal armour, wide tracks to spread the ground load, and the ability to cope with the harsh Russian winters without freezing to a halt, which was a problem that affected the Germans badly after the initial successes in the summer of Operation Barbarossa. The part count and cost of the tank was continuously reduced during production, with plants turning out up to 1,300 per month at the height of WWII. The initial cramped welded turret was replaced by a cast turret with more room, and later the 76mm gun was replaced by a more powerful 85mm main gun in the T-34/85 with an enlarged three-man turret, giving even the Tiger pause for thought. The T-34/85 with the composite turret was manufactured from the summer of 1944 at Krasnoye Sormova plant #112 on the Volga River, with a simplified gun in the turret in the shape of the ZiS-S-53, as well as some other changes. The Composite turret was electrically operated, fitted with a flat roof that had a pair of hatches, one of which was the enlarged commander’s cupola, and with two mushroom vents on the roof to clear fumes from repeated firing. There were some messy welds between the various castings, which gives them a rough appearance 1that belies their capability. The Kit This is a new Interior Kit boxing from MiniArt’s recent T-34 line, so the box is loaded with sprues of all shapes and sizes. In total there are seventy-five sprues in grey styrene, two in clear, a Photo-Etch (PE) brass fret, a small decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles inside each of the front and rear covers. Many of the sprues will be seen in various other boxings of the T-34, notably the other Factory 112 boxings that we have reviewed here, which is one of the reasons for their use of smaller sprues that make their kits so eminently modular. It makes the process easier and more cost-effective for them, and makes the likelihood of receiving a wide array of options to choose from more likely, which with the rate we’ve received them for review over the years seems to be the case. As always with MiniArt, the design, detail and crispness of moulding is excellent, and the inclusion of PE brass in the box is one less thing you need to fork out additional modelling funds for. Unsurprisingly, construction begins with the lower hull. The floor is decked out with four H-shaped tubular fittings for the suspension on each side and a lower escape hatch, then the engine firewall near the rear, and a pair of pressurised bottles and an axe in the lower glacis. The low-level ammunition storage boxes are made from several parts and is laid in the floor under the turret, with a transverse bar running under the forward crew. The driver’s equipment area is built, adding levers, pioneer tools and foot pedals with actuators into position, and a rack of plate-mags in a tray behind him. The seats are each made from separate pads that share identical back and arm components, fixing them into position on opposite sides of the hull, plus a drum on the left side. The lower hull walls are next, with their Christie-style suspension springs contained in channels up the inside face, drilling a pair of holes near the final drive housing to mount a pair of bump-stop pads later. Additional channels are installed on the inner faces, interspersed with tanks, the inner final drive fairing, and additional suspension detail inside the front. Another layer of detail is placed over the sides, adding ready-rounds, extinguishers and small equipment boxes, plus more ammo on a rack near the bow gunner. The lower hull components are brought together while the engine block is being built, comprehensively depicting the detail of the V12 block, cylinder heads, manifolds, ancillaries and support frame under the sump, building the radiators and fan before the cylinder and two radiator panels are inserted into the rear hull, the engine longitudinally mounted, the radiators facing out along the sides of the engine bay at an angle, linking them with lengths of hose between them and their input/output points on the engine. A bulkhead with a large circular hole in the centre is fitted to the centre of the engine bay, filling the space with the cylindrical fan unit made earlier, then adding supports to the rear end, then building the transmission in the rear compartment with twin cylindrical clutch units, one on each end, followed by linkages and the dynamo. Twin cylindrical airboxes are made from three parts each, fixing them to the inner face of the bulkhead, their shapes contoured to fit around the fan component. Two thick exhaust hoses snake from the rear to the bulkhead, linking the manifolds to the rear of the vehicle. The upper hull begins with the ball-mount and DT Machine gun for the bow, with an extending stock for the gunner’s comfort. The gun is left to swivel inside the port, so be sparing with the glue when you complete this assembly. The glacis plate accepts the gun from inside after fitting of the armoured outer protection, fixing an armoured hinge over the driver’s hatch, towing hooks on the glacis, and some combined PE/styrene lugs above them. The upper hull deck and sides are moulded as one, and the sides have several holes drilled out before they are applied to the hull, with a few nubs cut from the exterior on the way. The glacis plate it fitted to the front, then the assembly is glued to the lower hull, fitting a triangular profile tip across the front, and a row of five track links as combination spares/appliqué armour. At the rear the engine bay is still exposed, which is next to be addressed by adding a frame around the rear bulkhead then attaching a choice of three rear panel that have a circular inspection panel in the centre, drilling some holes for some variants, removing raised detail for another, with a pair of armoured exhaust covers over the short exhaust stubs, and inserting the circular hatch in the centre in open or closed position. The engine deck is covered with vents and louvres that are added with a central inspection hatch, then the completed assembly is fixed over the engine bay. Additional armoured covers with louvred grilles are fitted over the large flush louvres later, then the suspension swing-arms and stub axles are installed under the sponsons, putting the idler axles in at the front, and the small pads mentioned earlier next to the drive sprocket housing. A stowage box is made from two styrene parts with PE brackets and shackles, adding it to the right fender behind a dozen tie-down shackles, and three longer rails on the sloped side of the hull. The driver’s hatch is a complex affair, layered from two thicknesses, adding two periscopes, a bullet-splash shield, an actuator support bracket, and six locking parts, plus a pair of armoured domes over the periscopes on the outside. It can be fitted open or closed, depending on your choice of short or long ram on the hull interior, which also has PE detail. Another stowage box, four more rails, a 2-man saw, and brackets for the spare fuel drums are attached to the left fender, making up two more fuel drum supports on the right, and mounting three rows of track grousers where the tie-downs were glued earlier, stacking six together and using PE straps to hold them down. Three slim fuel drums are built from two halves with end-caps, a filler cap and two PE grab-handles on the ends, also making up two additional short examples, and a further two drums with wire grab-handles moulded-in. The mudguards with PE detail parts are glued into place at the front, with simplified flaps that have PE inner lips to the rear. Depending on which rear bulkhead you chose, different brackets and choice of drums are used, strapping them onto their carriers using PE straps, which are shown being made in a scrap diagram nearby. The longer side tanks are similarly attached, placing two on the right and one on the left of the engine deck, and adding a pair of shovels on a turn-buckle and two PE straps. Ten pairs of road wheels with smooth tyres and separate hub caps are built with two pairs of drive sprockets and idler wheels to complete the running gear. At the same time the main towing cables are made from styrene towing eyes, but you will need to supply two lengths of 100mm braided cord or wire, so make sure you have some on hand when you begin. Now for the tracks. The T-34’s wide tracks were simple and easy to produce, as well as efficiently spreading the vehicle’s weight and helping prevent freezing of the drivetrain in cold weather, of which Russia has more than its fair share. There are two different track parts, one flat, the other with a guide horn in the centre, and both have exquisite casting details that includes the ID numbers on both parts and indeed both faces. They have four sprue gates on each link, attached on the curved hinge-points, making them easy to cut back flush and then sand smooth with a sanding stick to ease assembly and gluing. I made up a short length as a test for a previous boxing, and was finished in a few minutes with a little liquid glue thanks to their close tolerances that keep them together while you glue. Each side needs 72 links, which equates to 36 of each part, and once you get into a rhythm, it won’t take too long to complete the task, wrapping the still flexible links around the curved sections and holding them in place with tape and other clamps etc. to obtain the correct sag on the top run once the glue has cured. The detail is so good it’s almost a shame to weather them once painted. The turret starts with the breech, which is built up from dozens of parts over several steps, with another 7.62mm DT machine gun that will be mounted coaxially in the mantlet, with the trunnions fully depicted inside. The turret ring is inserted into the lower turret from within, and the main storage for the bustle ready-rounds is built from five frames that are attached to two angled brackets at the rear, painted, then have the shells with their decal stripes applied after painting inserted tip first, adding locking levers to nubs on one side of the frames. This is inserted into the bustle floor with a stop-board preventing them from falling out, alongside a radio box and some spare magazines for their personal weapons, which are added next with a canister and the rotation mechanism for the turret. A small round fold-up seat is added to the ring, inserting a bracket for another seat across the interior, following which the mantlet is installed, then the breech is slipped into the rear of the mantlet and joined by the sighting gear, then the coax gun in a two-part bracket. Another seat is suspended across the remaining space on three PE straps, The roof is detailed inside with periscopes, wires, lights, vents and other details, applying armoured mushroom shrouds and a short aerial to the exterior in front of the commander’s cupola space, then it is glued to the turret sides, which are moulded as one, briefly prepared by drilling out several holes beforehand. The sidewalls have an interior skin that is first detailed with more ready shells on brackets, spare ammunition magazines, and other small details, then they are glued into position. The commander's cupola is more the complex of the two hatches, made from two rings that has five periscopes inserted in the centre, then it is glued to the roof, creating the hatch frame with a rotating periscope in the fixed forward section, and a simple hatch that can be posed open or closed, adding two small parts inside once it is in position. The Gunner/Loader’s hatch is a simple circular panel with a hinge on one edge, and this too can be posed open or closed as you wish. There are addition details added to the hinge from within, differing in layout between open and closed. The turret halves are then joined, adding tie-downs, a DIY canvas roll that is attached with three PE straps, or if you don’t feel the urge to make a canvas, just leave the straps dangling, or put something else in the straps instead. There is a rectangular cover added over the portion of the breech still visible at the front of the turret, then the slide-moulded gun tube is slotted in, with the mantlet cover slid over the barrel. Rails and a few small parts are fixed to the turret sides, then the completed turret can be lowered into the turret ring in the hull, remembering that this kit doesn’t have toy-like bayonet lugs to hold the turret in place, so you must remember this whenever handling your model after completion. Markings There are seven decal options in the box and they’re all shades of green, which is what you’d expect from a Soviet era-example made in '45 and used after the war. From the box you can build one of the following: 16th Armoured Brigade, Korean People’s Army, 1950 16th Armoured Brigade, Korean People’s Army, 1950 Polish People’s Army, 1950 Polish People’s Army, 1950s National People’s Army of DDR, Early 1960s Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, Early 1960s Operation ‘Whirlwind’ Soviet Army, Hungry, Budapest, Autumn 1956 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt/gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion The T-34 played a huge part in Soviet military operations both during WWII and after, finding its way into the arsenals of many Soviet-friendly nations following the war, especially once it had fallen out of frontline use in Soviet forces, at which point it became a bargain basement tank for their neighbours and affiliates. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Calvados Sellers (38071) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Calvados is a French apple Brandy that dates as far back as the 8th century, although it is also made in other countries such as the UK as Cider Brandy. Up until after WWII the produce was typically sold by men carrying round crates of bottles full of Calvados, often on wheeled carts before the motorcar took over as a primary mode of transport. This set depicts a duo of Calvados sellers in traditional garb, pulling a cart laden with crates full of bottles. The set arrives in an end-opening figure-sized box, and inside are seven sprues in grey styrene, two in translucent green and two more in translucent brown. If you’ve already got some of MiniArt’s sets, you might recognise the crate and the bottle sprues from other sets, but the figures are all new. Both men are standing, one in overalls and a cap, carrying a crate across his front, and the other is pulling his cart from behind, wearing an apron with a jacket over the top and a cap like his colleague. The parts for each figure are found on separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. The accessories include parts for four crates, all parts with a wooden texture moulded-in, and with internal divides to store the bottles, which are provided on another four translucent sprues, attached to the parts via the bases for minimal clean-up. Construction of these and the cart are covered on the rear of the box, the cart having a planked wooden bed, sprung axles with cart wheels, and two supports to the front that keep the cart level when it is stationary. A fine wooden grain is also moulded into the appropriate areas of the cart to add realism and aid you with painting the model. The paintings on the rear of the box give combined codes for the parts on the sprues, plus the colour codes in blue boxes that correspond to the table near the bottom of the box rear. Conclusion More super figures from MiniArt with dynamic poses, clothing and appropriate accessories that give them their raison d’être. Perfect for your next diorama. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Butchers (38073) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models This set includes a pair of butchers at work in their profession, dressed typically in clothing that was seen before the modern age, when safety and hygiene are more to the fore, and rightly so. Inside the open-ended figure-sized box are four sprues, two containing the figures and two their equipment, various cuts of meat and a trolley. A combined painting and parts diagram is shown on the rear of the box, the part numbers in black alpha-numerical codes, and the paint in numbers in small blue boxes that correspond to a table near the bottom of the box, which gives suggested colour codes in Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, plus colour swatches and generic names to help you with choosing your paint. One butcher is standing with his feet planted wide and arms folded, hiding his bulk under a leather apron that has a cleaver hanging from a loop, with a small peaked cap on his head, and a broad handlebar moustache covering his top lip. The other man is wearing an apron under a body-warmer, and has a side of meat resting across his shoulders and held with both gloved hands, protecting his neck with a short towel. As usual with MiniArt figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown plus a sprue of meat to add some detail to their vicinity if you use them in a diorama. There are two half sides of meat in addition to the one being toted, a couple of chickens or turkeys, a hog’s head, a leg of meat, and various sausages in links, rolls or as singles. The last item is a trolley that is shown made up on the rear of the box, adding two wheels on an axle to the ladder chassis, a pair of rear supports, and a stop-end on the lower. Conclusion Fantastically detailed figures and accessories that are just right for a diorama or vignette, either posed in the doorway of their shop, or behind the counter of a street market. You also get the world's happiest decapitated pig, assuring you that no animals were harmed during the making of this set. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Tool Set (49013) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd It's a constant in war or peace that equipment breaks and the mechanics/fitters must repair them, whether it's wear-and-tear, accidental damage, clumsiness, misuse or due to enemy action, it all ends up in the same place if it's deemed suitable for repair, providing it's not behind enemy lines or under heavy bombardment. From WWII onwards, fighting tended to be fast-moving, so transporting anything back to a bricks and mortar workshop well behind the lines is time-consuming, and sometimes impossible, not to mention highly impractical once the lines of communication stretch far enough, so a field workshop is used instead, bringing their tools with them. This can be anything from a literal field to a large empty building that is commandeered by the "grease monkeys" so they can ply their trade. The Kit This set arrives in an end-opening figure-sized box with a detailed painting of the contents on the front, a painting guide on the rear. Inside are six sprues of grey styrene that included many tools, two small frets of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, and a double-sided sheet of instructions that guide you through building the more complex assemblies. There is a compressor with received and transport trolley; a two-part anvil; two styles of bucket/pales with PE handles; a wood saw made from two laminations of PE parts; a bench grinder with two wheels; a bench vice with separate mounting plate; a clamp-on vice with PE winder; two wooden tool boxes with tubular handles and a complement of tools; two wooden step ladders built from three parts each; a bench press drill with belt-drive; a two-man saw made from three PE parts and styrene handles; a hack saw with PE blade; two oxy-acetylene gas bottles with regulators and six spares with caps; a tubular trolley with space for two bottles and cast-iron wheels; an expanding metal tool box in the closed position with PE handle, plus another with the trays swung out that has tools moulded into the trays, the same PE handle and two PE open lid parts. Other parts that need less information or gluing are various hand tools such as various sized hammers, a pick-axe, two different axes, box plane, shovel & spade, pry bar, a pump, a welder’s torch and mask, blow-torch, G-clamp, belly-brace & bit, oil can and two spanners. You are provided with guidance on the colours of everything in the box on the rear, using swatches, colour names and paint codes from Vallejo, Mr.Color, AMMO, AK RealColor, Mission Models, and Tamiya, but other than the metal tool surfaces, most parts can be any colour you wish, within reason. Conclusion Detail is excellent, and is a perfect backdrop of a 1:48 diorama, providing items that have previously been unavailable separately or hard to find in styrene at this scale before. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. StuH.42 Ausf.G Mid Prod. Jul-Oct 1943 (35385) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Following WWI the German military had identified a weakness in their forces, in that their advancing troops often left behind the support of their artillery as they moved forward, leading to a call for the creation of Sturmartillerie, which was effectively a mobile artillery piece that could travel alongside their forces, providing valuable protection. By the time the Nazis were gearing up their economy and military for war more openly, a requirement for just such a vehicle was made official, mating the chassis of the then current Panzer III with a short-barrelled 75mm gun in a fixed armoured casemate with limited traverse, which gave the type a distinctive howitzer-style look. In the later variants a longer high-velocity gun, the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 replaced the shorter gun to give it an improved penetrating power that was more in alignment with the Tank Killer job that it had become used for. These vehicles were designated Ausf.F or G, and were amongst the most produced version of this almost ubiquitous WWII tank. A project to up-gun the StuG was instigated using an Ausf.F chassis and a 10.5cm leFH 18 howitzer, taking the name Sturmhaubitze 42 or StuH 42 for short. The rounds were electrically fired, and it was to be fitted with a muzzle-brake to bleed off some of the recoil, and a dozen of this type were made from repaired Ausf.F examples, then almost 1,300 built as infantry support that were based on the Ausf.G, some without their muzzle-brakes due to the limited availability of certain metals as the war continued to turn against the Nazis, thanks to the Allied bomber force bombing their industrial base into rubble on a 24/7 schedule. The Kit MiniArt have now released several toolings of the late StuG III and this minor retool to depict the howitzer equipped sub-variant is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes layered on changes during the final batches as the war ground to its ultimate conclusion. This boxing depicts a mid-production vehicle, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and decal profiles on one side. Inside the box are forty-three sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, two large Photo-Etch (PE) frets of brass parts, decal sheet, and glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles in the front and rear. Detail is excellent throughout, which is just what we’ve come to expect from modern toolings by MiniArt, with so much detail crammed into every part of the model, including individual track links that are different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some time ago. Construction begins with the floor, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine that isn’t part of this boxing, and the support structure for the gun, which is made up from substantial beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15° travel for fine-tuning lateral aim. The rear bulkhead is set against the engine mounts with its exhausts and towing eyes applied to the exterior later, and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued either side of a choice of three styles of front bulkhead, installing the engine firewall in the centre of the floor for structural strength. The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhaust covers, towing lugs that have pins with PE chain-retainers and idler protection are added to the rear, and a radiator exhaust assembly with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some heat deflecting tinwork to the hull. Narrow bolted panels are added to the sides of the hull in preparation for the upper hull parts that are added next. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots and lifting eyes. The shape of the casemate is completed with the addition of the front wall, which has a large cut-out to receive the gun in due course. The front of the casemate is built out forward with a sloped front and some bolted appliqué armour, dropped over the front of the lower hull and joined by the breech assembly, which is covered by an armoured panel after armoured protectors to the mounting bolts have been glued over them. The commander’s cupola is built on a circular base into which seven clear periscopes are slipped, completing the task later with several protectors, PE details and a set of V-shaped binocular sighting glasses in the separate front section of the cupola that can be open or closed independently of the main hatch. Much of the gun breech detail is represented, and a large trunnion is fitted onto the two pins on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse, and sighting gear is installed on the breech, although it’s unlikely to be seen as anything other than a dim shadow within, especially once the roof is in place. The roof-mounted MG34 has a separate breech cover and a drum mag, fitting on the roof in the ready-for-action post with the gunner’s hatch open behind it, and the gun slipped through the slot in the splinter shield. It can also be posed pushed down flat with the gun absent and the hatch closed for travel. The engine deck is built up with tapered sides and armoured intake louvres added outside them, drilling two holes for three of the decal options, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay. A length of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the fume extraction armour in the centre with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents. two pairs of road wheels are carried on the deck on six pins welded to the rearmost pair of hatches, with a flat stowage box mounted between them on PE brackets. In reverse of many AFV kits, the hull sides are decorated with suspension parts, the idler wheels and final drive housings, adding three turrets on each side that carry the return-rollers later. A group of pioneer tools are dotted around the sides of the engine deck, including a fire extinguisher with PE frame, after which the paired wheels are fixed to the axles, with drive-sprockets at the front and idler wheels with PE rings at the rear, plus a trio of paired return rollers near the top of the hull sides. https://www.britmodeller.com/reviews/creative/miniart/kits35/35385-stuh.42.ausf.g.mid/sprue10.jpg https://www.britmodeller.com/reviews/creative/miniart/kits35/35385-stuh.42.ausf.g.mid/tracks.jpg The tracks are individual links that are friction-fitted, using 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, plus an occasional wisp of flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade. I created a length in short order, and the result is a very well-detailed track with flexibility to adjust them around the running gear of your model, and as they are a tight fit, they shouldn’t need glue, but I’d probably set them in position with liquid glue once I had them how I wanted them on the vehicle. Once they’re in place, one of two types of fenders are attached to the hull sides on small brackets, with mudguards and tiny PE fittings added once the glue has dried. More pioneer tools and stowage are added to these, as space was a premium on these vehicles, and every flat surface ended up with equipment on it. This includes a convoy light mounted in the centre of the glacis, and either the highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer on the rear left fender. Shovels, pry bars, track-tools, jack blocks and the jack are also found on the fenders, as are the two towing cables, which have styrene eyes and you’ll need to supply the 107mm cable material yourself, with a set of PE tie-downs holding them and the tools in place on each side. The short howitzer barrel is a single part with hollow muzzle and two-part brake insert, sliding into the short sleeve via an end-cap, the sleeve moulded into the front of the inverted saukopf mantlet that is made from an additional two parts before it is slid over the recoil tubes and breech. A pair of aerials are installed on the corners of the casemate rear wall, and variations of additional track lengths as appliqué armour at the rear, under the glacis or on the armoured sides of the mantlet. Some decal options add the brackets for the Schürzen along the sides of the hull and fenders with a few small added outriggers, although two decal options don’t have them fitted. The four PE schürzen panels per side are detailed with additional rectangular panels on their upper surface, and once the glue between the two layers of PE has cured, you simply hang them on the hooks, gluing them in place if you wish. Markings There are six markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage based upon dunkelgelb with splotches or patterns of other colours to a greater or lesser extent. From the box you can build one of the following: 5.Komp. II. Abt. Pz.Reg. Hermann Göring, Italy, 1943 Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 3. Pz.Gren.Div. ‘Totenkopf’, Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 StuG. Abt. 237., Eastern Front, Elnya, Autumn, 1943 StuG. Abt. 276., Eastern Front, Autumn, 1943 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Whilst it might easily be mistaken for a StuG if you don’t notice the barrel, the StuH is just a little different from the usual, with its stubby barrel, the muzzle brake giving it a more aggressive look. The detail in the kit is excellent, and it will keep you busy for many a happy hour. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. A little tardy in getting this post done (ahead of last year's for timeliness). A good year for me-I managed to complete eleven projects. My goal was twelve, but still this was an all-time high for me. -Dragon T-34 Mod. 1941; Tamiya Panzer II Ausf. C; CAMs Vickers 6 Ton VAE 546; Gecko 1/16 Panzer II Ausf. F; Cyberhobby Panzer II Ausf. F; Miniart StuG O-Series. -Gecko Austin K2/Y Ambulance; Dragon Panzer III Ausf. E; Bronco Panzer II Ausf. D; Miniart SU-85; Miniart T-54A.
  11. Men with Wooden Barrels (38070) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Wooden barrels. You don't see so many of them these days without flowers sprouting from them, but before mass-produced metal and plastic barrels became the de facto standard, they would have been much more prevalent where large quantities of anything needed to be stored. Everyone’s thinking of beer right now, but they have been used for a great many things over the years, so they’re not only found in pubs and breweries. Barrels need someone or something to move them around, most of the hard work being done by wagons called drays that were pulled by cart horses fed on hay and grain, later to be moved around by internal combustion engined trucks. Moving them the last few yards was still usually a manual job, requiring strong folk to roll them around and take them to their final resting place, at least until they’re empty. The Kit It arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box with four sprues, plus a sheet of decals for stencilling of the ends of the barrels. There are four barrels of two types, one larger than the other, plus two figures to do the heavy lifting. It is worthy of note that the barrels have plank grooves inside, so an empty barrel without a lid is just as realistic, and there are supports to allow you to place the barrels horizontally, plus a spigot for a barrel that’s already been tapped. The two gentlemen doing the lifting are well-built types, one of a slighter stature that is wearing a shirt, apron and beret, with a pair of stout gloves tucked into his waist. The burly man is wearing a simple pair of denim dungarees and boots, wearing nothing on his exposed upper body save for the bib and braces over his shoulders. He is a muscular fellow from years of barrel wrangling, and you will need to fill the joints between his arms and torso as a result as the seam runs around his shoulders by necessity. The parts for each figure are found on separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed where possible along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. Markings The small decal sheet includes four stencils for the barrel ends, and the back of the box shows where to place them, and suggests some colours to paint the figures if you’re short on inspiration with paint codes from Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, plus generic names and swatches. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Great figures for any diorama with the need for some barrels and men to shift them. Put them in the background or front-and-centre of your next creation to add some human scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Cheese Sellers (38076) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Anyone for a wheel of cheese? It sounds a little strange referring to cheese that can be bought as a wheel, but that’s how cheese was originally made, either as a shallow cylindrical ‘wheel’, or a portion or wedge for those with a lesser appetite or budget. Up until relatively recently, that’s how it was sold, and could be purchased from a street vendor before we sullied the air with coal dust and other contaminants. This set arrives in an end-opening figure box, and contains two figures, a cheese cart, six shallow trays, a LOT of cheese of various shapes and sizes, plus a sack trolley for the larger cheese wheels if you wish to use it. Inside the box are twelve sprues in grey styrene of various sizes, a small decal sheet, and an instruction sheet for the cheese cart and trolley. The back of the box sports a highly detailed rendering of the cover art with the background removed, plus several small paintings that depict the various cheeses and the trolley, giving part numbers and colour suggestions for them all, including the figures, accompanied by a table that gives colour codes for Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, and Tamiya. The parts for each figure are found on separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. One character is a lady in a skirt and blouse with an apron and pleated hat indicating she’s the seller, that and the fact that she’s wearing white gloves and is cutting into a wheel of cheese. The other person is a lady in a knee-length sleeveless dress, counting her change before putting it back in the bag hung over one arm. The thickness of the hem of the skirt has been slimmed down to give a more realistic effect, as is that of the cheese purveyor. The cheeses are found on four identical sprues, plus another two with smaller cheeses and some meat, some of the cheeses of the holey variety. There are also two sprues of trays, each containing parts for three, the planked bases having the longer sides moulded-in, adding separate ends with handles cut-out of the centre. The boxes are displayed on the cart, which has a planked base, two rails with stands and suspension moulded-in, and handles at the end, across which the axle fits along with two spoked wheels. The boxes are raised to an angle on a pair of stands that locate in holes in the cart’s deck. The trolley for the big cheeses is made from a ladder with a C-shaped bracket at the bottom, an axle and small wheels, plus short supports near the handle ends. Markings You are at liberty to paint the figures, cart and trolley any colour you like, but the cheeses are usually some variation between yellow and orange, with a few exceptions such as Edam with its waxy red covering. The decal sheet that is included with the model is printed with a plethora of labels for your painted cheeses, four of them larger, the rest in more moderate sizes, which should be enough to finish the cheeses included in the box, especially if you apply decals to only the top cheese of any stacks you make. Decals are screen-printed by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Whilst people wouldn’t be selling cheese in the middle of a street battle, there are still plenty of opportunities to incorporate this set into your next diorama, vignette, or just build and paint it for the sake of having it on your shelf. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Milkmen (38468) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models We don’t know who it was that first decided that cow’s milk looked like it could be good to drink, or when we first started to drink it, but start we did, and we still do unless we’re vegan or lactose intolerant. Until very recently, milk was typically delivered to your door by a milkman, driving a cart around towns and villages in the wee small hours of the morning, ensuring that we have a fresh pint to pour over our cereal or in our tea when we awaken. This carried on throughout most of the 20th century, originally with a hand cart or horse-drawn wagon, but latterly in stealthy electric-powered floats that were early adopters of greener energy, but with gigantic lead-acid batteries instead of the modern lithium-Ion cells used by electric cars. The Kit Inside the figure-sized box are five sprues in grey styrene, two containing the figures, two full of parts for milk churns, the last containing crates to carry milk bottles that are on an additional clear sprue. There are two milkmen, the parts for each figure to be found on separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or other natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. There are four milk churns that have slide-moulded bodies to which the base and lid are added, some of which will need scratch-built handles across the tops, one with additional handles on the sides, two with single folding handles over the top, and one more with the fixed handles already moulded-in. The milk crate is built from four sides, adding the base with moulded-in dividers to accept the ten milk bottles that are found on the clear sprue. The instructions are found on the rear of the box, and there are also colour suggestions to assist you if you are unsure of a suitable scheme. Conclusion Milk delivery carried on throughout WWII on all sides, despite destruction of infrastructure, occupation and mortal danger at times, so a pair of milkmen laden down with their wares picking their way through rubble wasn’t an entirely unusual sight. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Wooden Barrels (49014) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Wooden barrels. You don't see so many of them these days without flowers in them, but before mass-produced metal and plastic barrels became the de facto standard, they were much more prevalent where large quantities of anything needed to be stored. Everyone’s probably thinking of beer right now, but they have been used for a great many things over the years, so they’re not only found in pubs and breweries. The set arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box with five identical sprues, and instructions printed on the rear of the box. It gives you a substantial quantity of styrene barrels in different sizes with various hoop patterns. It is worthy of note that the barrels also have plank grooves inside, so an empty barrel will be just as realistic to an intrepid viewer. Each barrel can be built as an ordinary barrel from two halves plus two end-caps, or with the addition of a spigot on one end, they can be mounted horizontally on a trestle that allows them to rest on their sides without them rolling away. There are four types of barrels on each sprue, so five of each can be made, and each one can be laid on a trestle if you wish, totalling twenty barrels in two sizes and two hoop styles for each size. Conclusion Barrels are an excellent cargo for vehicles, carts, or to fill empty spaces within a building. The detailed wooden texture can be brought out with careful painting or dry-brushing, adding patina to the metal banding for some contrast. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. I wanted to do a relatively quick build, so of course I chose something from Miniart. This is a non-interior kit and is pretty straightforward while still maintaining the stunning detail that Miniart brings to its kits. I've never built any postwar armour in my fifty years of modeling, so this is rather interesting for me. I'm a few weeks into this build, but now have the hull pretty much complete assembly-wise. The wheels are just pressed into place until I weather the hull and install the tracks. This is an excellent kit and has been very enjoyable so far. I'm working on several projects right now and likely to start another next week for a build review because of course I have Modeler's ADHD.
  16. The MiniArt Models catalogue 2024 is online: https://miniart-models.com/miniart-models-catalog-2024/ https://miniart-models.com/wp-content/catalogue/2024/index.html Dowloadable: https://miniart-models.com/wp-content/catalogue/2024/files/downloads/2024.pdf The aircraft pages: pp.10-13, p.17, pp18-21 & pp.68-69 Link to the dedicated thread: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235103577-148-republic-p-47dm-thunderbolt-by-miniart-p-47d-25re-released-new-variant-p-47d-30re-on-approach/ Link to the dedicated thread: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235130558-miniart-148-junkers-f13/ V.P.
  17. Tempo E400 Railway Maintenance Truck with Personnel (38063) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The A400 Lieferwagen was another of Hitler’s standard vehicles that is perhaps lesser known than the Beetle. It was originally designed as the E400 and produced by company Tempowerk Vidal & Sohn from 1938, and was joined by an identical Standard E-1 that was manufactured in another factory. It was one of the few factories that were permitted to carry on making civilian vehicles, although this permit was eventually withdrawn as the state of the war deteriorated for Germany. After WWII ended, the company began making the type under the original E400 name, and it had a different BMWesque twin panelled front grille. It continued in production until 1948 when it must have finally dawned on someone that one wheel at the front was a really bad idea, even if it was cheaper. A concept that lingered on in the UK much longer so old geezers with motorcycle licenses could scare other road users effectively, and by carrying a football in the boot, they could emulate a giant whistle. It’s an old joke, but it checks out. Unsurprisingly to anyone that watched that episode of Top Gear, the wagon was a little unstable in the corners due to its single front wheel, and the weight of its front-mounted engine probably made matters worse, with a chain drive from the motor to the wheel. The two-stroke 400cc engine in the A and E output 12 hp that gave it sluggish performance at best, which was probably just as well due to the front wheel instability. The driver was situated behind the front wheel and short cowling that hid the engine away, with a pair of side doors for entry and exit, and a single-panel windscreen that overlooked the bonnet/hood. The open load area was to the rear of the vehicle, with faired-in sides and rear tailgate for easy access to the contents. Construction begins with the small cab floor, which has a planked texture engraved on its surface, and is fitted out with foot pedals, a hand-brake lever and narrow cylindrical chassis rail, plus a battery attached to the floor on the left. The front bulkhead has a clear rounded windscreen popped in, a short steering column and a drooping lever, with the windscreen wiper motor cover added to the top of the screen’s frame, drilling two holes in the top corners, and fitting as small PE part on the bottom left of the firewall. The windscreen assembly is attached to the front of the floor with a pot for the washers and the conversion stub of the steering column, with a pair of PE wiper blades added in a boxed diagram, plus the bonnet latch in the centre. The padded bench seat for the crew is slotted into the floor, and the back is attached to the rear bulkhead that has two side hinge panels and a small clear window for later joining to the floor, and you’ll need to find some 0.3mm wire 24.6mm long to represent the linkage to the floor-mounted brake lever and the back of the cockpit. The steering wheel and rear bulkhead are glued in along with the roof, then the two crew doors a made up, having clear side windows plus winders and handles that are quite delicate for realism, then they are installed on the cab, remembering that they hinge rearward in the manner sometimes referred to as suicide doors, as if the three-wheeler wasn’t dangerous enough! The rear chassis is built around a tubular centreline member with the back axle and its triangular bearers slipping over it and adding hubs with brake discs at each end. A sturdy V-shaped brace is added between the ends of the axle and the other end of the cylindrical chassis rail, with a large jointing part between them. The rear wheels are made from a main part that includes the tyres and back of the hub, with a choice of two inserts slipped inside to represent two different hub cap styles, that are then fitted onto the axles on short pegs, with a brake-lines made from some more of your own 0.3mm wire and suspended from the frame on PE brackets that are folded over the wire, then glued to the frame with an etched-in rivet giving the impression that it is attached firmly to the chassis. The load bed floor is a single part, adding side panels, lights on a PE bracket, adding angle brackets to the front for attachment to the cab. The tailgate is fitted with a choice of two styles of PE number plate, adding rear arches to ridges on the side panels, then old-school swinging pegs that are fitted between the sides and tailgate. After the rear axle and chassis tube have been fitted under the load bed and mated with the cab, the slide-moulded cowling for the engine is fitted-out with two fine PE radiator meshes, an internal deflector panel, PE numberplate under the grille, a pair of PE clasps on the lower rear edge of the bonnet, and a tiny hook on the top in between two rows of louvres that hooks onto the latch at the top of the windscreen. The little engine is one of the last assemblies, and is superbly detailed with a lot of parts representing the diminutive 400cc two-stroke motor and its ancillaries, including radiator, fuel tank, exhaust with silencer and chain-drive cover that leads to the front axle. The completed assembly comprises the motor, axle and the fork that attaches to the front of the cab and is wired in using more lengths of 0.3mm wire from your own stocks, which the instructions advise you makes you an “experienced modeller”. Isn’t that nice? After installing the front wheel and finishing the wiring, the cowling can be fixed in the open or closed position, when the little hook latches onto a clip on the roof over the windscreen, holding it up past vertical against the screen. A couple of headlamps with clear lenses are fitted on the sides of the cowling and a pair of wing mirrors on angled arms are glued to holes in the front of the bulkhead on each side, with a PE bracket giving the appearance that the etched rivets are what holds it in place. MiniArt have considerately included a handful of sprues of parts for you to add to the load bed of your newly-minted E400 wagen, including two track ties/sleepers, bucket, fire extinguisher, lantern, blowtorch, and various hand-tools for you to use at your whim, or load it up with a loose cargo, such as a big pile of ballast as seen in the profiles below. Figures Four figures and a collection of tools and accessories pertinent to their trades are included, in various poses to add a human scale to the model. There’s a man bending forward whilst lifting a shovel-load of aggregate, another oiling something (hopefully not the other fellow’s ear), and a chap holding a toolbag, oily rag, and a lantern, then a more smartly dressed gentleman who is either their boss, the lookout, or both. He’s holding a small trumpet to his lips as if to blow a warning note to get the crew off the lines. The two accessory sprues carry a tool bag and box, folio case, a large shovel, oil-can, lamp, lollipop, handheld torch, and a folded flag for the gang boss to wear on his hip for easy access. The parts for each figure are found in separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing, textures and accessories appropriate to the parts of the model. The painting guide on the rear of the instructions doubles as the construction guide, and if you look carefully you’ll see that you need to supply a length of wire for the small lamp that one of the figures is holding. You’ll also need to make up the ballast or whatever it is that the shovelling man is moving, but as you’re likely to be putting him into a backdrop with your own choice of groundworks, that shouldn’t present a problem. Paint colours are given as swatches in the codes of Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO and the colour name in English, so finding a suitable shade from your own stocks will be a doddle. Markings There are four decal options for the truck on the sheet, all painted in a solid colour and decorated with the markings of the operator. From the box you can build one of the following: Deutsche Reichbahn, Early 1940s Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD), Early 1940s Deutsche Reichsbahn, 1940s Deutsche Bundesbahn, 1950s Deutsche Reichsbahn, DDR, 1950s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion It’s weird with a handful of quirky, so of course like it, and MiniArt have also done a great job with making an easy to build, well-detailed kit of this quirky little German grandfather to the Robin Reliant. I guaranteed there would be more of these coming, and I was right – I’ve lost count of how many we’ve had a look at now. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Field Workshop (49012) 1:48 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd It's a constant in war or peace that equipment breaks and the mechanics/fitters must repair them, whether it's wear-and-tear, accidental damage, clumsiness, misuse or due to enemy action, it all ends up in the same place if it's deemed suitable for repair, providing it's not behind enemy lines or under heavy bombardment. From WWII onwards, fighting tended to be fast-moving, so transporting anything back to a bricks and mortar workshop well behind the lines is time-consuming, and sometimes impossible, not to mention highly impractical once the lines of communication stretch far enough, so the field workshop is used instead. This can be anything from a literal field to a large empty building that is commandeered by the "grease monkeys" so they can ply their trade. The Kit This set arrives in an end-opening figure-sized box with a detailed painting of the contents on the front, and a painting guide on the rear. Inside are six sprues of grey styrene, two small frets of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, and a double-sided sheet of instructions that guide you through building the more complex assemblies. There are four fuel barrels in two halves with interchangeable ends; a manual pump that you must provide the wire to depict the hose; a two-part anvil; two styles of bucket/pales with PE handles; a wood saw made from two laminations of PE parts; an open-topped wooden tool box with various tools; a bench vice with separate mounting plate; two trestle-style work benches; a clamp-on vice with PE winder; two three-part ‘dining’ chairs; a wooden step ladder built from three parts; a two-man saw made from three PE parts and styrene handles; a hack saw with PE blade; two three-part stools; two oxy-acetylene gas bottles with regulators and two spares with caps; a tubular trolley with space for two bottles and cast-iron wheels; an expanding metal tool box in the closed position with PE handle, plus another with the trays swung out that has tools moulded into the trays, the same PE handle and two PE open lid parts. Other parts that need less information or gluing are various hand tools such as various sized hammers, a pick-axe, two different axes, box plane, shovel & spade, pry bar, a pump, a welder’s torch and mask, blow-torch, G-clamp, belly-brace & bit, oil can and two spanners. You are provided with guidance on the colours of everything in the box on the rear, using swatches, colour names and paint codes from Vallejo, Mr.Color, AMMO, AK RealColor, Mission Models, and Tamiya, but other than the metal tool surfaces, most parts can be any colour you wish, within reason. Conclusion Detail is excellent, and is a perfect backdrop of a 1:48 diorama, providing items that have previously been unavailable separately or hard to find in styrene at this scale before. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. D8506 German Tractor with Roof (24010) 1:24 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Tractors were a boon to farmers when they were introduced after the reliability of the motor car was proven, as they were especially useful for lugging heavy equipment around the farm, as well as the typical ploughing, sowing, reaping and transporting of crops. They also had power take-off points that could be used to drive other stationary machinery, further expanding their usefulness to that of a portable power-plant. Lanz were the leading maker of farm machinery in Germany, and their Bulldog range were the “hoover” of the tractor world in their country for many years. They were good quality and reliable, which led to them being copied by several countries, and as the initial 1921 model was improved the model number was increased until well into the 9,000s. One of the primary selling points of the vehicle was the simple “hot-bulb” single-cylinder engine that could be run on a variety of fuels and had very few moving parts, which made it easy to repair and maintain. They started off as 6L and grew to 10L engines, and their slow turnover high-torque output suited the tractor’s work very well. In 1956 they were sold to John Deere, and the name slowly fell out of use. There are still many working examples to be seen at county fairs and historic events, kept in splendid working condition by their loving (some may say obsessed) owners. The Kit This is new edition of MiniArt’s D8500 range of kits but in the larger de facto vehicle scale of 1:24, and you can still expect some more to come if their 1:35 release schedule of this series is repeated. The kit arrives in a standard top-opening box, and inside are eleven sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus two cylindrical tread parts for the rear wheels on their own cruciform sprues, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles of the decal options on the front and rear covers. Construction begins with the large cast metal chassis that is made up from two halves each end around a cylindrical centre-plate, with lots of parts used to create its distinctive shape. The superstructure above the chassis where the engine and ancillaries are found is roughly rectangular, having various filler caps on the top, radiator panels and louvres on the sides, plus a name-plate on the front. The driver’s foot pedals are long curved linkages to the underside of the chassis, and with these in place the driver’s tread-plated floor is installed and a big handbrake is fitted to the deck, plus a stowage box under the lip at the left rear. The windscreen frame is moulded into the rear bulkhead of the engine compartment, slotting the clear windscreen into position. The large cylindrical assembly in the centre of the chassis is filled with the clutch and drive-shaft on one side, and on the floor plate the driver’s seat is mounted on a sturdy spring, a couple of hand controls are inserted into depressions in the deck in front, then the large drive housing is mounted on the left side of the chassis, with a bell-housing and fly-wheel on the opposite side over the clutch, and two large fenders/sidewalls over where the rear wheels will be, plus a sturdy bumper-bar at the rear on diagonal cross-braces. The rear hubs have two additional layers inside for the drum brakes, ready to receive the large back wheels. The front axle has the hubs moulded-in, adding the steering arms, anti-roll bars and the linkage to the column, which is installed on the front underframe on a single pivot in preparation for the tyres. The wheels on this tractor have heavy tread to plough through mud, which are built up by layering five parts together to make a tyre-sandwich at the front, and a three-part layer for the larger rear wheels, all with crisp and chunky tread on the rolling surfaces. The tyres have their hubs moulded-in, while the rears have an additional rear hub ring added between the wheels and rear axles. The front fenders are mounted on a pair of cross-members that run under the chassis, the front support fitting under the fenders, the rearmost ones attaching to the rear. Both the attachment points have styrene nuts cut from one of the runners of Sprue A and applied to the location on the opposite side to the bolts moulded into the supports. There are seventeen nuts supplied on the sprue, so you can afford to lose a few, and there are another eight on Sprue Ea. Two large exhausts are made up from various odd-shaped parts attaching to the left side of the chassis either side of the bell-housing, with a pair of clear-lensed headlamps on an oversized cross-member on the topside. A pair of bolted supports are fitted to the sides of the windscreen frame and another pair to the rear fenders at the back of the cab in preparation for the roof, then four more sprue-based bolts are applied to the rear bumper iron where it intersects with the fenders. The curved roof panel is fitted atop the mounts, and a styrene wiper blade is hung from the top rail, then you have a choice of installing the steering wheel on the column in the cab with a cover over the power take-off point, or cut the column away in the cab, gluing the steering wheel on a rod that inserts into the centre of the take-off, with the cover flipped down for access. I understand this was for manually starting the engine, but don’t quote me on that. The steering wheel or column surgery would probably be best done before the roof and supports are fixed in place to give you more room to work. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, and the suggested paint schemes vary from garish yellow to a dull grey with red fenders. From the box you can build one of the following: Regierungs Bezirk Leipzig, 1930-40s Oberdonau, Oesterreich, Early 1940s British Occupation Zone, 1940-50s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Another variation on a tractor that was once ubiquitous in and around German farms, and this one even keeps the driver dry providing the rain isn’t horizontal. These kits are also great to show off your weathering skills, or test them out, and if you're a car modeller, they'll be in scale with the rest of your cabinet. Highly recommended. It’s currently available with a generous 35% discount at Creative Models, so act fast. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Liefer Pritschenwagen Typ 170V w/Canvas (38072) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Mercedes 170 was based upon their W15 chassis, which was their first with all-round independent suspension, and was available as a bare chassis for coach-builders, as a saloon, cabriolet or as a light van, debuting in the early 30s with sales affected by the worldwide depression that started in Wall Street in 1930. Sales picked up after the recession eased, and later versions had internal boot space and sleeker lines, moving with the times. As well as sharing a chassis with the saloon, the van was essentially identical in the forward section and inside the crew cab. The bodywork from the doors backward were designed with the same ethos but differed due to the practical but boxy load area behind the drivers. These vehicles were often used for years after their original purchase passing through the ownership of several operators for dwindling sums of money, especially after the war years where funds were sometimes short following the devastation in Europe. The Kit This is a reboxing of a partial re-tool of the original 2012 saloon and subsequent Beer, Furniture and Cheese Delivery vehicles (reviewed earlier), with the same base sprues and another sprue added to create the tilt for this covered flatbed variant. The original kit is highly detailed, and this one is no different, showing just how far MiniArt have come in their design and moulding technology. There is superb detail throughout, with delicate framing, realistic-looking fabric door pockets as well as a full engine and interior to the cab. Inside the box are twelve sprues of grey styrene, one in clear, a decal sheet and a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass for finer details, protected in a card envelope. Construction begins with the 1700cc engine and transmission, which is made up from a substantial number of parts that just need a little wiring to do it full justice, and in fact the various hoses are shown in 1:1 and 3:1 diagrams to ensure that you obtain the correct bends, but you’ll need to find your own 0.2mm wire to begin with. The curved X-shaped chassis is prepped with a few mounts and PE brackets, then the rear axle, differential and driveshafts are fitted on a pair of very realistic styrene springs that have hollow centres and individual coils thanks to some clever sliding moulds. Drum brakes, straps and brackets finish off the rear axle assembly, then the completed engine and drive-shaft are installed in the front to be joined by a pair of full-width leaf-springs from above and below with a stub-axle and drum brake at each end. The exhaust is made up with an impressively neatly designed four-part muffler, a pair of PE mounts, straight exit pipe and an angled length leading forward to the engine. With the addition of the bumper-irons and number plate at the front, plus the supports for the front fenders, the lower body can be fixed to the chassis and PE mudflaps fixed under the rear of the front arches. The front firewall is next to be made up, and the pedal box is installed one side, with a set of tools and another neatly designed cylinder, this time the fuel tank, which is curiously situated in the rear of the engine bay. This fits over the transmission tunnel that is moulded into the floor, with more driver controls such as the gear lever, hand brake and steering column with PE horn-ring added at the same time. The dashboard is inserted below the windscreen frame after being fitted with decals within the instrument housings, then covered over with clear dial faces for realism, and three blowers attached to the roll-top. There is also a nicely clear curved windscreen with PE rear-view mirror and windscreen wiper motor housing fitted before it is inserted into the firewall, joined by a rear cab panel that has a small window and the back of the bench seat applied before fitting, plus two strips with upper hinges for the doors inserted into the edges of the rear frame. The base of the bench seat is also fitted on a riser moulded into the floor along with a couple of half-height body panels that links the cab to the rear fenders. Vehicles need wheels, and this one runs on four. Each wheel is made from a lamination of two central sections to create the tread around the circumference, and two outer faces that depict the sidewalls and shoulder tread of the tyres, with maker’s mark and data panel moulded into them. The hubs are inserted into the centres of the tyres, with a cap finishing off the assemblies in handed pairs. The flat floor for the load area is a single piece to which headboard and tailgate that hinges on PE brackets are fitted, followed by shallow sides with moulded-in rails and cross-braces running underneath, and PE brackets for the number plate and rear light clusters added beneath the tailgate made from PE and styrene elements. The tailgate retention clips are PE, as are their latches that extend into the corners of the tailgate to strengthen it. At this stage the front of the van needs finishing, a job that begins with the radiator that has a PE grille and three-pointed star added to a styrene surround, then the radiator core and slam-panel with filler cap at the rear. This is put in place at the front of the body at an angle, locating on a feeder tube to the radiator, with two cross-braces reducing body flex along with a central rod that forms the hinge-point for the side folding hood. A pair of combination PE and styrene wipers are added to the windscreen sweeping from the top, adding reflectors on the rear arches. The front doors are handed of course, and have separate door cards with handle and window winders added, and a piece of clear styrene playing the part of the window, which is first fitted to the door card before it is added to the door skin. Both doors can be posed open or closed as you wish, and are of the rearward opening "suicide door" type, and these are joined on the vehicle by the rear cab hinges. To complete the bonnet, small PE fittings are fixed first on the louvred side panels in open or closed options, then they are glued to the top parts in either the open or closed position, inserting the open clasps to the front of the compartment for the open variant. A pair of clear-lensed headlamps, a choice of two styles of wing mirrors on the A pillar or the wing finish off the build of the van, leaving just the canvas tilt to be made. The tilt is on the new sprue, and can be built with the canvas at the rear open or closed. To close it, a single part covers the open rear end, adding PE clips along the lower sides for both open or closed options. To portray the canvas rear tied open, the curved header part is glued into the open end, then is partially covered by the rolled canvas in styrene, which has two PE straps added to the synch-points that are moulded-in. Three PE straps are applied to both sides of the opening to stop it flapping in the wind, and different PE parts with the buckles visible are used for the closed option, while the parts for the open cover have no buckles and should just hang loose. The buckles on the real tilt will be rolled up inside the canvas, so won’t be seen. The last task is to mate the tilt to the raised sides of the load area. Markings These were commercial vehicles during peacetime, so they were designed to attract attention with more colourful liveries, although the hardship of post war Europe shows a little wear and tear evident on the profiles. There are four options depicted in the instructions, and from the box you can build one of the following: American Occupation Zone, Bavaria, late 1940s British Occupation Zone, Late 1940s Bavaria, Munich, Early 1950s French Occupation Zone, Early 1950s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is another well-detailed kit of an old Merc commercial van, and even if you’re not a vehicle modeller it would make a great background subject for a diorama, especially if a cheesy, furniture-y or boozy version doesn’t suit your needs, possibly with post-war Allied or Soviet armour making its way through town. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. G-518 US 1T Cargo Trailer ‘Ben Hur’ (35436) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII, the US used two small two-wheeled trailers for transporting additional equipment and other essential stores around the battlefield, towed by trucks and other vehicles that had at least a ¾ ton payload carried internally. There were two major variants, one for carrying many types of equipment and designated as G-518, the other a specialist water carrier that was given the catalogue designation G-527. The main contractor was Ben-Hur Manufacturing Co., which garnered it the nickname ‘Ben-Hur Trailer’, and its 1-ton load capacity in 3.2m3 volume meant that it saw a lot of action, mostly ignored by war historians and modellers alike, as it was a transport and not as interesting as the things that went bang. Nevertheless, there were over a quarter of a million built, and many of them spent their days dutifully following a Chevrolet truck around the roads and tracks of Europe and the Far East. The Kit This is a new tooling from MiniArt, launched just after the G-527 Water Buffalo we reviewed recently here, this kit is ripe for filling with useful gear that a squad may find helpful on the battlefield, or to make themselves comfortable before or after action. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter on the front by the prolific Volodymyr Booth, and inside are six sprues of grey styrene, a card envelope that contains a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a length of chain, adding a small sheet of decals and the glossy instruction booklet to complete the package, the latter having painting and decaling profiles on the rearmost pages. Detail is excellent as usual with MiniArt, including a full chassis, well-rendered chunky treaded tyres, and even a set of slat extensions to the sides of the structure with moulded-in wooden texture. Construction begins with the bodywork, starting with the two sides that have leaf springs moulded-in, which have the axle retention bolts added to both sides, PE tie-down loops down the sides, and the light cluster that is fitted on a PE bracket next to the rear suspension mount. A choice of external framework to the sides with or without the extension slats is glued to the sides, including small PE brackets at both ends of the slatted sections. The wheels are built from two parts, the larger having the outer hub, tyre carcass and the tread moulded as one, the smaller having the opposite sidewall details moulded-in. They are then put to one side while you build up the rest of the load area. The two sides are mated with the floor part, adding brake actuators underneath and on the side, and bringing in the ends to create the load box, with more PE brackets and foot stirrups to aid entry. While the chassis is upside down, the two-part inner hubs are fitted to the ends of the axles, adding a short length of 0.5mm wire to each one, and another length to a bracket under the floor. The towing frame is made from two converging lengths, which are fixed under the front of the floor on a pair of U-bolts, while a pair of mudguards are mounted on the chassis sides on pegs, inserting the wheels into their wells. The front and rear slat sections are glued to brackets on the sides, then four curved roof supports are fixed to the sides that are used when a tilt is fitted during poor weather. The tailgate is completed by adding the PE retaining pins on chains at floor level, then the two-part towing eye is mounted atop the front of the A-frame, and a jockey-wheel is built from two halves plus a yoke and pivot, with an alternate all-steel wheel if you prefer. This can be fitted under the hitch in either horizontal position for travel, or vertically for a parked trailer, locking it in place between two halves of the pivot. Another longer length of wire is fitted under the left chassis rail and hitch frame, dangling the end down over the hitch, adding a plug for the electronics, which has a hole moulded-in for the wire. The safety chains are cut to length, and are each trapped between two halves of their bracket, adding the hook on the loose end after drilling a hole in the part first. Markings There are four decal options on the sheet, with a choice of camouflage that dictates the fitment of slatted sides and/or steel jockey wheel, so take care during construction if you have a particular scheme in mind. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Army Corps (7th Army), US Army, Italy, Autumn, 1943 US Army, Europe, 1944-45 2nd Australian Corps., Bougainville Island, January 1945 US Navy, 1940s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A trailer might not be one of the most charismatic of military vehicles, but its importance from a strategic point of view can’t be underestimated, as an army without supplies isn’t going very far, as has often been illustrated in extended campaigns throughout history. MiniArt have done a great job tooling this kit, and it will make an interesting addition behind your next softskin project, or as part of a diorama. This version has been so popular that Creative Models are currently out of stock, even though we’ve only had our sample a few days. Keep checking back though, as I’m certain they’ll be getting a restock just as soon as they can. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. G-527 250gal Water Trailer ‘Water Buffalo’ (35458) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII, the US used two small two-wheeled trailers for transporting additional equipment and other essential stores around the battlefield, towed by trucks and other vehicles that had at least a ¾ ton payload carried internally. There were two major variants, one for carrying many types of equipment and designated as G-518, the other a specialist water carrier that was given the catalogue designation G-527. Its nickname was the Water Buffalo, and it was capable of carrying up to 200 gallons of water, which is an essential commodity for the health of troops, vehicles and has so many other uses it would take up far too much space in this review. In total, over a quarter of a million of all types were made, and they were the most used small trailers by US forces through the war. The main contractor was Ben-Hur Manufacturing Co., which garnered it another nickname, one that was primarily used for the other variants, as ‘Water Buffalo’ is far cooler. The Kit This is a new tool from MiniArt, who are creating new kits at an astounding rate, considering what’s been going on in Ukraine this last year or so. It is accompanied by its stable-mate, and we’ll be reviewing that in due course, but first we have the Water Buffalo that’s closer to the top of the queue. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter on the front, from the equally prolific Volodymyr Booth, and inside are six sprues of grey styrene, a card envelope that contains a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a length of chain, adding decals and the glossy instruction booklet to complete the package, the latter having painting and decaling profiles on the rearmost pages. Detail is excellent as usual with MiniArt, including a full chassis, well-rendered chunky treaded tyres, and even a pair of safety retention hooks that use the chain mentioned above. Construction begins with the chassis, the two side rails having leaf-spring suspension moulded-in, which have the axle retention bolts added to both sides, and the light cluster is fitted on a PE bracket next to the rear suspension mount. The rails are glued to the floor section, which has a large cut-out in the centre, then the shorter front and rear rails are fitted to the floor. Turning the assembly over, the square axle with the lower retention plates moulded-in is laid across the suspension, adding two diagonal I-beams to brackets at the front to create the structure of the towing frame. It is further strengthened by fitting U-bolts under the front of the floor, adding stirrups to the underside of the rear, and a two-part brake mechanism on the right side. The wheels are built from two parts, the larger having the outer hub, tyre carcass and the tread moulded together, the smaller having the opposite sidewall moulded-in. They are put to one side while you build up the water tank. The oval tank is made from top and bottom halves plus front and rear end caps, fitting a hatch with closures and a multi-part hand-pump to the forward end, then lowering the assembly into place on the chassis, where it is supported by sloped risers around the edges of the cut-out. There is a T-shaped set of plumbing with three spigots per side under the front of the chassis, covered by two L-shaped assemblies that mount under the leading-edge, with three bog-standard taps or faucets as our American friends would call them on each side. While the chassis is upside down, the two-part inner hubs are fitted to the ends of the axles, adding a short length of 0.5mm wire to each one, and another length to a bracket under the tank. A pair of mudguards are mounted on the chassis sides on pegs, and a reeled-up hose with separate link to the pump is fixed on the slatted deck in front of the tank. Boxed covers are fitted over the tap block in open or closed position, locking them in place with a long PE hook for the open option that locates in a PE eye that is used on both options. The two-part towing eye is mounted atop the front of the A-frame, and a jockey-wheel is built from two halves plus a yoke and pivot, with an alternate all-steel wheel if you prefer. This can be fitted under the hitch in either horizontal position for travel, or vertically for a parked trailer, locking it in place between two halves of the pivot. Another longer length of wire is fitted along the left chassis rail and hitch frame, dangling down over the hitch, adding a plug for the electronics, which has a hole moulded-in. The safety chains are cut to length, and are each trapped between two halves of their bracket, adding the hook on the loose end after drilling a hole in the part first. Markings There are five decal options on the sheet, and from the box you can build one of the following: US Military Air Transport Service, Andrews Air Force Base, Hawaii, 1949 Unknown US Army Unit, North Africa – Italy, 1943 Unknown US Army Unit, Europe, 1944-45 Unknown Unit, Medical Department US Army, 1942/45 834th Engineer Aviation Battalion of the 9th (US) Engineer Command, Further, Germany, 1950 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Whilst it might not be one of the most charismatic of military vehicles, its importance from a strategic point of view can’t be underestimated, as an army without water won’t march very far or last long. MiniArt have done a grand job tooling this kit, and it will make an interesting addition behind your next softskin project, or as part of a diorama. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Being a “Tractor Boy” (Ipswich Town football fan) I thought it was only right I should build a tractor in this GB. Like a lot of us in this GB (I am guessing), this could also be an “out of my comfort zone” build, as I have never done rusty, battered, old, decaying or for that matter a tractor! When you search for images of old tractors, a lot of them are totally rusty, but I am hoping to go with something which still has a bit of paint on it. George
  24. US Army G7105 4x4 1.5T Panel Delivery Truck (35405) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Chevrolet G506 truck formed the basis of a range of 4x4 load-carrying vehicles that could carry up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo, men or equipment. They were initially made under the 4100 code, then were renamed as the 7100 series, and usually had a standard enclosed cab, with a 3.9L straight-6 engine under the bonnet, and a four-speed “crash” (non-synchromesh) gearbox putting out a little over 80hp through all four wheels. It rapidly became the Allies’ standard light truck, and served in substantial quantities on the Western Front, with the Soviets on the Eastern Front, and the forces fighting Japan in the Far East. There were plenty of variants, some in US Army service, others in USAAF service, with almost 50,000 of two specific types, the G7107 and G7117 sent over to the Soviets in large numbers under the Lend/Lease program. The G7105 variant was a fully-enclosed van bodied truck that had a full metal bodyshell to protect the contents, and thanks to its twin wheeled rear axle, it was capable of carrying the same load as its open-topped siblings. They were used extensively by the Signal Corps, but are relatively rare in the overall panoply of chassis types for this series. Their low production quantities and participation in WWII trimmed their numbers further, so they are quite rare compared to others of the type, but some still survive of course, and can be seen occasionally at historic vehicle rallies and get-togethers of like-minded enthusiasts. The Kit This is a new boxing of a recent G506 tooling from MiniArt, and is one of an expanding range that is to be found in your favourite model shop. It’s a full interior kit, with engine, cab and load area all included along with some appealing moulding and detail, particularly in the cab and those chunky tyres. It arrives in one of MiniArt’s medium-sized top-opening boxes, and inside are fourteen modular sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear pages. Detail is excellent, and well up to MiniArt’s usual standards, using PE parts to enhance the model, and finely moulded details of the chassis, running gear, cab and interior areas. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which has leaf-springs fore and aft, cross-braces and rear towing eye fitted to create the structure, then has the fuel tank with PE retention bands, PE rear bumper irons folded around a styrene jig, and axles installed on leaf springs, before the brake drums/hubs, battery and external brackets are added to the chassis rails. The transfer box and drive-shaft join the two axles together, and a steering linkage and box are inserted into the front of the chassis, then the engine is built up based on the straight six-cylinder block, with carburettor, dynamo and transmission added, plus the serpentine pulleys and fan at the front. The engine and substantial front bumper iron are fitted to the chassis, assembling the exhaust and its muffler, which slip into the underside of the chassis from below, held in position on PE brackets at the exit. The wheels are made up with singles at the front, made from two parts each, and with twin wheels at the rear, again with separate outer sidewalls. Each wheel slips over its respective axle, with the hub projecting through the central hole. The three-part radiator housing is layered, with the rear part having a hole that allows the air from the fan to cool the radiator when stationary, mounting on the front of the chassis and mating to the input and outlet pipes already in position. The crew cab is next, beginning with the firewall and forward sidewalls. The firewall is detailed with dash pots fixed to the forward side, and is set aside until it is needed toward the end of building the bodyshell, which is next. The sides of the van have a separate ribbing insert on the insides, to be joined to the floor after the raised platform for the crew seats is installed, fixing two four-part seats on top, and a small forest of levers in the centre of the floor. The rear light clusters are mounted on PE brackets on the rear of the side panels, one per side, and as is often the case with instruction steps, they may be better left of until after main painting. The floor is inverted to install the sidewalls, putting a short fuel filler tube on the outside that matches up with the extension within that leads to the tank. The rear valance plugs into the floor on two pins, joining the two side panels together on the lower edge. The rear doors and their interior cards are assembled with their handles, locking mechanism in a fairing with a flat PE surround, plus handles on both sides of the right door, and clear window glass with rounded corners. The dashboard inserts into the A-pillars that are moulded into the roof, with seven decals for the instruments and stencils on the glove box, plus two more on the headliner by the rear-view mirror, which installs into the front of the roof panel. The steering column is joined to the underside of the dash, adding a courtesy light and six curved ribs to the inside of the roof in grooves. The crew doors and their interior cards are assembled with handles and window winders, plus the clear window glass that can be posed open or closed at your whim. The windscreen frame has the two clear panes fitted, and has a pair of PE brackets and styrene wingnuts that are installed either vertically for closed, or at an angle for open, with a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the various parts, and below it on the scuttle is a ventilator panel that can be posed open or closed as you prefer. The steering wheel is fixed to the top of the column, the diagonal kick panel is joined with the firewall and fitted out with three foot pedals, and a button that I think is the parking brake. The roof and firewall assembly are fitted to the growing bodyshell assembly, while the rear doors are installed within the frame in the open or closed position if you prefer, adding a short stay from wire of your own stock. Two rear arches are fitted under the floor into recesses, projecting past the line of the bodywork to encompass the twin rear wheels, then with the body righted, a pair of wing mirrors are glued onto the cab in front of the doors at handle-height on long struts with PE brackets at the bottom, posing the doors open or closed again as you wish. The body and chassis are mated, and a choice of cowling panels fit to the sides of the engine compartment after adding a V-brace under the bonnet, then fitting the front wings that incorporate the section of running boards under the doors that joins up with the rear boards. The front of the vehicle has its headlights with clear lenses plus sidelights fitted to the wings, and PE windscreen wiper blades are hung from the top of the frame on styrene arms, then the front grille is built. You may have noticed that this appears on the sprues too for a simpler build process, but a more detailed and realistic grille can be fabricated from the PE parts on the fret. It is constructed completely from PE, and two styrene jigs are included on the sprues to assist with accurately creating the correct shape. The lower rail, light cages and curved side panels are made up on one jig from a single piece of PE, while the centre panel is folded up on another, then they’re joined together ready to be attached to the front of the engine bay. There are two PE brackets stretched across the front of the radiator, but if you elected to use the styrene grille, this process is condensed down to nipping the part from the sprue, cleaning the sprue gates, and gluing it to the front of your truck, removing a small curved section from the left of the styrene grille for one decal option as it is glued in place. The bonnet can be fitted open or closed with a PE stay that is provided in the centre of the panel for the open option. The spare tyre is built from two parts like the rest of the wheels, and is mounted on a two-part bracket, the bottom tubular end gluing into a hole in the left side of the bodywork. Markings There are five decal options on the sheet, most in green, one in Navy grey, and from the box you can build one of the following: 15th Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit, Guadalcanal, 1943 US Navy, 1945 161st Sig. Photo Corps, US Army, Fort Bennig, 1942 1st Signal Company, 1st Infantry Division, US Army, ETO, 1945 French Army, French Indochina, Late 1940s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is an interesting variant of the G506 chassis, and looks substantially different from its siblings, which with the detail that MiniArt pack into all their kits, it’s a very tempting offering. Get one quick before creative run out! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Bakers (38074) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Mankind has been cultivating crops for thousands of years, and some bright spark decided to grind grain into flour, so a baker must be one of the very earliest professions, alongside the oft quoted oldest one, but hopefully separated by physical distance for hygiene’s sake. A baker was allegedly responsible for the Great Fire of London, and someone must have baked the loaves that went with the fishes, so there’s a lot of history there. This figure set includes two bakers that are dressed in early to mid 20th century style, but could be more modern depending on context. It also includes a mobile stall/cart that the bakers could use to transport their wares to market, or sell them on the move as they pass potential customers on the street. Although the roadside stall used to be commonplace in most towns and villages in the West they have all but gone now, however they can still be seen in many other parts of the world. The cart is finely balanced so that a single person can walk with it in front or behind them, and it has a weather cover and racks for displaying boxes containing produce at an angle that makes it easier for the potential customers to see. Inside the figure-sized box are eleven sprues of various sizes in grey styrene, four filled with different varieties of bread and pastries, two containing shallow wooden boxes with open tops and hand-holds in the short ends. Three other sprues contain the parts for the afore-mentioned cart, and the last two sprues are where you will find the figures. The largest figure is wearing a tall chef’s hat with flared top section, white shirt and black trousers under an apron, finished off with a bow-tie and voluminous moustache. The baker’s assistant is similarly dressed except for a white jacket and his headgear, which is a close-fitting brimless cap, and he is carrying a tray on his shoulder. The parts for each figure are found in separate sprues for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. The building and painting instructions are found on the rear of the box, the parts called out in alpha-numeric codes that correspond to the sprues, while colour call-outs are in numbers in green boxes, which can be converted to Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya or colour names by using the table in the top right of the area. Conclusion Yet more exceptionally well-rendered figures from MiniArt to add character (and characters) to your next project, or as the centre-piece as you see fit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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