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  1. Inspired by @Bertie McBoatface's joy at building MiniArt kits, I have decided to ride into the jaws of Death and tackle this mechanical marvel. The Ausf A Panzer III had coil-spring suspension which wasn't strong enough, so the engineers threw everything at the Ausf B in the hope that something would work. MIniArt have done a grand job of reproducing the complexity, including far too many "don't glue this bit" arrows in the 15 assembly steps I'm going to ignore the instructions and build a nice solid hull first, because nobody wants a wobbly twisted hull, do we?
  2. Hello folks, I have built an SLA APC T-54 with Dozer Blade from Miniart. This is from their interior build range and the version that is shown is the South Lebanon Army, 1980's. There are quite a lot of pictures to show, as this model from Miniart is so well detailed, it's a shame not to show it off. Hope you like it. The model can be displayed as either just an APC or an APC with Dozer blade.. Here are a few photo's of the APC..... Some close up detail, I have added some extra detail in the way of cigarette butts, cans of soda, some ammo etc.... I always try to show off as much interior as possible on these type of builds, so various parts can be removed to show off the interior... A few photo's showing off the interior... A top view... Now some photo's showing the APC with Dozer blade..... Some close up's And finally the end... the tracks are metal alloy from Masterclub, wonderful detail... That's it, a brilliant model to make, definitely recommended, hope you like it... For anyone who is interested, here is the link to the WIP https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235104166-miniart-sla-apc-t-54-with-dozer-blade-37028-full-interior-finished/ all the best Ed
  3. Hi guys, hope everyone is well, onto my new build which is Miniart's SLA APC T-54 with Dozer Blade. There is only one version in the kit which is the South Lebanon Army, 1980's, so that's the one I'm going to do . I bought this over a year ago, I just liked the unusual colour scheme and that big red dozer blade, it was an easy decision to buy. As usual the kit comes in a big box, the whole lot has a good weight to it and as usual packed full of sprues. Miniart seem to have drawn upon their other T-54/T55 kits and have included multiple sprues where only one part is required. There is no turret on this model and yet I get a couple of gun barrels, oil tanks etc. At least I'll shall have some extra parts for my spares box. A couple of photo's showing the box art and then the colour scheme. The nature of the environment where this vehicle has been situated will call I think for quite a heavily worn tank and the red dozer blade should be interesting to do with lots of scratches and weathering etc. I think I'm going to build straight out the box, there's no tow ropes to buy, I'm not sure at the moment regarding the tracks. I've done these before on a T-55 and they seemed ok, but then again I really like the tracks made by MasterClub, I'll decide later on. I started work on the engine, which is typical of Miniart giving a really nicely detailed part, quite a lot of the assembly has been temporarily stuck with Maskol so that I could make sure everything fits together. I have pre-drilled the holes in the manifolds ready for me to add copper wire for the injection pipes after I have finished painting. That's it for now, I will be back when I have finished painting the engine. All the best and thanks for looking in. Ed
  4. German SPG Crew (35363) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd This new set from MiniArt will allow the modeller to crew their latest German WWII Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) with four figures that are loading their vehicle with new ammo to carry on the fight. Inside the shrink-wrapped box are nine sprues, four containing the figures and five containing ammo, ammo boxes, weapons and accessories. Each figure is moulded within his own frame, and we have the commander stood ordering people around with his pointed finger, another crewman standing around doing a little swaying motion (the Floss?) with his arms. The other two figures are hefting shells, one offering one up to his colleague that is leaning down from the vehicle to receive it. As is common, the workers have their jackets off and sleeves rolled up. As usual with MiniArt figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown plus loads of extras to add some detail to their vicinity if you use them in a diorama. The sprues contain six ammo boxes, each of which can hold three shells apiece, and there are seven each of 7.5cm Kw.k.40 and Stu.K.40 shells, plus three empty casings with slide moulded hollow lips that are found on the box sprues. The small decal sheet gives you stencils for the shells, plus further stencils for the box tops. A detailed painting and decaling guide for the shells and their boxes can be found on the rear of the box along with instructions for making the ammo crates and painting the figures, with a chart offering colour swatches and codes for Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya as well as colour names to assist you with paint choices. The accessories sprue has various weapons including STG.44, FG.42, MP34 & 35, a Kar.98K and Gewehr 41(M) rifles, while ammo pouches, map cases, pistols and their holsters/pouches can be used to fill up your scene. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. This will be my contribution to this GB, this will be the first tank I have built in over 10 years so thought I would start with something nice and easy.
  6. Finally done. Miniart 1/35 - Grant MkII plus metal barrel. Painted with MRP. Great kit, although - as Miniart is - over-engineered. Built more as a training ground, for various techniques. But overall I guess it turned out quite all right. Thanks for all comments! Appreciate any tips. Bart.
  7. In the post Christmas sales I picked up the Miniart Dingo Mk II. The boxing I have has a captured example on the outside, but also has some Allied markings available as well. The one that caught my eye was a for one serving with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, mostly as it has an RAF roundel on the back. Now, there appears to be some uncertainty in the actual colour, see the following thread for the discussion: I’ve decided to go with overall SCC2, with with an RAF roundel on the rear deck. The project was delayed due a missing sprues, which in some great customer service the guys at Miniart got to me just a few short weeks before the tragic events of the last fortnight. I hope they are keeping safe . This will be my first attempt at doing an interior on a 1:35 scale kit. So first the box top: Here is the example I am going to build (just imagine it’s brown): Oh oh - photoetch. The printing of roundel looks a bit out of register, so I may use the spare I have. So I started on the cabin interior (cockpit?). Lots of little bits, but went together well. Will need to leave some parts as sub-assemblies to be able to do the detail painting. I managed to use some of the photo etch, however there was some really tiny bits that defeated me. Painting underway, with the main colour being Vallejo 70826 German Camo Medium Brown. Detail painting with various Tamiya and Italeri acrylics.
  8. This is the third installment in my quest to build all of the major variants of the Panzer III gun tanks. This build is the excellent Miniart PzKpfw III Ausf. D/B backdated to a straight Ausf. D as it would have appeared in Poland in September, 1939. I currently have an Ausf. A on the workbench and will hopefully get to the Ausf. E before too long, so I can have all of the “grey and browns” out of the way. I have previously completed the Minart Ausf. B and Ausf. C and posted them in “Ready For Inspection” as well. Ausfs B, C and D for comparison:
  9. Soviet Ball Tank with Winter Ski (40008) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models This is a hypothetical design from an alternative reality where ball-tanks were practical, and although there are some quite realistic looking pictures out there on the web, this is a decidedly fictional or "what-if" design for a small infantry tank that might have been quite handy for approaching bunkers or installations with significant light weapons presence. It does appear to have some weaknesses though, such as the little outrigger wheels that if shot out, would result in a seriously dizzy crew at best, so it's probably for the best that it remains in the realms of the fantastic. The ball hull is static, with a large wide track running around the circumference, propelled by the motor inside. There would be some serious torque transfer to the hull on acceleration or deceleration, but as this doesn't seem to adversely affect those big-wheel motorcycles, it wouldn't be a huge impediment, especially as the majority of the hull won't be moving. There is a crew of five, with the top-most crew member in each side running the weapons stations, and the front-facing crew driving and operating the forward machine gun. The final rear-facing crew operates another machine-gun that faces to the rear. Oddly, the main guns face sideways in ball-mounts, which would make shooting straight ahead difficult without cooperation from the driver, which could be tricky in such a confined, noisy environment. In reality, it would probably have been a massive failure, but it's interesting nonetheless. This being a Soviet design of course it comes equipped with Skis for the winter! The Kit This is the third of this subject from MiniArt, who usually keep their subjects in reality, or at least prototype form. A lot of effort has been put into making it appear real however, including a complete interior, which gives the model a bit more gravitas and believability than an empty shell would have done, and also opens up the possibility for dioramas or vignettes. The kit arrives in standard sized MiniArt box, with a yellow/sand colour scheme, and inside are 23 sprues in mid grey styrene of various sizes, a single sprue of clear parts, and a decal sheet. The instruction booklet is bound in a colourful glossy cover, with greyscale drawings inside, and the decal options printed on the inside covers front and back. Detail is really nice for a relatively small kit, and I have to say that this is just the kind of silliness that appeals to me, as it is at least semi-believable and just a little bit left-field. Construction begins with the engine, which is quite a complex assembly, and has a large friction roller at the rear to apply power to the track. The crew seats are built up next, and then attached to the main frame, which consists of two large hoops with cross-members to retain its shape. Track rollers are fitted to the inside of the frames, and the engine, seats and ancillary equipment are all suspended from this. Ammo racks for the main guns are built up at the same time as the gun breeches and the machine guns, which also have spare ammo cans made up, and all these sub-assemblies are installed into the hull halves, which have cut-outs for the ball-mounts, a radiator grille (backed with a fairly standard looking radiator), and conformal fuel tank. In the centre of each side is a crew hatch that is operated by a wheel, with arched hinges and interlock parts included. With the breeches and machine guns fitted from the inside, and the hatches put in their required positions, the halves are glued to the frames, and the hollow tipped gun barrels are added, plus a headlight with clear lens for night operations (ha!). The track is supplied in four parts with a straight tread and matching joins to minimise clean-up. The four parts glue around the open section of the hull, with a scrap diagram showing the correct location on the lip, and of course the two skis that stop it from tipping over. That's all there is to it! Markings As it's all fiction, it's probably more a case of choosing the scheme that appeals to you, and as there are a choice of six, it should be pretty easy. You can of course mix and match decals and scheme, as no-one (sane) is going to be complaining that it isn't accurate! From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Separate Armd Div of Ball tanks. Red Army, Eastern Front, winter 1942/43 Red Army, Unknown Unit 1942-46 3rd Single Div Ball Tanks, Soviet Navy 1942-46 Captured Combat Vehicle. Wehrmacht unit, Eastern Front, winter 1943./44 2nd Separate Armd Div of Ball tanks. Red Army, Eastern Front, winter 1942/43 Captured Combat Vehicle. Finnish Army, Karelia Winter 1944. Decals are by Decograf, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The shark mouth is going to be quite popular, I'd expect. Taken from MiniArt's website Conclusion An awesome trip into alternative history that's got a certain hokey appeal, partly because it looks like it could possibly have worked. The internal structure has been well thought-out, and the variation in decal options makes for a fun project that shouldn't take too long to complete. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Hi there everyone, this is my entry into my first group build. Talking about first's, I have never built an M3 or an M4 (shame on me), so this will be really interesting for me doing something totally new. I have chosen a Miniart M3 as I have read good reports about them, plus the fact that I love doing Miniart kits anyway. I already had an M3 in my stash, a Miniart interior, but with 3 months to build, It would have been a bit of a stretch, for me at least to complete in time. So this is an external build, having said that It still comes with a good parts count. So on to a few pictures, this is the box art, I really like the look of this.... This will be the version that I hope to build... Kit comes with rucksacks and bags, interesting to see how these look... Some shots of a few sprues... You get a small PE set , some decals and clear parts. I have purchased the tow rope from Eureka XL. The kit will be pretty much OOB, along with the purchased tow rope and I have purchased last night some North Africa tank crew figures and some Hornet heads to go with them. So there you go, I'm looking forward to this, see you soon Ed
  11. The original-issue Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. B kit from Miniart (this release was discontinued and replaced with an updated one) with the corrected engine deck, etc pieces from the newer issue provided by Miniart’s excellent customer service. The corrected kit also comes with crew figures-Highly recommended. I substituted Friul tracks, but the kit tracks are excellent.
  12. Dear Fellow Modellers This is the Miniart petrol pump set and a scratch built 1930’s scale petrol station made from wood, balsa and plastic. It has been wired to allow it to be fully illuminated. Leuna benzin was a petrol produced synthetically from coal by I.G. Farben. The production was subsidized by the Weimar Republic to reduce the costs associated with oil imports. Production began in 1927 at the Leunawerke refinery. Sales were carried out by the I.G. subsidiary Gasolin, which in 1939 had around 4000 filling stations throughout Germany. Some of you may remember my Miniart 170V cabriolet from an earlier post Hope you like it? Regards Andrew
  13. Dear Colleagues I hope our dear friends in Miniart are surviving? Here is their Mercedes cabriolet in pre-war civilian guise I used the old Archer instrument decals (plus Mercedes symbol on the steering wheel horn) And being tuned up in the Garage! I used appropriate wiring for the engine Hope you like it? Andrew
  14. The tractor was a testbed of sorts: Now to the real thing, the Miniart kit of the SLA APC T-54 with Dozer blade. First a rust primer, then chipping medium, and finally Tamiya XF-18 (blue) and Vallejo 70957 (red, on top of some light dusting of Mig Steel). And you know the feeling when you stop just short of overdoing stripping off the paint after using the hairspray technique? I think I did it just right. Hope you agree. A little weathering (oils and what not) will follow. Stay tuned.
  15. God dammit these builds seem to creep up on you far faster than you expect and it’s not even a quarter of the way through the year and build #3 (or #4 if I ever manage to get the MiG started). Well time something a bit different for me….a Tank … hopefully my success rate with finishing them will improve!! This is a by pure chance GB, as I just happened to see this model and couldn’t resist, MiniArt’s M3 Lee. This model comes with a complete interior and probably more sprues than I have ever seen in a box… I lost count after 40 odd! Now you’d think you would need any AM extras with this model…….. but you are wrong, there’s always room for AM extras! In this case a nice Master metal barrel replacement set, though I still may swap it back to a short barrel version. It wasn’t until after I bought this model that I discovered there was an Australian version as well, though the store didn’t have it at the time….bugga! So could I build one from this model? Well, it turns out I can pretty much do it without any real effort. This model has all the extra sprue/parts required to build an Aussie one (plus most of the others in the Lee series as well) but for one part, the turret hatch. The Aussie versions did away with the third turret and just replaced it with a hatch cover, so will have to scratch build that bit, that shouldn’t be hard. Plus if I want to fit the side skirts that were on some of these, Eduard do a nice replacement set if I decide to fit them. Schemes are pretty basic, interestingly these AVF’s were only used in training, they never operated outside of Australia. Their deficiencies were well know and they were replaced by M4’s and Matilda’s. This should be a nice simple straightforward build, so no Friul Model tracks, even though they are lovely and do look fantastic! I really have a low completion rate with AFV’s, hopefully this will be different this time!
  16. Wooden Crates with Fruit (35628) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Fruit gets sold in boxes quite often, and you can choose which pieces you want from the box, pop them in a bag or place them on some scales and then pay for them by weight. It has been this way for as long as fruit has been sold, and although modern supermarkets would have you buying your produce in superfluous plastic bags or cartons that end up on the rubbish tip, the old ways are best in this instance, and they can’t hide rotten or bruised pieces from your view. This is why my SO doesn’t let me go shopping with her. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped end-opening figure box, and inside are nine sprues in grey styrene. As is common with this type of set, the instructions and painting guide are on the rear of the box, showing what’s included and giving painting instructions linked to a colour chart at the bottom, giving colour swatches, Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya and colour names. Close-up of the 'nanas and melons Double height boxes are included for displaying the fruit that is included in the set, and there are a total of sixteen on the four sprues. The instructions also show what fruit is which and how to make the boxes up, starting with the moulded layers that fill up the bottom of the boxes. In addition, there are a substantial number of single pieces of fruit to add to the boxes to give them some individuality, and both types of melon are supplied in halves, with the interior moulded into them in case you wanted to show any of them cut in half for display, or for eating (by model figures, not humans!). You also get advice on which colours to use, just in case you’re not familiar with the colour of any of them. Here’s a list of all the boxes of produce you’ll find on the sprues: 2 x Pears 2 x Lemons 2 x Green Apples 1 x Oranges 2 x Kiwi Fruit 2 x Red Apples 1 x Pomegranate 2 x Peaches 4 x Individual Melon Halves 4 x Individual Watermelon Halves 10 x Double Bunches of Bananas 2 x Empty Boxes Conclusion There’s not a lot to say other than if you’re in the market (pun!) for some fruit in handsome wood-effect boxes, you need look no further. This set has boxes of fruit that shouldn’t give you the pip. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Allied Mine Detection Equipment (35390) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Mines have been an unfortunate fact of war for many years, as a way to prevent the enemy encroaching on your territory, and giving you a loud bang and a bright flash as a tip-off if this happens at night. Minefields became a standard military practice during WWI and WWII, and only recently has the laying of mines been frowned upon by many countries due to the damage inflicted on hapless civilians once the combatants have gone home. During WWII there were many methods available to the Allies to counter German minefields, including manually searching for them using some kind of prod or bayonet, but the more efficient method was the use of electronic devices that could detect the presence of metallic objects beneath them. There were several types, but all used a coil, sometimes within a round or oval plate-like surround, held by the operator on a long broom handle-like stale, with a wire leading eventually to a pair of headphones that would alert the operator to an object beneath the ground with an electronic tone. If it wasn’t a rush-job, they would mark the mine with a small flag and move on, otherwise the tools would come out to extract the mine there and then, which although it was much less likely to explode because you were aware of its presence, it was still a very difficult task that could result in you becoming a victim. Of course, the best and safest solution was the flail-tank, but these units were often overwhelmed by requests for their presence, particularly soon after D-Day. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped end-opening figure box, and inside are eight sprues in grey styrene, and a small decal sheet with some signs as well as stencils for equipment. As is common with this type of set, the instructions and painting guide are on the rear of the box, showing what’s included and giving painting instructions linked to a colour chart at the bottom, giving colour swatches, Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya and colour names. You can build the following from the parts within: 4 x Different mine detector handsets with headsets & electronics pouches 2 x Signposts on stakes 2 x triangular mine pins 2 x bayonet style spike 2 x walking stick sized spike 2 x shovels 2 x US electronics pouches 2 x US tapering pouches 3 x Teller Mine 43 2 x Teller Mine 35 The instructions show the cables and handles on the mines as parts that you will need to scratch build from your own stock of wire, but the pictures are enough to give you the information you need. In addition, there are decals for small square flags that you will also need to scratch build for yourself, painting the flags yellow and applying the decals over the top. Two red mine signs on stakes, four small white Ms for the triangular flags, curved stencils for the recovered mines, and nine of the afore mentioned small black Danger signs. Some US Army symbols for the pouches and white stencils for one of the detector plates finish off the small decal sheet, which is printed by DecoGraph to their usual high standards. As usual with MiniArt kits their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown, plus loads of extra parts, although a little wire will be needed to make the most of that detail for the wiring, flags, handles and one of the headsets that are joined together with a wire loop. Conclusion A nice set of highly detailed equipment to add to your next project, whether it is stowed aboard a vehicle in anticipation of use, or on the scene of a minefield that needs clearing. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Market Garden, Holland 1944, w/ Resin Heads (35393) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd There’s little doubt that Operation Market Garden was a failure due to several issues that led to delays in the armoured column reaching the beleaguered troops that were valiantly holding the bridge at Arnhem, resulting in heavy casualties and many of the unlucky soldiers ending the operation as prisoners of the Germans. This set depicts the end of the operation, where a number of British paratroops were being taken captive by German troops. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped end-opening figure box, and inside are five sprues in grey styrene, a small sprue diagram for reference against the numbers on the instructions on the rear of the box, and a small Ziploc bag that contains the resin heads. There are five figures in the box, three of which are British Paratroops wearing their typical camouflaged jump smocks with boots and puttees, and two German soldiers in Feldgrau battle dress, one in knee-length boots, one with boots and puttees. Both the Germans are wearing the standard Stahlhelms and are carrying Kar98 rifles (there are spare MP40s on the sprues) with the usual equipment on their webbing. Only one of the Paras are still wearing their webbing with large ammo pouches, and he’s having his searched by one of the Germans for weapons or intel that their superiors may find interesting. The Tommies and the Germans are each on their own sprues, and the British smocks are made in two halves to prevent sink-marks, then you have three more sprues that contain the equipment, two for the Germans, and one larger sprue for the British. There are spare helmets on the equipment sprues, while the British have their camouflaged helms on the figure sprues, and the two still wearing helmets have their chin-straps moulded onto their lower faces. The resin heads have one with helmet straps moulded-in on the British side, and two for the Germans, who are both fully equipped. Interestingly, the helmetless British figure has a discarded helmet to place near him, and this has the interior suspension strapping moulded-in for added realism. Conclusion Sculpting is excellent as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with tons of detail, realistic poses, fabric drape and textures that are appropriate to the material types. The resin heads are highly realistic, but the styrene heads are good too, as are the various accessories and weapons that you’ll find on the sprues. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. US Tank Crew – Special Edition (35391) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII US tank crews were dressed differently to their Army colleagues, due to the cramped confines within their armoured vehicles, the likelihood that they may be called upon to twirl the spanners if the machinery broke down, and the effects of banging your head against any of the many prominences inside and around the tank. They’re also specifically equipped with more compact weapons to fit the confines of their vehicles, and in WWII US tank crews typically carried the M3 Grease Gun or an M1911 pistol for self-defence, the latter sometimes on a close-fitting three-point body holster keeping the holstered weapon close to their torso and avoiding snagging themselves on the tank when inside. They typically wore overalls with a t-shirt underneath, and a leather jacket to keep the top half warm that may be outside the moving tank at times, with an almost universally worn perforated helmet with communications equipment in the ear flaps, sometimes coupled with a pair of polarised goggles to reduce glare, to protect their eyes from cold, and other dangers. This figure set contains five tankers dressed in typical US tanker overalls, M38 Rawlings tank helmets with headset and throat mic., and some with leather jackets. Inside the shrink-wrapped box are five sprues, two containing the figures, three their helmets, weapons and accessories, a sheet containing a sprue diagram, and a small decal sheet with rank insignia and unit badges. They’re all wearing tanker overalls, and two of them are wearing the short bomber jackets typical of tankers of the day. The two jacket wearers are most likely senior in the crew and are stood in their hatches leaning on the surrounds, while the three others appear to be lounging on the exterior of the vehicle, with one possibly inside the driver’s hatch, but at rest. Each form-fitting helmet is made from four parts, with the largest being the top section that fits to the flat top of the figure’s head. There are two separate ear flap sections and another flap at the rear to protect the nape of the crewmember’s neck from falling debris and hot brass from their machine gunner outside the turret. The accessory sprues contain more helmets, goggles, Grease Guns with separate stocks, mag pouches, numerous pistols, a camera, a pair of field glasses with slide-moulded lenses, and a case that is next to a two-part map case. Conclusion As usual with MiniArt figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown plus loads of extras to add some detail to their vicinity if you use them in a diorama. There’s a small amount of flash around a few parts, but as I always say, that’s infinitely better and easier to remedy than short-shot parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Traffic Signs Yugoslavia 1990s (35643) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Yugoslavia was created after WWI and remained a country throughout the Cold War period, until its break-up in the 1990s, when much blood was shed, with the NATO forces sent in to police the location with their hands partially tied. There is still antipathy between some in the area, but that’s another long and sad story. We’re here to discuss traffic signs. The Kit The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure-sized box, and contain six sprues, two that contain a large rectangular sign plus one each square, octagonal and small rectangular, giving eight signs in total. The four smaller sprues have two round, two small rectangular, a square, triangle and long rectangle sign, twenty-eight signs in total, with a grand total of thirty-six between all the sprues. There are also eleven poles to put your signs on, and as you can see from the photos, the rear of the signs have brackets to hang them, as well as a representation of their stamped and formed construction. The paper sheet with large signs is in addition to the decals, and one of them is larger than the supplied plastic sign sizes, so you would have to make up your own backing for that one or cut it carefully into three. The decals are printed by MiniArt’s usual partners DecoGraph, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. A white painted background for the decals will give them a higher brightness, although signs are often old, dilapidated, weathered and damaged – even shot at in war zones or areas where guns are commonplace. People just don’t seem to be able to help themselves! Under the instructions on the rear of the box is a paint chart that gives colour swatches plus Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya codes, and generic colour names to assist you in choosing the correct paints for your model. Conclusion Great diorama fodder, as the devil’s in the details. The printed decal signs are also so much better than most of us could do with a paint brush, and will add a little extra realism to any diorama or vignette. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H Nibelungenwerk Mid. Pro. Aug 1943 (35337) 1: 35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Unlike the later Tiger and Panther tanks, the Panzer IV had been designed in the years leading up to the outbreak of WWII, and was intended for a different role than it eventually played, which was as a form of infantry support with the mobile artillery function rolled into one. It was a heavier tank than the previous numbered types, and was well-designed, although it did suffer from the typical WWII German over-engineering that made them complex, expensive and slow to build, as well as difficult to maintain. The type went through a number of enhanced variants including a more powerful engine to give better performance, improved armour thickness for survivability, and latterly the provision of a larger gun with a longer high velocity barrel that was based upon the Pak.40, but with shortened recoil mechanism and an enlarged muzzle-brake that helped contain the powerful recoil from the 75mm gun. The new gun was in direct reaction to the first encounter with the T-34 in Soviet hands, an incident that put the wind up the German tankers and their superiors, as they knew very little of its existence until they had to fight it, and didn’t like the way their shots just bounced off that sloped glacis. The Ausf.G and H were the later mainstream variants of the Pz.IV, and were made from early 1942 until 1944 with over 4,000 made, some of which were manufactured at Vomag, Krupp-Gruson, and Nibelungenwerke, one of the largest factories in the German area of influence, based in St Valentin, Austria. By the war’s end Nibelungenwerk was the home of the Panzer IV, and as such was bombed heavily, strangling production of the last variant, the Ausf.J as the Allied bombers took their toll. The Kit This is a new boxing of the recently tooled model of the Panzer IV from MiniArt, with a mixture of parts from other boxings plus some new sprues. It is an exterior kit with enough detail included to keep most modeller happily beavering away at their hobby for a good while. The kit arrives in a top-opening box, and inside are fifty-three sprues in grey styrene of various sizes, a clear sprue, three sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles for the decal options on the inside covers. It has individual link tracks included that are made up on a jig (more about those later), and the level of detail is excellent, which is something we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s output. Construction begins with the shell of the lower hull, which is made up on a main floor with cross-braces, sidewalls and bulkheads, then the lower glacis over where the transmission and final drive are situated, doors being fitted into the apertures before installation. The final drive housing, towing eyes, suspension bump-stops, return roller bases and fuel filler caps are glued into place on the hull sides, and two lengths of track made up to be attached to the glacis plates, held in place by clamps on the top side, and a rod on the front. The rear bulkhead is detailed with armoured covers for the track tensioner arms, stiffener plates and access hatches, including a manual starter slot. The fenders can now be slotted into position at the top of the hull sides, both of which are covered in a delicate tread-plate pattern where appropriate. The upper hull is created in a similar manner to the lower, with the roof accepting side panels after making some small holes, the engine bay area is fitted out with the side vents for the radiators and a flat rear panel that closes the area in. At the front the bow machine gun barrel is inserted from the outside, together with the armoured shutters for the radiator louvers, PE covers, front hatches, along with the jack-block in its bracket, or the empty bracket if you choose. The hull halves can be joined now, which involves adding the cooling louvers and side-mounted air filters that are attached to the hull sides with input trunk disappearing within the engine compartment, not to be confused with the exhaust round the back. Underneath various armoured plates are fitted around the various suspension parts on both sides. The big towing eye and its stiffeners are applied to the bottom of the bulkhead, and after fitting another full-width plate, the big exhaust muffler is attached to the rear, made from a combination of shaped styrene parts then braced to the bulkhead by PE straps. The kit supplies a set of four towing cable eyes, but you’re responsible for providing the braided cable, which should be 152mm long and 0.75mm thick, times two. These are wrapped around two hooks on the rear in a figure-of-eight pattern. Now it’s pioneer tool time, with barrel cleaning rods, spanner, shovel, the jack, plus a set of four spare road wheels in an open-topped box with spanners strapped to the sides. The rear mudguards and front splash-guards are applied now, and the prominent external fire extinguisher with PE frame (and alternative styrene one if you don’t feel up to wrangling the PE) is fitted to the fender with a pair of wire-cutters and a pry-bar, all of which have optional empty mounts for missing tools. Just when you think you’ve finished the tools, there’s a crank for the engine, a pair of track-spreaders, a choice of two fittings for the axe, plus some styrene springs to allow you to show the front guards in the up position. Three more short lengths of track are made up and applied to the vertical section of the glacis plate between its features, held in place by PE brackets. We’re getting closer to the tracks now, but there’s still a lot of wheels that need to be made. They are mounted in pairs on twin bogeys with a leaf-spring slowing the rebound of the twin swing-arms. There are two types of outer casting with two axles (for working or fixed suspension) that the swing-arms slot onto, and are then closed in by a cover, which you also have a choice of two designs for. Finally, the twin wheels with their hubcap slide onto the axles, and a small oil reservoir is glued to the side of the assembly. You make four for the left side and a mirrored set of four for the right, plus two-part idler, a choice of two-part drive sprockets and eight paired return-rollers that fit onto the posts on the sides of the hull. The suspension units have slotted mounting points that strengthen their join, and once you’re done, you can begin the tracks. The tracks are individual links with separate track pins, but don’t freak out yet! Each link has three sprue gates that are small and easy to nip off and clean up. The included jig will hold eleven links, which are fitted with the guides uppermost. Then you cut off one complete set of 11 track pins off the sprue and slide them into the pin-holes in the sides of the connected links all at once. They are then nipped off their length of sprue and can be tidied up. I added a little glue to the tops of the pins to keep them in place which resulted in a length of track that is still flexible. Just minimise the amount of glue you use. There are 101 links per track run, so you’ll be busy for a while, but the result is fabulously detailed as you can see from the pic. I didn’t bother cleaning up the mould seams for expediency, but if you plan on modelling your Panzer with clean tracks, you can sand them away if you feel the need. Three decal options have schurzen fitted, which has by now dictated which fenders you glued to the hull sides, so it’s too late to change your mind now. First you must add the styrene brackets on each side, then the long supports for the hook-on schurzen panels, which consist of five PE panels per side, with diagonally chopped front and rear lower edges to reduce the likelihood of them digging into the ground and being ripped off. Bear in mind that these panels were subject to the rigors of battle so were often bent, damaged or even missing entirely. Use your references or imagination to decide whether you wish to depict a fresh set, or a set that have been in the field for a while. Finally, we get to the turret, which begins with the ring and minimalist “floor”, to which some equipment, a drop-seat and the hand-traverse system are fixed. The inside of the mantlet is fixed to the floor after having the pivot installed, with the newly assembled breech glued into the rear once it has its breech block and closure mechanism fixed in place. The breech is then surrounded by the protective tubular frame, and the stubs of the coax machine gun and sighting gear are slid in through holes in the inner mantlet. A basket for spent casings is attached under the breech, the sighting tube and adjustment mechanism are put in place along with the coax machine gun breech. The turret base then has the other facets added to the roof panel, with an exhaust fan and outer armoured cover included. The side hatches are the clamshell type, and can be posed open, closed or anywhere in-between, with latches and handles added, and grab-handles over the top to ease exit. The commander’s cupola is a complex raised part with five clear vision ports around it, and a choice of open or closed outer parts holding the clear lenses in place, sliding into the ring like the real thing. A ring of cushioned pads covers the interstices, and stirrup-shaped parts are fixed under each lens, with a single circular hatch with latch and handle glued into the top ring in open or closed versions, hinging open rather than the earlier two-part clamshell hatch. A blade-sight from PE is sited at the front of the cupola with a machine-gun ring around the base and an optional MG34 gun on pintle-mount on top, and the basket with optional open lid added to the rear. The gun has a flattened faceted sleeve made up, and the muzzle brake gives you a choice of three styles that differ slightly from each other if you look closely. Pick the one suitable for your decal choice, and you can begin to put the gun tube together. The outer mantlet section with the sleeve slotting into the front is applied along with a choice of two coax installations, and a single-part styrene barrel fitting into the front with a key ensuring correct orientation, plus the muzzle-brake having the same feature. Another length of track is applied to the front of mantlet for extra protection later, which might explain why there are a lot more than 22 track sprues, this time however sourced from a traditional sprue. The turret has curved metal sheets applied to the styrene brackets that glue to the roof and sides, that has a gap for the side hatches that are filled by a pair of hinged doors for more complete protection, and if you were wondering, you get open or closed variants with PE latches. Lastly, a flat PE appliqué armour panel is fitted to the front of the roof on a number of PE brackets to give it a slight stand-off from the armour underneath, and to clear the brackets for the turret schurzen. Because of the complexity and realism of the turret and its ring, it drop-fits into position as the final act, as bayonet lugs aren’t present in the real thing. Markings Four decal options are included on the sheet, and they have a variety of schemes that are appropriate for late war tanks, from monotone vehicles to highly camouflaged vehicles over the standard base coat of dunkelgelb (dark yellow) the common element. From the box you can build one of the following: 3rd SS-Pz.Div. “Totenkopf” Eastern Front, Ukraine, Autumn 1943 20th Pz.Dv., Eastern Front, Belarus, Winter 1943-44 12th Pz.Div., Eastern Front, Summer 1944 16th Pz.Div., Eastern Front, Ukraine, Winter 1943-44 Decals are by MiniArt’s usual partner, DecoGraph, 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 a well-detailed exterior kit that should keep you occupied for a good number of hours. Careful painting will bring it to life, and leaving some turret hatches open won’t leave your viewers looking at a totally empty space if you omit crew figures. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. German Cargo Trailer (35320) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd For a long time, trailers have been a great way to transport goods, people and even livestock around behind a horse-drawn or more recently motorised vehicle without adding another engine or animal. The longer the trailer chassis, the more there is a need for a rotating front axle to allow the trailer to corner more effectively and reduce the wear on tyres plus strain on the towing vehicle and its hitch. The Kit MiniArt have been creating a number of variations on the Lanz Bulldog tractor recently, with some of the more recent boxings adding trailers to add interest, lengthen them and add more parts to the box. Each of these trailers have a daisy-chain towing hitch on their rear, and now the mildly insane modeller can make an effort to create the longest tractor model in the history of insanity modelling by adding one or more of these trailers to their tractor models. You can of course use them with any other appropriate vehicle providing it is capable of hitching up to the A-frame. This kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the trailer in military camouflage on the front, and inside are nine sprues in grey styrene, some of which have been nipped roughly in half to allow them to fit the box. There is also a small decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles printed on the front and rear pages to assist with painting. Construction begins with the ladder chassis with two sections of bed, which have fine engraved wood texture on both sides, as do the other wooden structures in the kit. The towing hitch to daisy-chain trailers together is attached to a cross-member at the rear, and in front of it are a pair of leaf-springs for the fixed rear axle. The front axle is similarly built, but on a frame that has a turntable between it and the bed to enable the axle to rotate freely for easier manoeuvring, as this is quite a long trailer. The tyres on this boxing are pneumatic, and the treaded surface pattern is made by laminating three internal layers to two outer layers that also have the hubs moulded to them, then each one slots into the end of its axle when complete. A small bench seat is added to the front of the shallow headboard of the flatbed, with two long sides and rear tail-gate with tiny styrene clasps with their hooks nipped off, giving the impression of holding it in place. To model it with the sides and tail-gate down is simply a matter of gluing them in place folded down and fitting the un-altered clasps loosely against the sides accordingly. Markings There are four marking and camouflage schemes on the decal sheet, with varying colours and uses that should appeal to many. From the box you can build one of the following: Bakery 61st Infantry Division Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, 1941-42 Administrative Company, 20th Panzergrenadier Division, Eastern Front, 1943-44 Unidentified Medical Unit, Western Front, 1944 Artillery Repair Company, Wehrmacht, Germany 1945 Decals are by MiniArt’s usual partner DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion While not to everyone’s taste (what is?), it’s a highly detailed model, and would look just as good in the background of a diorama, behind a different WWII German vehicle, or behind one of the afore mentioned Lanz Bulldog tractors, especially if you have one without a trailer and are regretting that decision. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. I'm gonna give it a go to convert MiniArt's B-type Military Omnibus (https://miniart-models.com/product/39001-b-type-military-omnibus/) into something like this: https://lanmiblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/05/wwi-b-type-bus/. I've built the civilian version some time ago, and it was a pleasure to build. I've started on the pigeon loft. Strip plastic and a drawing from a 1/72 scale model blown up to 1/35 is all you need, really. Surgery has started: I want to use as much of the original plastic as possible to make the fit better when I put the four walls together. I tried two different types of latches for the door in the back, and eventually decided to use the one on the right. And all put together. And with a roof made of thick paper. The parts that will make up the pigeon lofts. And ready for the paint booth. To be continued ... (I won't post more than a few pictures of the regular build, but concentrate on the pigeon loft. /Torbjörn
  24. German Industrial Tractor D8511 Mod. 1936 With Cargo Trailer (38033) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Tractors were a boon to farmers when they were introduced soon after the reliability of the motor car made them a viable tool, as they were especially useful for lugging around heavy equipment around the farm, as well as the typical ploughing, sowing and reaping of crops. They also had power take-off points that could be used to drive other stationary machinery, further expanding their usefulness and relegating the plough horse to the stables. 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 of good quality and reliable, which led to them being copied by a number of countries, and as the initial 1921 model was improved the model number was increased, eventually reaching the 9000s. 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 low-grade fuels and had very few moving parts, which made it easy to repair and maintain. They started off with a 6L, growing to 10L engines, and their slow turnover high-torque output suited the tractor’s work very well. By the time the 8511 arrived on the scene, it had around 34hp produced by a 10L engine, with 3 reverse and 6 forward gears to give it performance suited to both off-road and on roads for the best of each. In 1956 the brand was sold to John Deere, and the name slowly fell out of use. There are still many working examples to be seen at country fairs and historic events, kept in splendid condition by their attentive owners. The Kit This is another rebox of MiniArt’s D8500 range of kits, with this being the sixth that we know of. This boxing brings together one of the tractors with a large cargo trailer, plus a quantity of empty cable reels that you have probably seen elsewhere in their range before now if you’re either a reader of our reviews or owner of any MiniArt kits. Detail is excellent as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with a driver figure included to give it some human scale. It arrives in a standard top-opening box, and inside are eighteen sprues of various sizes in grey styrene plus a clear sprue, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, decal sheet and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles of the decal options on the inside covers. Construction begins with the tractor, which has a large cast metal chassis that is made up from two halves each end around a centre-point panel, with lots of parts used to create its distinctive shape, plus a few PE parts on the forward steering cap. The superstructure is roughly rectangular, having various filler caps on the top, radiator panels on the sides, and a PE name-plate bearing the name Lanz Bulldog and number plate frame on the front, which should be curved ever-so-slightly before installation to match the shape of the cowling. 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, with a stowage box under the lip at the left rear. The driver’s seat is mounted on a sturdy spring, a couple of hand controls are inserted into depressions in the deck in front of him, then the large drive housing is mounted on the left side of the chassis, with a bell-housing on the opposite side, and two large fenders/sidewalls over where the rear wheels will be, plus a sturdy bumper-bar at the rear with some PE cross-braces. Two large exhausts are made up from various odd-shaped parts, and the front axle is built with a central leaf-spring and steering arms, then attached under the chassis in several places, with a pair of large clear-lensed headlamps on an oversized cross-member on the topside. Alternatively, the lights can be omitted and the mounting holes concealed by a pair of small PE covers. The wheels on this tractor have heavy solid rubber tyres over the bolted hubs, which are built up by fitting two tyres, one over each side of the rear hubs, and joining the two smaller front tyre halves that have funnel-like concave curved hubs with the axle at the apex. The fifth wheel is the steering wheel, which can be fitted atop the steering column as you’d expect, or detached and used on a shaft to manually start the vehicle via the input shaft hidden behind a cover in the centre of the right-hand bell-housing. The flatbed for the trailer is next, made up on a ladder chassis with two sections of bed, which has fine engraved wood texture on both sides, as do the other wooden structures in the kit. The towing hitch to daisy-chain trailers together is attached to a cross-member at the rear, and in front of it are a pair of leaf-springs for the fixed rear axle. The front axle is similarly built, but on a frame that has a turntable between it and the bed to enable the axle to rotate freely for easier manoeuvring. The same solid rubber tyres are used on the trailer, built in the same fashion as the smaller front wheels of the tractor, but with inwardly dished hubs, then each one slots into the end of its axle when complete. A small bench seat is added to the front of the shallow headboard of the flatbed, with two long sides and rear tail-gate with tiny styrene clasps giving the impression of holding it in place. To model it with the sides and tail-gate down is simply a matter of gluing them in place folded down and fitting the clasps loosely against the sides accordingly. The cargo that is supplied consists of four cable reels, two of each size measuring 51mm and 28mm in real-world numbers. Each core is made from four parts that make up the cylinder, and two end caps, with wooden planking and texture on everything that will be seen after construction, plus screws/nails/bolts where appropriate. The decal sheet contains some curved lettering, brand logos and stencilling, indicating what was on the reels. I built two of the reels for a review a few years ago, which you can see below. As already mentioned, there is a seated driver wearing a shirt under a vest, and trousers over a pair of sturdy boots. He is also wearing a cap and is looking straight ahead while gripping the steering wheel firmly as he considers his choice of facial hair. Sculpting and parts breakdown is up to MiniArt’s usual excellent standard, and his hat is a separate part to allow for sharp moulding of the peak and band. Markings There are two schemes available from the small decal sheet in civilian use, and the tractors are a bit drab, although the trailers can be a little different if you wish. From the box you can build one of the following: Deutsche Reichsbahn, Germany, 1939-45 Berlin, 1939-45 Decals are by MiniArt’s usual partner DecoGraph, 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 highly detailed model of this well-known tractor from the Lanz stable, most of them probably finding their way into other kinds of stables at some point during their career. The trailers make for a larger model, and if you’re particularly keen on making the world’s longest tractor diorama, MiniArt have now released the trailer parts as a separate kit, so watch for that review in due course. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. StuG III Ausf.G Interior Kit (35335) Feb. 1943 Alkett Prod. 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The StuG is a popular German WWII AFV, and the more you learn about it, the more obvious it becomes why. The SturmGeschutz III was engineered based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, but removing the turret and front deck of the latter, replacing it with an armoured casemate that mounted a fixed gun with limited traverse. It was originally intended to be used as infantry support, using its (then) superior armour to advance on the enemy as a mobile blockhouse, but it soon found other uses as an ambush predator, and was employed as a tank destroyer, hiding in wait for Allied forces to stumble haplessly into its path. With the advances in sloped armour employed by the Soviets, the original low velocity 75mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon was replaced by higher velocity unit that were also used in the Panzer IV for tank-on-tank combat, extending the type’s viable career to the end of WWII. The earliest prototypes were made of mild steel and based on Panzer III Ausf.B chassis, and while equipped with guns were unsuitable for combat due to the relative softness of the steel that would have led to a swift demise on the battlefield, being withdrawn in '41-42. By this time the StuG III had progressed to the Ausf.G, which was based on the later Panzer III Ausf.M, with a widened upper hull and improvements in the armour to improve survivability for the crew. Many of the complicated aspects of the earlier models that made them time-consuming and expensive to produce were removed and simplified into the bargain, which led to a number of specific differences in some of the external fitments around the gun, such as the Saukopf mantlet protector. The Ausf.G was the last and most numerous version, and was used until the end of the war with additional armour plates often welded or bolted to the surface to give it enhanced protection from the Allied tanks and artillery. The Kit Some of you may remember our review of the pre-series StuG.III from MiniArt a few years back, and you might expect there to be some cross-over of parts. There doesn’t appear to be any however. Some individual part meshes may have been re-used, but the sprue layouts are all different, and as you can imagine the addition of the interior further separates the two kits, as does the inclusion of the crew figures in this boxing. This is to all intents and purposes a new tooling, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and profiles on the side. Inside the box are sixty-eight sprues in mid-grey styrene, one in clear, a good-sized Photo-Etch (PE) fret of brass parts, decal sheet and glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear covers. 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, which includes the aforementioned interior and individual track links that are clearly a new moulding, as they are different from the earlier kit. Construction begins with the interior, which is built up on the floor panel, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine, and a covering part that makes moving around a less dangerous prospect for the crew, while it also holds the support structure for the gun, which is made up from some substantial I-beams that have a traverse shoe placed on top to give the gun its limited 15o travel for fine-tuning the aim. The rear bulkhead panels are set against the engine mounts to give them the correct angle, then the firewall bulkhead is made up with small drawers and various other details added before it is fitted into the floor. The driver’s seat is built from parts on a shaped base, and his controls are placed within easy reach of his feet and hands, with the option of adding a linkage for the hand controls from your own wire or rod stocks. Attention shifts to the transmission that distributes the power to the drive-wheels, diverting the engine’s output 90o into the drive sprockets at the front of the vehicle. It is made up from a number of finely detailed parts, with gear housings and their retaining bolts on each side, working out to the brakes and clutches, then rearwards to the drive-shaft that leads back into the engine compartment. It is set into the front of the vehicle, crowding the gunner, but leaving space on the floor for a number of shell storage boxes that have holes for the individual shells to be inserted after painting and application of their stencil decals, as per the accompanying diagrams. The engine is then built up from more parts, resulting in a highly detailed replica of the Maybach power pack, including all the ancillaries and pulleys that you could wish for. There are a number of parts inserted into the engine bay in preparation for the installation of the block to make it sit comfortably on the mounts, with a large airbox to one side with a battery pack on top. The sides of the hull need to be made up in order to finish the engine bay, and these two inserts are outfitted with strapped-on boxes, gas-mask canisters, pipework and the outer parts of the brake housings, complete with the spring-loaded shoes straight out of a 70s Austin Maxi. Unsurprisingly, another big box of shells is made up and placed on the wall, and in the engine compartment a large fuel tank is attached to the wall, with a fire extinguisher placed next to it. These two highly detailed assemblies are offered up to the hull along with the front bulkhead, which has been detailed beforehand with various parts, and the glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, including an instrument panel for the driver’s use. A few other parts are inserted into the front of the hull to integrate the sides with the hull, and the glacis gets some heavily bolted appliqué armour panels fixed to the exterior, before it is put to the side for a moment. Tank engines are under immense strain pulling the huge weight of the armour, so they need an effective cooling system to cope with this. Two radiator baths with mesh detail engraved are built up and attached to a hosing network, with a fan housing on the top and more hosing across the top, plus take-off pulleys and belts providing motive power for the twin fans inserted into the top of the assembly, with even more hoses and other details added before the completed system is inserted into the rapidly dwindling space within the engine compartment. On the top of the engine a pair of small canisters are attached to depressions on each side of the apex, and my best guess is that they are air cleaners, as they resemble smaller versions of the Fiefel units seen on the back of the Tiger. Moving forward, the transmission inspection hatches are fitted with a choice of open or closed, as is right for such a highly detailed model. The rear bulkhead is detailed with towing eyes and simple exhaust boxes with short pipes fixed to the outer sides. What looks like a many-legged park bench is made up and has a PE mesh part applied along with a port for manual starting of the engine, and this is installed mesh-side-down on the top side of the bulkhead, with a pair of thick hoses slotted into place once the glue is dry. Additional thin guides are later placed under the “bench”, and pins with PE retaining chains are added to the hitches before the lower hull is put to one side for a while. The gun is represented in full, with a complex breech, safety cage and brass-catching basket present, and a large pivot fitted onto the two pins on the sides of the assembly. Elevation, traverse and sighting gear is installed on the breech, with a small seat for the gunner on the left side to keep him stable while aiming at his next target. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are encrusted with yet more detail, including a pair of MP40 machine guns with ammo pouches, equipment and stencil decals on the rear panel with a big extraction fan in the centre of the wall. The detailed radio gear is bracketed to a shelf that is installed on one sidewall, with more boxes and stencils adding to the busyness of the area, plus the option of adding wiring from your own stocks to improve the detail even more. The other side is also decked out with boxes that require more wiring, all of which is documented in scrap diagrams where necessary to offer assistance in increasing the authenticity of your model, which is all joined into the shape of the casemate 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 appliqué armour, then the commander’s cupola is prepared with seven clear vision blocks, lenses and PE parts, set to the side for later, while the casemate is 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. A bridge over the top of the insert encloses the breech, then it’s time to prepare the roof with some details before covering up the interior, then making a choice of how to finish the commander’s cupola in either open or closed pose, but you just know you’re going to leave it open to show off all your hard work. It has a number of PE latches and a set of V-shaped binocular sighting glasses in the separate front section of the cupola that can be open or closed independently to the main hatch. The gunner’s hatch is a simpler affair consisting of a clamshell pair of doors, with the machine gun shield just in front of it and a well-detailed MG34 machine gun with drum mag slotted into the centre. This hatch can also be closed, but why would you? The engine is still hanging out at the back, which is corrected next, building up the engine deck with short sides and armoured intake louvers on the sides, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay, allowing the viewer to see plenty of engine detail through the four access hatches at this point. Two types of rear appliqué parts can be added to the slope at the rear of the deck, then an armoured cover to the extraction fan is added to the back of the casemate, with short lengths of track to each side as extra armour and spares in the event of damage. The tracks are held in place by a long bar that stretches across most of the rear of the casemate. Under these are sited the barrel cleaning rods, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents, and all of these can be posed open or closed. A pair of jerry cans and the jack block are also made at this time for later addition to the engine deck. A pair of road wheels are used on some of the decal options, and these have long pins through their holes that attach them to the rear pair of hatches on the engine deck. One decal option also has a field modification of PE railings around the rear of the deck with an additional bracket to store two jerry cans, and on the back of the beast another two spare road wheel sets can be pinned in place in the same manner as the other two. As yet the StuG has no wheels, so the addition of the swing-arms with stub axles is needed, adding the highly detailed final drive housings under the front, plus additional suspension parts that improves damping further. The idler adjuster is covered with armoured parts, and a group of the pioneer tools are dotted around the sides of the engine deck, after which the paired wheels are fixed to the axles, with drive-sprockets at the front and spindly idler wheels at the rear, plus a trio of return rollers on short axles near the top of the sides. The tracks are individual links that are held together by pins, and a jig is supplied to assist you with this, although I had to remove mine from the sprue to be able to build up a short length for this review. There are 94 links per side, and each link has three sprue gates to clean up, plus a little flash on the highly detailed sides, which will need scraping away with a sharp blade. I created a short length in fairly short order on the jig, coupling them together with the pins that are moulded in pairs at the exact same spacing as the links when together. You push them into the links whilst still on the sprue, taking care to push them straight in to avoid breakage, then cut them off cleanly with a pair of single-blade nippers. The result is a very well detailed track with flexibility to adjust them around the running gear of your StuG, 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, the fenders are attached to the hull sides, with the mudguards and 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 and either a highly detailed PE fire extinguisher or a simplified styrene alternative if you prefer. Shovels, pry bars, 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 cable material yourself, with a pair of PE tie-downs holding them in place on each side. The barrel of the gun has a large bulky Saukopf mantlet cover, which is made up from three parts with a barrel sleeve moulded into the front, which the single-part barrel slots into, tipped with a detailed three-part muzzle brake to give it the correct hollow look. It slides over the recoil tubes of the gun, closing up the rest of the interior, and the last parts of the kit are two whip antennae on the rear of the casemate. Figures In this boxing we are treated to a set of crew figures for the vehicle, which consists of five figures on a single sprue, starting with three figures standing in their hatches, one hard at work driving, and another apparently sitting on the glacis plate leaning with one arm resting on the gun perhaps. Each figure has a choice of heads and four have either peaked caps or stahlhelms that perhaps might not often be worn in the confines of a tank. Sculpting, pose and material drape is up to MiniArt’s class-leading standard, and adding these chaps into their place of work gives the model a sense of human scale, emphasising the claustrophobic nature of being a tanker. Part breakdown is standard with heads, hats, torsos and separate limbs, plus a couple of lugers in holsters and another MP40 that could be laid on the deck near one of the figures. A colour chart gives paint numbers for Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya brands plus colour names for your delight and edification. Markings There are five decal options in this boxing, and from the sheet you can build one of the following: Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 189, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 Luftwaffe-Feld-Division “Adler Division”, Staraya Russa Region, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 Luftwaffe-Feld-Division “Adler Division”, Staraya Russa Region, Eastern Front, Spring 1943 Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung “Grossdeutschland”, Okhtyrka, Ukraine, Spring 1943 Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 210, Eastern Front, 1943 Decals are by Decograph, 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 stunning model of an impressive tank destroyer that saw action the Eastern and Western fronts in relatively large numbers. There’s enough detail for the most ardent adherent to, well… detail. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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