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To those that asked me in the MiniArt visit thread that they'd like to see a similar article on the museums around Kiev, I will be flying out tomorrow morning to take more photographs and will write an article on both the armoured and aircraft museums. While I will be visiting MiniArt again I have had no contact from ICM or MicroMir so it looks like i won't be able to meet them this time round.
MiniArt Models – A Visit By Our Man in Kiev Back in April I was very fortunate to be in the Ukraine visiting their wonderful Armoured and Aviation museums. On the off chance, once I had realised that MiniArt were based in Kiev, where I was staying, I contacted Alina through their website. Not expecting a reply, I was very pleased to then get an invite to see their operation just a short drive from Kiev near Boryspil Airport. It was a lovely sunny day and Alina, along with the company driver picked me up from my hotel. Having arrived at the factory I was introduced to Alexey, a nicer man whom you couldn’t meet. His enthusiasm, not just for his company, but modeling in general, shone through, and was a most wonderful host. He and Alina then showed me around the building. Downstairs, the two injection moulding machines and vacform machine are housed on one half of the factory, whilst the packing department is located on the other half. It was the first time I had actually been up close to a moulding machine and it was quite fascinating watching the operators working their magic, producing sprue after sprue of parts in quite quick order. I was also lucky to see all the injection moulds from previous kits sitting on shelves at one end of the room, while the moulds for the vacform buildings were at the other end. It was also interesting to learn that MiniArt had had a problem with the plastic being supplied from Russia, it being quite brittle, which I had come across in their kits. Now though, the plastic is imported from Belgium and is much more modeller friendly, being softer and easier to work with. Yurii, Alexey, Ben and Alina In the packaging department it was a hive of activity with sprues being gut to size by two staff, while another two were putting them in the poly bags and sealing them up, adding the instructions, decals, and etched brass, before filling the kit boxes. The completed kits were then moved upstairs to the distribution and packing warehouse, which, to be honest, is getting too small for the amount of kits that are being produced as there were piles of stock everywhere, particularly on the second floor where it resembled something like the large warehouse from Indiana Jones and the Ark of the Covenant, only on a smaller scale, naturally. In the only open area there were stacks of kits being packed up and sent to the distributors around the world. I was then directed into a smaller room which was the design office, inside, three men were busy designing the latest models on the CAD stations, whilst at one end, Dmytro was building the latest test shots of the T-54B, which he has since shown off on Britmodeller. Design Team MiniArt Models was established in 2001 by Alexey, who started modeling as a child and has continued to do so to the present day. Originally a business man with several enterprises, he decided to create a manufacturing company as he saw some gaps in the presented models on market. After two years of initial research and development, MiniArt Models released its first model in 2003 – 35002 SOVIET INFANTRY ON THE MARCH. In the same year, the company released fourteen model kits to market and began distribution of the models through established hobby distribution companies. In the same year the company also introduced its first four vacuum-formed buildings in what would become a new series –Buildings, Accessories and Dioramas. Which were unique products as for that time only resin kits of dioramas and building existed. MiniArt wanted to create more convenient and interesting models using plastic. In 2004, they launched another new model series HISTORICAL FIGURES SERIES (1/16 scale) and HISTORICAL MINIATURES SERIES (1/72 scale). Test Build Area In 2005, MiniArt Models presented its kits for the first time at the International Toy Fair at Nuremburg and since then continues to showcase the products there. In 2006 MiniArt Models released its first military vehicle kit. It was Soviet tank 35025 T-70 M Early Production SOVIET LIGHT TANK w/CREW. Since then MiniArt Models started to launch various models of AFV, tanks, guns, vehicles, cars etc. Over the years MiniArt Models has much improved the level of quality and continues to strive for increased detail, accuracy and innovation. Injection Moulding Machines In 2011 a new slogan was created: “MiniArt, where innovation is always at work”. This slogan was first presented in MiniArt‘s Catalogue of 2011 with the following preamble: “At MiniArt, our goal is to create models that will feed your hunger for original concepts. At the same time, we strive to be at the forefront of molding technology. The results are kits that showcase world-class quality and uncompromising creativity. Join us at MiniArt, where innovation is always at work”. Injection Moulds In 2012 the slogan was converted to a shorter variant: “MiniArt Models. Innovation is everything”. A new and additional product line was launched in the summer of 2012 – multi-colored kits – models of buildings in 1/72 scale. This series of kits features plastic in six different colors and the buildings can be assembled unpainted for use by railway modelers, although in practice most are painted and weathered for a more realistic finish. Vacform Moulds In 2013 was released a new series in 1/35 scale Miniatures Series – Civilian Subjects. The first item in this series was 38001 European Tram. This was to be the very first model kit of a tram to be reproduced in plastic. In 2014 the company together with all manufacturing facilities was relocated to Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. The relocation was urgent and only in one week. After 3 months they have restarted the business activity starting with relaunching of manufacturing and release new items only 6 months after relocation. Sprue Cutting Area MiniArt Models continues to expand the range not only to existing series but also in developing new lines. In 2016 they launched a new series Military Miniatures with the first kit 37002 T-44M SOVIET MEDIUM TANK. The current MiniArt Models range consists of some 300 kits. In 2017 Military series was expanded with T-55 series and more kits on this line will be launched during 2017. Decals and Etch Storage Packaging MiniArt now employ thirty people, including freelancers, the ones I met were and am very grateful for allowing me to photograph them:- Alexey – Owner, and all round great guy, and wonderful host Alina – Marketing/Sale coordinator, (she is also developing her own line of products which we will hopefully see soon in stores), also a wonderful host Ben – marketing and Website designer Yulia - Accounting and Logistic Yurii - Manufacturing control Victor - Engineer (injection machine control) , Vladimir (senior), Oleksiy and Roman – Development Dmytro - Modeler(test builds) Natalia, Katerina, Anton (also a modeller) -Packing of the kits Eugenii - order packing, (warehouse control). This year MiniArt are beginning further expansion through the building of a much larger factory, in fact almost 3 times larger. I hope to return to Ukraine later in the summer to see the new factory, and will update this article when I get back. The new factory will also introduce another pair of injection moulding machines and give the company the opportunity to employ another 10 or so staff, much need in the area. Dispatch Area/Warehouse A Forlorn Pile of Trams SHAR2
Hi all I am currently building Trumpeter's 1/550 Kiev and need help with the deck colours. Can anyone tell me what using to use for the orangey brown and the green? Trumpeter suggest Mr hobby paint but I don't have easy access to that make. Regards Mick