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  1. German Soldiers at Work RAD (35408) 1:35 MiniArt viua Creative Models Ltd The Third Reich and their glorious leader had a huge programme of civic and engineering works that were used to bring the German nation to full employment, but also to prepare the nation for war. Especially important were the autobahns and railway systems that would permit rapid transport of troops and matériel, which were crucial for their expansionism and essential to feed the needs of the blitzkrieg tactics they were to employ. The Reich Labour Service (German: Reichsarbeitsdienst or RAD) was established to accomplish this, and furthermore to indoctrinate the workforce while they toiled on behalf of their Führer. They wore militaristic uniforms and rank insignia, with a flag based upon the red background of the Nazi swastika flag, but with a stylised shovel bracketed by diagonal ears of barley, representing both the engineering and agricultural intent of their organisation. The set arrives in an end-opening figure box, and inside are six sprues in grey styrene, and a small sprue diagram with instructions beneath for some of the accessories. Two sprues carry the parts for the five figures that are working hard at some task. Two men are using shovels, one is swinging a large pick axe, while the remaining two are carrying a log and pushing a wheelbarrow that can be filled with bricks from the accessory sprues. The figures are broken down sensibly into torso, separate arms, legs and heads, with additional breaks where detail and moulding requirements dictate. Two of the workers have caps, so their heads are flat-topped, but because they aren’t true military, their hair is perhaps longer than the usual buzz-cut that was usually foisted upon the enlisted man. The larger accessories such as a wooden wheelbarrow, shovels and log are included on the figure sprues, but there is an additional metal wheelbarrow on one of the accessory sprues, which is the one shown on the instructions. The other accessories include more shovels, a pick axe, sledge hammer, hammer, pry bar, and a stack of bricks, the latter having been cleverly engineered to give the impression of a palette full of bricks by moulding each side and the top in such a manner that it looks like the bricks have been individually and inexpertly placed in the stack, complete with the raised wooden palette at the bottom. One sprue is full of individual bricks, most of which are complete, but a few have been moulded as broken, with some moulded with a shallow “frog” on each side, some with a three-hole pattern, and some simple flat-sided bricks. As always with MiniArt figure sets, the sculpting, poses and fabric drape of the individuals is first-rate, with construction eased by the break lines of the parts being along the natural seams or bends of the various limbs, which extends to the accessories in equal measure. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Farm Cart & Village Accessories (35657) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Any diorama benefits from background details, and MiniArt have a range of kits for the modeller to use in order to improve the visual interest and realism of their models. This set arrives in an end-opening figure-sized box, and inside are four grey sprues of varying sizes in a heat-sealed bag that protects them from excessive rattling, and therefore damage during transit. The parts on the sprues allow the modeller to build a farm cart of the type that was typically pulled by a horse between the two traces, the long straight wooden rails that project from the front of the cart. The instructions can be found of the rear of the box, and are quite simple with only a few steps. The cart is begun by fixing the axle under the frame that has the traces moulded-in, and adding a support leg on one trace that indicates that this was more likely propelled by shanks’ pony, or people power. The cart wheels slot onto the ends of the axles, and a three-part foot step is fixed to the right side of the frame, with two eyelets hanging one underneath each trace. The body is a simple open box with sloped sides that is built around the rectangular floor, adding sides with raised rails at the top, and a rear bulkhead with hook, after which a short stop is added to the front, and over it, suspended between the two sides, is a simple bench seat, all of which is engraved with a fine wood texture. The two sub-assemblies are joined together to complete them, then it is a case of putting together some of the more shapely accessories, and cutting the rest from the sprues. A watering can is made up from two halves plus a nozzle, while three sacks are each two parts, with different textures implying the contents. A long-handled mattock and rake are two parts each, adding a scythe, sickle, three forks or hoes to complete the toolkit. A painting guide under the instructions gives some examples of possible colours for the various elements, but the world really is your oyster, unless you’re planning on painting it with HAVE Glass anti-radiation coating, which is just silly. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. German Civilians 1930-40s (38075) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd We often forget the civilian side of WWII, unless it’s to discuss the effects of bombing, but throughout the whole conflict, many people carried on as best they could with their ordinary lives, whether they were exempt from serving, too old, too young, or the wrong gender at the time. This new box of figures contains five characters that you may possibly have seen on any given day on the streets of Berlin, or another German town or city. Inside the figure-sized end-opening box are two sprues plus a small casting block containing five resin heads, that will allow you to build a variety of German people, including an old lady in a long smock-coat, a gentleman in business suit with Homberg or Trilby hat, a military police officer with alternate helmet to give him either a traffic directing pose, or asking for someone’s papers, a lady in a knee-length dress with her handbag under her arm, and a Hitler Youth member in shorts and brown shirt, looking shiftily over his shoulder, probably looking to grass someone up. Each figure is broken down into individual torso, arms, legs, heads and helmet/hat where appropriate, with the ladies diverging from that path slightly, the old lady’s body consisting mostly of the two halves of her coat, while the lady with bag has a two-part hollow skirt, and both have flat platforms within the skirts onto which their legs locate. There are styrene heads for each of the figures on the sprues, but this edition has the afore mentioned resin heads on a single casting block, adding superior detail to the figures and improved sculpting that allows the artist to impart more character into the faces for you to bring out with careful painting. There are a few accessories with the set as you might expect, extending to a pistol holster for the soldier along with his extra head and arms, plus a vertical badge on the top of his optional helmet; a walking cane for the old lady that is moulded into her hand with a scarf insert between her head and body, and the handbag clutched in the lady’s arm. As usual with MiniArt figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail, realistic poses, drape of fabrics, and sensible parts breakdown, improved further by the resin heads, although you don’t have to use them if you’re not a fan. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H Vomag Mid Prod. July 1943 Interior Kit (35305) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Unlike the later Tigers 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 to an extent from the typical WWII German over-engineering that made them complex, costly and time-consuming to build. The type went through several 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 ferocious recoil from the 75mm gun. The new gun was in direct reaction to their 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 met it in battle. The Ausf.H was the penultimate mainstream variant of the Panzer IV, and was made from mid ’43 until early 1944 with over 2,300 made, some of which were manufactured at the Nibelungenwerk, one of the largest factories in the German area of influence, based in St Valentin, Austria. The Vomag factory was producing more along with Krupp, but by the war’s end Nibelungenwerk was the home of the Panzer IV in its final Ausf.J form, and all factories were bombed heavily, choking off production as the war drew to a close. The Kit This is a new boxing of the newly tooled model of the Panzer IV from MiniArt, with a mixture of parts from other boxings plus some new sprues. It is an Interior kit, which extends to the full hull, with a great deal of detail included that should keep any modeller happy and beavering away at their hobby. The kit arrives in a heavily loaded top-opening box, and inside are sixty-seven sprues in grey styrene of various sizes, a clear sprue, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a decal sheet and thick 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 exceptional, which is something we’ve come to expect from MiniArt’s output. Construction begins with the interior, which is made up on a main floor with bulkheads, copious ammo stores with shells, then a complete, superbly detailed Maybach HL 120 TRM engine. The engine is begun by putting together the transmission and final drive units, which is at the front of the hull next to the driver, with a set of instruments fitted to the top. This is inserted into the interior with the drive-shaft, and the driver’s seat is assembled along with the foot and hand controls, plus a worrying amount (from his point of view) of shells behind his area, plus another three ready-round boxes layered on top of various positions around the turret base. A ring of tread-plate defines the location where the turret basket will sit, and various other components are arranged around a simple seat for the radio operator/bow gunner, then the engine is assembled from its various shaped segments, topped off with the rocker covers and oil filler caps. A lot of ancillaries are added, including tons of drive-belts, engine bearers, exhaust manifolds, dynamo and pipework. It all fits snugly into the engine compartment section of the interior to await boxing in by the hull sides. The highly detailed brake-assembly for each drive sprocket is a drum-shaped affair that comprises a substantial number of parts, some of which are PE, and really does look the part, fitted to the inside of each hull wall flanking the two crew seats, with more small equipment boxes and a fire extinguisher fitted nearby, then the exterior face of each side is detailed with the final drive housing, suspension bump-stops, return roller bases and fuel filler caps before they are glued into place on the hull sides, with the lower glacis plate helping keep them perpendicular to the floor. Back in the engine compartment, the empty spaces around the Maybach engine are filled with airbox, fuel tank and large radiator panels that are set in the compartment at an angle, as demonstrated by the scrap diagram. The rear bulkhead closes-in the final side of the compartment, and this is festooned with detail with a choice of armoured covers for the track tensioner arms, stiffener plates and access hatches, including a manual starter slot with PE chain keeping the cover captive to the vehicle. The big towing eye and its stiffeners are applied to the bottom of the bulkhead, and after fitting another full-width plate, the twin exhausts are attached to their exits, made from a combination of styrene and PE parts then braced to the bulkhead by PE straps. The sides of the hull have a series of armoured panels fixed to the underside to protect the suspension mechanism, then the fenders can be slotted into position at the top of the hull sides, with a delicate tread-plate pattern moulded-in where appropriate. The rest of the lower glacis plate with hatches for final drive and transmission access is made up with detail inside and out, plus an optional hatch for the central transmission unit. The final drive hatches can be posed open if you wish to expose those attractive assemblies within, of use in a maintenance diorama scenario. As if the tank wasn’t already carrying enough ammunition, more stores are made up and fitted into the inside of the hull around the sides of the turret well for easy access. The rounds are painted in one of three shell types, with decals to improve the detail further. The addition of a cross-brace between the two hull sides with oil can and fire extinguisher strapped on completes the lower hull for now. The upper hull is constructed in a similar manner to the lower, with the roof accepting side panels after making some small holes, the engine bay is fitted out with the side vents for the radiators and a flat rear panel that closes the area in. At the front there is a choice of thick armour panels for different decal options, the breech of the bow machine gun is created as a sub-assembly, and set aside while the hatches and the barrel of the MG are fitted in the kugelblende, mostly from the outside, together with the armoured covers for the radiator louvres, hatch levers and lifting hooks, along with the jack-block in its bracket, or the empty bracket if you choose. The driver’s armoured vision port cover and the ball-mount for the gun complete the exterior work for now, and the assembly is flipped over to detail the inside, which includes a highly detailed set of radio gear that has a painting guide next to it. The bow gun’s breech and aiming mechanism are inserted into the back of the ball-mount, and the clear interior section of the driver’s port is also inserted along with the operating cams for the armoured cover. Another fire extinguisher is attached to the wall by the driver’s position too. Flipping the assembly again and it is time to add the interior louvres to the radiator exits, which are PE parts and can be inserted in the open or closed positions, with a change in how they are fitted. The hull halves can be joined now, involving making up the pair of twin fans that cool the radiators within the engine compartment using movable slatted louvres to adjust cooling as necessary, and these two sub-assemblies are mated before the panels are glued in place with a choice of open or closed louvres. The twin-tube air intake box is stuck to the right side of the hull, and a set of four towing cables, made from styrene eyes, and your own 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. Two runs of spare tracks are made up to be attached to the upper and lower glacis areas, using the jig that is supplied to create them, and fitting them to the armour on brackets for the upper section, and a long bar mount for the lower section. We’ll cover the tracks in detail further down. Now it’s pioneer tool time, with barrel cleaning rods, shovel, the jack, plus a set of four spare road wheels in an open-topped box, and few more track-links. 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 PE mounts. Just when you think you’ve finished the tools, there’s a crank for the engine, a pair of track-spreaders, a choice of three axes, plus some styrene springs to allow you to show the front guards in the up position. 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 multi-part idler, two-part drive sprockets and a choice of five different styles of 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 then… 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, and have 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. You can relax to an extent now, but there’s a bit of PE wrangling ahead if you are using the PE schurzen (side skirts) on your model. First you must add the styrene brackets and supports on each side, then the long supports for the hook-on schurzen panels, which has a set of square holes in the sides to latch onto the tabs on the sides of the supports. There are five panels per side, with diagonal front and rear lower edges to reduce the likelihood of them digging into the ground. Bear in mind that these panels were subject to the rigours of battle so were often bent, damaged or even missing entirely, so 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, and one of more could have been lost after being hooked up on the scenery. 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, then the basket is made up from the circular tread-plated floor with tubular suspension struts and other equipment, seats, immediate ready-rounds and spare dump-bags for the coax. It is glued into the turret base, which then has the other facets added to the roof panel, with exhaust fans and a choice of two outer armoured covers 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 pads cover 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, lifting and rotating round the pivot to 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 that can accept an optional MG34 on a mount with cloth ammo bag, and the turret can now be closed with the lifting hooks each made up of two parts. The gun has a flattened faceted sleeve made up with a choice of lower section, and the muzzle brake gives you a choice of four 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 fixes to the front of the turret, with the sleeve slotting into the front, and a single-part styrene barrel fitting into the front with a key ensuring correct orientation, and the muzzle-brake having the same feature, plus a choice of two muzzles for the coax machine gun. The bustle stowage box is formed from a hollow body with a choice of open or closed lid, with the open variant having stiffening ribs moulded-in for detail. The turret has curved metal schurzen panels 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, and a group of additional PE parts dotted around the panels. 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 Five decal options are included on the sheet, and they have a variety of schemes that are appropriate for later war tanks, based on a coat of dunkelgelb (dark yellow), and any camouflage or distemper laid over the top. From the box you can build one of the following: III./Pz.Rgt.24, 24 Pz.Div. Italy, Summer 1943 III./Pz.Rgt.24, 24 Pz.Div. Italy, Summer 1943 III./Pz.Rgt.24, 24 Pz.Div. Eastern Front, Winter 1943-44 130. Panzer-Lehr-Division, Normandy, May 1944 & 21. Panzer Division, Normandy, 1944 Pz.Rgt. 100, 21.Pz.Div. Caen, July 1944 (Ex-tank 130. Panzer-Lehr-Division) 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 one on many newly tooled and well-detailed panzer IV kits from MiniArt that should keep you occupied for a good quantity of modelling time, resuming productions after a short delay due to external events conspiring to delay things. Careful painting will bring it to life, and there is plenty of detail that will be visible even after weathering. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. US Tow Truck G506 (38061) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Chevrolet G506 truck formed the basis of a range of 4x4 load-carrying vehicles that were capable of carrying 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-syncromesh) 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, 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. Following the end of WWII, many were mothballed, and sold off into civilian service, where the went on to give good service over a long period. The type with a crane mounted on the load bed was frequently seen towing broken-down vehicles throughout the USA, having found their way into the ownership of garages and recovery services for a knock-down price. They were usually brightly coloured with large signs on the doors telling potential customers who they were, and how to get in touch should they ever need to engage their services. As time went by, they gradually wore out, repair became more expensive, and newer more effective vehicles came to market that permitted the towing of larger vehicles and their recovery from difficult places, such as in the ditches at the side of the road, or down a hill where the victim had eventually come to rest. Some still survive of course, and can be seen at rallies and get-togethers of like-minded enthusiasts. The Kit This is a reboxing of a recent tooling from MiniArt, and is a full interior kit, with engine, cab, load area and crane all included along with some very nice 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 twenty modular sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope with some metal chain within, a decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear pages. 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, PE rear bumper irons folded around a styrene jig, and axles installed, before the brake drums/hubs, battery and external brackets are added to the chassis rails. Later on, and pair of rear light clusters are mounted on the rear of the chassis rails on PE brackets. 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 pulleys and fan at the front. The engine is fitted to the chassis, and at the rear a short additional chassis rail and spare tyre on an angled bracket are attached to the frame at the rear behind the fuel tank. More control linkages and a first-motion shaft are joined to the rear of the engine, and a substantial number of brackets are fitted to the chassis rails under the load area. The exhaust and its manifold slip into the underside of the chassis from below at a later point. The crew cab is next, beginning with the firewall and forward sidewalls. The roof and windscreen frame are moulded as one, with a headliner insert and rear-view mirror that are inserted within, and the three-part radiator housing is made to be used later. The firewall and roof are joined with some of the dash pots fixed to the engine side of the firewall, while the doors and their interior cards are assembled with their handles and window winders, plus the clear window glass that can be posed open or closed as you wish. The dashboard inserts into the front bulkhead with seven decals for the instruments and stencils on the glove box. The diagonal foot panel is joined with the firewall and decked out with three foot pedals and the steering wheel on a long column that slides through a hole in front of the pedals. The driver and co-driver share a bench seat that is made up on the floor from back, cushion and a C-shaped surround that fits round the rear of the cab back wall, with small ovalised window and PE mesh grille fitted later, while the remaining vehicle and crane controls are added into the centre of the floore. The roof and firewall assembly are fitted, with the doors installed within the frame in the open or closed position. The windscreen is two panes of clear in a styrene frame that is posed open or closed later on. The cab and radiator are both placed on the chassis and the engine cowling side panels fit between them with front wing/fender included on the sides. The headlights and sidelights are added onto the fenders, the main lamps having clear lenses. It’s time for the wheels to be made up, with a choice of singles or doubles at the front, each wheel made from two parts each, and twin wheels at the rear, made up much earlier in the instructions for some reason. Each wheel slips over its respective axle, with the hub projecting through the central hole. The afore mentioned windscreen 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. PE windscreen wipers hung from the top of the frame, then the front grille is built. You may have noticed that this doesn’t appear on the sprues, and there’s a good reason for that. It is constructed completely from PE, and two more jigs are included on the sprues to assist with obtaining the correct shape. The lower rail 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 brackets stretched across the front of the radiator that are glued in place before the bumper/grille is added. The hood/bonnet can be fitted open or closed by inverting the clasps and in the open option, a PE stay is provided. A PE number plate holder is placed under the front lip of the right fender. The winch is started by creating the mounting arm with motor, then the bobbin can be created either with a two-part styrene representation of a full reel, or an empty bobbin that you can load with some of your own material or leave empty. It is offered up to the arm and secured in place by adding the short arm that mounts the other end of the axle, before being fixed to the underside of the vehicle at the front, with a protective C-shaped bar over the front. A short take-off shaft and linkage is also added under the chassis to provide motive power to the winch. Once the winch is in place, the monolithic front bumper iron is fixed to the front of the chassis rails, and has a pair of hooks and a PE bracket fitted to the top surface. The load bed floor is a single moulding with a ribbed texture on the underside, and a thick rear section with hooks, separate rear lights and moulded-in reflectors. The shallow sides and front have separate frames, plus four lateral supports under the bed. A double-width stowage box is made up with lift-up lid and grab handle over the top, for later positioning at the front of the load bed. The load bed is joined to the chassis along with the exhaust system, which is held in place by PE brackets that are details in scrap diagrams, and a fuel filler pipe is inserted into the narrow gap between the cab and load bed. A further support for the spare tyre and two vertical mudflaps are installed along with a number plate holder under the right rear of the floor. The included chain is used to make up a final section of the towing rope on the winch, and has styrene hooks at each end, but you must supply a short length of rope or cable to join it to the winch from your own stocks. Construction of the crane begins with the cropped A-frame that holds the gearing and forms the base of the crane, with PE cogs and supports fixed to the styrene parts as work progresses. The jib is equally simple, consisting of curved angle-iron with a pulley at the end, and more PE cross-braces along its length. The jib attaches to the top of the base and is held at an angle by two sliding braces, which on the real thing are adjusted by sliding past each other with pegs holding it at the required angle. If you want to adjust the angle of your model however, you will need to cut and adjust these yourself. The remainder of the chain is wrapped around the cylinder at the apex of the crane's base, then threaded along the jib and over the pulley at the end and finally down to the hook, back again and up to the last hook at the very end of the jib. A large winding handle is fitted either to the top bobbin or by using an additional long rod to the small cog at the bottom of the gear set. a PE maker's plaque on the side of the A-frame reads "Weaver Auto-Crane, Weaver Mfg.Co., Springfield Ill USA". Markings There are four markings options on the decal sheet, all of which are different colours. From the box you can build one of the following: Texas, 1940s Nevada, 1940s Ohio, 1940s Kansas, 1940s 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 We seem to have been blessed with new kits of Chevrolet G506 truck variants in 1:35 recently, which must have been pretty common in Post-War America. Great detail and some cool decal options. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Tempo A400 Athlet 3-Wheel Delivery Truck (38032) 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 often had a different BMWesque twin panelled front grille. It continued in production until 1948 when it must have dawned on someone that one wheel at the front was a genuinely bad idea, even if it was cheaper to produce. A concept that lingered on in the UK much longer so old folks 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 its legendary front wheel instability. The driver was situated behind the front wheel and short cowling that hid the motor 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 drop-down sides and rear tailgate for easy access to the contents. The Kit This is a reboxing of a brand-new tool kit from MiniArt, and gives the modeller some more civilian choices. This unusual little vehicle arrives in a small top-opening box, and inside are nine sprues of varying sizes in grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet on glossy paper with colour profiles on the front and rear pages. It’s a full-body model even though that body is small, so you’ll get to build all the internal parts and during the process possibly learn a little about how it works. Detail is as good as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, with a lot of it and what there is well-finessed. Well considered use of slide-moulding also improves the detail without increasing the part count, and makes parts like the forward cowling a feast for the eyes. 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 droopy lever, with the windscreen wiper motor cover added to the top of the screen frame, leaving the two bunny-ear indicators intact because they are suitable for this version. 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 below. The padded bench seat for the crew is slotted into the floor, and the back cushion is attached to the rear bulkhead that has two side parts 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 with the roof perched on top, 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. The rear chassis is built around a cylindrical centreline part with the back axle and its triangular bearers slipping over it and having hubs with brake discs added 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 joint 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-line made from some more of your own 0.3mm wire and suspended from the frame on PE brackets that are folded over the wire and are closed up then glued to the frame with an etched-in rivet giving the impression that it is attached firmly to the chassis. The load bed is a single part with more planking engraved into both surfaces, adding thick side rails, PE brackets, lights and a PE numberplate frame that is also fixed on brackets before the upstands are made, and adding a pair of mudguards, one on each side. The flatbed sides can be posed upright, or folded down in the open position, typically for oversized loads or during unloading, hinging on the PE brackets under the floor. Small clasps are included for the corners, and the peg should be cut off for the closed option. 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 three more lengths of 0.3mm wire from your own stocks, which the instructions advise you makes you an “experienced modeller”. An easy way to earn that badge! 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 a choice of two fine PE radiator meshes, an internal deflector panel, PE numberplate for some decal options, 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. The cowling can be fixed in the closed position or depicted open, when the little hook latches onto a clip on the roof’s drip-rail, holding it up past vertical against the windscreen. A couple of headlamps with clear lenses are fitted on the sides of the cowling and a pair of wing mirrors on an angled arm are glued to holes in the front of the bulkhead on each side, with a PE bracket giving the appearance of that the etched rivets are what holds it in place. MiniArt have considerately included a whole sprue of parts for you to add to the load bed of your newly-minted A400 wagon, including different sizes of boxes or crates, which you may have seen in other sets from MiniArt at some point. You can use those at your whim, or load it up with a loose cargo, such as a big pile of sand as seen in one of the profiles below. Markings There are five decal options from the sheet, all painted in bright non-military colours and decorated with the markings of the job it is tasked with, two having the red and white logo of a well-known carbonated drink brand, and although it looks wrong to us English-speakers, ‘Trink’ is German for drink. From the box you can build one of the following: Hanseatic City of Hamburg, 1940s Schleswig-Holstein Province, 1930-40s Unknown, Europe, 1940-50s Unknown, Europe, 1940-50s Deutsche Post, 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 a well-detailed and finely moulded model of this curious little WWII era civilian delivery wagon, and has a number of interesting schemes included. Adding something to deliver into the box adds both interest and value to the package. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. The MiniArt Models catalogue 2023 is online: https://miniart-models.com/wp-content/catalogue/2023/index.html Downloadable: https://miniart-models.com/wp-content/catalogue/2023/files/downloads/2023.pdf The aircraft V.P.
  8. Hello. I'm happy to present my newest project. It is the Scammell from Thunder Model with US Tractor D7 (dozer version) from Miniart. All in 1:35 scale. Cheers
  9. After sixty years of intermittently building plastic kits, I'm getting quite bored with the hobby. I made my latest and probably last aeroplane back in the F-4 GB and while the kit was state of the art, had to build it 'battle damaged' to keep my interest up long enough to finish it. So much for aircraft then. I've started a wooden model of HMS Beagle which has stalled at the moment, but will soon be reappearing on the bench. But there are a dozen or so AFVs in plastic that I don't want to waste. Half of them are associated with the Valentine tank which I'm doing a one-man GB with. This is one of that series. It's a Valentine turret on a fast, easy to build, cheap chassis provided by AEC. It carried a lot of armour and was quite a big vehicle. It's a 'wheeled tank' at seven tons. It's a strange shape. The kit was typical of MiniArt; well detailed and with very many small parts. I was still bored though. Until I came to paint the engine and threw the 'realism rules' out of my cot. A bright blue engine and bright red fuel tanks led to an exterior painted in grisaille style with exaggerated shadows and highlights which was then coloured with inks, not paint, giving splendidly varied hues. Then it was chipped like a supercomputer as though it had been attacked by an army of leprechauns armed with maces. And here's the result which delights and interests me. You may well hate it, but I didn't do it this way for you, so that's irrelevant really. No, I take that last bit back. I'd be very interested in the reactions of those who don't like it. I have a skin as thick at an armoured car so don't hold back. Imagine it on the stage of the Milan opera house behind large ladies and gentlemen dressed for the desert singing about armoured warfare and you will understand this (to me) new way of making my models. "It's a tank, it's a tank! No it's not, no it's not! Where are the tracks, tracks it must have tracks, I tell you! Rattatat! Bang! You're just as dead, dead, dead without the tracks, the tracks. It has no tracks. We are so dead....." Here's the AEC with the Archer and Valentine models both built in a doomed attempt to be 'realistic'. I think turning everything up to 11 is the way I'll be making my music models in the future. Until I get bored with it...
  10. Pretty much finished this diorama of the modern Ukraine fight back against the Russian invasion, featuring Miniart building (and air con), Masterbox figures and Zveda Tiger AFV. Added some resin flat tyres for the Tiger and a burned out resin car by MiG. I still have 4 more FC Modeltrend 3d printed figures to add at some point but my figure painting skills seem to be getting worse not better, so will add them later.
  11. European Agricultural Tractor with Cart (38055) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Lanz Bulldog was a peculiar early tractor, powered by a single-cylinder “hot bulb” diesel engine with a single piston, which although it was ahem… agricultural, was very effective and easy to repair, so it became very popular in Germany, manufactured at its base in Mannheim and built under license in other countries. The D8500 used a three-speed transmission plus one reverse gear, and the curious engine was upgraded over time with output eventually reaching over 50hp. The upgrades were evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and by 1938 they were still available with metal wheels that must have been horribly loud on any hard surface, but gave enough traction to carry it over rough or muddy ground so that it could carry out its job. Pneumatic tyres were often added later once they became commonplace, making farming a slightly quieter endeavour, and reducing the driver’s trips to the dentist to replace fillings. The last of them rolled off the production lines in the 60s, ending a very long run, although plenty have survived to the present day, attending retro shows. The Kit This is one of a string of brand-new toolings of this tractor family from MiniArt, and a little out of the left field in terms of subject matter. They have clearly done their homework though, and have released a number of variants of the tractor with rubber or metal “tyres” and with or without trailers. It arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box, and inside are fourteen sprues in grey styrene, a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret, a small sheet of decals and the instruction booklet with colour cover on glossy paper and profiles at the rear. The PE is safely cocooned in a card envelope, and the tiny size of the fret is surprising at first, but it’s great that they have included it to get the detail just right. Construction begins with the big, bolt-riddled chassis, which is made from forward and aft sections that both mate to opposite sides of a central bulkhead and adding axles, accessible ancillaries and towing arm at the rear. The top cowling is made of separate panels that are mated under a curved top panel that has filler caps fixed into holes in the top. It is shaped to fit snugly onto the surface of the chassis, and is joined by a large tread-plated deck on which the driver will later sit. Pedals and other driver controls are attached, then a sprung seat with perforations to drain off water and allow the driver’s butt to breathe are placed off-centre to the right, plus some linkages to the important areas. A large bell-housing glues onto the right, and another teardrop fairing that protects the drive-belt is attached on the left side, then the large rear mudguards and rear bumper are fitted under the driver’s deck. The underside is finished off by making up the front axle with steering arms, then two stacks are constructed, the aft one a slightly tapered pipe with mushroom cap, while the larger hot one at the front has a bulged section midway, and is prevented from swaying by a PE bracket wrapped around it, much like those on your downspout at home. The smaller front wheels are simple two-part assemblies that you make two of. The large toothed rear wheels are laminated from five sections to depict the various traction surfaces that are present on the real wheels. Again, you make two, and all four wheels are added to their respective axles, then the fifth wheel that the driver uses can either be fitted in place atop the steering column, or inserted into the bell-housing on the right flank of the machine, for the purpose of starting the vehicle manually. If you are fitting the wheel in the usual position, there is a cover with PE ring that fits over the socket, and that is shown hinged down when the wheel is inserted into the bell-housing, while the nub at the top of the steering column should be cut off for accuracy. That’s all there is to it, apart from the painting and weathering. Oh, and the trailer of course. The flatbed for the trailer is next, made up on a ladder chassis with two sections of bed that are completed and mated together, all of which has fine engraved wood texture on both sides, as do the other wooden structures in the kit. The fixed rear axle is without suspension, and has two large brackets that hold it onto the cross-frame. The front axle is similarly unsuspended, but on a frame that has a turntable between it and the bed to enable the axle to rotate freely to reduce the turning circle for easier manoeuvring. The wheels are each single-part carriage wheels that wouldn’t look out of place on a surrey-with-a-fringe-on-top, with a centre boss that can be glued carefully to the axle to leave the wheels mobile. The flatbed is made more useful by adding a set of dropside walls around it, each one being a single part, the front end is lower to accommodate the park bench-style seat that has L-shaped brackets holding the back at the correct angle. The A-frame that connects it to the tractor is a flex-fit on the rotating front axle, and a pair of additional hinge detail parts are added at the bottom of the rear. Figures There are two sprues of figures included in this boxing, plus another two sprues of accessories to add some interest around your model. The figures are dressed as typical farm workers of the period, a man that is operating the steering wheel fitted to the bell-housing on the side in the starting position and wearing a cap. The other figure is a lady that is crouching, with what looks like a flask in her hands, although I suspect it has a more mechanical use, possibly to warm up part of the engine to assist with starting a cold engine. As usual with MiniArt figures, they’re extremely well sculpted with a sensible parts breakdown, and have a lot of detail moulded-in. The accessories are typical of those found on a farm in the 40s and 50s, including a scythe worthy of the grim-reaper, three types of fork, a watering can, a sickle, and a separate handle that can be used either with a wide-headed rake, or with an adze head, although you could also make another handle to use both. There are two of everything of course, so plenty to go at. Markings Anyone that has lived or even visited a farm will know that a tractor is a beast of burden, and as such there isn’t much care lavished on the cosmetics of the thing. The mechanical parts will be horribly oily, and over the years the paint will chip and rust, while the greasy parts will become caked in a mix of dust, oil and grease, with frequent spills and impact marks adding to the patina. We are only given one scheme on the back of the instruction booklet, but the world is your oyster if you want to depict other colours that you have either seen, or want to portray. Decals are by MiniArt’s usual partners Decograph, and although it’s only a small sheet using just black and white printing, it’s all in good register with sharp, dense printing as we expect from them. Conclusion This isn’t the first of the Lanz Bulldog tractor from MiniArt, but it’s a different one, having a more aged look when compared to some of the others. The metal wheels and old-fashioned spoked-wheeled trailer lend its use to earlier eras, or in the background of a more modern diorama as a grizzled wreck. Great detail throughout of course, as we expect from MiniArt. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Meat Products (35649) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd As a species of omnivores, if you’d care to check our teeth that contain elements of carnivore and herbivore teeth layouts, we often partake of meat, usually from the local butcher or supermarket, or market place if we’re so minded. This set depicts a pair of displays of meat of various types that would typically be found in a market setting, and arrives in an end-opening figure-sized box that has a painting of the subject matter on the front, and the instructions on the rear, all in full colour. Inside are six sprues of grey styrene that contain parts for a two-wheeled trolley with leaf-sprung suspension and a pair of handles for the operators to lift it in order to change position. The other display area is static, and consists of an angled planked bed with different length legs front and back, plus cross-braces to stop it from falling flat. On top of the static display are six shallow boxes that can be doubled in height by adding a rectangular frame over the top. The meat products are found on the remaining two sprues, which are identical, each one containing the following: 1 x Half a pig 1 x Half a lamb 2 x chicken carcasses (2 parts each) 2 x links of eight sausages 1 x long curved sausage 1 x pig head 1 x leg of pork 1 x short sausage 1 x long sausage 1 x coiled sausage 2 x looped sausage 1 x “lump” of meat. Possibly a haggis? Bear in mind that I’m no meat expert in any sense of the word, so some of my identifications may be suspect, but check the sprues and accompanying artwork for further details if you’re unsure. The paintings and drawings on the rear for the box should give you enough information to paint the finished article, and there is a colour chart at the bottom that gives shades as swatches, and in Vallejo, Mr Color, AK RealColor, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya and colour names to assist you with picking your colours. Conclusion A useful piece of diorama fodder to add some human scale to your latest creation. Aren't you proud of me for getting through this review without making any iffy sausage jokes? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. US Mine Detectors (35251) 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 the operator 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 on and soon after D-Day as the Allies attempted to break out from the beachhead. This set depicts a group of US mine detectorists at work in the field, and arrives in an end-opening figure box, and inside are eight sprues of various sizes 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 four figures with the set, two of whom are standing, one detecting with a long-handled device, the other waiting to either add a marker flag or dig out a mine with a small trowel. The other two figures are kneeling and crouching respectively, one feeling for the sides of a metal plate with a bayonet, the other digging a small hole to excavate a mine that has been discovered, bayonet stuck into the ground while he works. All figures have M1 helmets, half with netting covers, and they all have their rifles either slung over their shoulder or laid down next to them on the ground. They’re wearing standard WWII GI battle dress that includes puttees over their boots, and have webbing that holds their various pouches and equipment, plus their mine detecting specific equipment where appropriate. The instructions show the cables on the detecting equipment and carry-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 are included, painting the flags yellow and applying the decals over the top. There are also curved stencils for the recovered mines, and eight of the afore mentioned small black Danger signs finish off the small decal sheet, which is printed by MiniArt’s usual partners DecoGraph up to their usual high standards, another Ukrainian company we’re glad to see are still trading. As usual with MiniArt kits their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown of the figures and other parts, plus extras, although short lengths of wire will be needed to make the most of that detail for the wiring, additional flags, and mine carry-handles. Conclusion A finely sculpted set of highly detailed figures with their equipment to add to your next project that includes a minefield in the process of being cleared by some brave GIs. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. 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?
  15. StuG III Ausf.G Mar 1943 Alkett Prod. (35336) 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 based upon the chassis of the Panzer III, but removed the turret and front deck, replacing it with an armoured casemate with a lower profile 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, where it could be deadly. 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 was 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 armour to increase survivability prospects 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 by that time, 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 MiniArt have finally managed to get their production running again after the shock of the invasion on the 24th of February 2022 forced them to up-sticks wholesale to escape from the horror. Well, they’re back and we’re all very happy for them, and wish them the best with their business and hope they can return to normality at the earliest convenience. We’re all behind you! Just before the aforementioned event, MiniArt had released a new tooling of the late StuG III and this is a continuation of the Ausf.G series, which had changes laid over changes during the final batches. This boxing is another Alkett factory example from March 1943 and arrives in a standard top-opening box in the MiniArt style, with attractive artwork and profiles on the side. Inside the box are forty-five 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 individual track links that different from the earlier pre-series kit we reviewed some time ago. Construction begins with the floor panel, which receives the torsion suspension bars with their fittings, a pair of runners to support the engine that isn’t included in this boxing, and the support structure for the gun, which is made up from some 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 and the hull sides are mated to the floor, with the bases for the final drive housing glued to the front next to the two-layer front bulkhead. The glacis plate with transmission inspection hatches are given a similar treatment, plus another appliqué panel, and the usual exhausts, towing lugs and idler protection are added to the bottom section of the rear, and a radiator exhaust panel with PE grille is made up and applied above it, adding some 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. 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. Before the gun can be fitted, the walls of the casemate must be made up, and these are well-detailed externally, including vision slots, smoke grenade dispensers 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 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. 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. 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 through the centre. This hatch can also be posed open or closed, and the MG shield can be posed in the flat position for travel. The engine deck is built up with short sides and armoured intake louvres on the sides, which are covered with PE meshes as the deck is glued down onto the engine bay. Two types of rear appliqué parts can be added to the slope at the rear of the deck, then armoured cover to the fume extraction fan is added to the back of the casemate. A rail of spare track links is fixed across the rear of the casemate with the barrel cleaning rods underneath, lashed to the deck with PE and styrene parts, then the four hatches are made with armoured vents. A pair of road wheels are carried on the deck with long pins through their holes that attach them to the rearmost pair of hatches. One decal option also has a field modification of a large stowage box mounted on the centre of the rear deck, with the other options mounting a much shallower box in the same place on PE brackets. 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 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 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, using 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, coupling them together, 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, the fenders are attached to the hull sides, with integrated 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 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 110mm cable material yourself, with a set 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 breech, closing up the interior, and the last parts of the kit are two whip antennae on the rear of the casemate, and optionally another pair of road wheels on both front fenders for one of the decal options. Markings There are five markings options included on the decal sheet, all of them with varying camouflage from bare dunkelgelb to predominantly green with splotches of other colours. From the box you can build one of the following: 201 Stg. Abt., Greece, Summer 1943 322 Stg.Abt., Eastern Front, Summer 1943 1st Company Pz. Abt. ‘Rhodos’, Rhodos, Autumn 1943 Bulgarian 1st Assault Gun Battalion, Autumn 1943 10th SS Panzer Div. ‘Frundsberg’, Pomerania, March 1945 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 good-looking, well-detailed model of an important WWII German tank destroyer that saw action the Eastern and Western fronts in relatively large numbers. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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:
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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.
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