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Found 233 results

  1. Hi Guys, This is my first work in progress, i've picked a miniart T-55A early mod. 1965 model. This is the second Miniart model i've had, in fact i bought this first from Creative Models at their 40% discount about 18 months ago for around £30, which was amazing value for money. However when i opened the box and looked at all the parts my first thoughts were, this is too much. So i bought the Panzer III ausf C also from Miniart which i built instead so i could get to grips with the Miniart way of doing things. The T-55A is quite a complex kit, its in my stash and has to be done some time, so why not now. The kit has 1304 parts with 95 sprues, 2 etch sheets and 3 decal sheets. This is the box cover, showing a 55th Marine infantry Division, Pacific Fleet of the Soviet Navy, Ethiopia 1980. This is the version that i will hopefully try to complete in the way distant future by the look of the amount of parts. The instruction book looks really well done and it takes 104 stages to complete the model. The first 8 stages complete the engine assembly. This is typical of their instructions. Here is a picture of the assembled engine with holes drilled in the manifold ready for the lead wire. Lead wire in place, now all ready for painting. Here's a few photo's of the completed engine. Now on to the base, just another 96 stages and about 1200 plus parts to go! Ed
  2. Miniart have recently show the boxart for a new Russian railway flatbed, and coyly peeking out from the corner of the illustration is an Austin AC. Seems a little too prominently placed to not point towards a future release. Andy
  3. Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.D/B 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Designed in the mid 1930s to be part of a pairing with the larger Panzer IV, the lighter Panzer III was originally intended to be sent up against other tanks, as well as to push through gaps in enemy lines to cause havoc with supply lines and generally disrupt the enemy's day. Production began in 1937, with few of the early marks reaching series production, using up A through D as prototypes, of which the Ausf.B was used in the Polish campaign briefly before being put out to pasture as a training vehicle along with the remaining Cs and Ds. The suspension was a work-in-progress, using leaf springs until the Ausf.E, which moved to torsion bars that were then seen on most new German designs during WWII and beyond. During the early period of WWII the Pz.III continued to do its prescribed task until the T-34 tore through their ranks, brushing aside the lighter armoured Pz.IIIs and necessitating an up-gunning of the Pz.IV with a new high velocity gun to combat its sloped armour. By 1942 it was relegated to tasks where its light armour and 3.7mm pop-gun wasn't an impediment, such as close support of troop advances. By this time it was clear that it was past its sell-by-date, and that the Pz.IV had much more development potential. The chassis went on to be used for many other developments, some of which were quite successful, such as the StuG III. The Kit This is a re-tool of MiniArt's new range of Panzer III models, the early Ausf.B with crew we reviewed recently here. While it does share some of the larger parts with its stable-mate, there are a significant number of new sprues due in part to the different suspension, but also because of the additional hull parts (stowage and such) that are visible in the box painting. There are twenty seven sprues of grey styrene, plus three separate parts, a further twenty one sprues of track links, and five more of track pins, plus a clear sprue, fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet. The usual high level of detail is present, and the modular approach to moulding allows them to produce maximum variants from their toolings. The major difference between the boxings is to be found in the track area, where different suspension units are used, necessitating the tooling of new parts that include the hull sides. The new parts have three leaf spring arrangements, with two Y-shaped suspension arms damped between them, and each arm mounting two pairs of wheels on an additional swing-arm that pivots around the centre. Each wheel has a rubber tyre around the steel rim, and a cup inside the inner wheel allows them to remain mobile after construction if the glue is used sparingly. The large drive sprocket is retained, as is the large idler wheel, although both are subtly different due to design changes. The forward section of the top deck is identical to the previous version, but the engine deck is different, having two side-by-side access doors on the flat section, each having clamshell doors, with the sloped section retaining the single doors of its predecessor. The raised centre section is identical, and the fenders are moulded in one run, but with panel lines and fasteners showing the modular nature of the real things, and some slight differences between the fixtures and fittings. The track links are identical, and are built up in sections nine links, using the perfect spacing of the pins to add them seven at a time, building into two runs of 96 links, one for each side. From my previous experimentation, the pins do hold the tracks together, but with handling they can slip free, so take precautions during handling. The jig shown in the picture is also not included in this boxing, but that shouldn't be much of an impediment, and you won't end up with your tracks glued to the jig. For two decal options there are additional track links draped over the front of the machine, to add extra armour to the area, which are made up and secured in place with PE brackets. Another addition to one of the options is a set of wooden stowage boxes around the rear of the tank, covering most of the engine deck apart from the access doors on the flat section. The boxes are made up from styrene parts, but with PE brackets, latches and padlocks where appropriate. Despite this not being an interior kit, the turret is quite well appointed, with a full breech assembly, twin coaxial machine guns, turret baskets, seats and other equipment supplied in the box. The side doors can be posed open or closed, and have PE trim on the inside, with more PE parts forming the little hatches for the sighting gear and coax machine gun openings in the mantlet. The turret sits in the opening of the hull and is not locked in place, so you will either need to remember this, or fix it in place to avoid dropping it with handling. Markings There are four decal options in the box, with some optional personalisations made to the kit depending on which you choose, as pointed out throughout the build instructions. The decal sheet is small due to the genre, but from the box you can depict one of the following: Panzer-Zug 2.Panzer-Kompanie Pz.Abt. (ZbV)40 attached to the SS Division "Nord" XXXVI Army Corps, Karelia, Summer of 1941. IV Panzer-Zug 3.Panzer-Kompanie Pz.Abt.(ZbV)40 attached to the fast detachment Fossi (Osasto Fossi) battle group F (Ryhmä F) 3rd Infantry Division of the Finnish Army. The fighting in the direction of Uhtua – Vuokkiniemi Karelia, July 1941. I Panzer-Zug 2.Panzer-Kompanie Pz.Abt.(ZbV)40 attached to the division of the Finnish Army Corps (III Armeijakunta, III AK) Karelia, November 1941. Panzer-Zug 2.Panzer-Kompanie Pz.Abt. (ZbV)40 attached to the SS Division "Nord". Defensive battles in Kestenga village area (Kiestinki) April 24-May 11, 1942. Decals are printed in the Ukraine by Decograph with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Another high quality model of this perhaps overlooked early War staple of the German tank forces. Of course due to their period of operation the dominant colour is panzer grey, but a distemper scheme has been included for a little variety, and the crew personalisations of the appliqué armour and extra stowage areas brings additional interest to the model. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Cargo Tramway X-Series (38030) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Trams have long been used for mass transport within built-up areas of larger cities, using rails set into the street and making a familiar dinging noise just before they run you over. They’re making a comeback in some cities recently, but were far more numerous pre-WWII, and some operators took advantage of the lines to carry cargo deep into cities where the standard railways couldn’t reach. Soviet Russia operated these trams in their cities, carrying the daily necessities around, and probably pressed into service as munitions carriers when war came to town. The Kit This is new boxing is based upon the passenger X-Series tram, with new parts to fill the gutted centre-section where the passengers would otherwise be. These parts replicate the beaten-up look that would result from the rough handling of heavy items in and out of the cargo area. The kit arrives in a shrink-wrapped heavy box with typical MiniArt painting, and inside are twenty three sprues in grey styrene, nine in clear, an A4+ sized vacuum-formed cobblestone base with suitably gauged tracks travelling along the longest side. The package is rounded out by a decal sheet and instruction booklet that has the painting options laid out on the covers. Detail is excellent as we've come to expect from any new tooling from MiniArt, and the instructions are printed on good quality glossy paper in their usual manner. Construction begins with the sub-frame bogie, with two sets of motors and axles sandwiched between the brake actuators and wheels, then slipped inside the long frame along with their leaf-spring suspension mounts and cross-braces. The two axles are then integrated in the frame by adding end-plates and more cross-braces to stiffen up the assembly. The brake actuators are joined to the rest of the armature by a small cage and long rod that is connected to the driver’s cab later on. The body is made up on a two-part base with a laminated bulkhead with windows at each end and a framework wall with badly beaten and dented low side panels that can be posed up or down as you please. Two control uprights and a seat are made up and added to each end of the floor that makes them instantly reversible, then the two cab surrounds are fabricated with glass panels and interior panelling added along the way. The sides are added first, then the front is fixed in place, repeated at both ends and accompanies by a pair of two-panel folding doors on each side of both cabs, totalling eight panels made up into four doors that are handed, so take care when assembling them, their bars and handles. Crew steps are added to each door at each end (there’s a lot of repetition), then the big soviet star with integrated headlight that includes a replica of a bulb in the centre is plonked front and centre in the nose at each end – unless you’ve opted for the simpler and less ostentatious headlamp of course. Underneath the floor the linkages are extended with plastic chains to holes on the underside of the cabs, a receiver for the compressed air and small leaf-suspension mounts are fixed to each corner ready to receive the sub-frame that was made up first. A folded cow-catcher grille is attached under the front/back along with a single buffer, then it’s time to turn it from a cabriolet to a hard-top. The roof is made of two mirror image sections with panelling moulded into each cab end and on the curved sections where adverts would be placed on the passenger version, with a pair of lighting bars running along the rest of the length next to roof-mounted handrails. Upstands are glued to each side of the flat section of the roof and have a nicely detailed heat-exchanger unit fitted front and rear (front and front?). Lights, placards for route numbers and the big pantograph loop is assembled then fitted in the centre of the roof, angled toward the rea… whichever direction it has come from. If you’re not a diorama fan you can end it there, but it would be a shame to waste the base and accompanying catenary posts that suspend the wire above the track. The base is vacformed, so will need some method of support underneath to prevent it from sagging under the weight of the model, such as balsawood, which can be glued to the underside of the base with epoxy. The two posts have a four-part base and single riser part, with a choice of a simple or decorative arm for each one. They are held taut by wires that you will need to supply yourself, and you will need to do a little research to correctly wire in the rest of the cables to your tram’s pantograph. Markings There are six decal and markings options out of the box, with a wide choice of colours but only a few decals for route numbers and vehicle identification. From the box you can build one of the following: Cargo USSR 40-60s Repair USSR 40-60s Repair USSR 40-50s Emergency USSR 40-50s Cargo USSR 40-50s Service USSR 30-50s 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 well detailed model of a cargo tram that was used in Soviet Russia for more than just hawking goods around. There’s plenty of scope for dioramas with the included base a healthy start, and lots of opportunity to practice your weathering techniques to depict a well-worn example. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Croatian T-55A (37088) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. The T-54's gestation and transformation into the T-55 was long-winded and complicated by constant changes to an as yet unsatisfactory performing vehicle, and began at early as the end of WWII. Production of the T-54-1 was halted due to production and quality issues, and recommenced as the re-designed T-54-2, with the turret design changed to closer resemble the eventual domed shape of the T-55. The -2 didn't last all that long before the -3 replaced it, and the requirement for survival of tactical nuclear blasts led to the eventual introduction of the similar looking, but significantly different T-55 that we know so well. As the heavy tank fell out of favour, the T-55 became part of the burgeoning Main Battle Tank movement, with thousands of them being produced over the years in various guises. In the early 60s the T-55A was developed, providing more adequate NBC protection that required a lengthening of the hull and coincidentally added anti-spall protection for the crew. It also sounded the death-knell of the bow-mounted machine gun, which was removed to improve ammo storage, and hasn't been seen on MBTs for decades now. The Czechs built their own versions of the T-54 and T-55, with quite an export market developing due to their being of better build quality than the Russian built alternative. Of the many sub variants produced by the then Czechoslovakia, many were exported to Soviet Bloc aligned purchasers. Poland also produced over 7000 tanks between 1964 and 1983. Polish tanks had different stowage and slightly different rear decks. Many found their way to other countries and the were used by all sides in the Yugoslavian civil wars. The Kit Part of the ever-expanding range of early Cold War armour from MiniArt, who seem to be kitting every conceivable variant from the earliest T-54 to the later T-55, which will hopefully include some of the more unusual marks as well. The initial toolings were all brand new, and were designed in a modular format to ease the way toward new variants, which makes for a high sprue count. Some of the kits have been released in augmented Interior Kit boxings, with all the extra details to open up your model as much as you please. The kit arrives in their current orange themed box, with a painting of the tank in question on the front. Lifting the lid gives the feeling of how much is inside, as it is packed full and I'm dreading putting it all back in. There are 77 sprues in mid grey styrene, many of them quite small, and some of the larger ones linked together in pairs, two clear sprues, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a decal sheet, and the instruction booklet. Detail is everywhere, and is crisp, with judicious use of slide-moulding to improve details further, and make hollows where needed. The inclusion of PE helps further, allowing parts to be given a more scale-effect. Construction begins with the lower hull, which has cut-outs for the suspension mounts, hatches and access panels, all of which are supplied as separate parts. The suspension is torsion-link, so the bars are inserted with the axles at their ends, or shorter stubby versions if you want to freeze the suspension in the level position. The hull insides are separate and are well detailed parts, which are added to the lower along with engine bay firewall and rear bulkhead. Externally, the T-55 could be fitted with a mine-roller, and although one isn't included with this boxing, the fitments and bracketry is included for the upper and lower glacis alongside the standard light clusters, lifting hooks and pioneer tools. With the glacis and the turret ring "bat wings" added to the hull sides, the upper hull is assembled from the top with turret ring aperture, a multi-part engine deck with individual slats added before installation, and some PE mesh panels added later with optional raised covers supplied as additional parts. The main lights have clear lenses, and fit inside a multi-part cage to protect them from damage, which will take some care to glue together neatly. The fenders have additional fuel tankage fitted with hosing between them, and lots of PE fixtures, handles and such, with even more PE bracing inside the sprung mudguard parts, tools, toolboxes and the exhaust on the port side. The kit includes plastic towing eyes, but you are going to have to provide your own cables as none are include in the kit, but given the sheer volume of parts it's excusable. At the rear an unditching log is lashed to the bulkhead with PE straps, and the extra fuel drums so often seen are also lashed to curved brackets that overhang the rear of the hull. Between them the deep wading funnel is attached by a couple of pins to the bottom of the brackets, and it has its own group of PE brackets for the bracing wires that are seen when it is in use. the wheels are handled next, with five pairs per side with separate hubs, plus the idler wheel at the front, and drive sprocket at the rear. Tracks are left until a little later and are of the individual link type, requiring 90 links per side, each of which have four sprue gates, but no ejection pin or sink marks to worry about. What is there however is stunning detail, which includes the casting numbers inlaid into the hollows of each track link, and close-fitting lugs that should make the building an easier task. The turret itself is a busy assembly, having the basics of the breech mechanism and coax machine gun made up and mated with the lower turret on two mounts at the front. The upper turret has some holes drilled out from inside and is attached to the lower, after which the two-part turret roof is fitted with hatches, vents and vision blocks. Externally the grab rails, forward mounted searchlight, commander's cupola and a choice of cast mantlet or moulded blast-bag over the mantlet are added, and the single piece barrel with hollow muzzle slips through the centre and keys into the breech. The blast-bag is finished off around the edges with PE strips, and a large folded tarp is attached to the back of the turret by more PE straps near the included stowage boxes. An armature links the gun barrel and the searchlight together so they move in unison, and an ancillary searchlight is fitted to the commander's cupola, with a choice of the driver's poor weather hood built up in either the collapsed or deployed format, with the former stowed on the turret bustle, while the latter fits over the open driver's hatch. Additional ammunition for the DshK is added to the turret. The 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine gun is the last assembly, and is made up along with its mount, ammo box with a short length of shells leading into the breech, which is fitted into the mount in front of the loader’s hatch. This is only used on 4 of the decal options, on the other options a browning 50 Cal is provided. The turret is dropped into the hull and your choice of location made for the driver’s poor weather hood made earlier. Markings There are six decal options, and plenty of colour (and operator) variation, which is nice to see. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Guard Brigade "Tigrovi" Republic of Croatia Armed Forces, 1990s, tank marked "Marnia" 1st Guard Brigade "Tigrovi" Republic of Croatia Armed Forces, 1990s, tank marked "Croatia" 2nd Guard Brigade "Gromovi" Republic of Croatia Armed Forces, 1990s, tank marked "19775" 1st Guard Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council "Ante Bruno Busi" Republic of Croatia Armed Forces, 1990s, tank marked "Dnimid Torcid / Martn" 1st Guard Brigade "Tigrovi" Republic of Croatia Armed Forces, 1990s, tank marked "939" 4th Guards Brigade "Pauci" Republic of Croatia Armed Forces 1990s, Marked "4025" The decals are printed by DecoGraph on bright blue paper, and have good register, sharpness and colour density, with a closely cropped thin, matt carrier film. Conclusion These are amongst the most comprehensive kits I have seen in a long while, with even the tiniest details catered for, down to the tiny nuts holding the snorkel to the rear of the tank. It is a fabulous kit and will keep you modelling for hours and hours. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Yep, you've read that right, my latest completion is a MiniArt Tiran 5! Originally I bought MiniArt's Tiran 4 Late Type non-interior kit to build as the vehicle featured on the box top - full late mods, 100mm gun and spider web wheels. Normally I like to build according to at least one photograph but unfortunately I couldn't find any images of a tank in SLA service in that specific configuration so I was a bit stuck. Just before lockdown came into force here in the UK I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and buy a MiniArt T-55 and cross kit the two to produce a SLA Tiran 5, which I do have plenty of images of thanks to Samir Kassis' "Tiran in Lebanese Wars" book. I settled on 37027, which is the non-interior version of the T-55 Model 1963 kit. Thanks to Kassis' book as well as "Tiran Wrecks" by Michael Maas and Adam O'Brian I had enough references to produce a reasonably accurate rendition of such a vehicle. All in all the cross-kitting exercise was fairly simple - it's basically the T-55 kit's hull, turret and running gear married to the Tiran 4 kit's running boards and Tiran specific parts with a little modification and scratchbuilding. The running boards do need some alteration as they don't quite fit straight away - the exhaust is very slightly further back on the T-55 kit and material needs to be removed at the front where they meet and wrap around the upper glacis. I nearly made a boo-boo on the turret: I remembered to reverse the commander's cupola but I forgot to do the same for the loader's hatch! Luckily I caught it before the glue had hardened! I did spend some time during the construction phase pondering what shade of blue to paint it and settled on Humbrol 248 RLM 78 as it looked near-enough to what I was looking for. As is normal for me the whole model was painted using a brush although as usual for Humbrol's latest paint standards the RLM 78 was a bit thick. Rather ironically I completed the model just after the explosion in Beirut last week. As always, comments and criticism welcome! Mike.
  7. Soviet Infantry Tank Riders Set 2 (35310) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Getting a lift on a tank was a treat for the foot-soldier that occasionally turned sour if their lift came under fire from an enemy tank. Sometimes they’d ride into battle on the back of a tank, using the turret as cover until it came time to dismount. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting on the front and instructions on the rear, and inside are seven sprues of grey styrene with parts for four figures on the two large sprues and accessories on the others. Three of the figures are kneeling on the tank's deck, while the fourth is sitting with his legs over the side clutching his PPS sub-machine gun. One of the other figures is carrying a PPS, the third is aiming down the barrel of a PPSh-41, and the remaining figure has a Mosin-Nagant Type 38 carbine resting across his lap as he hangs onto a grab-handle to steady himself. Moulding is excellent as usual with MiniArt, with sensible parts breakdown of separate heads, torso, arms and legs, plus individual helmets, weapons and various ammo pouches and bags, water bottles, grenades and entrenching tools. There are 2 each of the PPS and PPSh-41s, plus three of the carbines, with a choice of sniper scope, bayonets and even a clip of ammunition. The PPS has spare mags, and the PPSh has a choice of curved stick mags and drum mags, with all of them having mag-pouches moulded on the same sprues. The instructions on the rear show the figures complete, and have parts pointed out with sprues letters and part numbers, while the paint codes are in pale blue boxes that correspond with a table underneath in swatches, Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO codes and the colour names. Conclusion Four realistic figures with natural poses and plenty of additional accessories that will give any Soviet tank a human scale, and with sensitive painting will bring your model up a new level of realism. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Focke Wulf Triebflügel Jet Fighter (40009) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Toward the end of WWII the Nazis were desperately casting around for wunderwaffe, or Wonder Weapons that would turn the ever-increasing tide against their attempt to take over Europe and probably the world. This resulted in some possibly more left-field designs being considered, when under normal circumstances they would more likely have been dismissed out of hand. One such project that has since gained traction in the minds of the Luft'46 community and beyond is the concept of the Triebflügel from Focke-Wulf, which was little more than a rocket-shaped body with a rotating set of arms with ramjet engines at their tips providing the motive power. This arrangement was to enable it to take off vertically, which was of greater interest as the front lines got closer and air bases became bombed-out rubble, as was the use of the simple ramjet that was propelled up to speed by single-use rockets, all of which used little in the way of strategic materials or complex technology. It went nowhere in terms of production of course, and had some critical issues that would have needed to be addressed if it had gone further, such as the counter-rotation required to offset the torque of the motors was supposed to be supplied by the cruciform tail pressing against the air, it would have to land vertically with the pilot facing forward and the rear view obscured by the still rotating aerofoils and engines to name but two. As usual with WWII German designs, they would have wanted to make it a jack of all trades, so a Nachtjäger variant and fighter variant were bound to have happened if it had gone into production. Post war the Convair Pogo was to attempt a broadly similar flight profile with similar issues raising their heads and helping ensure its eventual demise. If you've been following the Marvel Avengers film franchise (MCU), you'll have seen Red Skull absconding in a very Triebflügel-esque aircraft at one point, which although undoubtedly CGI could actually be attempted now with our computers and other technologies. We just need to find someone with too much money and who is just daft enough now… The Kit Until fairly recently there hasn't been a modern injection moulded kit in larger scales, and now we have two in different scales, and in 1:35 we now have several variants, which is great news. This new boxing includes a frangible clear nose cone with a stack of 24 unguided rockets under the dome that can be fired into bomber streams in much the same as was proposed for the diminutive Natter, plus more what-if decal options, including one that has some British roundels with a yellow underside, and others in US and Soviet service. The spoils of war! The kit arrives in a shrink-wrapped standard sized top opening box and inside are thirteen sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) in a small card envelope, a good sized decal sheet and the instruction booklet with a colour cover that includes all the painting and decaling profiles on three of the four sides. I have one of the smaller models as well as the MiniArt Nachtjäger kit (reviewed here, Boarding ladder equipped variant here and interceptor reviewed here), and this is a simple update to the Interceptor with new parts added to include the rocket-equipped nose cone and utilising the clear tip that has been on the sprues from day one – I feel vindicated! Detail is excellent, with lots of rivets and panel lines visible on the exterior, a nicely appointed cockpit and the cannon armament included in bays either side of the cockpit. There is also extra detail in the wingtip motors and the landing gear is substantial, partially from the increase in size, but also because of the design of the main leg. Construction is almost identical to the other boxings and begins with the cockpit with a floor part forming the basis and having rudder pedals, control column and bulkhead added, then the seat, pilot armour and a full set of PE seatbelts. The side consoles are attached to the upper section of the cockpit that is added from above and also forms part of the gun bays. To the consoles are added a number of PE levers to busy the area up, after which the instrument panel is fitted across them with decals provided for the instrument dials. The guns aren’t used for this variant due to the space taken up (in reality) by the rocket pack, so as well as the plates to cover the upper bay openings, there are new parts to fair over the lower bays too, giving the aircraft a sleek form. The cockpit can then be surrounded by the nose, which is in two halves and has a short tubular section that helps support the spinning wing section. A rear deck is dropped in behind the pilot's station and the rocket nose and clear cone are added to the front, with careful alignment key to obtain the best join. The canopy is a three-part unit with fixed windscreen and rear plus opening central section that hinges sideways if you're going to open it. The wings spin perpendicular to the direction of flight on a short section of the fuselage, which is built up with three sockets for the wings on a toroidal base, over which the rest of that section is installed and left to one side until later when the assemblies are brought together. The simple engines are built up on a pair of stator vanes and have multiple fuel injectors moulded into their rear with a rounded cap in the centre. These are installed inside the cowlings that are moulded into each wing half so it would be wise to paint this and the interior of the engine pods a suitably sooty colour before you join each wing. There are three and all are identical. The final main assembly is the aft of the aircraft, and the four retractable castor wheels are first to be built. Each single-part wheel sits in a single piece yoke, which in turn slides inside a two-part aerodynamic fairing. One half of this is moulded to a strut, which slides into the trough within the fins in one of two places to depict the wheels retracted or deployed. If showing them retracted you ignore the wheel and yoke and install the clamshell doors, turning the assembly into a teardrop shape, but if using the wheels, you glue the fairings folded back exposing the wheel. The main wheel is in two halves, as is the yoke, and should be capable of taking the weight of the model when finished unless you intend to load it up with motors or other silliness (go on, you know someone will!). The aft fuselage parts are brought together with two of the castor assemblies trapped between the moulded-in fins, and the other two trapped within the separate fins that fit perpendicular to the seamline. The main wheel then slides into its bay if you are going wheels down and has the clamshell doors fitted open, or you use just the doors for an in-flight pose. It's good to see that some detail has been moulded into the interior of the doors, as they are quite visible on a landed display. The three sections are brought together at the end by placing the wing-bearing part onto the upstand on the aft fuselage then adding the nose, with its upstand sliding inside the lower one. This traps the rotating portion in place, and hopefully allows the aforementioned rotation to continue after the glue has dried. All that remains is to plug the three wings into their sockets, add the PE D/F loop and add the aerial on the spine. Markings There are six decal options provided on the sheet, and they vary from each other and from previous releases quite substantially with some plausible and just plain fun options given for your entertainment. From the box you can build one of the following: Jagdgeschwader 52. Defence of Berlin, 1946 Captured Triebflügel in service of USSR Air Force, Nov 1946 Air Group “Regenschirm” Air Defence of the Reich, 1947 Captured Triebflügel in service of US Air Force, 1947 Reich Air Defence, 1946-7 Captured Triebflügel in service of RAF, 1947 Decals are printed by DecoGraph and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The instrument decals have just the dials to place within the painted panel, outlined on the sheet for your ease, and there are split Swastikas there if you want to use them and your locality doesn't have laws about such things. Conclusion This is a really nice rendition of this weird aircraft design with some interesting decal options and a reasonable method for entry and exit. We already have winners in the Interceptor, the boarding ladder equipped variant and Nachtjager with this one joining the team as number 4. The rocket pack in the nose is a fun addition unless you’re on the receiving end. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Wooden Pallets (35627) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd You may have seen our review of the recent Hand Pallet Truck Set, well now we bring you the subset of that set, which like Sand People are back but in larger numbers, as Obi Wan predicted. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting on the front and brief instructions on the rear, and contains twelve sprues of pallets, with one pallet per sprue, plus a small decal sheet for the stamps found on the sides of the pallets. The construction is simple, but clever. The top surface is moulded as a single part, while the lower section is moulded as three parts joined together with three spacer bars that are cut off after the two sections are joined together. Each rod narrows at the end so that clean-up will be minimal, although you have to be careful with them as the joins are necessarily quite weak. Holding one plank while gluing them one at a time over the little guide markings on the upper part seems to work, leaving clean-up of the sprue gates and spacers until after the glue has set. The wood grain moulded into the parts is typical of the rough but tough wood used to make pallets, and the small decals for the ends can represent the heat branding easily thanks to their small size. For the pallet nerds amongst us here, the pallets scale out to 800mm x 1200mm, which is the equivalent to EUR1 in the Euro Pallet table, and ISO1 in the ISO pallet table. Isn’t that nice? The decals are correct for the type, and they are shown in the correct places too, which shows some serious attention to detail that must have been acquired with the aid of copious cups of coffee to avoid nodding off! Whether the nail holes are moulded in the correct manner, and if there are 75 of them is for you to research, as I’ve had enough and need a snooze. Conclusion A dozen pallets for your post WWII diorama. Not very exciting, but necessary if you’re depicting any kind of storage, shipping or factory type sceen. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. French Petrol Station 1930-40 (35616) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd With the proliferation of the internal combustion engine in the early 20th century, petroleum/petrol or gasoline/gas stations began popping up over most of the developed world to meet the demand of the newly mobile populous. France was one such nation, and the now familiar sight of a building with branded petrol pumps and equipment on the forecourt have become the standard indicator of a gas station. The Kit This set contains the likely accessories and equipment found on the forecourt of many European gas station in the 30-40s, and leaves you to source or create the buildings yourself. It is a reboxing of their recent German Gas Station kit, just adding different barrels and a new set of decals. The kit arrives in a shrink-wrapped small top-opening box (a little larger than a figure box), and inside are ten sprues in grey styrene, two in clear, a small fret of Photo-Etch brass, and a decal sheet. The package is completed with an instruction booklet, and all the sprues are closely packed in a heat-sealed bag, but the majority of the elastic bands had snapped in transit again, so perhaps MiniArt still need to source some more durable bands? Four sprues hold parts for two fuel barrels, with a hand-pump included and some small cans of varying shapes and sizes that you may have seen in other sets so far, plus a five-shelf storage unit to stash tools and the cans on. The major parts are used to create two pumps that stand on pillars, with the mechanicals hidden away in a cylindrical housing that can be posed open for business or closed, thanks to the two clamshell doors and PE clapping-plate that fits to the inside lip of one of them. Two clear halves of the brand sign are added either side of a circular frame and fitted to the top, and as these were often a semi-translucent white with a logo painted or etched on the front and back, there is an opportunity to put in lighting if you're adept with those types of thing. You'll need to provide a little wire to represent the hose from the body to the nozzle, so make sure you have some to hand. The remaining parts are used to create a stand-alone petrol or diesel compressor with a large receiver tanks underneath that has wheels at one end to allow repositioning wheel-barrow style. A set of handles and a spray gun are included, the latter needing more wire to act as the air hose of whatever length you choose. Markings The decals are printed by DecoGraph on a small sheet with good registration, colour density and sharpness, plus a part of the colour instruction sheet is devoted to printed replicas of typical signage, posters and so forth that would be found on the walls of stations at the time. No, the posters don't really look like that - I blurred them a little to make them unusable. Fair's fair. Conclusion Building a fuel station is a fair task, but not as difficult as making the hardware to go with it. This set takes all the hard parts out of the finishing touches, then it's up to you to hunt down a suitable building or build your own using your diorama skills if you have them. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Propane/Butane Cylinders (35619) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Hand-portable bottles of gas have many uses from patio heaters (think of the environment!) BBQs, heaters and even modern fork-lift trucks. They come in various sizes and a confusing array of connections, usually with a protective collar around the top and another at the bottom to stand them upright with ease. You’ll find them all over the place from garages, to caravans, at the back of houses and even lurking around after being tipped by people who can’t be bothered to dispose of them correctly. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting on the front and instructions on the rear. Inside are five sprues of grey styrene in a heat-sealed bag, plus a small decal sheet. The instructions are very simple, with each bottle made from two halves, a single bottom-ring, and a one- or two-part top collar. The regulator is moulded into one side of the cylinder, and each collar has a corresponding pit on the top of the cylinder for correct registration. You can paint them in any colour you like, with some options shown on the instructions, plus placement of the decals that are included in the box. The sheet includes a number of standard Flammable Gas warning diamonds in red, the words propane and butane in white and red, plus patio gas for your BBQ and patio-heater (damn you!) needs, which are repeated in white only in Cyrillic text for MiniArt’s local market and those modelling Eastern European subject matter. The painting guide consists of arrows and numbers that correspond to a table at the bottom that show colour swatches, Vallejo, Mr.Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya and colour names for our ease. Conclusion The background of any modern diorama is a great place for one of these cylinders, tossed in the bushes, or leaning against a back wall somewhere. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Hand Pallet Truck Set (35606) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Pallets are a great way to store and move goods in modular chunks, and the pallets are cheap, made from ugly but strong wood stapled together so they're almost disposable and frequently find their way onto bonfires. To move them around they have slots for forklift trucks to slide into, but for small lifting jobs there is the pallet truck, which is a hand operated device with a pull-lever that you also use to pump up or release the hydraulics that lift the forks and allows you to move the heavy pallet with relative ease. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box, with a painting of the subject on the front and instructions on the rear with painting guide. Inside are seven sprue of grey styrene and a small decal sheet, the locations for which are given on the back of the box in the painting guide panel. Construction is simple, attaching the two sides of the four pallets together, then snipping off the spacers for the lower part once the glue is dry, as these hold the parts in the correct orientation during assembly. The pallet truck is more complex, having a set of wheels at the tips and two pads at the rear. The attachment at the rear of the forks is made up to form a triangular assembly where the hydraulics are housed, then the wheels are added at the bottom of the steering axle, with the handle fitted above, which has a moulded-in lever to set the forks up or down when the handle is pumped. As a taster, a sprue of large plastic drums are included to begin loading up your four pallets. These are moulded in halves with separate lids and clip-down handles on the larger of the two. The are the same as those found in the Plastic Barrels & Cans set we reviewed here, so you know where to go if you need more. Markings The decals consist of stencils for the pallet-ends, the pallet truck itself with some warnings and guides, plus a few markings for the barrels with a choice of four on the sheet. Obviously, you can paint the parts any colour you like within reason, but the instructions show a yellow or red truck, while most pallets are left in bare wood, occasionally daubed with a blob of paint for identification. Your references will serve you well in your final choice of colours. The decals are probably printed by DecoGraph, although there isn’t any room on the sheet for their logo. They have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The painting guide provides swatches, Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya and colour names to make finding a match easy. Conclusion Good for your more recent diorama, adding extra realism where needed, even as a background item. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Auto Travellers 1930-40s (38017) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Folks just love to drive ever since the first car hit the roads, but when the motor car became more affordable to the mildly affluent, its use began that steady spiral to mass adoption that is causing us some issues today. MiniArt have released some new vehicle kits lately, amongst them the Mercedes L170 cabrio that we reviewed here recently. If you check out the cover of that box, you might spot a few familiar-looking folks. This set is here to fill up your civilian vehicles with passengers, and arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting of the four figures on the front, and instructions on the rear along with colour guide table at the bottom. There are five sub-sprues, four of which are still attached to their feeder sprue, and it is this group that contains all the figures. There is a gentleman leaning absent-mindedly against the sill of the car door, a lady in the driver’s seat about to drive off without him (maybe they had a row?), plus another couple who seem to be still talking whilst loading the car with a hat box and possibly her overcoat. In addition, there are three pieces of luggage on the separate sprue, a briefcase, trunk and the aforementioned hat box. All the figures are broken down sensibly into heads, torso, arms and legs, with the skirted ladies benefiting from clever moulding to give them realistic-looking draping skirts, without the horrible “legs stop at this bulkhead” effect seen in older figures. It's MiniArt, which means that the sculpting is excellent, the drape of clothing realistic, and parts breakdown and seams sensibly placed to minimise clean-up. The luggage pieces are similarly well-designed and fit together with ease so that seams are hidden well, and they also have separate handles for added detail. Conclusion Another great set of figures from the masters. You can probably stretch the set to three vehicles if you feel like it, or put them all in the one car for fuel efficiency - who doesn't appreciate company when driving? Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. French Civilians 30-40s (38037) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The French lived for years under the jackboot of Nazi domination, with their harsh treatment of the French civilians costing many lives, even those uninvolved with the brave Resistance fighters. Life had to go on though, and people did the best they could under the circumstances. Fashion didn’t change much during the 30s and 40s, partly because of the lack of materials, designers etc., so people made do with what they had and much clothing from the two decades was almost interchangeable. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting on the front and separate instructions on the rear. Worthy of note on the front of the box is the small "Resin Heads" badge in the top right, which as far as I know is a first for MiniArt. Inside the box are two sprues of grey styrene, a separately bagged casting block with five disembodied heads attached in a line, plus a small sheet of paper with a parts numbering diagram. From the two sprues you can build five figures, all of which have styrene heads as well as the resin heads, although there’s no comparison in the quality there, so even if you’re phobic about resin, cutting those heads off the block will result in a much better finished head. There is a priest in a cassock with hat, a police officer (Gendarmerie) with cape and pill-box kepi, a businessman in a suit and Homberg hat, a store man carrying a basket of bread with his cap jauntily on the back of his head, and an older gentleman with one hand raised in excitement. All of the figures are sensibly broken down with separate heads, legs arms and torsos, with the exception of the priest who has a base under his cassock to which his legs are fixed. The Gendarme has a separate cape that necessitates his shoulders being shrunk down to accommodate the thickness of the cape fronts, which are also separate parts. Sculpting is excellent as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, and the resin heads are well-formed, with none of the seams that afflict the styrene parts they replace. There is a little flash on the sprues here and there, but that should be the work of moments with the edge of a blade or a dedicated seam scraper. The clothing has realistic drape and texture, as do the tassels and brocade on the priest’s cassock, and a perfect rendition of the wicker of the bread basket, plus of course some realistic looking bread of various sizes and styles. The colours are called out in swatches, Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, and English, which should be enough for anyone to find some colours from their stash. Whether you’ll be able to imitate the pinstriped suits worn by two of the characters is another matter. Does anyone do stripy paint? Conclusion Another finely moulded set of figures, and the addition of the resin heads gives extra realism under some sympathetic painting. They are of such differing poses that they could fit many scenes, although the old guy in the beret is clearly pleased to have been liberated. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Tiran 4 Sharir Early Type w/Dozer Blade (37044) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During the fighting with Syria and Egypt that plagued the Middle East in the 50s and 60s, including the 6-Day War and Yom Kippur, the Israelis had captured many T-54s and T-55s that had been supplied to their opposition by Soviet Russia. Many were taken intact or very nearly so, and with little work they could be pressed into service in Israeli tank battalions, where they were given the name Tiran 1 for the T-54, and Tiran 2 for the more mature T-55. Initially they were used almost unaltered from the original Soviet specification, but as time went on changes were made to the T-54s, which became the Tiran 4. The next upgrade replaced the original smooth-bore 100mm gun with a rifled 105mm gun with fume extractor fitted roughly in the middle of the gun tube, which makes identifying them a little easier. It was given the name suffix “Sharir” after the name given to the gun, which had an amended breech that allowed the loader easier access to complete the task. A number of other upgrades were made including improved sights from their own stock of Sherman tanks, and western auxiliary weapons systems in the coax and crew-served weapons. The new shells also demanded amended stowage, as did the ammo for the machine guns, and the communications equipment was upgraded too. Infra-red was all the rage at the time, so an infrared searchlight with sight at the commander’s position, plus many other improvements to better integrate with the rest of the IDF’s forces. The Kit This is a partial new tool of the base T-54 kit that MiniArt recently tooled, and part of a long line of brand new and highly detailed T-54 and T-55 kits that they are producing on a regular basis over the last year or so. The kit is an exterior kit, so inside the box we find sixty nine sprues in grey styrene, three in clear, an enlarged fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, and a decal sheet, with the instruction booklet having a colour cover that also includes the painting guide for the five decal options. Many of the sprues are from the base T-54 kit, but some have been culled from the recent SLA APC T-54 with dozer blade, which shares the same rear part of the dozer in that kit. Construction begins with the lower hull, which will be familiar to anyone with another T-54 kit, beginning with the lower portion of the hull, which has the axle mounts inserted into the curved sides, then has the torsion bars inserted and the swing-arms attached around them. Armoured covers are fixed around the axles, then the side portions of the hull are made up and added to the sides one at a time, with final drive housings inserted into the holes at the ends. The engine firewall is used to brace the sides, then the glacis plate is prepared, with different parts used depending on whether you are fitting the dozer or not. A choice of bow deflectors is given, and a full set of light cages are made from PE, with the clear lensed lights hiding within, then the assembly is attached to the lower hull along with a small section of the rear bulkhead, then the upper section is detailed with parts and covered by a stowage “bucket” that overhangs the rear of the vehicle. The top surface of the tank is then assembled with turret ring, engine deck with access panels and PE grilles, and a group of straps that stretch across the aforementioned stowage bin. About this time the twin road wheels are made up with caps and attachment pins, plus the drive sprockets and idler wheels, the latter right at the forward edge of the sides of the hull. The fenders that run along the sides of the tank are both detailed with fuel tanks, stowage boxes and fuel lines, plus a number of PE parts that detail the forward mudguards and create cages for fuel cans that are also mounted on the fenders. There are a lot of parts added, including the exhaust, after which they are slotted into the sides of the hull on their tabs. The track links need to be assembled and fitted, with 90 links per side and each link having four sprue gates to clean up, but no ejector pins or sink marks – just excellent detail. They are glue-fit, so are best assembled with liquid glue and wrapped around the wheels while the glue is still “damp” and malleable, then taped, clamped and braced in place to preserve the correct amount of sag where necessary. At the rear of the hull an infantry telephone is installed on a PE bracket, which was one of the extras added to the Tiran 4 to facilitate easier communications between troops and their supporting armour. The turret is next, and there are some spare parts that won’t be used, so take care to clip the correct ones off the sprues. The ring is built first, then slotted inside the lower turret and joined by some small parts of the operating mechanism. The basics of the breech are then made into a sub-assembly and glued in place on the turret lower by two upstands with a pivot point moulded into it that allows the gun to elevate. The upper turret is prepped with track links, hatches on an insert with vision blocks, vents and emergency self-defence Uzi sub-machine guns clipped into place inside the roof. A pair of machine guns are made up on pintle-mounts with ammo boxes and lengths of link connected to the breech, with the larger M2 variant in front of the commander's hatch. The gun tube is a single part that slides into the mantlet inner during the assembly of the two turret halves, and other small parts including aerial bases, the blast bag around the gun (with PE clips), more spare fuel cans and stowage are all added before attention shifts to the dozer blade if you are using it. The dozer blade is a Heath-Robinson affair, with the first job to build up the attachment assembly, which has a large number of parts for its size. It has rams to adjust the angle and deployment of the blade, which is next to be made. The straight rear is firstly glued together with stiffeners and attachment points for the rams created, then mated with the base using three pins at the lower edge, and a small control rod at the top that prevents movement during transport. In addition to the blade, there is also a projection at the centre of the main blade surface, which attaches via two brackets and has a single “foot” at the end, then the whole assembly is glued onto the glacis and the turret is twisted into place on its bayonet fitting. Markings There are five markings options in the box, with scope for creating other vehicle number plates by using the additional digits on the decal sheet. From the box you can build one of the following: Military parade for Israel’s Independence Day, Tel Aviv, 1973 274th Tank Brigade of the IDF, “Yom Kippur War”, the Sinai Peninsula, October 1973 IDF military manoeuvres in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, August 1973 IDF, 1973-74 IDF 1970s Options C & D don’t have their serial numbers recorded, which explains the extra digits for you to use as you see fit. 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 The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) have a long history of re-engineering less than optimum equipment, and the Tiran series is a good example of this. A dozer on a tank is also an attractive option, so this early version will doubtless be popular amongst IDF modellers. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. SLA Heavy APC-54 Interior Kit (37055) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During the period that the South Lebanese Army existed from 1985-2000, they had a small force of tanks that included T-54s that had been bought from Russia, with little opportunity of topping up losses. When one T-54 was hit and had its turret destroyed, it was recovered to the workshops and had the remains of its turret removed and replaced by welded sheet metal to give it an open-topped “doghouse” to fill a new role as an Armoured Personnel Carrier, hence the designation APC-54. It was painted a pale blue colour and was used in the 80s, surviving to end up in an Israeli museum where it has been photographed many times by visitors in a fresh coat of light blue paint. The Kit This is a re-tool of the recent series of their highly detailed T-54 and T-54, with the base sprues being those of the T-54 Interior Kit, which is crucial with the visibility of the hull inside through the re-engineered turret ring. It arrives in the usual shrink-wrapped package with handsome box art and all the contents secured inside with tight-fitting heat-sealed foil bags. Did I mention? It’s a full box thanks in part to the extra internals but also the redundant parts that will be found on many of the sprues, which will be excellent spares box fodder once the kit is complete. There are an eye-watering 75 sprues in grey styrene in the box thanks to the modular design of MiniArt kits, plus a single clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass in a card envelope and instruction booklet found in the bottom of the box that has colour covers and the painting guide on the rear cover. This is a full interior kit, and not just the crew area. The engine is constructed first, with all of the ancillaries, mounting frame, exhaust manifolds and hosing added along the way. The lower hull is initially missing its sides, and first needs its axles mounts adding, then the suspension arm with their torsion-bar linkages (long or short) threaded through, plus the crew escape hatch in the middle of the floor, and later on some armoured covers for the axles. The centre section is covered with liftable tread-plate sections, then the beginnings of the driver’s station is begun with control linkages threading across the floor. The side plates are made up next, with masses of ammo boxes in racks, radio gear and various other equipment adorning the inner sides. The engine firewall is also assembled with a small fan at one side for later installation. The starboard side is mated with the floor, and the driver’s side bulkhead with controls and instruments are dropped into holes in the floor, as is the big power-pack in the rear, with the lower section of the aft bulkhead slotted into the large housing for the drive sprockets. The port side undergoes the same treatment and is inserted into the hull along with the firewall, plus the remainder of the aft bulkhead. It’s all fairly standard T-54 equipment so far, until you assemble and add a double-sided bench seat in the centre of the floor where the turret should be. The interior is ostensibly complete, and the roof is added next that is again fairly standard fare apart from some small depressions. The hull top is made up from sections that are detailed with lights, vision blocks and sundry equipment before it is glued in place, starting with the glacis plate, moving back to the vestigial turret ring and then the engine compartment, then adding the final drive bell-housings at the rear and suspension bumpers along the tops of the suspension mounts. All the hatches are fitted after detailing, grilles and their mesh covers are fixed in the rear, fenders are glued into the slots in the side of the hull, then decked out with stiffening brackets plus mudguards at the rear. Now for the fun part, which although it’s not a turret (that’s my usual fun part of an AFV), the three castellated armoured upstands are attached to small depressions in the deck, then the fenders are fitted out with fuel tanks, pioneer tools, the fluted exhausts, stowage boxes and even fuel cans in PE cages. The fuel tanks are linked to the fuel system by snaking tubing that is included in the box, with PE clips to act as the tie-downs and lock parts for the stowage boxes that are lockable. We’ve had no track or road wheel discussion so far, but it’s unavoidable so here we go. The tank has five pairs of road wheels on each side, made up from two wheel parts and a hub in the inner face, held to the axle on the outer surface with a central pin and hub cover that hides them away. Careful gluing will be needed if you wish to keep them mobile, then you repeat the process with the toothed drive sprocket and smooth idler wheel on each side. There’s a little break while you build up the big M2 .50cal and smaller .30cal that can be attached at any of the three mounting points in the lower sections of the doghouse, with highly detailed barrels, ammo cans and mounts. After that brief interlude, it’s time to build up the tracks, which are individual links that fit together in runs of 90 links on each side. Each link has four sprue gates that are on the connection points, so should be quick to tidy up after nipping from the sprue, and there are no ejector marks or sink marks to be seen anywhere, which is nice. They’re of the type you’ll need to glue and drape around the wheels, taking care to obtain the correct sag before the glue sets by packing the runs out to suit. Pretty standard stuff, but covered with beautiful raised and engraved detail on each link that makes it almost a shame to cover them in mud. Markings It’s an interesting one-off vehicle, which we believe was painted pale blue at the time it saw action, as replicated in the museum where it now resides. There are no decals, just lots of opportunity for grime, chipping and so forth. Conclusion Such an unusual derivative of the type deserves to be kitted, and it wasn’t too onerous a task, so MiniArt went ahead and did it, adding a few parts on new sprues to achieve their aim. There will be quite a few parts left on the sprues when you’re finished, so prepare your parts bin for action. We've since reviewed the dozer blade equipped version of this kit, so if a red dozer appeals, you can see our other review here. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Typ 170V Lieferwagen (38040) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd The Mercedes 170 was based upon their W15 chassis, which was their first with all-round independent suspension, and was available as a bare chassis for coachbuilders, as a saloon, cabriolet or as a light van, debuting in the early 30s with sales affected by the worldwide depression that started in Wall Street. Sales picked up after the recession eased, and later versions had internal boot/trunk-space and sleeker lines, moving with the times. As well as sharing a chassis with the saloon, the van was essentially identical in the forward section and inside the crew cab. The bodywork from the doors backward were designed with the same ethos but different due to the boxy load area behind the drivers. The Kit This is a partial re-tool of the original 2012 saloon and subsequent Beer Delivery vehicle (reviewed here), with the same new sprues and parts added to create the necessary changes for the wagon. The original kit is highly detailed, and this one is no different, showing just how far MiniArt have come in their design and moulding technology. There is superb detail throughout, with slender racks, realistic-looking fabric door pockets as well as a full engine and interior to the cab. Inside the shrink-wrapped box are twelve sprues of grey styrene, one in clear, a decal sheet and a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass for finer details, protected in a card envelope. Construction begins with the 1700cc engine and transmission, which is made up from a substantial number of parts that just need a little wiring to do it full justice, and in fact the brake hoses are shown in diagrams to ensure that you obtain the correct bends, but you’ll need to find your own 0.2mm wire to begin with. The X-shaped chassis is prepped with a few mounts and a PE brackets, then the rear axle, differential and driveshafts are fitted on a pair of very realistic styrene springs that have hollow centres and individual coils thanks to some clever sliding moulds. Drum brakes, straps and brackets finish off the rear axle assembly, then the completed engine and drive-shaft are installed in the front to be joined by a pair of full-width leaf-springs from above and below with a stub-axle and drum brake at each end. The exhaust is made up with an impressively neatly designed four-part muffler, a pair of PE mounts, straight exit pipe and a curved length leading forward to the engine. With the addition of the bumper-irons at the front, the lower body can be fixed to the chassis after drilling a single hole in one of the front wings. The front firewall is next to be made up, and the pedal box is installed one side, with a set of tools and another neatly designed cylinder, this time the fuel tank, which is curiously situated in the rear of the engine bay. This fits over the transmission tunnel that is moulded into the floor, with more driver controls such as the gear lever, hand brake and steering column with PE horn-ring added at this time. The dashboard is integrated into the windscreen frame after being fitted with decals within the instrument housings, then covered over with clear faces for realism. There is also a nicely clear curved windscreen inserted before this is dropped over the firewall, joined by a rear cab panel that has a small rear window and the back of the bench seat applied before fitting. The base of the bench seat is also fitted on a riser moulded into the floor. Vehicles need wheels, and this one runs on four with a spare one lurking under a false floor in the back. Each wheel is made up from a layer-cake of three central sections to create the tread around the circumference, and two outer faces that depict the sidewalls of the tyres, with maker’s mark and data panel moulded into the sides. The hubs are inserted into the centres of the tyres, with a cap finishing off the assemblies. They are built up in handed pairs, and the spare has a different hub and no cap to differentiate it. The flat floor for the load area is a single piece with the pocket for the spare tyre to fit inside, and this sits over the rear arches and is supported at the front by a lip on the rear of the cab. The load area is then finished by adding the slab-sides and roof to the body, with a few ejector-pin marks that will need filling if you plan on leaving the door open. Speaking of doors, there are two options for open and closed, with moulded-in hinges and separate door handle, plus the number-plate holder above the door in the centre. The front doors are handed of course, and have separate door cards with handle and window winders added, and a piece of clear styrene playing the part of the window, which is first fitted to the door card before it is added to the door skin. Both doors can be posed open or closed as you wish, and are of the rearward opening "suicide door" type. At this stage the front of the van needs finishing, a job that begins with the radiator with a PE grille and three-pointed star added to a surround, then the radiator core and rear slam-panel with filler cap at the rear. This is put in place at the front of the body at an angle, with two cross-braces reducing body flex along with a central rod that forms the hinge-point for the side folding hood. Small PE fittings are fixed first on the louvered side panels, then added to the top parts in either the open or closed position. A pair of PE and styrene windscreen wipers are added to the windscreen sweeping from the top, a pair of clear-lensed headlamps, wing mirrors and indicator stalks on the A-pillars finish off the build of the van. To differentiate this from the previous kit, MiniArt have included a PE roof rack that is folded up and fitted to the exterior drip-rails around the roof, with a whole page of the instructions devoted to a set of card boxes that are folded up and glued together to give the truck something to carry. In addition, there is also a sack-truck on a separate sprue with a choice of short or long scoop-rail at the front, a pair of small wheels and rests near the top handles. This too can be loaded with boxes if you are planning a delivery diorama. Markings Get your sunglasses out again folks! These were commercial vehicles during peacetime, so they were designed to attract attention. There are three options depicted in the instructions, with plenty of decals devoted to the branding on the sides. From the box you can build one of the following: Chocolate delivery, Berlin 30-40s Delivery of ink & poster paints Food delivery, Westphalia, Germany 30-40s Deutsche Post, German 50s 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 This is another well-detailed kit of an old Merc van, and even if you’re not a vehicle modeller it would make for great background fodder for a diorama, either intact or in a semi-demolished state thanks to urban combat. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Russian Imperial Railway Covered Wagon (39002) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd In war transport of men, munitions and supplies takes on a new level of importance, and during The Great War the Russian Imperial army benefitted from the creation of many routes that had been ordered into existence by the Czar, who had a liking for them. This benefit turned to a disadvantage to the Czar during the revolution, as some workers’ unions became Soviets that were part in the bloody take-over of the country that dethroned the Royal Family, to be replaced by the Soviet Union which led to their exit from WWI. Covered wagons keep the weather out but are more costly to produce, so are used for certain types of goods and not others, especially humans, who don’t react well to the extreme cold of winter or any kind of precipitation. The Kit This kit arrives in a sturdy shrink-wrapped top-opening box, and inside are thirty-seven sprues of grey styrene, two small frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet with decal and painting options adorning the covers. Four of those sprues make up a length of track, which is the standard moulding that MiniArt use for their railway kits, so if you have more of the type they will mesh together to give a longer length of track. We’re well aware by now of the quality of their work, with excellent detail, engraved wooden texture and sensible parts layout that allows maximum value to be extracted from the sprues, and gives us plenty of options. The kit shares some sprues with the earlier Railway Gondola kit that we reviewed here, such as the majority of the underlying chassis and bogeys, although the wheels are of one type only. Construction begins with the central cross-member of the chassis which has hollow two-part timbers and the coupling "root" pinned between the H-frame. This is paired up with four more cross-braces that hold the two C-section chassis rails in place, with braced U-mounts hanging from the rails to accept the axles later on. Diagonal bracing rails are added under the bed with the end bars and side brackets, then the bed itself and two side rails are fitted before the assembly is flipped over to add the leaf-spring suspension then finally the axles and spoked wheels, which are a spring-fitted between the bearers in much the same manner as those of a traditional model train. Each wagon has a total of four buffers front and rear and two hitches, the latter being well-detailed due to the part count, and the eyelets on either side of the hitches have hooks hung on short lengths of chain, which you'll need to source yourself. The truck walls are simple panels with horizontal planking engraved upon them, to which you add a number of stiffening braces that line up on little lugs at the top and bottom of the panels. There are also small windows with hinged flaps and PE brackets at the end of each side wall that can be posed in two directions for open and closed positions. Each end is assembled from wall and end panels, then fitted with two large shelves with cross-braces, plus a narrower angled shelf nearer the ceiling. Support rails for the roof are added on the sides, joining the two sections together and leaving the door area open. Additional braces are attached on the corners of the two end panels, and a bracketed timber stretches across the door area, with a PE rail glued into the top to complete detailing of the door rails top and bottom. The doors have wheels on small t-shaped brackets fitted to the bottom edge that are set aside while the roof is made up. The roof is a simple lightly curved structure made of two panels with cross-braces that follow the contour of the inside on their top edge, and if you intend to fit the included stove/heater, a hole can be drilled in one of the two marked positions for the chimney to fit through later. The well-detailed stove is mounted on a PE plate if used, and the long chimney is threaded through the roof with a small weather-deflector on top, then the roof is glued in place. The sliding doors are then inserted in much the same way as the real ones, head first then lifted so that the wheels rest on the lower rail, which have upturned ends that double as buffers. A PE bracket for the padlock is glued to the left side of the door, with the staple glued to the frame and lock slipped into place. The kit includes enough track to place your gondola on with a few inches either side that will come in useful if you are integrating it into a larger diorama. It is made up from five different types of sleeper with varying grain and ties moulded in and the clamp that holds the rail in place is a separate part for each of the 20 sleepers with two per sleeper. The rails are in two parts each with jointing strips on each side of the rail to turn the joint into a feature, rather than something to hide. You'll need to put the groundwork in yourself, but that gives you a lot of leeway to choose something suitable for your purposes and you can choose larger scale ballast from those available for railway modellers or make your own. Markings There are a generous nine marking options included on the sheet, with most of them in the form of white stencils, a little black and one option with Japanese flag painted on the doors. From the box you can build one of the following: Southwest Railway, Autumn 1915 Southern Railway, Summer 1916 Northwest Railways, Psov, 1917 Moscow-Vindavo-Rybinsk Railway, Summer 1916 Siberian Railway, 1916 Nikolaev Railway, 1917 Ukrainian State Railway, 1918 Libavo-Romny Railway, Vladivostok, 1918 Captured by Japanese Army, Far East of Russia, 1919-20 Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration (where it happens), sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is an unusual kit from WWI era Russia, but it’s good to see and will doubtless come in useful in dioramas and such like. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Been a while since I've posted anything out of the Group Build area, as ive got a bit of time on my hands now thought I'd upload my latest project. A mixed unit stalking a Sherman Firefly as it travels up a French lane. My references, My work so far,
  20. T-60 Screened Plant No.264 Stalingrad INTERIOR KIT (35237) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models The T-60 was the result of the ongoing development of light tanks that had started well before WWII. This particular tank started development in 1938 as an attempt to replace the T-26, T-40, the failed T-46 project and the T-50. Whilst such a large number were produced, it was hated by all who had to deal with it – all except the Germans, who found it to be a substandard and underwhelming opponent, and a rather nice ammunition carrier or gun towing tractor, once captured. As a result of its poor armour, substandard armament and sluggish performance, it was more dangerous to its crews than anybody else, earning it the title Bratskaya Mogila Na Dovoikh, literally: “a brother’s grave for two.” The basic design was completed in a mere fifteen days, and Astrov, seconded by Lieutenant Colonel V.P. Okunev, wrote to Stalin contrasting the advantages of the mass-producible T-60 with the more complicated T-50, which had already received the go-ahead. An inspection from a senior minister resulted in two decisions: firstly, the 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine gun was to be replaced with a 20 mm (0.79 in) ShVAK, although it was still inadequate against the Panzer IIIs and IVs that the T-60 would almost certainly engage whilst there was a shortage of T-34s. Secondly, the Main Defence Committee (GKO), headed by Stalin, ordered 10,000 T-60s to be produced immediately. Some sources have claimed that Stalin’s interest in the vehicle is because he attended the vehicle’s final trials in person. The Germans would use captured tanks under the designation Panzerkampfwagen T-60 743(r), and the Romanians would modify 34 captured tanks into TACAM tank destroyers in 1943 armed with captured Russian 76mm divisional guns housed in a lightly armoured superstructure. These vehicles were confiscated by the Russians when Roumania changed sides in 1944. The Model The kit comes in the fairly standard, yet sturdy and colourful top opening box MiniArt use, with an artists impression of the vehicle on the front. This tank is modified by having a 20mm main gun, octagonal commanders hatch, spoked idler wheels without rubber, a welded drivers hatch, and different engine hatch. Additional armour is provided at the front and a winter screen for the rear . Inside there are thirty three sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with one sprue of clear styrene, two small sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. As with most MiniArt kits there is a huge amount of detail contained on the sprues and in this one there are 490 parts, including the etched brass. The mouldings are superb with no imperfections and very few moulding pips. Some of the smaller parts, and there are a lot of them, do have a fair number of sprue gates, but fortunately they are relatively small and shouldn’t cause too many problems. The sheer number of parts is explained by the fact that this kit is equipped with a full, and I mean full interior, which for a model/vehicle this size will mean you will need a magnifying glass/Optivisor when building. The build starts with the lower hull floor, to which the drivers position is attached, complete with detailed gearbox, levers and brake drums. Then there is the comprehensively detailed engine, which is a model in itself, and has more parts than some whole kits, around 22 in total. The two batteries and battery tray are then added to the left hand side of the hull adjacent to the drivers position, followed by the right side panel which is fitted with a fire extinguisher and four support brackets. The rear bulkhead is fitted out with several parts on the outside, before being attached to the lower hull, as is the lower glacis plate. The engine assembly is then glued into position and connected to the gearbox via a couple of drive shafts. The interior is slowly built up with bulkheads, ammunition racks with spare ammunition drums and boxes and another fire extinguisher. The left hull panel is then attached, along with the outer drive covers, idler axles, internal longitudinal bulkhead and several pipes. The upper hull plate is fitted with several panels before being glued into place. The drivers hatch is made up from five parts, while the drivers vision block is made up from six parts. Both assemblies are then glued to the driver position, and can be posed either open of closed. Depending on which colour scheme the modeller has chosen there are two options for the style of headlights to be used. The suspension arms are then glued to the hull, followed by the road wheels, return rollers, drive sprockets and idler wheels. The engine cover is next made up of three plastic and two etched grille pieces. This is then glued into position on the top deck, along with the drivers access and viewing plate. The tracks are each built up from eighty five individual links, which, unfortunately are not click able, but have to be glued, making it a little more awkward to get the sag and fitted around the idlers/drive sprockets. But with plenty of patience and care they can be made to look the business. The track guards are fitted with many PE brackets, as well as storage boxes, pioneer tools and a nicely detailed jack. These are then fitted to the hull and the build moves on to the turret. There is a large PE grille fitted to the rear engine deck along with a PE surround. There are two covers that go over this if winterising the vehicle, each plate is fixed with four to six PE wing nuts. While the turret is very small there is still plenty of detail packed into it. The turret ring is fitted with commander’s seat, ready use ammunition locker, plus traversing and elevation gearboxes and hand wheels. Inside the turret itself there are two four piece vision blocks, spent ammunition plug, vent cover, the breech and sight for the main gun which is slid through the trunnion mount, as is the three piece co-axial machine gun. The turret roof is fitted with a two piece hatch and before it is glued into position the machine gun ammunition drum is attached and the spent cartridge chute to the main gun. The roof is then attached, as is the outer mantlet and barrel cover of the main gun. The turret is the attached o the hull and the build is finished off with the fitting of more PE brackets around the hull and the engine exhaust glued into position. Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for 4 tanks. White 7, unknown unit Red Army 1942 White 41, unknown unit Red Army, Rzhev, July 1942 Wjite 3, 3rd Guards Tank Brigade, Kalnin front 1942 Red 83, unknown unit Red Army Feb-March 1943 Conclusion This is another amazing kit from MiniArt and brings yet another lesser known military vehicle to the mainstream modelling community. With the numerous parts count and the large number of very small parts, this kit is really aimed at the more experienced modeller, it looks like it should build up into a superb model, absolutely full of detail, so much so that there shouldn’t be any need for aftermarket parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
  21. British Lorry 3t LGOC B-Type (38027) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Built by the Four Wheel Drive (FWD) company, this was a very early truck used by the military of Britain and the US during WWI, beginning in 1915 with a small order from the British Army. It was full of curious technology from a modern standpoint, but then vehicles of this type were still in their infancy, so that’s hardly surprising that there were a few dead-ends. It was originally supplied with solid tyres and the front wheels had a strange toed-in look due to the suspension geometry set up to give a light steering load. Its T-head engine produced a monstrous 36bhp and it could be connected to all four wheels or either front or rear in the event of necessity or damage to either drive-shaft. It also had a distinctive pig-nosed front due to the fact that the engine was mounted below the cab, with only the radiator housed in the front and precious little (read: none) cover for the driver and crew. Over 12,000 were made up until the end of WWI, with them finding a ready market in the post-war period in the civilian sector, sometimes with pneumatic tyres added to improve the ride quality. The Kit This kit began with the militarised version in olive drab (39001), and was developed into the London Ominbus. Detail is excellent with a full chassis, engine and interior included in the box, giving you just about everything you need to build a detailed replica of the truck. Construction begins with the engine, which is well detailed and even has diagrams showing you how to wire up the spark plugs with some of your own wire if you wish. The exhaust manifold, big clutch flywheel are added to the block along with a load of ancillary parts and hoses, then the gearbox is made up with its short drive-shaft to link it to the engine later on. The chassis is made up from the two side rails and cross members, then the engine is inserted from below while the fan belt and blades; starting handle; leaf springs for the suspension; and a large rear axle are all added, then flipped over to begin work on the engine compartment. A wood-textured bulkhead is installed aft, and at the front the large radiator is assembled and fitted to the front of the chassis, then linked to the feed hoses that were fixed earlier. A small linkage is made from 0.3mm wire and joined with and end-piece that completes the link, which has a couple of scrap diagrams to assist you, one at 1:1 scale to ensure you have it right. The chassis is flipped again and the front axle is built then inserted into the leaf-springs, while brake rods are threaded along the length of the vehicle to provide the meagre braking force to all wheels. The gearbox gets a guard fitted to its bottom as it is inserted into the chassis, at which point it is also linked to the back axle with another drive-shaft that is bracketed by a piece of PE. The what must have been uncomfortable solid tyre wheels, and the front vehicle lights are made up and set to one side. The chassis is flipped again, and the gearbox is linked to the cab, with steering wheel, PARP! style horn plus the cab floor with foot board and cut-outs for the steering wheel, foot brake and other pedals (right-hand drive of course). Now the front and back of the engine bay are linked by the fixed centre panel, and you can build the cowling in either open or closed positions with PE plates attached to the vertical panels. The chassis continues again with the exhaust pipe and muffler, which has a PE lip added to each end of the welded cylinder. This and the remaining driver controls are fixed into the chassis,. The rudimentary drivers cab is built up (with glazed windows which the military version did not have) and installed onto the chassis which is then set aside while the load compartment is built. The load bed is built up from the bottom part, and four sides all of which have fine wood grain moulded in. Underneath five mounting rails are added for mounting to the chassis. The load bed can now be added. Stowage boxes are then added. The front mud guards are then assembled and these can be mounted along with the lights and a front grill over the radiator. Finally the wheels can be added. Markings A nice decal sheet from Decograf provides decals for 3 attractive civilian trucks; J Cooper & Sons Coal delivery - London 1918 Henry Evans & Sons Transport Contractors - London 1918-1922 William Wood & Company - Liverpool 1920s Conclusion It is great to see the civilian post war users getting a look in, Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. German Railroad Staff 1930-40s (38012) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Any railway diorama looks better with some human scale, whether it’s a massive Dora railgun or a simple BR-52 loco. We had the German Rail Staff set a while back that we reviewed here, and now we have a new set from MiniArt depicting the guys that shifted the ballast and made good the holes the Allies kept making in the railways of Germany during WWII. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with six sprues in a heat-sealed bag with parts for four figures and a collection of tools and accessories pertinent to their trades. There’s a man bending with a full shovel, another oiling something (hopefully not the other fellow’s crotch), and chap holding a bunch of tools, then a more officially dressed gentleman who is either their boss, or the lookout, or both. He’s holding a small trumpet to his lips as if to blow a warning note to get the crew off the lines. Sculpting is up to MiniArt’s usual high standard with parts breakdown giving each figure separate legs, arms torso and head, plus a flat-top to their heads that accept various styles of caps, some military in nature. The two accessories sprues carry a tool bag and box, folio case, a large shovel, oil-can, lamp, lollipop, handheld torch, and something that looks like a folded flag for the gang boss to wear on his hip. Sorry for the "Charlies Angels" pose, but it was that or have the guy on the left oiling the guy on the right's ear! The painting guide on the rear of the box doubles as the construction guide, and if you look carefully you’ll see that you need to supply a length of wire for the small lamp that one of the figures is holding. You’ll also need to make up whatever it is that the shovelling man is moving, but as you’re likely to be putting him into a backdrop with your own choice of groundworks, that shouldn’t present a problem. Paint colours are given as swatches, Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO and the colour name in English, so finding a suitable shade from your own stocks will be a doddle. Conclusion Some workers beavering away in the background oblivious to the main thrust of your diorama will add more realism to it, and if you take the time to paint them sympathetically and integrate them well into the scenery, they should look great. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Afghan Civilians (38034) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd Since well before the 80s, a lot of conflict has gone on in the Middle East, with the recent focus having been Afghanistan and Iraq, where there have been huge Western presences during the last few decades. The Afghan civilians have been there throughout all of this, and many have lost their lives, which is immensely saddening. This boxing depicts a group of Afghanis in their typical day-to-day wear, with a broad spread of age ranges often seen in their multi-generational families, where the elders are afforded more respect and their input is valued. It arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure-sized box, with the instructions/painting guide on the rear in full colour. Inside are five sprues, three on one runner that I cut up to make photography easier. There are 4.5 figures on the sprues, the 0.5 being a small child in the arms of the mother, who is wearing a full chadaree as is their custom when out in public in Afghanistan, even though it is no longer an official requirement by the democratic regime in power. She is stood with the little girl on her hip, while a young teenage boy is stood with his hands by his side, book in hand, and (presumably) his father stands with his arms folded. An elder gentleman is sitting with his feet together in front of him on top of a tied sack, a feat that I can’t manage even now! He wears a Perahan Tunban, while the father wears a flat-topped Pakul hat, and the son wears a brimless kufi cap. Finally, the little girl has a scarf loosely draped over her head. The sculpting is first rate as you would expect from MiniArt, and parts breakdown has been carefully considered due to the presence of draped clothing on all of the figures, with additional overflow sprue tabs on some parts to prevent short-shot parts, with intelligent placement of sprue gates and seamlines to minimise clean-up. The painting suggestions are just that, with regional variations in colours used, such as the chadaree with the light blue example seen in the Kabul area, brown and green in Kandahar in the south, and white in the north in Mazar-i-Sharif. Conclusion The background to any diorama or vignette is key, so having a group of bystanders to add to your model will bring additional authenticity to the finished product. Very useful. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Scaffolding (35605) MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd If you’ve been watching the procession of the new 1:35 Triebflügel kits from MiniArt, you’ll have noticed two things. One that the kits are excellent, and two that one of the kits includes a scaffold for the pilot and ground crew to access the cockpit of this weird and whacky late WWII project. This scaffold is now available separately for purchase in case you bought an early boxing, or just want some scaffold for a project you have in mind. It arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with nine sprues in grey styrene within. Due to the modular nature of the scaffolding, there are only two different sprues, five of one, four of the other. There are three assemblies to be made up that are basically the same but have the N-shaped tubular frames reversed to add strength to the assembly. The parts are fixed to a bottom frame and have a ladder section attached to the bottom, and can be stacked as far up as the contents of the box allows, and these are then topped off with a flat section of tread-plate, with inverted U-shaped brackets that give the user a modicum of safety. To facilitate movement there are four castors at the bottom, which have pedals to apply the brake once they are in position. These are made up of the wheel, yoke and pedal, with eight in the box that can be used to complete two mobile bases with up to five layers of scaffold able to be made up, with a stack of three and two shown on the box, each with a standing area at the top. Conclusion A scaffold is a handy thing to have for any 1:35 diorama, especially if you’ve got a Triebflügel that your pilot can’t get into or out of. They can be painted any colour you like, but a few examples are given in the instructions printed on the rear of the box. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. SLA APC T-54 w/Dozer Blade (37028) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During the period that the South Lebanese Army existed from 1985-2000, they had a small force of tanks that included T-54s that had been bought from Russia, with little opportunity of topping up losses. When one T-54 was hit and had its turret destroyed, it was recovered to the workshops and had the remains of its turret removed and replaced by welded sheet metal to give it an open-topped “doghouse” to fill a new role as an Armoured Personnel Carrier, hence the designation APC-54. It was sometimes seen using a large red makeshift dozer blade that was attached to the glacis plate with a substantial base plate supporting the V-shaped blade. The APC was painted a pale blue colour and was used in the 80s, surviving to end up in an Israeli museum without its blade, where it has been photographed many times by visitors in a fresh coat of light blue paint. The Kit Hot on the heels of dozer-less variant we reviewed here only a few days ago, this boxing has the dozer blade sprues and a small revision of the armoured upstands that protected the crew from incoming rounds. The box is slightly more full than the previous boxing due to the swapping out of unnecessary parts for their replacements, with seventy six sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, a revised sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass and the new instruction booklet. Construction begins with a blow-by-blow recreation of the hull as per the earlier kit, with the exception of the more makeshift bench seat mounted perpendicular to the direction of travel, and a box-like seat with stowage space underneath at the rear. The glacis plate is amended due to the fitment of the dozer, and at the rear the arrangement of louvers is also slightly different, using more individual PE louver panels. The replacement doghouse parts have been moved forward in the build process, with the addition of two prominent aerials mounted within the corners. The fenders are then made up with exhausts with additional fuel tanks and a slightly different connection route for the hoses that feed the fuel into the engine compartment. Pioneer tools, stowage boxes and other items on the fenders are subtly different from the earlier boxing, showing MiniArt’s attention to detail with this duo. The tracks and road wheels are all identical to the earlier boxing too, with 90 links each side that have four sprue gates and should be easy to clean up and put together. Moving on, the weapons are made up with rolled PE cooling jackets running full-length on the M3, and the shorter one fitted to the M2. Each gun is well detailed and has a box mag and length of link leading to the breech, plus pintle-mounts that fit inside the doghouse. The most visually different aspect of the build is of course the dozer blade, with the first job to build up the attachment assembly, which has a large number of parts for its size. It has rams to adjust the angle and deployment of the blade, which is next to be made. The straight rear is firstly glued together with stiffeners and attachment points for the rams created, onto which the angled blades are added, making a two-layer affair that could presumably allow it to be used in a straight or v-shaped configuration. Various small fittings are added to the back, then the two sub-assemblies are mated and secured in place by three stout pins, with a slender link at the top. It is fixed to the glacis plate along with the machine guns, with an overhead drawing giving sufficient detail to ensure it is positioned correctly. Markings There are none! Again. The APC is blue, while the blade assembly is a rusty red, and once it has seen any action at all, that paint will become distressed and damaged, with plenty of opportunity to practice your weathering and chipping techniques. Conclusion I don’t know what it is that appeals about this kit, but it does. The addition of the dozer blade in the contrasting red is the cherry on top, or in front at least. The detail is excellent throughout, with so much scope for weathering that you could go crazy if you really wanted, as some of the photos of it in service show it quite well worn. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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