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Found 160 results

  1. M3 Lee Full Interior Kit (35206) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models In the years before WWII America realised that they were lagging behind in respect of armour, a fact that became especially clear when Germany came out from under the Versailles treaty to show off and then use their new tanks and Blitzkrieg tactics. The M3 Lee was conceived in 1940 as a medium tank carrying a powerful 75mm gun, partly for manning by their own crews, but also because Britain had requested a large number of tanks to make good their losses from Dunkirk. The Lee was a decent tank but suffered from a high silhouette and limited traverse of the sponson-mounted 75mm gun, but was still widely used. In British service it was known as the Lee if it was fitted with the original American turret, or the Grant when using the lower-profiled British specification turrets. The Lee was used primarily in Africa and the Pacific theatres where the 2nd line equipment seemed to be fielded (for the most part) by the enemy, and against the Japanese who were far behind with their tank designs and tactics. It underwent some substantial changes including cast, welded and back to riveted hulls plus changes in the power pack and loss of the side doors to stiffen the hull. The riveted hulls suffered from rivets popping off and becoming projectiles when hit, which could be just as lethal as a penetrating round and was never fully eliminated. The Kit MiniArt began 2019 with a new tooling of the M3 Lee and are expanded their range by adding new parts as they go along. We've come to expect great things from MiniArt's new kits and of course this one is no different with a ton of detail included both externally and internally, as it is a full-interior kit with the increased part count that comes with that. The box is standard MiniArt fare with an attractive picture from their usual artist, and inside are a huge number of sprues of varying sizes with 60 sprues in grey styrene, a single sprue in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and the instruction booklet with painting guide at the front and rear completing the package. Construction begins with the vehicle floor onto which the transmission and final drive assemblies are fixed along with a long drive shaft. The front crew stations are installed around the final drive, and in the centre is the ammo storage with a tread-plated top with the engine firewall behind it. The ammo bin can be posed open or closed using the same door parts, exposing the striking plates moulded into the assembly, and more shells are added to the firewall in racks. Just in case the tank isn't quite flammable enough, a spare fuel can is strapped to the firewall, as are a couple of radiators which I'm hoping can be switched off or redirected in the desert! Moving to the lower sidewalls, these are separate parts and are fitted out with equipment such as fire extinguishers, ammo and a Thompson machine gun with drum mags with the bow gunner's bench seat added to the starboard side as they are joined and the sponson floor fitted at right-angles using slots and tabs. Take care here to clamp them firmly against the bottom of the firewall to prevent them from drooping while setting, which would open up a world of pain if they set out of position. The rolled lower glacis part is also added, and the final drive bell housings that are incorporated into the sidewalls mate with these to complete the shape of that area. The Lee/Grant and to an extent the Sherman were powered by radial engines that sat vertically in the hull and can be blamed for their slightly tall hull shapes. This is provided in detail with the kit with all the cylinders, push-rods and exhaust tubing, plus the tin-work that helps cool the engine all mounted to a sturdy lateral mount that goes around the ancillaries at the rear. Two cheek parts are added into the engine compartment first, and the engine rests on the brackets protruding from the walls. Various tanks and reservoirs are squeezed into the remaining space along with piping for the twin airboxes and the general "spaghetti" that's seen on this kind of engine. The supports for the engine cover are fitted to the sides and the aft bulkhead with access hatch and twin exhaust stacks close in much of the hard work, with twin doors (open or closed) at the back and a PE mesh grille completing the top of the area, allowing the rising heat to escape. The lower hull is finished off with a pair of short arches over the drive wheels and a host of additional equipment filling up the interior with more shell storage, tanks and auxiliary generator. The big 75mm gun and substantial casemate are built up next for fitting into the hull front and the curved splinter shield that allows 14o of traverse to either side to counter any errors in position from the driver or enemy movement. The breech is surrounded by a shield and has the manual traverse wheel and other driver controls plus his seat and sighting gear included, as well as another box containing the 75mm shells peculiar to his gun. Before it can be installed the super-structure must be built up to accommodate it, including the sidewalls, the curved surround and the angled front panels of the glacis. The various hatches can be posed open or closed, and an instrument panel is fitted to the inside of the glacis. The bow machine gun is actually a twin mount with two .30 cal M1919s firing through a hatch near the port sponson. The rest of the hull is then built up in much the same manner as the real thing, but with glue and the rivets only there for show. Fuel caps and another Thompson are added along the way, and when we reach the engine deck there are two large panels, the smaller of them having PE grilles and more filler caps, with both of them covered in small PE tie-down lugs. The rear of the deck overhangs the hull and a small armoured "skirt" protects the tops of the exhausts from stray rounds where PE brackets are used to hang the aft lights. The completed deck is then covered with pioneer tools and their PE tie-downs, plus the towing cables that you need to source yourself to go with the plastic eyes at each end. A scrap diagram shows their location and how to fix the PE straps to the tie-downs and eyes, with a length of 145mm suggested. At this stage the majority of the hull is built, but it is likely to fill with rain until the roof is fitted. Before that the surround to the turret basket is completed with stowage space for six canteens moulded into the parts. The stiffening plates to the lower glacis are also glued to the hull and then the roof is made up from a large main part that is stiffened with a number of ribs, and an extra section is attached to the side with a small periscope in the middle. The three square access doors for the crew can all be posed open or closed with latches and small viewing hatches within that can also be posed open. After fitting the armoured cover to the main gun's periscope and a few grab handles, you get to build up the running gear. Aren't you lucky? The Lee's suspension is very similar to the Sherman's with two fat wheels on a bogie with a return roller at the top, and there are three of these assemblies per side. The wheels with their moulded-in tyres are attached to the bogies via swing-arms that pivot inside the cast bogie with an additional arm linked to the compressible rubber towers. Before the front of the bogie is fitted the return roller is installed so it is trapped between its two bearings. Repeat that six times and then make up the idler wheels, which have PE edges and separate hub caps. The bogies are attached to the sides of the hull on their mounting plates, and two stiffeners are added to the top of each one, while the idler wheels are attached to their axles on the adjustable tensioners. At the front the drive sprockets are made up from two parts with an internal collar allowing them to remain mobile if you're sparing with the glue. A short break has you fitting the driver's hatch and optional clear window with a PE wiper blade, plus a couple of towing eyes with shackles under the glacis and some truly tiny parts in plastic and PE between them. Tracks. Love 'em or loathe 'em, they're a necessary part of most tanks and you have to do them eventually. There are 79 track links per side, and each link is made up from four parts. The pads are split to accommodate the links between them, and this is a little fiddly. I built my test section up on a flattened piece of blutak to hold them in place, but if you have a commercial or self-made track-making jig that you've purchased separately you might find it a little quicker. That said, each link is good looking with fine detail at the ends, and they are flexing nicely as per the real thing. It'll take some time to complete them, but they will be excellent as long as you're careful with preparation and the glue. The rest of the pioneer tools are bracketed to the hull along with the front headlights and their PE protective cages, the former having PE tie-downs and brackets holding them down. You will need to find some thin wire to link the headlamps to the gland that takes the cable inside the hull. Now you can start the turret, most of which is held within the upper part, and that has some very nice casting texture moulded into it that should look great under a few coats of paint. The frames for the small hatches are first to be added, then the hatches themselves are fitted in the open or closed position with small stays holding them at the correct angle for the former. The sighting equipment, racks, and fume extraction equipment are then fitted before the breech is built up and fitted, making adding parts after more fiddly. The breech is started by joining the two main parts together, adding the surround, the coax machine gun, then setting it aside while the mantlet and elevation mechanisms are made up. This all fits in the back of the riveted mantlet cover and includes a periscope next door to protect the viewer from being injured by direct small arms fire. The breech is slid into the mantlet and an ammo box is attached to the starboard side then the completed assembly is inserted into the turret from the outside. More equipment is fitted into the lower areas of the upper turret and into the lower turret part, including the increasingly important radio gear and their aerials once the two halves are joined. The little machine-gun turret has its internal structure added along with some PE vents then the upper gun with its tiny mount, vision port and a short length of ammo on a top hopper is made up and inserted from the inside into its slot, then closed in by the turret ring underneath, and on top the bi-fold hatch, which can be posed open or closed. A pair of armoured covers for the PE vents can be posed open or closed on the outside, completing the assembly. The turret basket is bucket-shaped with a cut-out to one side to allow entry and exit, plus stowage space for more ammo for the guns and the machine guns, fire extinguisher and small button-seats for the crew. Additionally there is an opening door to the basket that widens the aperture and contains a pair of tanks for the electro-hydraulic rotation equipment. A studded bezel is installed in the top rim and the rest of the traverse equipment is put in place along with a bit more wire that you'll need to provide, then one more seat on a pedestal is put in the centre of the basket which is then dropped into the turret ring in the top of the hull with the MG turret on top to complete the build. Markings There are a generous eight options provided for the modeller on the decal sheet, all but one of them in green, the other still being green but overpainted with a coat of white distemper winter camouflage. Considering this is an armour kit the sheet is relatively large due to the number of options, use of roundels and various personalisations of their tank by the crews depicted in the kit. From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Armoured Division US Army, military manoeuvres, State of California, Nov 1941 2nd Armoured Division US Army, Fort Benning (Georgia), early 1942 Canadian Army, training armoured divisions, Great Britain, 1942 Red Army, supposedly 192nd Tank Brigade, 61st Army, Bryansk Front, district north of Bolkhov (Oryol region), Jul 1942 Red Army, supposedly 192nd Tank Brigade, 61st Army, Bryansk Front, district north of Bolkhov (Oryol region), Jul 1942 German Army Wehrmacht captured unit, Mzensk, Feb 1943 German Army Wehrmacht captured unit, Eastern Front, 1943 Red Army, 5th Guards Tank Army, Steppe Front, Kursk, Jul 1943 Decals are by DecoGraph, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a wonderfully detailed kit of the Lee as it was supplied to the US, Canadian and Red Army, plus a couple the Germans pinched. The detail incorporated in styrene is phenomenal and the addition of the PE parts gives the modeller all the shackles for their pioneer tools, which are usually included in aftermarket PE sets. A really impressive piece of plastic engineering that's going to be echoed with the Grants and further Lees very soon. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Plastic Barrels & Cans (35590) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Plastic barrels are pretty useful, as they're light when empty, recyclable, can hold liquids that metal barrels can't and are often more resistant to impact without permanent damage. In addition they don't use up much in the way of strategic materials, so you're onto a winner. Civilians and military use them extensively, and wherever there is engineering going on, you'll usually find barrels dotted around. This set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box, and inside are twelve sprues in grey styrene plus a small decal sheet. There are six sprues of barrels and six of cans, and you can make two sizes of barrels from six of them, and two cans from the other six by following the simple instructions on the rear of the box. The large barrels are made of two sides and a top, while the small barrels have two additional clasps on the sides to facilitate carrying. The cans are simple two-part assemblies with the nozzle moulded into the left side to reduce seams. Markings There are a bunch of warning decals on the little sheet that is printed by DecoGraph with good register, clarity and sharpness. The back of the box also includes painting and decaling suggestions in various colours as well as the ubiquitous blue. Conclusion 12 barrels in two sizes, and 12 cans. All in realistic plastic for you to paint and add to your projects. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Ukrainian BMR-1 with KMT-9 Mine Roller (37043) MiniArt 1:35 via Creative Models Based on the SU-122-54, which MiniArt have also produced, this kit is of this is the version of the armoured mine clearing vehicle. The main gun has been removed and the fittings of the attachment of the KMT-7 mine roller system. Where the top hatches would normally be, there is instead a round cupola fitted with a single heavy machine gun. The forward section of the lower hull was fitted with much thicker armour to prevent penetration in the event a mine exploded under the vehicle. Surprisingly these vehicles were still in use during the Soviet invasion of the Ukraine just recently. The Model As with the TOP engineering vehicle this is typically Russian in style, tough, rugged and with the singular purpose of clearing mines. As with most MiniArt kits the box, with an artist’s impression on the front is full to the brim with sprues, a total of seventy one in grey styrene, one in clear, a small sheet of etched brass, two lengths of chain and a small decal sheet. The way the sprues are moulded is how the company gets so many versions of their kits out, as there is a lot of commonality. The mouldings are extremely well executed with no sign of flash or other imperfection, but there are quite a few moulding pips which increases clean up time. While the build looks fairly simple there are a lot of parts used to build up the suspension and particularly the mine roller system. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is fitted out with the torsion beam suspension fixtures and you have the option of fitting the whole torsion beam or just the end part. Each suspension beam/axle plate consists of seven parts and there are ten axles to fit. Once the suspension is assembled the lower hull is built up from two side plates a rear plate and the internal firewall for the engine bay, the engine being available separate should you wish to fit one. The suspension bump stops are then attached, as are the drive gearbox covers and idler wheel axles. The large armoured plate is then fitted to the forward underside of the hull. The superstructure is next and is made up from separate plates which require holes to be drilled out before gluing together. In order to help get the plates the correct angles there is a small internal part the helps with this and give the structure strength and rigidity before the roof and mantle are attached. The roof is fitted with two, spades, with their respective clamps and the commander’s cupola is fitted with three vision blocks. The superstructure assembly is then glued to the lower hull, along with the track guards, and three multi-part engine deck covers. The rear of the superstructure has a single large hatch glued into place, as well as other unidentifiable fittings. The commander’s cupola is made up from no less than nineteen parts if you include the searchlight. There is a much simpler second hatch on the right hand side of the super structure. The front and rear mudguards are then assembled and fitted along with the very complex PE engine deck grilles, with separate shutters are built up and fitted. On the sides of the superstructure there are a lot more grab handles and brackets to be attached, while to the rear there is the five piece exhaust outlet fitted to the right track guard. The twin headlights fitted to the left and right sides of the glacis plate are assembled from thirteen parts including the base and all the support beams. On each front track guard there is a visual width pole fitted which are also fitted with reflectors. The turret ring is then fitted to the roof, while on the left side of eh superstructure the canvas roll is fitted with PE straps. The glacis plate is fitted with a selection of brackets, towing hooks and four pairs of spare track links. Two large stowage boxes are assembled and glued to the track guards, one per side. The BTR style conical turret is fitted with the 14.5mm heavy machine gun and a co-axial light machine gun via a separate mantle before being covered with an additional circular turret and fitted wot the turret ring on the roof. There is an aerial mount and aerial fitted to the front left of the superstructure and a further three pairs of track links fitted with their brackets, also on the left hand side. Each of the road wheels are glued into pairs and fitted with a small hub cap, as are the sprockets and idler wheels. Once assembled these are all glued into place, as are the large towing cables. Finally the tracks are assembled and draped over the running gear. With this kit you get the newer link and pin system that MiniArt have started using. This system is so easy to use and you can get a full length of track within minutes, even with 91 links per side. After completing a short run the pis work fairly well and its best to stretch them apart a little and do 2 links at a time. A small dab of extra thin glue securing the end. With the vehicle complete it’s on to the raison d'être of the tanks mission, the mine roller system. Now these are quite complex, so take care in reading the instructions carefully as it could easily go wrong. The KMT series of ploughs/plows have been in service since the 60s and were used with all Main Battle Tanks with newer vehicles using the improved KMT-7 and KMT-9. It operates by breaking the ground down with tough, sectioned rollers of substantial weight to simulate the footprint of an AFV, ploughing up the ground and detonating any mines it finds. Its rugged construction means that it can survive explosions, although they do take their toll on the hardware eventually. Construction begins with the rollers with two-part centres to which all the individual plates are fixed with equal spacing. The short axle threads through the centre and is supported by a three-piece yoke that is extended by another two parts that are in turn fixed to a central axle with one roller on each side, making a total of four sections, each free-wheeling. The end caps allow the rear axle to rotate freely if you don't glue them up, and then you start again on the other roller. Each roller assembly has a set of suspension arms added to each side and a cross-brace that links the suspension together. They are put to one side while the main chassis frame is made up, adorned with hydraulic rams that make up a large, heavy assembly with seriously thick parts depicting the sturdy design. Cleats are included to fit the plough the BMR-1, consisting of a number of parts for the lower glacis plate and two main attachment pads for the upper glacis. Brackets are fitted to the lower plates and the frame is hinged from those with strong cables attached to the upper plates and linked to the frame to support it further. The two roller assemblies are suspended from the arms facing back toward the vehicle with the long rods sticking up in pairs. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller four options, all of which were used in the war against Afghanistan. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- 3rd Ukrainian Engineer Battalion, UN Interim Force Lebanin 2000-2006 703rd Engineering Regiment, Ukraine 2015 Engineering Unit, Ukraine Armed Forces, Donetsk, Ukraine 2015 Engineering Unit, Ukraine Armed Forces, Lugansk, Ukraine 2019 Conclusion Continuing their march through the various T-55 variants, MiniArt are producing some really interesting vehicles. Although the mine roller system is quite complex to assemble it will look superb once complete. This is another vehicle that’ll make an interesting stand alone model or great in a diorama. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  4. German 200L Fuel Drums (35597) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Arriving in a shrink-wrapped figure box, this set contains German 200L fuel drums aplenty, but also includes a lot of manual pumping tools. Inside the box is a tightly wrapped bag containing 18 sprues in grey styrene, 12 of which containing parts to make a drum, and six with end caps and manual fuel pump assembles. Four little elastic bands further clamp the sprues together to ensure no chaffing during transit. The drums are made from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are added to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There is a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you leave off the cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself. That orange stripe on the grey & yellow drum is printed that way - wasn't me, honest! The instructions are printed on the back of the box and below them is an example of paint schemes that the drums left the factory in (see above), which you can depict in any state from brand new to badly dented and completely rusted to bare metal. Highly recommended – especially if you need a lot of German 200L fuel drums for your next project Review sample courtesy of
  5. 3-Ton Service Crane (35576) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Cranes are quite handy for lifting things and on the back of a vehicle they're mobile, so even more so. This set from MiniArt arrives in a figure-sized end-opening box and inside is a small sprue in grey styrene, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts and a length of chain. It's a small kit, so rattles around in the box a bit, but is protected from harm by its bag, and the PE is in a card envelope with the chain inside another bag. The instructions are printed on the rear of the box and construction begins with the cropped A-frame that holds the gearing and forms the base of the crane. The jib is equally simple, consisting of curved angle-iron with a pulley at the end, and some PE cross-braces along its length, plus more on the base of the crane. The jib attaches to the top of the base and is held at an angle by two sliding braces, which on the rear thing are adjusted by sliding past each other with pegs holding the new angle. If you want to adjust the angle of your model however, you will need to cut and adjust these yourself. The chain is wrapped around the cylinder at the apex of the crane's base, then threaded along the jib and over the pulley at the end and finally down to the hook, back again and up to the last hook at the very end of the jib. A large winding handle is fitted either to the top bobbin or by using an additional long rod to the small cog at the bottom of the gear set. Markings There are no decals, just a PE maker's plaque that reads "Weaver Auto-Crane, Weaver Mfg.Co., Springfield Ill USA". The box art shows the crane painted red with a black plate and yellow or brass raised lettering, but whatever colour you want to paint it should be fine. Many of the photos online show either red, a red/brown colour, grey, with greater or lesser quantities of rust but there are others that have been renovated and painted quite "bright" colours. Conclusion A nice addition to a flat-bed model in this scale, or anywhere else you think a crane such as this would look good. Detail is good and it looks just like the real thing. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. KMT-9 Mine-Roller (37040) 1:35 MiniArt Mines are a problem for AFVs, softskins and foot soldiers alike, and there are different types used for different circumstances. Mines intended to disable tanks generally have larger charges to penetrate the thinner underside armour and tear off tracks and drive wheels, with a higher pressure required to trigger them. The resulting bang can cripple or destroy a tank, leaving crew killed or injured, a valuable tank out of action and sometimes blocking the way. Most Soviet and Russian tanks are fitted with attachment points for mine-rollers that can be fitted as needed and clear a path for the tank's tracks to allow them to proceed. Other tanks without a mine-roller must follow in their tracks exactly or risk detonating mines that are outside the cleared paths. It's not an ideal solution, more of an expedient one that probably requires a more complete cleaning later when the enemy aren't shooting at them. The KMT series of ploughs/plows have been in service since the 60s and were used with all Main Battle Tanks with newer vehicles using the improved KMT-7 and KMT-9. It operates by breaking the ground down with tough, sectioned rollers of substantial weight to simulate the footprint of an AFV, ploughing up the ground and detonating any mines it finds. Its rugged construction means that it can survive explosions, although they do take their toll on the hardware eventually. The Kit We'll be seeing the plastic from this box in a number of kits, the new BMR-1 with plough being one of them, which will be reviewed shortly by my colleague. It arrives in a shrink-wrapped top-opening box and inside are nine sprues in grey styrene, a small Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope, and the instructions printed in greyscale. Construction begins with the rollers with two-part centres to which all the individual plates are fixed with equal spacing. The short axle threads through the centre and is supported by a three-piece yoke that is extended by another two parts that are in turn fixed to a central axle with one roller on each side, making a total of four sections, each free-wheeling. The end caps allow the rear axle to rotate freely if you don't glue them up, and then you start again on the other roller. Each roller assembly has a set of suspension arms added to each side and a cross-brace that links the suspension together. They are put to one side while the main chassis frame is made up, adorned with hydraulic rams that make up a large, heavy assembly with seriously thick parts depicting the sturdy design. Cleats are included to fit the plough to a BMR-1, consisting of a number of parts for the lower glacis plate and two main attachment pads for the upper glacis. Brackets are fitted to the lower plates and the frame is hinged from those with strong cables attached to the upper plates and linked to the frame to support it further. The two roller assemblies are suspended from the arms facing back toward the vehicle with the long rods sticking up in pairs. Conclusion The roller would look fine sitting in a yard, or alternatively attached to near to anything from a T-55 to a T-90 in the tank department, or a BMR-1/2 or BTS-4 in their roles, which often takes them into harm's way. It's a very well detailed kit, and put together well with a sympathetic and probably battered paint job it would add plenty of interest to any suitable model. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Grant Mk.I Full Interior Kit (35217) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models In the years before WWII America realised that they were lagging behind in respect of armour, a fact that became especially clear when Germany came out from under the Versailles treaty to show off and then use their new tanks and Blitzkrieg tactics. The M3 Lee was conceived in 1940 as a medium tank carrying a powerful 75mm gun, partly for manning by their own crews, but also because Britain had requested a large number of tanks to make good their losses from Dunkirk. The Lee was a decent tank but suffered from a high silhouette and limited traverse of the sponson-mounted 75mm gun, but was still widely used. In British service it was known as the Lee if it was fitted with the original American turret, or the Grant when using the lower-profiled British specification turrets. The Grant eschewed the mini-turret on the commander's cupola that resulted in a reduction in height and a minor simplification of construction and maintenance for very little loss in flexibility, due to the coaxially mounted Browning machine gun in the turret. It was used primarily in Africa and the Pacific theatres where the 2nd line equipment seemed to be fielded (for the most part) by the enemy, and against the Japanese who were far behind with their tank designs and tactics. The Kit MiniArt began 2019 with a new tooling of the M3 Lee and have expanded their range by adding new parts as they go along. The primary changes in this boxing are the inclusion of a new cast turret with no machine-gun turret-let on top, and the inclusion of British equipment inside and around the exterior. We've come to expect great things from miniArt's new kits and of course this one is no different with a ton of detail included both externally and internally, as it is a full-interior kit with the increased part count that comes with that. The box is standard MiniArt fare with an attractive picture from their usual artist, and inside are a huge number of sprues of varying sizes with 67 sprues in grey styrene, a single sprue in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and the instruction booklet with painting guide at the rear completing the package. Construction begins with the vehicle floor onto which the transmission and final drive assemblies are fixed along with a long drive shaft. The front crew stations are installed around the final drive, and in the centre is the ammo storage with a tread-plated top with the engine firewall behind it. The ammo bin can be posed open or closed using the same door parts, exposing the striking plates moulded into the assembly, and more shells are added to the firewall in racks. Just in case the tank isn't quite flammable enough, a spare fuel can is strapped to the firewall, as are a couple of radiators which I'm hoping can be switched off or redirected in the desert! Moving to the lower sidewalls, these are separate parts and are fitted out with equipment such as fire extinguishers, ammo and a Thompson machine gun with the bow gunner's bench seat added to the starboard side as they are joined and the sponson floor fitted at right-angles using slots and tabs. Take care here to clamp them firmly against the bottom of the firewall to prevent them from drooping while setting, which would open up a world of pain if they set out of position. The rolled lower glacis part is also added, and the final drive bell housings that are incorporated into the sidewalls mate with these to complete the shape of that area. The Lee/Grant and to an extent the Sherman were powered by radial engines that sat vertically in the hull and can be blamed for their slightly tall hull shapes. This is provided in detail with the kit with all the cylinders, push-rods and exhaust tubing, plus the tin-work that helps cool the engine all mounted to a sturdy lateral mount that goes around the ancillaries at the rear. Two cheek parts are added into the engine compartment first, and the engine rests on the brackets protruding from the walls. Various tanks and reservoirs are squeezed into the remaining space along with piping for the twin airboxes and the general "spaghetti" that's seen on this kind of engine. The supports for the engine cover are fitted to the sides and the aft bulkhead with access hatch and twin exhaust stacks close in much of the hard work, with twin doors (open or closed) at the back and a PE mesh grille completing the top of the area, allowing the rising heat to escape. The lower hull is finished off with a pair of short arches over the drive wheels and a host of additional equipment filling up the interior with more shell storage, tanks and auxiliary generator. The big 75mm gun and substantial casemate are built up next for fitting into the hull front and the curved splinter shield that allows 14o of traverse to either side to counter any errors in position from the driver or enemy movement. The breech is surrounded by a shield and has the manual traverse wheel and other driver controls plus his seat and sighting gear included, as well as another box containing the 75mm shells peculiar to his gun. Before it can be installed the super-structure must be built up to accommodate it, including the sidewalls, the curved surround and the angled front panels of the glacis. The various hatches can be posed open or closed, and an instrument panel is fitted to the inside of the glacis. The bow machine gun is actually a twin mount with two .30 cal M1919s firing through a hatch near the port sponson. The rest of the hull is then built up in much the same manner as the real thing, but with glue and the rivets only there for show. Fuel caps and another Thompson are added along the way, and when we reach the engine deck there are two large panels, the smaller of them having PE grilles and more filler caps, with both of them covered in small PE tie-down lugs. The rear of the deck overhangs the hull and a small armoured "skirt" protects the tops of the exhausts from stray rounds where PE brackets are used to hang the aft lights. The completed deck is then covered with pioneer tools and their PE tie-downs, plus the towing cables that you need to source yourself to go with the plastic eyes at each end. A scrap diagram shows their location and how to fix the PE straps to the tie-downs and eyes, with a length of 145mm suggested. At this stage the majority of the hull is built, but it is likely to fill with rain until the roof is fitted. Before that the surround to the turret basket is completed with stowage space for six canteens moulded into the parts. The stiffening plates to the lower glacis are also glued to the hull and then the roof is made up from a large main part that is stiffened with a number of ribs, and an extra section is attached to the side with a small periscope in the middle. The three square access doors for the crew can all be posed open or closed with latches and small viewing hatches within that can also be posed open. After fitting the armoured cover to the main gun's periscope and a few grab handles, you get to build up the running gear. Aren't you lucky? The Grant's suspension is very similar to the Sherman's with two fat wheels on a bogie with a return wheel at the top, and there are three per side. The wheels with their moulded-in rubber tyres are attached to the bogies via swing-arms that pivot inside the cast bogie with an additional arm linked to the compressible rubber towers. Before the front of the bogie is fitted the return roller is installed so it is trapped between its two bearings. Repeat that six times and then make up the idler wheels, which have PE edges and separate hub caps. The bogies are attached to the sides of the hull on their mounting plates, and two stiffeners are added to the top of each one, while the idler wheels are attached to their axles on the adjustable tensioners. At the front the drive sprockets are made up from two parts with an internal collar allowing them to remain mobile if you're sparing with the glue. A short break has you fitting the driver's hatch and optional clear window with a PE wiper blade, plus a couple of towing eyes with shackles under the glacis and some truly tiny parts in plastic and PE between them. Tracks. Love 'em or loathe 'em, they're a necessary part of most tanks and you have to do them eventually. There are 79 track links per side, and each link is made up from four parts. The pads are split to accommodate the links between them, and this is a little fiddly. I built my test section up on a flattened piece of blutak to hold them in place, but if you have a commercial or self-made track-making jig that you've purchased separately you might find it a little quicker. That said, each link is good looking with fine detail at the ends, and they are flexing nicely as per the real thing. It'll take some time to complete them, but they will be excellent as long as you're careful with preparation and the glue. With the tracks in place, the side skirts can be installed and the additional stowage boxes can be fabricated from their parts and attached to the hull with PE brackets, their shape conforming to the surfaces that they are placed on. The side skirts are finished off with mudguards at the rear by boxing in the tops of the track runs. The rest of the pioneer tools are bracketed to the hull along with the front headlights and their PE protective cages, the former having PE tie-downs and brackets holding them down. You will need to find some thin wire to link the headlamps to the gland that takes the cable inside the hull, then the single-part main gun barrel is nipped from the sprues, has its seamlines removed and is joined to the optional two-part blast-bag that has excellent realistic-looking canvas wrinkle and sag moulded in. We're still not quite ready for the turret though, as there are a number of PE parts stretching the length of the side-skirts which are used to hang additional stowage in the real thing. These fit onto small depressions on the sides of the hull, and scrap diagrams show the correct way to fold the perpendicular front sections. Now you can start the turret, most of which is held within the upper part, and that has some very nice casting texture moulded into it that should look great under a few coats of paint. The frames for the small hatches are first to be added, then the hatches themselves are fitted in the open or closed position with small stays holding them at the correct angle for the former. The sighting equipment, racks, and fume extraction equipment are then fitted before the breech is built up and fitted, making adding parts after more fiddly. The breech is started by joining the two main parts together, adding the surround, the coax machine gun, then setting it aside while the mantlet and elevation mechanisms are made up. This all fits in the back of the riveted mantlet cover and includes a periscope next door to protect the viewer from being injured by direct small arms fire. The breech is slid into the mantlet and an ammo box is attached to the starboard side then the completed assembly is inserted into the turret from the outside. More equipment is fitted into the lower areas of the upper turret and into the lower turret part, including the increasingly important radio gear and their aerials once the two halves are joined. Next up is the reduced height British spec cupola with grab handles and a choice of open or closed hatch with periscope in the port door. The commander's .30cal weapon is mounted on a curved fitting on the front of the turret and is fitted with a drum magazine that has moulded-in bullets plus a separate short length that feeds into the breech, sandwiched between the two end-caps with built in mounting frame. The turret basket is bucket-shaped with a cut-out to one side to allow entry and exit, plus stowage space for more ammo for the guns and the machine guns, fire extinguisher and small button-seats for the crew. Additionally there is an opening door to the basket that widens the aperture and contains a pair of tanks for the electro-hydraulic rotation equipment. A studded bezel is installed in the top rim and the rest of the traverse equipment is put in place along with a bit more wire that you'll need to provide, then one more seat on a pedestal is put in the centre of the basket which is then dropped into the turret ring in the top of the hull to complete the build. There are additional parts for British Army specific stowage included in the box, which is good to see as a personalised model often looks better than a basic kit. Their locations and colour are shown on separate colour diagrams that can be found at the front of the painting diagrams. Markings There are a generous eight options provided for the modeller on the decal sheet, split between camouflaged, green and sand coloured vehicles, as the Grant and Lee served mainly in warmer climes. Considering this is an armour kit the sheet is relatively large due to the number of options, use of roundels and various personalisations of their tank by the crews depicted in the kit. From the box you can build one of the following: Great Britain Training Unit, 1942 Australian 1st Armoured Division, Puckapunyal, Australia, May 1942 Senior Regiment Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, 7th Armoured Division, North Africa, 1942 Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Regimental Headquarters, El Alamein North Africa, October 1942 Eighth Army tank of Bernard Montgomery, North Africa 1942-Jan 1943 British 8th Army, North Africa, 1943 C Squadron, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 4th Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, Gazala, May 1943 Repair base of the Allies in Heliopolis, Egypt, March 1943 Decals are by DecoGraph, and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a wonderfully detailed kit of the Grant as it was supplied to and used by the British Army. The detail incorporated in styrene is phenomenal and the addition of the PE parts gives the modeller all the shackles for their pioneer tools, which are usually included in aftermarket PE sets. A really impressive piece of plastic engineering. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Interceptor (40002) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models 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 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. 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 recently there hasn't been a modern injection moulded kit in larger scales, and now we have two. This new tool is the larger of them and should primarily appeal to modellers in 1:32 and 1:35 given the similarity in scales that should result in a "close enough" reaction from many, followed by the opening of wallets. However, if you just want a large scale Triebflügel, then I'm not stopping you! It has been out now for a few weeks already and we've had to wait until a restock at Creative to be able to get our hands on one, so if you're not good at reading between the lines, I would advise you to get your order in before they run out again, as it's proving very popular. The kit arrives in a shrink-wrapped standard sized top opening box and inside are twelve 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, and seeing this up close really brings home how much larger it is. 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. Tinnitus anyone? 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 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 larger cannons are built up from a good number of parts and will look good if you pose them open, and benefit from hollow muzzles thanks to some sliding moulds. The smaller cannons are added after their bays are boxed in, again raising the level of the cockpit walls, which you'll need to take into account when you're painting things. These weapons are slightly less detailed and don't have hollow barrels, so break out the pin-vice when you're ready. 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 nose cone is added to the front, with careful alignment key to obtain the best join. The gun bay doors can be left off to display them or put in place for a streamlined look, in which case you don't need to install the cannons as nose weight isn't an issue. If you're closing up the lower bays, there is an additional barrel stub that fits to the back of its door to simulate the cannon being present. 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. There is an additional dome-shaped part included in the kit that makes one wonder if there will be a night fighter version with a radar operator's blister in the aft section? 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 ramjet 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 the aerial on the spine. Markings There are six decal options provided on the sheet, and they vary from each other and their smaller competitor quite substantially with some plausible and just plain silly options given for your delight. Imagine landing a Triebflügel on an aircraft carrier! From the box you can build one of the following: Air defence of Berlin, Summer 1945 5th Pre-production model Fighter Training School 1945 Jagdgeschwader 333, Eastern Front, 1947 Jagdgeschwader 54 Grunhertz, Eastern Front, winter 1946 Zerstörergeschwader 1. Germany, 1945-6 Aircraft carrier Hermann Göring, Mediterranean, 1947 Decals are printed under MiniArt's logo 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, and although some purists would have preferred to see it in 1:32, I think the size difference isn't too severe to stop you from adding one to your stash. Add a nice set of decal options to a detailed kit at a reasonable price, and we have a winner. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Soviet KMT-5M Mine-Roller (37036) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. Mines are a problem for AFVs, softskins and foot soldiers alike, and there are different types used for different circumstances. Mines intended to disable tanks generally have larger charges to penetrate the thinner underside armour and tear off tracks and drive wheels, with a higher pressure required to trigger them. The resulting explosion can cripple or destroy a tank, leaving crew killed or injured, a valuable tank out of action and sometimes blocking the way. Most Soviet and Russian tanks are fitted with attachment points for mine-rollers that can be fitted as needed and clear a path for the tank's tracks to allow them to proceed. Other tanks without a mine-roller must follow in their tracks exactly or risk detonating mines that are outside the cleared paths. It's not an ideal solution, more of an expedient one that probably requires a more complete cleaning later when the enemy aren't shooting at them. It has been in service since the 60s and was used until the T-64 after which is was replaced for newer vehicles with the improved KMT-7 and KMT-9. It operated by breaking the ground up with toothed rollers of substantial weight to simulate the footprint of an AFV, ploughing up the ground and detonating any mines it finds. Its rugged construction means that it can survive explosions, although they do take their toll on the hardware eventually. The Kit The KMT-5M has already been seen when included with various MiniArt kits, but if you didn't get one with yours or need one to fit to another suitable kit, now's your chance! It arrives in a figure-sized top-opening box in shrink-wrap with sixteen sprues in grey styrene inside plus two lengths of chain of differing widths. One of the sprues has been nipped in half to fit the box, and a number of elastic bands have been used to group sprues of the same type together and reduce chaffing. The instruction booklet is like that of a complete kit, which is for good reason as it's a fairly complex build and there are plenty of steps. Construction begins with the toothed rollers, which each have three wheels on a central axle plus two end-caps. These are fitted into short bogies that have small sections of chain attached in strategic places for later fitting at the end of the suspension arms. These are next to be built and each has a pair of pads at the tank end and a hinged arm that is long enough to keep the tank away from the brunt of the blast, as well as absorb some of the upward momentum and reduce damage to the rollers. The arms spread apart so that the rollers are placed at exactly the same spacing as the tracks, and there are parts supplied to fit the roller to MiniArt models, and other parts if it's another manufacturer's kit. There are a couple a styrene rope parts in the box to further secure the assembly, with another momentum-absorbing spring at the roller end. The bogies are attached to the arms via the short lengths of chain fitted to hooks fore and aft, with another chain linking the two together with a bobbin-like part loose along its length, acting as a further damper for asymmetric detonations. Markings There are none! There aren't any decals and you're not even given any clues as to what colour to use other than the boxtop colours. Use your Google Fu or references to check before you start spraying your tank's main colour on it, just in case. Conclusion A useful addition to make your early Cold War Soviet AFV stand out from the crowd, to add in the background of a diorama, or even as a stand-alone – maybe being repaired? Highly recommended. At time of writing, this is on heavy discount at Creative, so strike now! Review sample courtesy of
  10. Sharotank Soviet Ball Tank MiniArt 1:35 This is MiniArt's recently released Sharotank, part of their new What If...? series. Despite the somewhat far-fetched look of the subject, there were some experiments will ball tanks by the Germans and, possibly, by the Russians too. The design of MiniArt's kit seems to be based on some artwork that can be found floating around online. The kit itself is very nice, with the one exception being the grossly under-scale interior. There's seating for a five man crew, but the seats are closer to 1/48 rather than 1/35. That doesn't really detract from the model though, as you can't discernibly judge the scale of the interior through the open hatch. The figure comes from one of MiniArt's Russian tank crew sets. I added a lighting kit, designed by @Madmonk, to illuminate the interior and headlight, with the battery and switch being concealed under the base. Thanks for looking Andy
  11. German Tank Repair Crew (35319) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. All tanks break whether it's due to the fact that they're badly designed, pushing the technological envelope, being misused by their crews or having chunks blown off them by the enemy. When the tanks are away from home they're usually repaired in field workshops, the contents of which we reviewed recently here. Workshops need crew, so this set is complementary and provides all the sinew, sweat and tears required to repair the broken vehicles. Arriving in a shrink-wrapped figure box the set contains five figures and a selection of tools on a total of four sprues of grey styrene, although the figure sprue was originally one, but was cut to fit inside the box for expediency's sake. The five figures are broken down to torso, head, individual arms and legs, plus hats if worn. All of them are posed standing up with an officer guiding operations (of course!), while the other four pull, push yank and hit things with abandon. All are wearing uniform shirts and trousers over ankle-height boots, two have peaked caps and the officer retains his officer's cap and has a little iron cross hanging from his shirt just in case anyone forgot he was in charge. The tools include a pry-bar and sledge-hammer that two crew are wielding, and there are a wide selection of hand tools to scatter around the bench or floor nearby, plus anvil, axle stands, box plane and tool box. You can see the full range to the right on the box top artwork. Sculpting is as ever spot on, with sensible breakdown of parts along natural seams, superb understanding of the draping of different materials, and realistic poses and proportions that all add realism to the finished figures. The painting and construction guide can be found of the back of the box in colour, with paints called out as numbers that relate to a table below converting between Vallejo, Life Color, Tamiya, AK, and Mission Models brand plus the colours and their names in English and Ukraine. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Totenkopf Division Kharkov 1943 (35075) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models The Totenkopf division were officially known as the 3rd SS Panzer Division but were more usually known as the Death's Head due to their skull and crossbones divisional badge. They were reserves during the battle of France and took part in the invasion of Russia, coming back to the Eastern Front after assisting the transfer of power to the Vichy government in France until 1943. There they took part in the attempt to stop the Soviet advances including the third Battle of Kharkov, where they were at least partially successful in holding the line for a while. They and numerous other SS Divisions were involved in a number of horrible war crimes throughout the war due to their fervent belief in their Fuhrer and the inferiority of their opponents. Although the SS were and still are a hated group, there is no doubting the fact that they were involved in the fighting and played a part in many pivotal battles of WWII. This set contains a group of five figures at rest dressed in winter garb as befits their involvement in Kharkov. They arrive in a shrink-wrapped figure box, with five small sprues of figures and four of accessories all in grey styrene. Also included in the box is a short instruction leaflet to aid in construction of the accessories such as weapons and ammo crates. All of the five are seated in various poses nursing their weapons in their laps, with thick winter clothing consisting of padded trousers and a hooded smock that only one has over his helmet. Their footwear is a mixture of leather and suede boots and one wearing boots with cloth spats over them. They all have ammo pouches, water bottles, gas mask canisters, entrenching tools and bayonets, with plenty of spares on the accessory sprues. Three figures have Kar98 rifles, and the remaining two each have an MP40 or MG42, the latter slung across his lap with a length of link shown wrapped around the breech. The link is supplied, but you might have to carry out some heat flexing and surgery in order to get it to sit right around the gun. Each figure is broken down individual legs, arms, torso and heads, plus hoods that fit between the torso and head. The hooded character has a separate helmet front and two-part hood that closes around his head then attaches to the torso. The rest have helmets from the accessory sprues that fit directly to their flat-topped craniums, and some have woollen "snoods" under their helmets to prevent frostbite, while others are toughing it out with just their helmets. Their poses are hunched over and miserable in nature, and would suit a squad riding a tank in driving snow, or waiting for orders in bleak winter conditions. Either way, they won't get any sympathy from us. As usual with MiniArt figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown plus loads of extras to add some detail to their vicinity if you use them in a diorama. The MG42 can be posed with a drum mag and open or closed bipod if you wish, and the MP40 has either a folded or open stock, while ammo boxes, grenade cases, oil cans, map cases, pistol pouches and plenty of spare weapons can be found on the sprues. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. German Road Signs WWII – France 1944 (35600) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII German forces renamed and re-signposted their conquests, partly through necessity but also to stake their claim and remind the subjugated masses that they were under German control. This set is full of signs of this nature, and includes military signs to guide their troops to rally points, service areas and so forth as they didn't have the luxury of GPS and satnav back then, which is probably just as well. The set arrives in a shrink-wrapped figure box with a painting of the contents on the front and brief instructions on the rear. There are three medium-sized sprues in grey styrene in the box, plus a decal sheet on thick paper that contains all the painted descriptive fronts of the signs. As well as the signs themselves there are a number of posts on which to hang then, one of which is a two-part telegraph pole with ceramic insulators on short metal arms from which you can hang wires loose as shown in the diagrams, or taut if you have something to attach them to. Each sign is either metal or moulded with a restrained wooden texture that will show through the decals if you use decal solution during drying. Some of the larger signs are also made from a few planks, so the joins will also show through the decal. On the sprue that contains the pole there are also additional undocumented parts for poles and such, which you could also press into service if you can figure out how to put them together. There are forty two signs so there will be a few decals left over, and on the back of the box you can see a few examples of these make-shift signs pinned in groups to the various posts, but it's entirely up to you how you lay them out. Conclusion Dioramas rely on the minutiae of the background to give that "lived in" look to the terrain, and signage is essential for all but the straightest of roads. The addition of the telegraph pole gives extra depth to any road scene, and the painting guide helps with painting the plastic parts. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. US Bulldozer (38022) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Bulldozers have been around in construction since the 1920s however the term Bulldozer came from the 30s as before that they were called Bullgraders. The Blade (the curved front piece) peels layers of earth of and pushes it forwards. Tracks were introduced really with the Caterpillar company. The Kit This kit is a Caterpillar D7, however there is no information in the instructions on this (probably for licencing), given the different types of jerrycan available I would hazard a guess also that its post war. The kit arrives on 36 sprues, a small PE fret and a small decal sheet. Construction begins with the engine which is the heart of the machine. As this is visible it is a small kit on its own with a large number of parts. The engine and its transmission take up the first 3 pages of the instruction booklet and complete with the radiator fit into the front part of the chassis which builds up around it. The left and right track roller assemblies are then built up with a complex assembly including the wheels and track tensioning system. Next the driver area is built up over the engine/transmission area and the roller assemblies are attached to each side. the radiator grill is then added at the front and the side plates for the operator entry are added. Next up the complicated looking winch arrangement which moves the blade is made up and added. This fits at the rear of the cab and goes over it, with the cab roof being added. The tracks are added at this stage each link has 4 parts! and there are 36 each side. The last stage is to construct the large bulldozer blade and it supporting structure. The blade can be fitted straight on or with an offset to the left or right as needed. Markings As it's a civilian vehicle very little in the way of markings are supplied. Taken from MiniArt's website Conclusion This is an important piece of US construction equipment which miniart have made an excellent kit of. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Allies Jerry Cans Set WWII (35587) Oil & Petrol Cans 1930s-40s (35595) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Cans, cans everywhere! If you're not able to fill your tank at a handy petrol/gas station when you're fighting the enemy, it's handy to carry additional supplies of these fluids vital to the ongoing ability to move your vehicles and equipment. The Allies pinched the German design for a fuel can and called it the Jerry Can, although many other types were used during the period and when it came to other fluids such as oil there were tons of other designs used back in the day. These two sets arrive shrink wrapped in figure sized end-opening boxes with the colour scheme on the rear. Allies Jerry Cans Set WWII (35587) Inside the box are fifteen sprues of grey styrene, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass in a card envelope, a decal sheet and a short instruction sheet. If you're the owner of some MiniArt sets or you study our reviews intently (weirdo!) you'll probably recognise some of the sprues, as they've been in a number of kits just recently because they're on small individual sprues they're well suited to reuse. From the box you can build up the following: 3 x W↑D marked rectangular cans 3 x Unmarked rectangular cans 12 x smaller rectangular cans with carry handles 6 x jerry cans with twist-off caps 6 x jerry cans with flip-top caps Handily, the British cans are marked with War Department (W↑D) initials, and the American cans are stamped with USA, despite being of the same basic design. These are built up with two halves glued together, with the British ones having a central PE flange part, then the triple handle and appropriate cap – flip-top for the UK, screw-on for the US. In addition to the cans, there are three funnels, although if you wanted to go super-real, you'll need to drill out the exit. The decals are printed by DecoGraph as usual and their location is given on the back of the box along with the colour suggestions, which are provided with Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, AK, and Mission Modes codes in a table below. Oil & Petrol Cans 1930s-40s (35595) Inside this set are ten sprues in grey styrene, with a little cross-over between the sets in the shape of the smaller cans and the larger rectangular ones. There is also a small fret of PE and a large decal sheet. There are others as follows: 2 x cylindrical cans with carry-handle 4 x small triangular profile cans with handles 2 x large triangular profile cans with handles 6 x small rectangular cans 2 x medium rectangular cans 2 x short rectangular cans with ribs 2 x rectangular cans with ribs 2 x rectangular cans with W↑D stamping 2 x short rectangular cans with Jurgens stamping 2 x rectangular cans The decals are printed by DecoGraph as usual and their location is given on the back of the box along with the colour suggestions, which are provided with Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, AK, and Mission Modes codes in a table below on the back of the box. Review sample courtesy of
  16. T-60 Late Series, Screened Gorly Auto Plant. INTERIOR KIT 1:35 MiniArt 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 displacement of the Soviet industry in 1941 disrupted production and further refinement of the T-60. In autumn, Zavod Nr 37’s work on the T-60 was transferred to Zavod Nr 38 at Kirov and GAZ in Gorki. Shortly after, industrial evacuations continued, and GAZ was the sole producer of the T-60. In 1942, the T-60’s frontal armour was increased to 35 mm (1.37 in), which was still inadequate and made the tank more sluggish. The GAZ-203 engine gave the T-60 theoretical speeds of 44 km/h (27 mph) on road and 22 km/h (14 mph) off-road, but this was always difficult to achieve as a result of horrifically bad mud and snow. Replacing the spoked road wheels on the 1941 model with all-metal disc wheels, especially as a result of rubber shortages, did not help alleviate this problem either. The development of removable track extensions also did little to help mobility. Finally, any attempt to increase the calibre of the gun proved difficult. There were attempts to replace the main gun with a 37 mm (1.45 in) ZiS-19 or a 45 mm (1.77 in) ZiS-19BM, but proved unsuccessful as a result of the small turret. By the time a redesigned turret with the ZiS-19BM had passed trials, the T-60 as a whole was cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, although 55 T-60s were produced in 1943. 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 later tank is easily distinguished by the solid road wheels. 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 slide 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 four tanks. Unidentified Red Army unit, 1942. 22nd Panzer Corps, South Western Front July 1942. 3rd Shock Army of the Kalinin Front, Dec 1942. Unidentified Red Army unit, 1942. 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
  17. T-60 Plant N.37 Sverdlovsk Prod Spring 1942. INTERIOR KIT 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 displacement of the Soviet industry in 1941 disrupted production and further refinement of the T-60. In autumn, Zavod Nr 37’s work on the T-60 was transferred to Zavod Nr 38 at Kirov and GAZ in Gorki. Shortly after, industrial evacuations continued, and GAZ was the sole producer of the T-60. In 1942, the T-60’s frontal armour was increased to 35 mm (1.37 in), which was still inadequate and made the tank more sluggish. The GAZ-203 engine gave the T-60 theoretical speeds of 44 km/h (27 mph) on road and 22 km/h (14 mph) off-road, but this was always difficult to achieve as a result of horrifically bad mud and snow. Replacing the spoked road wheels on the 1941 model with all-metal disc wheels, especially as a result of rubber shortages, did not help alleviate this problem either. The development of removable track extensions also did little to help mobility. Finally, any attempt to increase the calibre of the gun proved difficult. There were attempts to replace the main gun with a 37 mm (1.45 in) ZiS-19 or a 45 mm (1.77 in) ZiS-19BM, but proved unsuccessful as a result of the small turret. By the time a redesigned turret with the ZiS-19BM had passed trials, the T-60 as a whole was cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, although 55 T-60s were produced in 1943. 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 later tank is easily distinguished by the solid road wheels. 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 slide 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 15 tanks. Tactical numbers 103 & 113 Red Army, Volkhov front, Summer 1942. Tac Number 43 Unspecified unit, Red Army Summer 1942. Unspecified unit, tactical number 13, Red Army Summer 1942. Tac Number 211, presumed to be 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad 1942-43. Tac Number 257 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad Front winter 1942-43. Tac Number 715 Unidentified unit, Red Army, Volkhov front, 1942. Tac Number 180 over painted unidentified unit winter camo Volkhov Front Winter 1942-43. Tac Number 18 Unspecified unit, Red Army Summer 1942. Unidentified tank captured by the Wehrmacht, Eastern Front 1942. Unidentified tank captured by the Wehrmacht, Eastern Front summer 1942. Tac Number 208, 209, 227 and 228 from the 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad Front summer 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
  18. German Field Workshop (35591) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd It's a constant in warfare that the troops break equipment and the mechanics/fitters repair them, whether it's wear-and-tear, accidental damage, clumsiness, misuse or due to enemy action, it all ends up in the same place if it's deemed suitable for repair, providing it's not behind enemy lines or under heavy bombardment. From WWII onwards, fighting tended to be fast-moving, so transporting anything back to a bricks and mortar workshop well behind the lines is nigh on impossible, and highly impractical once the lines of communication stretch too far, so the field workshop is used instead. This can be anything from a literal field to a large building that is commandeered by the "grease monkeys" so they can ply their trade. This set depicts the typical small and medium tools that you would find in a WWII German field workshop, and arrives shrink-wrapped in a top opening box with nineteen sprues of mid-grey styrene, a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a decal sheet inside, along with a small instruction booklet. A lot of these sprues have made appearances in other sets from MiniArt on occasion, so if you've got a good memory some of it will seem familiar. The most recognisable being the two fuel drums. They are made up from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are fixed to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There is a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you leave off the centre filler cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself. The rest of the equipment is best depicted in list form, and everything in the foreground of the box art will also be found inside the box: 2 x fuel drums with manual pump (detailed above) 1 x portable oil tank (3 parts) 1 x axle stand (3 parts) 1 x 5-step ladder (3 parts) 1 x open-topped tool box (2 parts) 1 x blow torch (3 parts) 2 x buckets, one tapered the other cylindrical (3 & 2parts) 3 x jerry cans (6 parts each) 1 x anvil (2 parts) 1 x wooden box-plane (2 parts) 1 x 2-man saw with PE blade (5 parts) 1 x hacksaw with PE blade (2 parts) 1 x wood saw with PE blade (2 parts) 1 x bench vice (2 parts) 1 x car jack (3 parts) 2 x foot pump (car type – 4 parts each) 2 x each of chair, stool and bench (3, 5 & 4 parts each) 4 x oxy-acetylene bottles with either regulators or top-caps (5 parts each) 1 x tubular-framed welding cylinder trolley with wheels and PE chain (9 parts) 2 x electrode tubes for welding rods (2 parts each) 3 x wooden crates of various sizes (8, 6 & 6 parts each) 2 x pivoting tool box (open & closed) with PE lids, stays and full complement of tools, some PE and some styrene (8 & 33 parts) That should be plenty to outfit any small workshop, and if you look closely there are other undocumented tools on some of the sprues such as oxy-acetylene torches, masks, goggles, hammers, axes, spanners, oil can, G-clamps and a belly-brace drill (minus bit). Markings The decal sheet is printed by DecoGraph, and it is small but perfectly formed, containing regulator dials for the oxy-acetylene bottles, white crosses for two of the jerry cans, and a yellow stripe nameplate for the oil tank. The various colours for the parts, including the undocumented tools are called out in a reproduction of the box art on a white background, pointing our colours with a code that converts to Vallejo, Mr.Color, LifeColor, Tamiya, AK, Mission Models codes in the table below it. Conclusion This set will be a boon to anyone depicting maintenance by German mechanics around the WWII era, although many of the tools haven't changed all that much since or before then and the same designs were seen around the world, so their use at least in part could be much wider than the era they have been assigned. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Bergepanzer T-60(r) INTERIOR KIT (35238) 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 displacement of the Soviet industry in 1941 disrupted production and further refinement of the T-60. In autumn, Zavod Nr 37’s work on the T-60 was transferred to Zavod Nr 38 at Kirov and GAZ in Gorki. Shortly after, industrial evacuations continued, and GAZ was the sole producer of the T-60. In 1942, the T-60’s frontal armour was increased to 35 mm (1.37 in), which was still inadequate and made the tank more sluggish. The GAZ-203 engine gave the T-60 theoretical speeds of 44 km/h (27 mph) on road and 22 km/h (14 mph) off-road, but this was always difficult to achieve as a result of horrifically bad mud and snow. Replacing the spoked road wheels on the 1941 model with all-metal disc wheels, especially as a result of rubber shortages, did not help alleviate this problem either. The development of removable track extensions also did little to help mobility. Finally, any attempt to increase the calibre of the gun proved difficult. There were attempts to replace the main gun with a 37 mm (1.45 in) ZiS-19 or a 45 mm (1.77 in) ZiS-19BM, but proved unsuccessful as a result of the small turret. By the time a redesigned turret with the ZiS-19BM had passed trials, the T-60 as a whole was cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, although 55 T-60s were produced in 1943. 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 Germans would also convert a few captured vehicles to Bergepanzers T-60(r) by mounting a rudimentary crane on the vehicle. 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. Inside there are thirty four 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, including 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. A double wooden hatch is supplied to cover the hole where the turret was on the tank. The rear mounted crane jib and winch mechanism is then made up and added to the rear of the vehicle. A length of thread (not shown) is provided for the wire, however this is best replaced with some scale wire as thread never really looks the part. Decals The very small decal sheet contains markings for 2 tanks. One still painted in Russian Green, and the other repainted in Dunklegelb. Picture from Miniart 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
  20. Railway Gondola 16.5-18t (35296) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Railways are excellent for transporting large or heavy goods (yes, shocking isn't it?), and there are all sorts of wagons available to facilitate this, with the open wagon being one such option for goods that aren't susceptible to weather damage. This is the subject of this model from MiniArt, which arrives in a standard top-opening kit box, wrapped in shrink-wrap to prevent tampering and parts escaping. It is quite a heavy box, the reason for which becomes evident when you open it, as there are forty four sprues in mid-grey styrene of various sizes, a sheet of decals, small Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope and the instruction booklet. As indicated on the box, there is a set of figures included and you also get a short length of track with sleepers to put in your own ballast, plus some barrels and such to liberally stash around the place. As you may already know, MiniArt utilise smaller sprues to compartmentalise their kits, so that parts can easily be reused in different variants or other boxings to add value to their models and the customer. This is a prime example, pairing the figures and fuel drums with the new gondola to create a really nice package. 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 and finally the axles with a choice of two wheel types, which are a spring fit between the posts in much the same manner as those of a traditional model train. Righting the model allows fitting of the four sides with their stiffening braces, and a pair of sliding doors on the sides with their runners and retaining rails completes the main structure, then the latches and padlocks are added from PE parts. 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 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. Seven barrels are included in the kit for the figures to play with, and if you've seen any of my recent MiniArt reviews they'll be familiar. The drums are made from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are fixed to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There is a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you leave off the cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself - that's if you feel it's appropriate to the situation of course, but it's there anyway. A separate diagram offers four colour schemes for the drums including light grey, dark yellow, red and white striped, and Panzer Grey. The barrels are shown being rolled up planks into the wagon with two soldiers pushing, one pulling on a rope from within the wagon, another rolling the next barrel into position and of course the officer looking busy with a notebook so he doesn't have to exert himself. The figures are typical MiniArt and are naturally posed with excellent detail thanks to careful sculpting and parts breakdown. Each of them have separate torsos, legs arms and heads with caps separate, plus the occasional separate hand where its position would be better moulded by removing it from the arm. The officer has a pistol holster and his book, with the pencil/pen moulded into his right hand for completeness. Markings Four decal/colour options are shown in the instructions, ranging from green, through grey/brown filthy mottle and two shades of brown, C is Russian in origin, and for the purists you will need to obtain some Russian Railroad Track (35565) for ultimate fidelity. The decals are almost all white stencils with a couple of black ones breaking up the monotone, and they are printed by Decograph with good density and sharpness. Conclusion A highly detailed gondola/wagon for use in dioramas, with your imagination the only limiting factor. Troops loading the wagon, soldiers fighting around it, or it being in the background of a larger scene, it will look great with sympathetic paintwork, and some good ballast. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. 5 Ton Gantry Crane & Equipment (35589) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models We're blessed these days with a plethora of accessories for all manner of diorama opportunities, and a lot of this is thanks to companies such as MiniArt, who produce this type of set in addition to a huge and growing array of high quality models. This set is suitable for a workshop or field maintenance situation, depicting equipment that was often used in such situations, and would be more than a little tricky to scratch-build. The set arrives in a small top-opening box (think an over-sized figure box), shrink-wrapped for freshness, with the contents also tightly wrapped in a heat sealed bag, with two elastic bands further damping any movement of the parts therein. There are ten sprues in grey styrene, plus two lengths of different styles of chain in another bag and a decal sheet. Due to the relatively high part count and complexity there is also an instruction booklet, although it is a fairly short one. The chains are inserted between the sprues held together by elastic bands, which is a clever way of ensuring they aren't lost when the outer bag is opened in haste on receipt of the model. From the box you can build one 5ton gantry, two 200L fuel drums, an oxy-acetylene torch with twin bottles on a two-wheeled trolley with goggles and a welding/cutting mask, a short step-ladder, a manual fuel pumping device, canister for welding rods, and two caps for the bottles if you choose not to attach the regulators. The gantry is made up of the cross-member and four legs with double wheels at the bottom ends. These are braced apart by connecting rods, and run along a pair of two-part C-channels on the workshop floor. A winch is made up and attached to each pair of legs, and is used to wind the legs together or further apart to adjust the height, with the connecting rods moved up or down the sets of pegs that are moulded into the legs. You will need to add some wire from your own stock to portray the wire, as this isn't included in the box. The movable carrier is made up from a plastic chassis, into which you weave the larger diameter chain, as shown in the scrap diagrams. With this closed up on the cross-member, a smaller chain is added to a wheel on the carrier for adjustment of the jib's height below the carrier. Another length of chain and roller is attached to the side to move the carrier and thereby the jib from side-to-side. The two drums are made from halves to which the top and bottoms are added, then two stiffening bands are added to the grooves in the drums, each made up from two parts. There are a choice of end-caps with different wording in raised lettering, and if you leave off the cap you can make up the hand-pump with nozzle at the other end of a piece of hose/wire that you supply yourself. The cart for the oxy-acetylene cylinders is built from two cranked handles, a c-profile bracket and a hollow end, plus two spoked wheels and an axle, onto which the cylinders are glued once complete. They consist of two halves, plus a flared bottom to prevent tipping, and a choice of either an end cap, or a two part regulator with a small decal. The torch itself is attached to the two regulators via a length of hose, which you must also fabricate from wire, flexible insulation or similar. A two-part tubular canister is supplied for the electrodes, and goggles or face mask are there for the operator. The final item is a two-part short set of step-ladders, which look to be of the fixed variety, as there is no pivot visible between the two halves. Decals are printed by Decograph to a good standard, as evidenced by the crisp black/white regulator dials, and just in case anyone in the workshop was in doubt, there are two large "Rauchen Verboten!" signs warning against smoking in the area around fuel and welding gases. Conclusion More high-quality grist for the diorama mill, either indoors or out during the WWII period, and although it is ostensibly designed to be in a German-speaking workshop, a little alteration of some parts would mean that it could easily be anywhere. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Soviet Railway Flatbed 16.5-18T 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models The Soviet Union covered a vast land mass and as such railways were important to move material over the vast distances. The kit represents a typical medium weight (16.5 to 18t) rail wagon. The Model The kit comes in the fairly standard, yet sturdy and colourful top opening box MiniArt use, with an artists impression of the flatbed on the front. The kit has plastic parts and photo etch, there are both the early spoke and later solid wheels and a section of track to mount it on. The kit is fairly simple to assemble. First off the chassis of the wagon is built up. The side members and cross members are built up and joined to form the main base of the truck. The axles are then built up with a choice of either the spoke wheels or solid ones. The main bed of the flat bad is placed on the chassis the edges being added. The leaf spring suspension units are added, and then the axles can be added to them. The sides of the flatcar can then be added. The buffers and couplings can then be added at each end. For added realism it may be better to add real chain rather than the plastic moulded ones supplied in the kit, If needed the track sections with the rails and sleepers can then be built up for the car to sit on. There are 4 rails and 20 sleepers provided. Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for 6 wagons; Unknown Operator USSR 30s - 40s (Early wheels) Western Railway USSR 1939-42 (Early wheels) Moscow Kursk railway USSR 1940s (Early Wheels) Kovel Railway USSR, Summer 1941 (Late wheels) Unknown Operator USSR 1940s (Late wheels) Stalingrad Railway USSR 1942-45 (Late wheels) Conclusion This is another great kit from Miniart which can be used on its own or part of a larger diorama. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of Creative Models
  23. Soviet Ball Tank with Winter Ski (40008) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models This is a hypothetical design from an alternative reality where ball-tanks were practical, and although there are some quite realistic looking pictures out there on the web, this is a decidedly fictional or "what-if" design for a small infantry tank that might have been quite handy for approaching bunkers or installations with significant light weapons presence. It does appear to have some weaknesses though, such as the little outrigger wheels that if shot out, would result in a seriously dizzy crew at best, so it's probably for the best that it remains in the realms of the fantastic. The ball hull is static, with a large wide track running around the circumference, propelled by the motor inside. There would be some serious torque transfer to the hull on acceleration or deceleration, but as this doesn't seem to adversely affect those big-wheel motorcycles, it wouldn't be a huge impediment, especially as the majority of the hull won't be moving. There is a crew of five, with the top-most crew member in each side running the weapons stations, and the front-facing crew driving and operating the forward machine gun. The final rear-facing crew operates another machine-gun that faces to the rear. Oddly, the main guns face sideways in ball-mounts, which would make shooting straight ahead difficult without cooperation from the driver, which could be tricky in such a confined, noisy environment. In reality, it would probably have been a massive failure, but it's interesting nonetheless. This being a Soviet design of course it comes equipped with Skis for the winter! The Kit This is the third of this subject from MiniArt, who usually keep their subjects in reality, or at least prototype form. A lot of effort has been put into making it appear real however, including a complete interior, which gives the model a bit more gravitas and believability than an empty shell would have done, and also opens up the possibility for dioramas or vignettes. The kit arrives in standard sized MiniArt box, with a yellow/sand colour scheme, and inside are 23 sprues in mid grey styrene of various sizes, a single sprue of clear parts, and a decal sheet. The instruction booklet is bound in a colourful glossy cover, with greyscale drawings inside, and the decal options printed on the inside covers front and back. Detail is really nice for a relatively small kit, and I have to say that this is just the kind of silliness that appeals to me, as it is at least semi-believable and just a little bit left-field. Construction begins with the engine, which is quite a complex assembly, and has a large friction roller at the rear to apply power to the track. The crew seats are built up next, and then attached to the main frame, which consists of two large hoops with cross-members to retain its shape. Track rollers are fitted to the inside of the frames, and the engine, seats and ancillary equipment are all suspended from this. Ammo racks for the main guns are built up at the same time as the gun breeches and the machine guns, which also have spare ammo cans made up, and all these sub-assemblies are installed into the hull halves, which have cut-outs for the ball-mounts, a radiator grille (backed with a fairly standard looking radiator), and conformal fuel tank. In the centre of each side is a crew hatch that is operated by a wheel, with arched hinges and interlock parts included. With the breeches and machine guns fitted from the inside, and the hatches put in their required positions, the halves are glued to the frames, and the hollow tipped gun barrels are added, plus a headlight with clear lens for night operations (ha!). The track is supplied in four parts with a straight tread and matching joins to minimise clean-up. The four parts glue around the open section of the hull, with a scrap diagram showing the correct location on the lip, and of course the two skis that stop it from tipping over. That's all there is to it! Markings As it's all fiction, it's probably more a case of choosing the scheme that appeals to you, and as there are a choice of six, it should be pretty easy. You can of course mix and match decals and scheme, as no-one (sane) is going to be complaining that it isn't accurate! From the box you can build one of the following: 1st Separate Armd Div of Ball tanks. Red Army, Eastern Front, winter 1942/43 Red Army, Unknown Unit 1942-46 3rd Single Div Ball Tanks, Soviet Navy 1942-46 Captured Combat Vehicle. Wehrmacht unit, Eastern Front, winter 1943./44 2nd Separate Armd Div of Ball tanks. Red Army, Eastern Front, winter 1942/43 Captured Combat Vehicle. Finnish Army, Karelia Winter 1944. Decals are by Decograf, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The shark mouth is going to be quite popular, I'd expect. Taken from MiniArt's website Conclusion An awesome trip into alternative history that's got a certain hokey appeal, partly because it looks like it could possibly have worked. The internal structure has been well thought-out, and the variation in decal options makes for a fun project that shouldn't take too long to complete. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Hello friends, i'm starting a new build with this T-70M russian tank from Miniart i use Aber PE, Friul tracks and Blast Model resin parts soon the end of the building with more details and friul tracks cheers
  25. Hello guys, my T-70M Miniart is finished some picts
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