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Found 136 results

  1. This is my diorama of a first aid station. It utilises the Dragon SD.Kfz.7 Maultier ambulance, the Miniart Village Street and various figure sets from M&B all in 1/35. The village was damaged in 1940 and the war returns in 1944 as the Germans are driven out of Northern Europe! Hope you like it!
  2. US Motorcycle Repair Crew (35284) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models During any of the mechanised wars of the 20th and 21st century, motorcycles have been an important tool for messengers, reconnaissance, and even agile light attack behind enemy lines. During WWII the motorcycle was a more reliable vehicle than it had been in WWI, and saw extensive use by all sides. The US Army made frequent and widespread use of them, one of which was the Harley Davidson WLA, which was the military version of the WL and appeared in 1940. These machines required frequent maintenance to keep them running, and when they broke down, to get them back to the front line again. The Kit The title of the kit is slightly misleading, as it implies you're getting the crew only, when in fact you also receive a pair of the aforementioned Harley Davidson motorcycles. The box art shows the contents, and while it is figure-sized, it is a top-opener with four sprues of grey styrene, a pair of small clear sprues, three frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a decal sheet, and an instruction booklet. Each of the large sprues contains all the parts for a motorcycle (plus the clear and PE parts), with the three figures on the next largest, and the smallest sprue holding the basic parts for the toolbox. The instructions begin with the bikes, and have you bending the PE spokes around a dished jig, and some supports for the front mudguard are also bent to shape on another jig, held in place by the pins that fit into the holes on each part. The tyres are each made from three layers to achieve the detail of the tread pattern, with the spokes fitted into the centre with the styrene hub parts added to the middle. Then the frame and engine are constructed over several steps, incorporating the rear wheel and exhaust, and later the air box and the wide fuel tank that has dual filler caps. Underneath, a shaped sump guard is installed with a kick-stand, plus pannier bags on the rear, twin rear lights, instrument binnacle with clear lens and a decal, front fork and wheel with a long mudguard keeping the dirt off the rider. With the wheel in place on the front forks, the PE parts that were bent to shape earlier are added, and the Thompson-equipped scabbard with additional ammo are hung off these parts. The handlebars and windscreen with clear top are the final parts, along with a front headlight with clear lens. The toolboxes have a base of styrene parts, with the thinner parts such as the stays and lid made from PE. You can build one in the open position and another in the closed pose. The open box has the most incredibly detailed, tiny nuts, bolts and washers moulded into the compartments, which are quite a sight to behold. There is also a set of tools supplied to be placed into the box or around the work area, some of which are PE, others styrene, and a few with styrene handles and PE blades. The three figures have separate arms, legs, heads, caps, and one chap even has a separate hand in order to maximise detail, with various poses as seen on the front of the box. One is sitting, another kneeling down fixing something, while the third gentleman is leaning over, probably watching someone else work, which sounds about right! Markings The decal sheet is small and has some rather neat shoulder patches for the figures, which is very nice to see. The rest of the decals include white stars, stencils, data plates and instrument dials for the bikes, which are almost universally olive drab in military service, with colours for the engine and ancillary parts called out along the way in a variety of paint manufacturer's codes. Conclusion More typically excellent figures from MiniArt, and a pair of highly detailed motorbikes into the bargain. Perfect for a vignette, or the backdrop of a more involved diorama. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. PanZair

    T-70M Miniart

    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
  4. German Panzergrenadiers (35248) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Panzer Grenadier was a term that was coined during WWII to describe troops that supported armour, or motorised infantry. They wore pink piping on their uniforms, with an S that stood for Shützen, or Protect to differentiate them from gun or other armoured crew. If they weren't riding on a tank, they would often travel in trucks, or if they were really lucky, a half-track such as an Sd.kfz.251. This figure set from MiniArt contains a group of Panzer Grenadiers sat in various poses on a vehicle. It arrives in a standard end-opening box, with four sprues of grey styrene inside. The painting and main construction diagrams are printed on the rear of the box, with colours called out in a large number of brands of paint for your ease. From the box you can build four figures, each having separate arms, legs head and torso, plus seven standard German helmets. They are all seated in differing poses, with most of them nursing Kar98s rifles, while one shows off his MP40, which has a separate folding stock. Each of them has the usual complement of pouches, gas mask canister, entrenching tool and water bottle, with ammo pouches to match their personal weapons. There are two weapons and one accessory sprues, each of the weapon sprues providing two Kar98s and MP40s, bayonets, a pistol and flare pistol, plus holsters in the open and closed positions, along with first aid kit, map case, binoculars and ammo pouches to personalise the crew or diorama with. The painting guide covers Vallejo, Mr. Color, LifeColor, Tamiya, Testors, AK Real Color, Humbrol, Revell, and Mission Models, with the names of the colours given in English and Ukrainian. Conclusion MiniArt's figures are excellent, and these gentlemen can be used to give your truck, half-track or tank a little human scale, or even just a squad sitting around on a wall or some ruins. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Concrete Mixer Set (35593) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Every home should have one! No, hang on. Every building site should have a cement mixer for mixing of cement, no less. They're a common site on building sites even today, but are more usually electrically operated where there's a ready source of power, but back in the day they were often run by small diesel or petrol engine housed on the side and hand-cranked into life. This set contains a WWII era mixer, and arrives in a figure-sized box with seven sprues of various sizes inside, plus an instruction booklet, and a painting guide on the back of the box. If you're a fan or collector of these useful sets, you may well recognise some of the parts such as the sand bags, the tools and maybe even the wheel barrow, as they have been in other sets before now. The centre piece however is the mixer itself, which is on a four-wheeled frame and has a small engine in a housing on the side for motive power. It's the power box that is built up first, with no engine detail inside (which seems fair), but a starter handle and moulded-in access hatches on the outer. The frame is made up from tubular and flat parts, with the wheels and their axles attached at the bottom, and the smaller front wheels mounted on a towing arm for moving around. The mixing drum is built up from two halves, and even has the mixing vanes inside, as well as a pivoting mount, with planetary gears around the edge to turn the drum. The engine compartment sits on a trestle to the side, and a large winding handle fixes at the other end for pouring out the mixed concrete. Then it's on to the wheelbarrow, which has a simple A-frame and single wheel, with the load area attached to the top. Two sized buckets are included, as are eight sand bags that fit into a small arrangement, with a selection of hand tools on the final sprue such as shovel, spade, pick, sledgehammer and lump hammer, with a long pry-bar to complete the set. Conclusion The paint job on the concrete mixer will be key, as these things see hard work on any building site, and soon end up rusted and dented, caked in dried concrete until someone knocks it off with a lump hammer, or puts a few bricks in to knock the residue off. Another great collection of equipment, ancillaries and detritus for your dioramas from MiniArt. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. British Rucksacks, Folded Canvas & Bags WWII (35599) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models No matter where or when armies fight, they always need to bring things with them, and to carry smaller equipment and personal effects, rucksacks, bags and so forth are always present. In addition, covering equipment with waterproof tarps for camouflage and to prevent water damage is a common occurrence, so these too are often present, either rolled up on the side of vehicles or folded and strapped together. This new set from MiniArt gives the modeller just this sort of ancillary stuff to use in, on or near models or dioramas. Arriving in a standard figure-sized box, there are six sprues inside, two of each with different themes per pair. If you think you have already seen one of the pairs you'd be right, as one contains general and vegetable sacks, each of which are moulded in halves. The next pair contains two long rolled tarps, and two of the small rucksacks often seen worn high on the backs of Tommies. Each of these parts are hollow on the rear, but made of one part per item. The final pair contain larger rucksacks of two types, some bed-roll sized bundles, and three other tarps that are folded and rolled, then strapped up. Two of these are designed to be glued together into a stack with pins holding them in the correct position. The rear of the box has a guide printed upon it that shows the typical arrangement of some of the elements on Allied tanks, but other than the colours used, there's nothing holding you to using them exactly as shown. Conclusion Detail is excellent as we've come to expect from MiniArt, and with everything doubled up in pairs, there should be plenty of stowage to keep you going for several models at least. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Shar2

    BM-8-24. 1:35

    BM-8-24 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 Katyusha multiple rocket launcher is a type of rocket artillery first built and fielded by the Soviet Union in World War II. Multiple rocket launchers such as these deliver explosives to a target area more quickly than conventional artillery, but with lower accuracy and requiring a longer time to reload. They are fragile compared to artillery guns, but are inexpensive, easy to produce, and usable on any chassis. The Katyusha of World War II, the first self-propelled artillery mass-produced by the Soviet Union, were usually mounted on ordinary trucks. This mobility gave the Katyusha, and other self-propelled artillery, another advantage: being able to deliver a large blow all at once, and then move before being located and attacked with counter-battery fire. With the T-60 being cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, the T-60’s were put to other tasks, one of these being converted to be Katyusha carriers with the launchers fitted in place of the turret. 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 fifty two sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with one sprue of clear styrene, a small sheet of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. 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, with the fitting of more PE brackets around the hull and the engine exhaust glued into position. With the tank assembly completed it’s on to the rocket launcher. The base unit is made up from fourteen parts with the option of the launcher to be in assembled in two different elevations with the fitting of option actuators and put to one side. Meanwhile, the tubular framework on which the rocket rails sit is made up from five parts. The rocket rails, all twelve of them are slid onto two rods, which fortunately have well marked placement points, before the framework is attached and the retaining clamps fitted. Each of the 24 rockets are assembled from three parts and there is detailed painting instructions for the different types of rocket used. The completed rockets are then fitted above and below the rails which already have the firing lead moulding onto them. There are an extra eight rockets included in the kit and these are to be able to be displayed in their transport boxes which are made up form eight parts, if you include the lid. The launcher base is fitted onto the tank followed by the launcher and some ancillary pipework and other fittings including a three piece sighting unit, completing the build . Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for four different vehicles, but these decals are the least of the modellers problems as there are three sets of markings for each of the 32 rockets and to say they are small would be an understatement, there are also identifying markings for the transport boxes. The vehicle options include:- BM-8-24, No 13 or No 11 of the Red Army, South-Western Front, May to July 1942 in Russian Green overall. BM-8-24, of the Red Army on the Don Front, December 1942, in overall Russian green with whitewash covering most of the vehicle. BM-8-24, No. 43/2 of the Red Army, Southern Front, during the Summer 1943 painted in a sand colour. BM-8-24, of an unidentified unit of the Red Army 1942 to 1944 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, but 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. The additional rockets will be useful if you wish to add this to a diorama. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  8. BMR-1 Early Type with KMT-5M MiniArt 1:35 Based on the SU-122-54, which MiniArt have also produced, this kit is of the first version of the armoured mine clearing vehicle. The main gun has been removed and the fittings of the attachment of the KMT-5M 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 Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion in the 1980’s. 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. Whille 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 olate 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. 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 rollers themselves are of three wheels on a common shaft, these are then fitted with two axle plates and hub covers. The axle plates are also fitted with two beams onto which the thicker of the two chains are attached. The main support arms are each assembled from thirty nine parts and are fitted to the lower glacis plate of the tank. The roller assemblies are then attached to the support arms and fitted with the smaller sized chain and some cable with simulated spring units. Between the rollers there is another length of chain with a smaller roller fitted at the mid point. 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:- BMR-1, No.004, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the early 1980’s BMR-1, No.11, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the early 1980’s BMR-1, No.165, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the 1980’s BMR-1, No.059, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the late 1980’s 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
  9. TOP Armoured recovery vehicle MiniArt 1:35 Vi Creative Models Although based on the SU-122-54 assault gun, there is very little else I can find out about this vehicle, the identifying feature of the donor tank is the gap in the wheels between the third and fourth road wheel. The main gun was removed and a large plate welded in the place of the mantlet. Large towing eyes were welded to the rear of the superstructure and rear hull plate and a small cupola fitted with a searchlight for the commander. Only about one hundred were made and mostly stayed within the Moscow military district or seen at the big parades Russia/Soviet Union likes to give. The Model Without the main gun this vehicle does look rather odd, in a typically Russian style. As with most MiniArt kits the box, with an artist’s impression on the front is full to the brim with sprues, there being a total of fifty one, which, considering there is no interior, is still quite a lot, no matter how small they are. 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. Even though it looks a fairly simple vehicle take your time to read the instructions carefully as there are a lot of small parts and options. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is fitted out with the torsion bean 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 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, three piece vision scope and the commander’s cupola is fitted with three vision blocks. The roof is also fitted out with grab handles and other fixtures, which this reviewer cannot identify. The glacis plate is fitted out with a variety of hooks, eyes, plates, brackets and a pair of spare track links. 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 two large hatches glued into place, with, rather oddly, two external seats attached to them, and there are two, large four piece bottle jacks assembled to be fitted to the right hand side of the engine deck. 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 are three large multi-part stowage bins to be assembled and glued to the track guards. 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. 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 aerials and large towing cables. Finally the tracks are assembled and draped over the running gear. Unfortunately these are of the glue together type rather than MiniArt’s latest system of pin and link, so you will need some patience, as there are ninety links per side, or go out and buy some aftermarket metal tracks, which in my view gives a better natural sag anyway. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller three options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- TOP ARV, USSR, Moscow Military District 1970’s to 1980’s TOP ARV, USSR, Moscow Military parade, November 7th 1990 TOP ARV, USSR, Moscow Military District, presumably early 1990’s Conclusion MiniArt seem to be attempting to produce every variant stemming from the T-55, no matter how odd or obscure they are. This is great for the military modeller who is either into weird vehicles or Russian/Soviet equipment, or as in most cases, both. Once again it’ll make an interesting stand alone model or just as great in a diorama. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  10. Chinese Type 59 Medium Tank MiniArt 1:35 Obviously, the Type 59 was a faithful reproduction of the Soviet Type 54A, internally and externally, although the Chinese did make some modifications. It was simplified in design, without the characteristic IR searchlight and main gun stabilization system. The hull was welded with some 99 mm of armour thickness on fht front slope, and 100 mm for the front turret armour, which had the characteristic decrease in thickness from the base to the top, according to ballistic penetration calculations. The turret floor was non-rotating. The driver, loader, commander and gunner positions were unchanged. Main armament was the 100 mm Type 59 tank gun, a copy of the original D-10TG with its characteristic muzzle fume extractor, with 34 rounds in store, mainly into the hull. Secondary armament comprised a coaxial Type 59T 7.62 mm machine gun, a bow MG manned by the driver from inside the central glacis (3500 rounds in store), and the anti-aircraft heavy machine gun Type 54 12.7 mm over the loader’s hatch, apparently also a copy of the DShKM, with 200 rounds in store. The engine was the Model 12150L V-12 liquid cooled diesel, giving 520 hp at 2000 rpm. The overall weight was also equivalent to the T-54A and road range was about 600 kilometres, with the rear external fuel tanks. These tanks, were upgraded several times throughout their career which lasted from 1959 till 1985. The Model Having reviewed the T-54A here MiniArt are now releasing the various derivatives and those used by other countries. As with earlier kits there are a lot of similarities but quite a few new parts as well. Although not having as many sprues as those kits with interiors, the box is still stuffed full of sprues. On opening you are greeted by a mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with quite a few parts going unused for this boxing. The mass of sprues fill up just about all the space in the box, leaving only room for air between the sprues, anyone familiar with the old Krypton Factor will realise getting all this back in the box is one of life’s little challenges! Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, The lower hull then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, and interior escape hatch plus PE beam covers. The upper glacis plate is then fitted as are the three piece road wheels, drive sprocket and idlers. The turret ring assembly is the attached, followed by the rear bulkhead, each fitted with more detail parts. The engine deck is then built up and the separate hatches are able to be posed open or closed as per the modellers’ wishes, but since this kit doesn’t have an interior there seems little point unless you have purchased the separate engine kit which is available. The deck is topped off with PE grilles in their frames and the large hinge for the main hatch. The tracks are of individual link type, with ninety links per side, and it will be a case of assembling it like a link and length style, gluing each link together before draping them over the road wheels. The fenders are fitted with stowage boxes, fuel tanks and spare track links plus front and rear mudguards before being glued into position. The two fuel drums mounted to the rear of the tank are assembled and glued into their mounting frames, as is the unditching beam and the pipework for the fender fuel tanks. The turret roof comes complete with all the periscopes and hatch details for the commander and gunner positions, a highly detailed Dushka (DsHK) 14.5mm heavy machine gun, consisting of twenty nine parts, and rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with the mantlet cover. There aren’t as many grab handles fitted to the outside of the turret on this version, or brackets and clamps. Finally the driver's wet weather cover, that fits over his hatch can be posed stowed or in place. If you are stowing it, there are some PE straps to tie things down on the bustle. The turret assembly is then fitted to the hull, completing the build. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller seven options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- Type 59, No.308 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army currently still in service. Type 59, of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, used during the Iran – Iraq war in the early 1980’s Type 59, of the Albanian Army, used on the border area with Kosovo, April 1999 Type 59, No.503 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army currently still in service. Type 59, No.408 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army currently still in service. Type 59, No.852 of the 201st tank regiment, Viet Cong, on the 17th Parallel, March 1972 Type 59, No.808, of the 108th Tank Regiment, 43rd Army Corps of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army during the the Sino-Vietnamese War, February 1979. Conclusion MiniArt’s march through the various T-54 and T-55 variants continues apace with this release. Being without the mega amount of parts found in the interior kits, this is definitely more suited to the intermediate modeller, or those who just don’t want interiors to their models. It’s still a great looking kit and with the decal options available for a number of different coutries something different for the collection. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  11. T-55A MOD 1981 Soviet Medium Tank MiniArt 1:35 Having reviewed the massed ranks of MiniArt’s T-54, we are now still in the T-55 zone. As with the other T-55’s there are many similarities and the MOD1981 adding to the more aggressive look that . As with MiniArt kits with interiors there are a lot of sprues, If counted individually, there are one hundred and thirty two, of grey styrene, plus one of clear, three sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. The very colourful box, quite a bit deeper than a standard tank kit box, has a nice painting of the tank on the front. On opening you are greeted by the mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with quite a few parts going unused for this boxing. The sprues fill up just about all the space in the box, leaving only room for air between the sprues, anyone familiar with the old Krypton Factor will realise getting all this back in the box is one of life’s little challenges! I failed when I had completed taking the photos. Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, complete with the full engine, which is a lovely model in its own right, and consisting of forty two parts if you include the engine mounting cradle. The lower hull is then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, and interior escape hatch plus PE beam covers. The interior is then built up from the fighting compartment floor and includes all the pipe work, seats fire bottles, steering mechanism and internal bulkheads. The interior and exterior of the sidewalls are also covered with detail, including the large racks of shells for the main gun, with additional shells stored around the fighting compartment. The detailed sidewalls are then glued into place, as is the engine assembly, engine compartment firewall and other ancillary equipment. The upper glacis plate is then fitted as are the three piece road wheels, drive sprocket and idlers. The turret ring assembly is the attached, followed by the rear bulkhead, each fitted with more detail parts. The engine deck is then built up and the separate hatches are able to be posed open or closed as per the modellers’ wishes. The deck is topped off with PE grilles in their frames and the large hinge for the main hatch. There are sixteen lengths of track links tracks are of the new individual link type, with the separate pins. Now while this step is ratehr fiddly, the tracks do really work and go together without too much fuss. The fenders are fitted with stowage boxes, fuel tanks and spare track links plus front and rear mudguards before being glued into position. The two fuel drums mounted to the rear of the tank are assembled and glued into their mounting frames, as is the unditching beam and the pipework for the fender fuel tanks. The turret is another new moulding, which has even more equipment in it than the earlier versions, due to the improved technology. New parts in this kit include the extra armour fitted to the interior of the turret and turret roof. The rest of the turret interior includes the full main gun breech, radios, training motors, seats, hand cranks, and other equipment, but with additional sighting equipment for the main gun, and more spare ammunition boxes for the co-axial machine gun, which is just as detailed as before, consisting of sixteen parts, plus another eight for the new sighting system. Ready use shells are added to the inside of the upper turret along with a multitude of brackets and clamps. The turret roof comes complete with all the periscopes and hatch details for the commander and gunner positions, a highly detailed KPV 14.5mm heavy machine gun, consisting of twenty nine parts, and the rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with a choice of two mantlet covers. There are many more grab handles fitted to the outside of the turret on this version, not to mention brackets and clamps. Finally the driver's wet weather cover, that fits over his hatch can be posed stowed or in place. If you are stowing it, there are some PE straps to tie things down on the bustle. The turret assembly is then fitted to the hull, completing the build. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller five options, showing the decline in usage of this vehicle in the 1980’s. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- T-55A – Of a limited contingent of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan (OKSVA), the 40trh Army of the Turkestan Military District, during the 1980’s. T-55A – Unidentified Marine Corps Unit of the USSR during the 1980’s. T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for desert backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for plant backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 T-55A – Recommended colouring of armoured vehicles for snowy backgrounds, as published by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 1977 Conclusion These beasts of tanks, and models are really coming thick and fast from the moulding machines of MiniArt and you really just can’t fault them. There is so much detail that it could overwhelm a modeller unless their mojo was really cranked up. But if you break the build into bite sized pieces as sub-assemblies, painting as you go, there shouldn’t be a problem. Not one for beginners or maybe even intermediate modellers, but there are versions being released, without interior, that would perhaps be more suited to their level to gain experience before tackling a full interior build. As bang for your buck goes, these have to be some of the best value kits around these days. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  12. Soviet 2 ton 6x4 Truck w/76mm USV-BR Gun MiniArt 1:35 The ZIS-6 is a Soviet general purpose 6×4 army cargo truck, a three-axle version of the ZIS-5 two-axle truck. It was built from 1933 until October 1941 at the Moscow Zavod imeni Stalina factory and reached a total production of 21,239. The robust and reliable base was used for many different bodies, for example as a searchlight truck or mobile workshop. But is best known for its role as the first multiple rocket launcher in July 1941. It was built by the "Compressor" Plant's Design Office during World War II (1941–45). Very few ZIS-6 trucks survive till today. The 76-mm divisional gun M1939 (F-22 USV or USV) was a 76.2 mm cannon produced in the Soviet Union. It was adopted for Red Army service in 1939 and used extensively in World War II. The gun was designated as "divisional" - issued to batteries under the direct control of division headquarters. The F-22 USV was an intermediate model, coming between the F-22, which had limited anti-aircraft capability, and the simpler and cheaper ZiS-3, which eventually replaced it in production and service. The Model MiniArt ahs a great habit of combining several kits into one set and this is no exception, the Gaz AAA and Divisional gun have been released separately before, but then they have added several new parts that will make for a great addition to a diorama, this includes ammunition boxes, shells and a couple of figures. The mouldings, particularly for the truck are showing their age in that they are really quite complex and certainly not for the beginner. This is shown more in the running gear and suspension as well as the steering rack parts. That said the parts are still well moulded with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are a fair few moulding pips. The gun is of a similar vintage and again the parts are well moulded. I still don’t understand how MiniArt packaging department get all the sprues into the poly bag, I’ll have to video them the next time I’m there. There are seventy five sprues of grey styrene in total, plus one of clear, along with two sheets of etched brass and a small decal sheet. The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block, head and sump being glued together followed by the addition of the starter motor, alternator, water pump, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan, cooling pipes, oil filler pipe. The gearbox is then assembled from three parts and glued to the engine assembly, along with intake manifold. The two, chassis rails are fitted with an extra beam where the truck bed will sit. These are held on the rails by three “U” bolts and their associated clamps. The rear leaf springs are then attached via their support links. Four cross members are then used to join the rails together, as well as the rear chassis end piece, to which the towing eye spring is attached. There is a three piece box attached to the left hand rail, near the front. The wheels are assembled, and in this, MiniArt have deviated from the norm, by making the inner tyre half made up from four individual rings, while the outer section is made up of three rings. The wheel itself is then sandwiched between the two tyre sections. Whilst this sounds odd, I think it’s to make a realistic tyre with the type of radial tread used at the time. The rear axles and differentials are each made up from fifteen parts, if you include the drive shaft. These assemblies are then fitted to the rear leaf springs, while the front suspension is made up on a single leaf spring assembly mounted laterally and fitted with the front axle, steering rack and support arms. The rear differential is then fitted with a triangular support structure which also supports the brake rods. The front chassis end cap is attached as are the two bumper side arms, while to the rear there is a choice of towing hook styles, one, just a single piece unit, the other is made up from five parts. The spare wheel, mounted under the rear chassis is held in place by a support large clamp. The front and rear brake drums are then attached to the axles, followed by two wheels per side on the rear axle and one per side on the front axle. The engine assembly in then glued into position, followed by the two piece radiator, two piece front bumper and two support brackets on chassis rails. The three piece exhaust is the attached to the right hand side. The two front fenders are each single piece units to which a small hook is attached before being fitted to the chassis, as are two of the lateral truck bed beams. The cab floor is also attached and fitted with the bench seat, gear stick and panel support. The three piece wiper/wiper motor is fitted to the front screen surround, once the clear screen has been fitted. The screen is then fitted with two small arms, these can be glued in either the stowed position for a closed screen, or down, so that the screen can be posed open. The rear of the bonnet section is then glued to the front of the screen support, along with eh two side sections and engine bulkhead which has been detailed with several small parts. Inside the foot pedals are attached lower bulkhead, part of the floor panel fitted earlier, before the front cab assembly is glued into place, along with the steering column and wheel. The three piece rear panel and roof of the cab are then glued into place, as are the two bonnet supports, between the bulkhead and the radiator. Each door is made up from six parts, including clear section, door handles, latches and window winders. The doors are then put to one side. The bonnet halves, split longitudinally are each made from two sections, which can be posed in either the open or closed positions, allowing the modeller to show of the engine should they so choose. The doors are then attached; again, they can be posed open or closed as the modeller wishes. The three piece horn is attached to a rail, which in turn is attached to the front of the vehicle between the fenders. The two, three piece headlights are then fitted, as is the single, two piece wing mirror, on the drivers side. The truck bed is then assembled from five parts, bed, sides, front and rear sections, and glued into place, completing the truck section of the build. The truck bed is made up from the bed itself which is strengthened by four small and two large lateral beams along with three tie hooks per side. The rear large beam forms the backplate of a stowage box, while the two spare wheels are stored just forward of this. The front, side and rear panels are then assembled with their associated latches, with the side panels also being fitted with holders of the snow tracks which are also provided with the kit. With the bed sides attached the six ammunition boxes are assembled, complete with shells, three with armoured piercing and three with high explosive shells. The snow tracks, which wrap around the rear wheels when required, are assembled completely from PE parts, and are assembled from a series of two piece links and two piece connecting rods, there being a total of 90 links. The tracks are split into three sections per side and if not being used around the wheels there are stored on the sides of the truck bed and clamped into place. The completed bed is then attached to the chassis completing the truck build. Ensure you have taken you’re yearly dose of patience and dexterity when building these tracks, because you’re going to need them. Work then begins on the gun and its carriage. The split trails are assembled from two parts and fitted with items such as the cleaning rods, grab handles locking pins, spreading handles, rear mounted spades and towing eye. The central mounting is a complex affair consisting of 29 parts, to this the trail brackets are then attached, wach being made up from three parts and the trail assemblies glued to the brackets. The wheels are assembled in the same way as the truck wheels and fitted to the axles on the mounting. Then its onto the gun, with the slide assembly built up from six parts and the gun from eight. The gun is then slid onto the slide before being fitted with a large PE plate and small mid section splinter shield. The two trunnion mounts are fitted out with a selection of hand wheels, gear housings and sights before being attached to the mounting and the gun to the trunnions, as are the recupertor cylinders. The main splinter shiedl is a single piece item and fitted with a multitude of smaller parts such as site doors, stowage boxes and support bars. This assembly is then fitted to the gun assembly finishing the build, well apart from the option of having the gun in operational or towing position, if in towing configuration there is a locking bar that locks the two trails together. In addition to the truck and gun, the kit also includes a couple of figures, one appears to be pouring water out of a bucket, perhaps into the radiator, the other looks like a driver, but standing on the fender holding onto the steering wheel. Each figure comes in multiple parts such as separate head, hat, legs, arms, lower coat for the bucket holder, and bucket. Unusually there is fair bit of flash on the figures, but nothing that can’t be sorted with a sharp knife or sanding stick. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller just two options for the truck, and yet there are three options for the gun. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The names of the different companies are included, as well as their respective registration plates and insignia. The options are:- Soviet 2T 6x4 Truck of an unidentified unit of the Red Army, presumably during the winter of 1941 – 1942 Soviet 2T 6x4 Truck of an unidentified unit of the Red Army, 1941 – 1944 Divisional gun from an unidentified unit of the Red Army, Western Front, December 1941 Divisional gun from an unidentified unit of the Red Army, Winter 1943 – 1944 Divisional gun from the 889th Artillery regiment, 387th Infantry Division, 2nd Ukrainian Front, May 1945 with the gun shield showing 5 victory marks, denoting 5 destroyed German tanks. Conclusion As most people will know I am a big fan of MiniArt, and not just because the owner and some of the staff have become friends. Their product line continues to grow almost exponentially, both with new releases and products like this one where several separate kits have been brought together to provide the modeller almost a diorama out of the box. The truck and gun are quite complex as mentioned earlier, but they will build into lovely models for any collection. Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models
  13. German Tank Crew at Work (35285) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Tanks despite looking cool demand a lot of hard work from their crews to work well. This is as true now as it was during WWII. This new set from Miniart shows a crew performing maintenance on their tank (well apart from the Officer taking a drink, so thats not changed either!). It arrives in a standard end-opening box, with three sprues of grey styrene inside plus a small sheet of PE as well as an instruction sheet and sprue guide. The painting and main construction diagrams are printed on the rear of the box, with colours called out in a large number of brands of paint for your ease. From the box you can build five figures, each having separate arms, legs head and torso, plus two caps. Three soldiers are cleaning the barrel, while a is holding some sort of tool. What appears to be an offer its taking a drink. There is a small sprue with two buckets on it, and an accessory sprue which provides various tools and tool boxes, the PE fret provides the doors for the open tool box and additional tools. The painting guide covers Vallejo, Mr. Color, LifeColor, Tamiya, Testors, AK Real Color, Humbrol, Revell, and Mission Models, with the names of the colours given in English and Ukrainian. Additional painted renditions of the accessories are also included for your use. Conclusion MiniArt's figures are excellent, and these figures can be used to give your Panzer a little human scale. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Kugelpanzer 41(r) (40006) 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 "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, who know? but it's interesting nonetheless. The Kit This is the first real What-If 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 to it 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, 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. This is the second of these "ball" tanks from Miniart the Russian version was reviewed here. 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 machine guns are 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. The track is supplied in four parts with a chevron 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 "trainer-wheels" 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: German Afrikakorps 1942-46 Assault unit Kreigsmarine Marine Corps 1942-46 Coastal defence mobile fire point, Normandy 1944-45 Captured Tank by 6th Australian Cavalry Div North Africa 1942 Captured tank in US Army Service, Europe 1944-46 Mobile firing point, armoured train 168, defence of Berlin 1945-46 Decals are by Decograf, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Taken from MiniArt's website Conclusion An trip into alternative history that's got a certain appeal to some, and no appeal to others. 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 if you want something a bit different. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Shar2

    Tiran 4 Late Type. 1:35

    Tiran 4 Late Type MiniArt 1:35 The meaning of Tiran [pronounced as Tiy-RAE-N] in Hebrew is beginner. Israel's chronic lack of AFV's on one hand and it's phenomenal victory in the 1967 Six Days War on the other, brought the IDF to adopt captured enemy vehicles for its use. The Arab armies lost hundreds of fighting vehicles - mostly Egyptian T-54 and T-55 MBT's which were abandoned by their crews. In order to allow for greater standardization in its armour corps, the IDF initiated a conversion program. The captured tanks were re-engined and re-gunned (with the standard 105mm gun used in the Centurion and Patton MBT's). Chief was the several hundred captured T-54/T-55 tanks that were taken and modified into the Tiran 4 (T-54) and Tiran 5 (T-55). The main difference between the two versions is the main gun armament. The Tiran 4 was armed with the original 100 mm main gun and the Tiran 5 was fitted with a 105 mm main gun, although the 105mm was also fitted to late Tiran 4’s. The Model Since this is an upgrade of the earlier T-54 kits there are a lot of similarities but quite a few new parts as well. As with MiniArt kits with interiors there are a lot of sprues, eighty five in this case, of grey styrene, plus three of clear, one sheet of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. The box, deeper than a standard tank kit box has a nice painting of the tank on the front. On opening you are greeted by a mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with quite a few parts going unused for this boxing. The mass of sprues fill up just about all the space in the box, leaving only room for air between the sprues, anyone wishing to just take a look at the sprues and getting them out of their bags will realise that getting all this back in the box is one of life’s little challenges! Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, complete with the full engine, which is a beautiful model in its own right, and consisting of forty two parts if you include the engine mounting cradle. The lower hull is then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, and interior escape hatch plus PE beam covers. The interior is then built up from the fighting compartment floor and includes all the pipe work, seats fire bottles, steering mechanism and internal bulkheads. The interior and exterior of the sidewalls are also covered with detail, including the large racks of shells for the main gun, with additional shells stored around the fighting compartment. The detailed sidewalls are then glued into place, as is the engine assembly, engine compartment firewall and other ancillary equipment. The upper glacis plate is then fitted as are the three piece road wheels, drive sprocket and idlers. The turret ring assembly is the attached, followed by the rear bulkhead, each fitted with more detail parts. The engine deck is then built up and the separate hatches are able to be posed open or closed as per the modellers’ wishes. The deck is topped off with PE grilles in their frames and the large hinge for the main hatch. Another slight difference with the T-54 is the large grille on the rear bulkhead and the additional stowage bin that across the whole width of the hull. The tracks are of individual link type, with ninety links per side, and it will be a case of assembling it like a link and length style, gluing each link together before draping them over the road wheels. The fenders are fitted with stowage boxes, fuel tanks and spare track links plus front and rear mudguards before being glued into position. The two fuel drums mounted to the rear of the tank are assembled and glued into their mounting frames plus the pipework for the fender fuel tanks. The turret is another new moulding, which has even more equipment in it than the earlier versions, due to the improved technology. The turret appears to be where the main changes were made. As with the other kits the turret interior includes the full main gun breech, this time for a 105mm gun, rather than the old 100mm, radios, training motors, seats, hand cranks, and other equipment, but with additional sighting equipment for the main gun, and more spare ammunition boxes for the co-axial Browning 30 cal machine gun. Ready use shells are added to the inside of the upper turret along with a multitude of brackets and clamps. The turret roof comes complete with all the periscopes and hatch details for the commander and gunner positions, two highly detailed Browning 30 cal machine guns, consisting of fifteen parts, one for the commander and one for the gunner. There is also a twenty three piece Browning 50 cal heavy machine gun that is mounted onto the mantlet. Two five piece aerials are affixed to the rear of the turret, along with a large stowage bin; while on the sides are a pair of Jerry cans and their respective cradles. On the right hand side there is another large stowage bin, made up from ten parts. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with a choice of two mantlet covers. There a many more grab handles fitted to the outside of the turret on this version, not to mention brackets and clamps. The turret assembly is then fitted to the hull, completing the build. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller four options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:- Tiran 4 of the Israeli Defence Force for eh 1970’s Tiran 4 of the Israeli Defence Force Training Unit for the Lebanese Army, Negev Desert early 1980’s Tiran 4 of the South Lebanese Army, Used on Operation @Peace For Galilee”, June to September 1982 Tiran 4 of the South Lebanese Army from the 1980’s Conclusion Ok, it’s essentially another T-54, with additional equipment and a different gun, but you can never have enough T-54/55’s. These kits are really coming thick and fast MiniArt’s moulding machines must be going full chat day and night. There is so much detail that it could overwhelm a modeller unless their mojo was really cranked up. But if you break the build into bite sized pieces as sub-assemblies, painting as you go, there shouldn’t be a problem. Not one for beginners or maybe even intermediate modellers, but there are versions being released, without interior, which would perhaps be more suited to their level to gain experience before tackling a full interior build. As bang for your buck goes, these have to be some of the best value kits around these days. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Happy Christmas all, i built this festive Sherman as part of the STGB earlier this year, thought I'd post it in the ready for inspection on Christmas Day. As it didn't seem right to do it any other time of the year.
  17. German Tank Crew Afrika Korps (35278) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Deserts are hot. It is known. What's also known is that metal when exposed to copious quantities of strong sunlight also gets hot, which makes crewing tanks quite unpleasant unless it is fitted with air conditioning. During WWII these niceties weren't available, so crews got hot and had no choice in the matter. This figure set from MiniArt contains a group of Afrika Korps tank crew that are stripped down to their shorts while performing maintenance on their vehicle. It arrives in a standard end-opening box, with three sprues of grey styrene inside plus a small instruction sheet and sprue guide. The painting and main construction diagrams are printed on the rear of the box, with colours called out in a large number of brands of paint for your ease. From the box you can build five figures, each having separate arms, legs head and torso, plus two caps and three pith helmets for you to insert your own joke into. They are all wearing shorts and canvas topped boots barring one rather louche gentleman who is wearing open-toed slippers whilst changing over the muzzle of the coaxial machine gun, seated on the mantlet. Two soldiers are cleaning the barrel, while a chap with a bandaged hand watches, presumably on light duties due to his ailment. The final character is exiting or entering the turret side hatch, holding onto it for balance. Sculpting is excellent, and all figures are sporting six-packs from their efforts in the desert and general lack of excessive supplied. The accessory sprue provides two Kar98s and MP40s, bayonets, a pistol and flare pistol, plus holsters in the open and closed positions, along with first aid kit, map case, binoculars and ammo pouches to personalise the crew or diorama with. The painting guide covers Vallejo, Mr. Color, LifeColor, Tamiya, Testors, AK Real Color, Humbrol, Revell, and Mission Models, with the names of the colours given in English and Ukrainian. Additional painted renditions of the accessories are also included for your use. Conclusion MiniArt's figures are excellent, and these gentlemen can be used to give your Panzer III or Panzer IV a little human scale, just make sure your flesh painting is up to snuff, as there's plenty on display. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. T-55A Early Mod 1965 Interior Kit (37016) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd. The T-54's gestation and transformation into the T-55 was long-winded and complicated by constant changes to an as yet unsatisfactory performing vehicle, which began at early as the end of WWII. Production of the T-54-1 was halted due to production and quality issues, and recommenced as the re-designed T-54-2, with the turret design changed to closer resemble the eventual domed shape of the T-55. The -2 didn't last all that long before the -3 replaced it, and the requirement for survival of tactical nuclear blasts led to the eventual introduction of the similar looking, but significantly different T-55 that we know so well. As the heavy tank fell out of favour, the T-55 became part of the burgeoning Main Battle Tank movement, with thousands of them being produced over the years in various guises. In the early 60s the T-55A was developed, providing more adequate NBC protection that required a lengthening of the hull and coincidentally added anti-spall protection for the crew. It also sounded the death-knell of the bow-mounted machine gun, which was removed to improve ammo storage, and hasn't been seen on MBTs for decades now. The Kit Part of the ever-expanding range of early Cold War armour from MiniArt, who seem to be kitting every conceivable variant from the earliest T-54 to the latest T-55, which will hopefully include some of the more unusual marks as well. The toolings are all essentially brand new, and have been designed in a modular format to ease the way toward new variants, which makes for a high sprue count. Some of the kits have been released in augmented Interior Kit boxings, with all the extra details to open up your model as much as you please. This is one of those boxings, and it arrives in their current orange themed box, with a painting of the tank in question on the front, and the stylised "Interior Kit" branding on each face of the box. Lifting the kit gives the feeling of how much is inside, and I may have emitted a minor expletive when I saw how packed with sprues the box was, and when I say packed, I mean it. There is almost no room for anything else in the box, and I'm dreading putting it all back in. There are 94 sprues in mid grey styrene, many of them quite small, and some of the larger ones linked together in pairs, a clear sprue, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, three decal sheets (one larger, two small), and the instruction booklet. It seems that I was wrong about putting it back in too, as I have managed it although I wouldn't like to put anything else in there! Detail is everywhere, and is crisp, with judicious use of slide-moulding to improve details further, and make hollows where needed. The inclusion of PE helps further, allowing parts to be given a more scale-effect. Construction begins with the water-cooled diesel engine, which is built up from a substantial number of highly detailed parts for later insertion into the hull, which is next to be made up. The hull floor has cut-outs for the suspension mounts, hatches and access panels, all of which are supplied as separate parts. The suspension is torsion-link, so the bars are inserted with the axles at their ends, then the lowest parts of the interior are added on top, including the base for the turret basket and the driver's position. Ammo is festooned wherever the designers could fit a round, with a large store next to the driver's station in the position formerly occupied by the bow machine gunner. The hull sides are separate, and are well detailed parts, which have further detail layered on both sides before they are added to the lower along with engine bay firewall, the engine and its mount, plus sundry other details that make the T-55 quite cramped for its occupants. Externally, the T-55A could be fitted with a mine-roller, and although one isn't included with this boxing, the fitments and bracketry is included for the upper and lower glacis alongside the standard light clusters, lifting hooks and pioneer tools. The main lights have a choice of clean lenses, and fit inside a multi-part cage to protect them from damage, which will take some care to glue together neatly. With the glacis and the turret ring "bat wings" added to the hull sides, the wheels are handled next, with five pairs per side with separate hubs, plus the idler wheel at the front, and drive sprocket at the rear. Tracks are left until a little later and are of the individual link type, requiring 90 links per side, each of which have four sprue gates, but no ejection pin or sink marks to worry about. What is there however is stunning detail, which includes the casting numbers inlaid into the hollows of each track link, and close-fitting lugs that should make the building an easier task. The turret ring is fitted behind the glacis, and the fenders are build up alongside the engine access hatches, which are all then added to the hull, completing the engine deck first with some rather neat PE grilles and mesh backed louvers that have PE slats for realism. The fenders have additional fuel tankage fitted with hosing between them, and lots of PE fixtures, handles and such, with even more PE bracing inside the sprung mudguard parts, tools, toolboxes and the exhaust on the port side. The kit includes plastic towing eyes, but you are going to have to provide your own cables as none are include in the kit, but given the sheer volume of parts it's excusable. At the rear an unditching log is lashed to the bulkhead with PE straps, and the extra fuel drums so often seen are also lashed to curved brackets that overhang the rear of the hull. Between them the deep wading funnel is attached by a couple of pins to the bottom of the brackets, and it has its own group of PE brackets for the bracing wires that are seen when it is in use. The turret itself is a busy assembly, having a semi-automatic breech loading mechanism that is built up first, then the lower turret is fitted out with radio gear, shells, before the breech is installed on two mounts at the front, which have the breech guard and a rack of box mags for the coaxial machine gun attached on the right and underneath respectively, and the sighting gear on the left side. The upper turret has its anti-spall lining added in sections, and is then decked out with a number of small assemblies, after which the turret roof is fitted with hatch, vents and vision blocks. More anti-spall lining is attached to the inside of the roof, and yet more ammunition is stowed as ready rounds for immediate use on the wall. Externally the grab rails, forward mounted searchlight, commander's cupola and a blast-bag around the mantlet are all added, and the single piece barrel with hollow muzzle slips through the centre and keys into the breech. The blast-bag is finished off around the edges with PE strips, and a large camo net is attached to the back of the turret by more PE straps. An armature links the gun barrel and the searchlight together so they move in unison, and an ancillary searchlight is fitted to the commander's cupola, with a choice of the driver's poor weather hood built up in either the collapsed or deployed format, with the former stowed on the turret bustle, while the latter fits over the open driver's hatch. Markings Although on first glance it looks like there are three markings options, there are in fact nine, which is nice to see. Every single one is Russian Green, but there are some nice variations in operator and differences in the application of serials etc. From the box you can build one of the following: Romanian Army 90s – Romanian roundel and white 5049 on the turret sides. Soviet military parade colouring 60-70s – white accents on rims, fenders & Soviet medallion on the turret sides. Somali Army Ogaden War, 1977 – no markings other than small flags front and rear. Marine Infantry of the Soviet Navy 1970 – White 512 and Soviet naval flag on turret sides. Soviet Army 60-70s – White 423 on turret sides. Hungarian People's Army, Operation Danube, Prague, Czechoslovakia, Aug-Sept 1968 – White cross over turret and sides. 55th Marine Infantry Division, Pacific Fleet of the Soviet Navy, Ethiopia 1980 – White 116 and Soviet naval flag on turret sides. Yugoslav People's Army, 80s – White 18131 on turret sides. Hungarian Army 90s – Hungarian pennant and white 122 on turret sides. The decals are printed on bright blue paper, and have good register, sharpness and colour density, with a closely cropped thin, matt carrier film. Conclusion These Interior Kits are amongst the most comprehensive kits I have seen in a long while, with even the tiniest details catered for, down to the tiny nuts holding the snorkel to the rear of the tank. They're certainly not for everyone, as some folks don't want interiors for whatever reason, but as a T-55A with interior, it is a fabulous kit and will keep you modelling for hours and hours. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Soviet LAP-7 Rocket Launcher MiniArt 1:35 The GAZ AA 1.5 ton truck was a licenced manufactured version of the Ford AA truck for the Soviet Union, where more than 950,000 were built. There were many body styles, but the most recognisable version was the flat bed truck as depicted in this kit. The difference with this kit though is the fact that the flat bed is fitted with a large frame work fitted with rockets, and big ones at that. The model is contained within a very attractive, bright and colourful box that MiniArt have started using recently. Inside, there are forty four sprues in grey styrene, one of clear a single sheet of etch brass and a small decal sheet. The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block, head and sump being glued together followed by the addition of the starter motor, alternator, water pump, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan, cooling pipes, oil filler pipe. The gearbox is then assembled from three parts and glued to the engine assembly, along with intake manifold. The two, chassis rails are fitted with an extra beam where the truck bed will sit. These are held on the rails by three “U” bolts and thir associated clamps. The rear leaf springs are then attached via their support links. Four cross members are then used to join the rails together, as well as the rear chassis end piece, to which the towing eye spring is attached. There is a three piece box attached to the left hand rail, near the front. The wheels are assembled, and in this, MiniArt have deviated from the norm, by making the inner tyre half made up from four individual rings, while the outer section is made up of three rings. The wheel itself is then sandwiched between the two tyre sections. Whilst this sounds odd, I think it’s to make a realistic tyre with the type of radial tread used at the time. The rear axle and differential is made up from six parts, if you include the drive shaft. This assembly is then fitted to the rear leaf springs, while the front suspension is made up on a single leaf spring assembly mounted laterally and fitted with the front axle, steering rack and support arms. The rear differential is then fitted with a triangular support structure which also supports the brake rods. The front chassis end cap is attached as are the two bumper side arms, while to the rear there is a choice of towing hook styles, one, just a single piece unit, the other is made up from five parts. The spare wheel, mounted under the rear chassis is held in place by a support large clamp. The front and rear brake drums are then attached to the axles, followed by two wheels per side on the rear axle and one per side on the front axle. The engine assembly in then glued into position, followed by the two piece radiator, two piece front bumper and two support brackets on chassis rails. The five piece exhaust is the attached to the right hand side. The two front fenders are each single piece units to which a small hook is attached before being fitted to the chassis, as are two of the lateral truck bed beams. The cab floor is also attached and fitted with the bench seat, gear stick and panel support. The three piece wiper/wiper motor is fitted to the front screen surround, once the clear screen has been fitted. The screen is then fitted with two small arms, these can be glued in either the stowed position for a closed screen, or down, so that the screen can be posed open. The rear of the bonnet section is then glued to the front of the screen support, along with eh two side sections and engine bulkhead which has been detailed with several small parts. Inside the foot pedals are attached lower bulkhead, part of the floor panel fitted earlier, before the front cab assembly is glued into place, along with the steering column and wheel. The three piece rear panel and roof of the cab are then glued into place, as are the two bonnet supports, between the bulkhead and the radiator. Each door is made up from five parts, including clear section, door handles, latches and window winders. The doors are then put to one side. The bonnet halves, split longitudinally are each made from two sections, which can be posed in either the open or closed positions, allowing the modeller to show of the engine should they so choose. The doors are then attached; again, they can be posed open or closed as the modeller wishes. The three piece horn is attached to a rail, which in turn is attached to the front of the vehicle between the fenders. The two, three piece headlights are then fitted, as is the single, two piece wing mirror, on the drivers side. The truck bed is then assembled from five parts, bed, with two cross beams fitted underneath, sides, front and rear sections, and glued into place, completing the truck section of the build. For the rocket launcher frame, there are two large beams that are slightly longer than the bed, the overhang being where the handles used to raise and lower the framework into firing position is attached. There is a smaller plank that runs crossways from this elevation beam, which is also fitted with th hinge points or the rear of the frame. The modeller ahs a choice of building the frame in the firing position or transport position by the use of alternative actuator parts. The raising mechanism is made up from nine parts. The main frame is made up from ten parts while each of the six rocket containers are each made from sixteen parts, while the rockets themselves are each four parts. With the rockets slid into the containers, each assembly is then glued into position on the frame. If the frame is to be modelled in the transport position, the right hand side and rear flaps of the bed are fixed up with the relative catches fitted. In the firing position these flaps are lowered and the catches fitted in the down position. Decals The decal sheet gives the modeller only two options for same truck, one in a summer paint scheme, and one in a winter scheme. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. Conclusion I just love these trucks from MiniArt, they are so evocative of the period and can be used in so many situations, whether on their own, or in a diorama. The rocket frame gives this normally benign truck a certain menace and goes to show the ingenuity of the Russian forces to get as much use of these types of vehicles as possible. Review sample courtesy of
  20. RMSh Workable Track Links Late Type For T-55/T-62/T-72 1:35 MiniArt With the release of the early track links for the T-54/T-55 earlier this year, MiniArt have now released the later style track links, as used on not only the T-55, but also the T-62 and T-72. Needless to say that you can use them with any manufacturers kits, not just those from MiniArt. In the colourful end opening box are seventeen sprues, each with twelve links and twenty four pins. Each link is removed from the sprue gates and cleaned up. Be aware that the styrene is quite soft, so be careful if using a blade to clean up, might be best just to use a foam emery stick. With the links cleaned up you then join each link together and insert a pin, add a drop of glue, in my case I used Tamiya extra thin, so you have to be careful not to put too much on as it can wick up the pin and you won’t get moveable tracks. With the pin glued, just snap off and fit the pin on the other side, rinse and repeat until you have a full length of track. The length of track I built up as shown in the photograph took about 5 minutes once the links had been cleaned up. Conclusion This set represents a much better solution to the click together style MiniArt used to use. They are so easy to put together that even the most ardent opponent of individual links should be happy putting them together. They really do work too as my photo shows. I now hope they include these tracks or ones like them in all their new tanks and other tracked vehicle kits. There are enough links to make a set of tracks for the T-55 which require 91 links per track, or the T-62/T-72 which require 97 links per track so you will have some spare if used with a T-55, which you could then use as additional armour or in a diorama setting. Review sample courtesy of MiniArt - Distributed in the UK By Creative Models
  21. MiniArt ( https://www.facebook.com/miniart.models/ & http://miniart-models.com/ ) is to release a 1/35th Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri V-6 & V-21 kits - ref. 41001 & 41003 Sources: https://www.facebook.com/groups/greenmats/permalink/1615939271798942/ https://www.facebook.com/largescalemodeller/posts/1743221195749828 V.P.
  22. Flettner Fi-282 Kolibri V-23 MiniArt 1:35 History Although the first helicopter to enter service with the German forces in 1939 in the shape of the Fi-265, although the 6 machines built were really prototypes for what followed, the Fi-282. The Fl 282 shared the same "intermeshing" rotor design as the Fl 265, this arrangement involving two individual rotor blades crossing one another, without touching, while rotating in opposite directions and on individual masts to achieve the desired vertical lift. The Fl 282 was given an all-new engine in the Bramo Sh.14A, a 7-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engine outputting at 160 horsepower. Flight testing of the Fl 282 began in 1941 and eventually involved two flyable prototypes. These two prototypes were given enclosed cockpits while follow-up units were to feature the well-photographed open-air design. It was the German Navy that saw the value inherent in the Flettner helicopter and ordered a batch of fifteen for evaluation from its surface ships. Prototypes were designated Fl 282 V1 through V7 and followed by the Fl 282A-1 single-seat reconnaissance version for launching/retrieval from German warships. The Fl 282B-2 designation was given to the submarine-launched, single-seat reconnaissance variants, which were actually two seaters, with a second seat to the rear of the frame. This was for an observer in the scout, reconnaissance or mission liaison role. The Luftwaffe was granted a production order for some 1,000 Fl 282 units sometime in 1944, these to be manufactured by the BMW for the sheer numbers required of the German war effort. But these plans were disrupted when the plant designated to build them was bombed by allied aircraft. In 1945, the Luftwaffe went on to establish a dedicated reconnaissance wing through Transportstaffel 40 (TS/40) which was to stock several Fl 282 helicopters and based out of the Muhldorf District of Bavaria. It is interesting to note, that after the war, Anton Flettner eventually went to work with the Kaman Helicopter company, renowned for using the twin intermeshing rotors on canted masts that Flettner had introduced with his wartime helicopter, and these are still being produced today. The Model The third incarnation of the Kolibri, the V-23 comes in a nicely illustrated top opening box. As with the previous kit, this could have fitted in a smaller box as it takes up about half of the available space. That said, once the sprues are removed from the two layers of plastic bags, it does prove that the tightly packed sprues have kept the many fragile parts safe from damage. The model comes on eight sprues of grey styrene, a small sheet of etched brass and a decal sheet. As usual with MiniArt kits the moulding is superb with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are an awful lot of moulding pips, particularly on the tubular framework which will require very careful clean-up. The detail variation between the earlier kits is minimal, but this one does show the helicopter in it’s final form as flown by the USAF. Construction begins with the frame work fuselage; with the main bulkhead drilled, out the two piece rear seat is attached. The floor is fitted with what looks like a keel beam, before the main and rear bulkheads are glued into place, followed by the two side sections. The rear roof section is then added, followed by the two piece fin and single piece rudder. Two tubular cross members are then attached, along with two tubular engine mounts. The engine is a model in itself with a single piece block, which is fitted with one set of conrods on a circular frame and the single piece crankcase, the other conrods are separate as are the cylinder heads which are glued on next. The four piece gearbox is the attached to the crankcase followed by the output shaft. The forward section of the upper fuselage, containing the main rotor gearbox mounting frames is then attached, as are the horizontal tailplanes, control runs and, rather strangely, a two bladed propeller and protective ring to the front of the engine which sits inside the fuselage. The main rotor gearbox is made up from no less than thirty three parts, and includes all the control linkages, filters, rotor masts and other fittings. Probably the most complex part of the build is the assembly of what we could loosely call the cockpit. There are four sections of tubular frame that make the cockpit surrounds, then it is fitted out with the control column, all the control linkages, collective lever, rudder pedals, throttle quadrant with linkages attached and the two piece instrument panel with decal instrument faces, which you can then glaze with your favourite glazing medium is fitted into the new nose piece before the assembly is attached to the cockpit frame. With all this in place it is fitted to the fuselage and the rear of the cockpit fitted with its strangely shaped bulkhead and the two piece seat. The main rotor gearbox assembly is then fitted to its mounting and enclosed with three panels. There are two four piece side panels that enclose the rear seat area and a four piece under fuselage section that fits under the engine area. There are two fuel tanks, each made up from four parts, the seven piece main undercarriage, and five piece nose undercarriage. These are all assembled before being glued into their respective positions. The rear panel of the main rotor gearbox is then fitted, as are the two small instrument panels and two piece PE seatbelts which fit in the cockpit, which is then enclosed with two side panels and windscreen, which is held away from the panels by two PE struts. Lastly the two six piece rotors are fitted to their respective masts completing the build. Decals The single decal sheet provides markings for four schemes. Although all of the same aircraft they make interesting variations. The decals are very nicely printed, in register, and opaque. They do include two piece swastikas, should you wish to apply them. The schemes are:- Captured, in the service of the USAF, Nellingen, Germany, June 1945 USAF, August to September 1945 USAF airbase Freeman Field, October 1945 USAF, Camden Airport, 1947. Conclusion As with the first releases, it’s great to see this interesting helicopter in 1:35. If you buy all three, you can see the progression and adaptation of the aircraft as it became more mature. The colour schemes that the markings are provided for are also interesting and it shows how much interest that the aircraft provoked that it was still in use in 1947. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Hessian Bags (35586) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Hessian bags, sometimes known as sand bags are a coarse material that is also strong and cheap to manufacture, which is perfect for wartime use. They're also quite adept at stopping small-arms fire and shrapnel, hence their widespread use around major cities, military installations etc. More recently, they have been replaced by the modern Hesco barriers, which are like giant caged sandbags that are more modular and cover a greater area with less effort in filling. This set from MiniArt arrives in a figure-sized box, and inside are eight sprues in grey styrene. Six of the sprues contain sand bags of three types, while the other two sprues have two different sized bags and a bag full of vegetables that are good for use in the back of trucks, kitchens and so forth. The sand bags are made of two halves, and have optional tied ends that you can add for exposed ends of runs of bags. The instructions show the correct way to lay the bags down on each other, with a corner "buttress" given as an example that can be adapted as per your requirements. The bags are shaped on the underside to be laid out in an overlapping manner, and the bottom row have concave undersides to assist with bedding down on whatever you are using them with. Overall there are 24 sand bags, plus two each of the large sacks, medium sacks and vegetable sacks, which should be plenty for most uses, and the extras can be repurposed as suggested on the boxtop. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Su-122-54 Tank Destroyer Early Type (37035) 1:35 MiniArt Not to be confused with the unsuccessful Su-122 of WWII era, the Su-122-54 (Object 600) was a re-tread of the concept but utilising the more recent T-54 chassis as its basis, although this was lengthened slightly to accommodate the alterations that included a fixed casemate for the gun, which has elevation and limited traverse like many other tank-killers and Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs) to allow fine tuning of aim. It was fitted with the D-49 L/48.4 rifled main gun with 35 rounds carried onboard, and a pair of KPVT 14.5mm heavy machine guns with 600 rounds, one mounted coaxially to the barrel, the other on the commander's station on the roof, which rotated to give fire all round. The commander also had a TCD-09 stereoscopic rangefinder available for targeting, and could be used out as far as 5000m at extreme. They were only produced in small quantities (under 100), and were kept well away from prying eyes for much of their career, with NATO barely mentioning them in reports, despite them playing a part in some of the major exercises and deployments of the 60s. This could partially be due to the use of the Armoured Recovery Vehicle variant in parades that possibly gave a false impression of the type at the time. The Kit This is a new tooling from the masters of armour at MiniArt, using some of the sprues from their successful T-54/55 series. It arrives in their standard sized box, and inside are a lot of sprues of varying sizes. There are 49 sprues of grey styrene, two in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and instruction booklet, with colour profiles at the rear for paint and markings. If you're not familiar with MiniArt kits, 49 sprues might seem a lot, but if you scroll down to the pictures you'll see that some are small, and often there are upwards of dozens of the same sprue for example in respect of track links. If you have built a T-54, you will recognise the construction of the lower hull, which is achieved by adding the suspension mounts to the lower panel, threading the torsion bars through the hull, attaching all the suspension parts such as the swing-arms, dampers and such to the side, then putting the sides with separate final drive housing and rear bulkhead in place. Between the two sides is a firewall, which is there as a structural element, as there is no interior to this kit. That said, you do get a full-length breech, which is assembled with its big coaxial machine gun and slipped through the big bolted mantlet and then set aside while the casemate is made up. The roof of the casemate is first to be put together, with four hatches on the roof, mating with the other sides before the whole assembly is placed on the top of the hull. Worthy of note are the two diagonal corners to the casemate, which are separate parts that normally leads to worries about alignment. MiniArt have sensibly provided a pair of angled plates to glue inside the joints, which ensures that the sides and diagonals obtain the correct angle to mate with the glacis plate, which by now has the mantlet and breech installed. The wide fenders are also glued in place at this stage, with large tabs holding them to the top of the hull at the front, and two pins that locate into the side of the engine compartment, which is slightly raised compared to the front. The rectangular hatch sports the commander's periscope, and the larger round hatch at the rear has the huge KPVT machine gun attached to it, with twin magazines, one each side on a sturdy mount. The engine deck is made up in three sections, with louvres and hatches, plus small parts, some of which are PE for scale fidelity. A large storage box fits onto the deck once it is in place, and the rear bulkhead is decorated with towing hitches, rails and pioneer tools, plus a pair of large mud guards with separate supports on each side. The remaining two hatches are fitted, a number of supports are glued along the length of the fenders, and stowage boxes plus fuel tanks are added to any free space, as is the large side-facing exhaust on the port side. At the front, the fenders are finished off with front guards, which have PE stiffeners inside, and the single-part barrel is inserted into the keyed slot in the mantlet, with the outer saukopf-like section slid over before the two-part hollow muzzle-brake is closed up around the tip of the barrel. The vehicle now needs some road wheels, which are created in pairs with separate hub caps that hide the axle that also holds the multi-part drive sprocket and idler wheels. There are 10 pairs of road wheels needed, and two of each of the idler and drive sprockets, one for each side. At this stage various small parts are added around the hull, with a choice of day or night operations headlights on the diagonal sections of the glacis, more pioneer tools, additional stowage, aerial masts, plumbing for the additional fuel cells, and a rolled up tarpaulin that is attached to the rear of the casemate with PE straps. A common theme to Soviet era armour was the unditching beam and additional fuel drums on the rear, which were carried over to the Su-122-54, with PE straps and fuel caps that are shown from other angles in scrap diagrams to ensure you place them correctly. The towing cables are something you will have to supply from your own sources, with a requirement of two lengths of 1.1mm diameter with lengths of 175mm each, but you do get the towing eyes to terminate them with, so forewarned is forearmed. Keeping the best and most fun part until last, we come to the tracks. Yes, I'm being slightly sarcastic, as there can't be many modellers that actually enjoy putting tracks together, due to their repetitive nature. Each of the 90 links per side is attached by four sprue gates, and they are located in the pit of the concave track-pin tunnel, so will require extra care during clean-up. I found this a bit of a chore for the three links I did, but I do have easily fatigued hands, and you may come up with a faster method than I found using a sharp knife and round file. Detail on the tracks is staggering, with individual casting serials in the depths of each one, and happily no ejector pin marks to contend with. Markings There are three markings options available from the box, and the profiles are split between the inside front and rear covers of the instruction booklet. You can build one of the following: Soviet Army, winter camouflage 50-60s, marked red 326 Soviet Army 60s, marked white 318 Soviet Army 50-60s, marked white 344 Decals are printed by Decograph, which as usual have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Whether you've heard of this Tank Destroyer before or not, it has a certain presence, and the angular casemate is appealing as well as a useful feature for deflecting shots away from the crew. The detail levels are excellent, with PE and clear parts to give it extra realism. The only minor gripe is the positioning of the sprue gates on the track links, but with some careful cutting and making good, no-one will ever appreciate your effort! It's typical modern MiniArt, who have made producing great kits look easy. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Polish Tank Crew WWII (35267) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Those doyens of figure sets at MiniArt are at it again (where do they find the time each month?), and this time it's a set of Polish Tank Crew from WWII. The set arrives in a standard sized end-opening figure box with a painting of the intended poses on the front, and a combined instruction and painting guide on the rear of the box. Inside are four sprues in mid grey styrene, three still joined to their runner, the last one nipped off to fit in the box. Four crew are included, one driver figure with his hands on the controls, one casually leaning against his tank (presumably) and two which appear to be clutching their copolas. Two of the standing figures have chest mounted respirator pouches but these can be left off. Conclusion With MiniArt we have come to expect excellent sculpting, and this set does not disappoint, with realistic poses, drape of clothing and faces. The whole set is finely sculpted. There is some flash on this set which I have not seen on others, but it should not be a problem to remove. Recommended for you Polish tank / AFV build. Review sample courtesy of
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