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Das Abteilung

First MiniArt M3 Lee Announced For Release

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These have been in the catalogue all year, and it's now mid-October.  But the first has now been announced for release, although not until next year.  This looks like a stonking kit.  I'm waiting for the diesel Grant II, though.  No interior versions of the diesels, sadly.

 

This is the whole promised family of 9 kits covering 8 different versions.  As the old saying goes, you wait years for a decent M3 then 8 come along at once...............  The only duplicate is the Grant I, which comes with and without interior.  I suspect that many people will opt for one of these in preference to the Takom offerings.

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New Kit in Progress Coming in 2019.  35206 M3 LEE EARLY PRODUCTION. INTERIOR KIT

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HIGHLY DETAILED MODEL

PHOTO-ETCHED PARTS INCLUDED

CLEAR PARTS INCLUDED

ALL HATCHES & DOORS CAN BE POSED OPEN OR CLOSED

DETAILED FIGHTING AND DRIVER COMPARTMENTS INTERIOR

ROTATING M2 75mm GUN

FULL AMMUNITION REPRESENTED

HIGHLY DETAILED INTERIOR OF TURRET

FULL INTERIOR OF ENGINE COMPARTMENT

CONTINENTAL R-975 ENGINE INCLUDED

BUILD-UP OPTIONS: 3 TYPES OF BOW GUN MOUNT

WORKABLE T41(D37889) TRACK LINKS

 

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They look really nice, I hope they are competitively priced. 

 

Duncan B

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At least with the M3 there's a few more doors you can open up to see inside when it's completed. Would like the Grant MK1 to go on top of the Thunder models Scammel tank transporter with everything open including the doors on the Scammel

Should keep me busy for a few years at my build rate

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1 hour ago, Duncan B said:

They look really nice, I hope they are competitively priced. 

MiniArt prices vary wildly by seller.  I mean up to twice the price.

 

There are some sellers on eBay whose MiniArt prices are reasonable.  You can pick up the interior detail T-54s and 55s for under £40 now, although you can pay over £60, and the exterior versions for under £30 if you're lucky.  I imagine the price will certainly compare well with Takom.

 

I would look at European suppliers, especially further East.  There's a store in Kiev I use and trust whose prices are usually very keen, cheaper still if you pay in Grivna rather than Euros.  Hobby.dn.ua.  But as Ukraine is outside the EU you'd need to factor in paying import VAT and the Post Office handling fee.  You might get away with it, or you might not.  I haven't had a package from there rummaged by Border Force yet.  I tend to order a bunch of stuff from there so that the Post Office admin fee doesn't hurt so much.  Jadar Hobby in Warsaw are trustworthy.

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Sockelshop is not always the cheapest, but the exterior only t55s range roughly between 35 and 40€. So I would expect competitive prices.

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Sockelshop and Modellbau Koenig are always worth a look.  As Soeren says, not always cheapest but in my experience utterly reliable and both have a very good range.  I've just bought things from both of them, but also from Jadar and the Kiev guys.  After some bad experiences with other suppliers these tend to be my go-to stores.  You may pay a little more but the ability to get a wide range under one roof can make the shipping cost much more economical than shipping around and paying lots of separate shipping charges. 

 

Being something of a saddo, and having spent 30-odd years as a professional buyer, when there's stuff I want I create a simple spreadsheet that takes into account currency differences, shipping and discounts from different sellers to see who, or what combination, is really the cheapest.  But I tend to buy batches of things rather than individual items: I don't feel the need to rush to buy every tempting new item straight away.

 

Don't forget that MiniArt are Ukrainian, as are MiniBox and ICM, so you would expect cheaper prices there.  Depending on exchange rates you can get the T-55s for under £30, but you can get close to those prices elsewhere now without the VAT worry.  Clearly they charge a premium price for popular newer items, as many sellers do.  I got an older MiniArt Valentine V for under £20 and the Miniart and MiniBox figure sets are only £6-8.  You can pay 2-3 times that in the UK,

 

You can get the Takom M3s for around the £40 mark, sometimes a bit less, and I imagine the MiniArt ones will be competitive with that.  But it looks as if they will be a better product, especially the interior versions.  I imagine you will be able to mix and match the interiors between kits, adjusting for any differences.  IIRC the diesels had a different firewall which stepped in at the bottom, for example. 

 

Perhaps we will see more variants in future.  They've steered clear of the M3A1 and CDLs, and I'm not sure there's space in the market for 2 of those anyway.  An M3A4 would be nice, but from the tooling perspective is entirely new upper and lower hulls.  As noted on other forums, it will be interesting to see exactly how the "Australian" one is configured.  You can certainly see additional rear bins, but no sign of a fuel tank and you can't see if it has the mud chutes or late bogies.  It has wider Far East uses than just "Australian".

 

Hopefully the Grants will come with Double I/WE210 tracks.  The method of track construction allows them to add different pad face sprues.  The Diesel is a nice touch, and a first.  The "British Lee" is also a nice touch as it is often forgotten that we had both in N Africa.  But, what about a Burma Lee?  That would be easily possible for them using existing parts from this line-up.

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