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Tramway “X” Series Mid Type (38026) 1:35


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Tramway “X” Series Mid Type (38026)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd

 

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Trams have long been used for mass transport within built-up areas of larger cities, using rails set into the street and making a familiar dinging noise just before they run you over.  They’ve made a comeback in some cities recently, but were far more numerous pre-WWII, and a lot of folks used them to travel deep into cities where the standard railways couldn’t reach before other cheap forms of mass transport such as cars or taxis came along.  Soviet Russia operated these trams in their cities, carrying people and the daily necessities around, and were sometimes pressed into service as troop transports and munitions carriers when war came to town.

 

 

The Kit

This new boxing is based upon the passenger X-Series tram and is a mid-production variant, with new parts to build it up to type.  The kit arrives in a box with typical MiniArt painting, and inside are twenty-five sprues in grey styrene, ten in clear, an A4+ sized vacuum-formed cobblestone base with suitably gauged tracks laid along the longest side.  The package is rounded out by a decal sheet and instruction booklet that has the painting options laid out on the covers.  Detail is excellent as we've come to expect from any new tooling from MiniArt, and the instructions are printed on good quality glossy paper in their usual manner.

 

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Construction begins with the floor and suspension leaf-springs, plus control chains and air-receiver for the braking system.  Next is the sub-frame bogie, with two electric motors and axles sandwiched between the brake actuators and wheels, then slipped inside the long frame along with their leaf-spring suspension mounts and cross-braces.  The two axles are then integrated in the frame by adding end-plates and more cross-braces to stiffen up the assembly.  The brake actuators are joined to the rest of the armature by a small cage and long rod that is connected to the driver’s cab later on, with boxed-in steps at each end of the floor and a cow (pedestrian) catcher on a frame at each end too.

 

These trams are fitted with dual controls, one at each end to avoid having to physically turn them round at the end of each run, so the driver’s controls are doubled up on a pair of lectern-like bases on the left, a set of controls on a tubular base in the centre, and another smaller upright on the right with the brake-wheel facing the driver.  The driver’s seat is a simple wind-up stool on a tubulkr base, with everything mounted into sockets on the floor at each end.  The passenger floor is applied to the floor in sections, and the front/back windows are installed at each end, with handed door frames assembled alongside the passenger seats, which have separate backs and legs, plus grab-handles on the outer corner of the fore/aft seats, which also have slatted backs.  The completed seats are attached to the side walls and each window is made up of two panes, then supports are added at each end, notionally separating the seating area from the entrance vestibules.  The sides fix to the floor, and the doorway parts are filled out with double-doors that are glazed with clear parts and have a triple push-bars across the top pane.  To add strength to the sides, two cross-members are added between the passenger compartment and the vestibules.  The big soviet star with integrated headlight that includes a replica of a bulb in the centre is placed front and centre in the nose at each end – unless you’ve opted for the simpler and less ostentatious headlamp of course.

 

The roof is made of two mirror image sections with panelling moulded into each cab end and curved sections where adverts would be placed in view of the passengers, with a pair of lighting bars running along the rest of the length next to roof-mounted handrails.  Upstands are glued to each side of the flat section of the roof and have a nicely detailed heat-exchanger unit fitted front and rear (front and front?).  Lights, two types of placards for route numbers and the big pantograph loop is assembled then fitted in the centre of the roof, angled toward the rea… whichever direction it has come from.

 

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If you’re not a diorama fan you can end it there, but it would be a shame to waste the base and accompanying catenary posts that suspend the wire above the track.  The base is vacformed, so will need some method of support underneath to prevent it from sagging under the weight of the model, such as sheet balsawood, which can be glued to the underside of the base with epoxy.  The two posts have a four-part base and single riser part, with a choice of a simple or decorative arm for each one.  They are held taut by wires that you will need to supply yourself, and you will need to do a little research to correctly wire in the rest of the cables to your tram’s pantograph.

 

 

Markings

There are a generous eight decal options out of the box, with a wide choice of colours but only a few decals for route numbers and vehicle identification per vehicle.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  1. Dnipropetrovsk (Dnipro at the present time) 1930-1940s
  2. Stalino (Yuzivka) (Donetsk at the present time) 1930-1940s
  3. Zaporizhzhia 1930-1940s
  4. Kharkiv 1940-1950s
  5. Odessa 1940-1950s
  6. Stalingrad (Volgograd at present time) 1930-1940s
  7. Kursk 1930-1940s
  8. Minsk 1930-1940s

 

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Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

Conclusion

A well detailed model of a passenger tram that was used in Soviet era Russia.  There’s plenty of scope for dioramas with the included base a healthy start, and lots of opportunity to practice your weathering techniques to depict a well-worn example.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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