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European Agricultural Tractor with Cart (38055) 1:35


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European Agricultural Tractor with Cart (38055)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd




The Lanz Bulldog was a peculiar early tractor, powered by a single-cylinder “hot bulb” diesel engine with a single piston, which although it was ahem… agricultural, was very effective and easy to repair, so it became very popular in Germany, manufactured at its base in Mannheim and built under license in other countries.  The D8500 used a three-speed transmission plus one reverse gear, and the curious engine was upgraded over time with output eventually reaching over 50hp.  The upgrades were evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and by 1938 they were still available with metal wheels that must have been horribly loud on any hard surface, but gave enough traction to carry it over rough or muddy ground so that it could carry out its job.  Pneumatic tyres were often added later once they became commonplace, making farming a slightly quieter endeavour, and reducing the driver’s trips to the dentist to replace fillings.  The last of them rolled off the production lines in the 60s, ending a very long run, although plenty have survived to the present day, attending retro shows.



The Kit

This is one of a string of brand-new toolings of this tractor family from MiniArt, and a little out of the left field in terms of subject matter.  They have clearly done their homework though, and have released a number of variants of the tractor with rubber or metal “tyres” and with or without trailers.  It arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box, and inside are fourteen sprues in grey styrene, a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret, a small sheet of decals and the instruction booklet with colour cover on glossy paper and profiles at the rear.  The PE is safely cocooned in a card envelope, and the tiny size of the fret is surprising at first, but it’s great that they have included it to get the detail just right.










Construction begins with the big, bolt-riddled chassis, which is made from forward and aft sections that both mate to opposite sides of a central bulkhead and adding axles, accessible ancillaries and towing arm at the rear.   The top cowling is made of separate panels that are mated under a curved top panel that has filler caps fixed into holes in the top.  It is shaped to fit snugly onto the surface of the chassis, and is joined by a large tread-plated deck on which the driver will later sit.  Pedals and other driver controls are attached, then a sprung seat with perforations to drain off water and allow the driver’s butt to breathe are placed off-centre to the right, plus some linkages to the important areas.  A large bell-housing glues onto the right, and another teardrop fairing that protects the drive-belt is attached on the left side, then the large rear mudguards and rear bumper are fitted under the driver’s deck.  The underside is finished off by making up the front axle with steering arms, then two stacks are constructed, the aft one a slightly tapered pipe with mushroom cap, while the larger hot one at the front has a bulged section midway, and is prevented from swaying by a PE bracket wrapped around it, much like those on your downspout at home.


The smaller front wheels are simple two-part assemblies that you make two of.  The large toothed rear wheels are laminated from five sections to depict the various traction surfaces that are present on the real wheels.  Again, you make two, and all four wheels are added to their respective axles, then the fifth wheel that the driver uses can either be fitted in place atop the steering column, or inserted into the bell-housing on the right flank of the machine, for the purpose of starting the vehicle manually.  If you are fitting the wheel in the usual position, there is a cover with PE ring that fits over the socket, and that is shown hinged down when the wheel is inserted into the bell-housing, while the nub at the top of the steering column should be cut off for accuracy.  That’s all there is to it, apart from the painting and weathering.  Oh, and the trailer of course.


The flatbed for the trailer is next, made up on a ladder chassis with two sections of bed that are completed and mated together, all of which has fine engraved wood texture on both sides, as do the other wooden structures in the kit.  The fixed rear axle is without suspension, and has two large brackets that hold it onto the cross-frame.  The front axle is similarly unsuspended, but on a frame that has a turntable between it and the bed to enable the axle to rotate freely to reduce the turning circle for easier manoeuvring.  The wheels are each single-part carriage wheels that wouldn’t look out of place on a surrey-with-a-fringe-on-top, with a centre boss that can be glued carefully to the axle to leave the wheels mobile.  The flatbed is made more useful by adding a set of dropside walls around it, each one being a single part, the front end is lower to accommodate the park bench-style seat that has L-shaped brackets holding the back at the correct angle.  The A-frame that connects it to the tractor is a flex-fit on the rotating front axle, and a pair of additional hinge detail parts are added at the bottom of the rear.






There are two sprues of figures included in this boxing, plus another two sprues of accessories to add some interest around your model.  The figures are dressed as typical farm workers of the period, a man that is operating the steering wheel fitted to the bell-housing on the side in the starting position and wearing a cap.  The other figure is a lady that is crouching, with what looks like a flask in her hands, although I suspect it has a more mechanical use, possibly to warm up part of the engine to assist with starting a cold engine.  As usual with MiniArt figures, they’re extremely well sculpted with a sensible parts breakdown, and have a lot of detail moulded-in.  The accessories are typical of those found on a farm in the 40s and 50s, including a scythe worthy of the grim-reaper, three types of fork, a watering can, a sickle, and a separate handle that can be used either with a wide-headed rake, or with an adze head, although you could also make another handle to use both.  There are two of everything of course, so plenty to go at.




Anyone that has lived or even visited a farm will know that a tractor is a beast of burden, and as such there isn’t much care lavished on the cosmetics of the thing.  The mechanical parts will be horribly oily, and over the years the paint will chip and rust, while the greasy parts will become caked in a mix of dust, oil and grease, with frequent spills and impact marks adding to the patina.  We are only given one scheme on the back of the instruction booklet, but the world is your oyster if you want to depict other colours that you have either seen, or want to portray.






Decals are by MiniArt’s usual partners Decograph, and although it’s only a small sheet using just black and white printing, it’s all in good register with sharp, dense printing as we expect from them.




This isn’t the first of the Lanz Bulldog tractor from MiniArt, but it’s a different one, having a more aged look when compared to some of the others.  The metal wheels and old-fashioned spoked-wheeled trailer lend its use to earlier eras, or in the background of a more modern diorama as a grizzled wreck.  Great detail throughout of course, as we expect from MiniArt.


Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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