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  1. 1/35 Flettner Fl 282V-23 Hummingbird Aircraft Miniatures Series MiniArt Catalogue # 41004 The Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri ("Hummingbird") is an intermeshing rotor helicopter, or synchropter, produced by Anton Flettner of Germany. According to Yves Le Bec, the Flettner Fl 282 was the world's first series production helicopter. though other writers claim the same for the Focke-Achgelis Fa 223. Flettner’s Fl 282 Kolibri was an improved version of the Flettner Fl 265 announced in July 1940, which pioneered the same intermeshing rotor configuration that the Kolibri used. It had a 7.7 litre displacement, seven-cylinder Siemens-Halske Sh 14 radial engine of 150-160 hp mounted in the centre of the fuselage, with a transmission mounted on the front of the engine from which a drive shaft ran to an upper gearbox, which then split the power to a pair of opposite-rotation drive shafts to turn the rotors. The Sh 14 engine was a tried-and-true design that only required servicing every 400 hours, as opposed to the nearly 27 litre displacement, nine-cylinder BMW/Bramo Fafnir 750hp radial engine powering the larger Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 helicopter, whose outdated design required maintenance every 25 hours. The Fl 282's fuselage was constructed from steel tube covered with doped fabric, and it was fitted with a fixed tricycle undercarriage. The German Navy was impressed with the Kolibri and wanted to evaluate it for submarine spotting duties, ordering an initial 15 examples, to be followed by 30 production models. Flight testing of the first two prototypes was carried out through 1941, including repeated take-offs and landings from a pad mounted on the German cruiser Köln. The first two "A" series prototypes had enclosed cockpits; all subsequent examples had open cockpits and were designated "B" series. In case of an engine failure, the switch from helicopter to autorotation was automatic. Good handling in bad weather led the German Air Ministry to issue a contract in 1944 to BMW to produce 1,000 units. However, the company's Munich plant was destroyed by Allied bombing raids after producing just 24 machines. Towards the end of World War II most of the surviving Fl 282s were stationed at Rangsdorf, in their role as artillery spotters, but gradually fell victim to Soviet fighters and anti-aircraft fire. A total of 24 machines were built. Edit courtesy of Wikipedia The kit When Ukrainian company, MiniArt, announced their first Fl 282 kit, it caught us all pretty much by surprise, despite the companies more leftfield releases. We’ve not exactly been inundated with large scale models of this quirky yet important helicopter, with the only other kit being Anyuta’s 3D-printed 1/18 kit. MiniArt’s initial release started to trickle into retailers earlier this year, and this new kit only shares some of the DNA of the previous, with lots of new plastic here, including the second crew seat within the rear fuselage, behind the engine. This release is packaged into a box which is perhaps a little bigger than it should be, with the bag of contents rattling around it inside. The box artwork depicts the V-23 machine in its US colours and doped silver finish, flying high over American terrain, circa 1947. Box side images show some coloured CAD renders of the Fl 282. Inside the box, EIGHT medium-grey sprues are packed into two bags, and then sealed into a single, heat-sealed bag. Out of those grey sprues, two are duplicates (rotors), and a small clear sprue is separately packed within the main bag to protect it from scuffing. A single PE fret is included, and this is packaged into a small cardboard sleeve. Of course, decals are also a part of this release, and the small sheet is also packaged into a separate sleeve, again within the main bag. The kit’s instruction manual is a 12-page A4 publication in a mix of matt and glossy paper, with the glossy leaves containing the various artworks etc. More on that later. Sprue Ab We only have five parts on this small sprue. These are for the fin, rudder, lower fuselage fairing, and rudder actuator. The fin is produced in halves, whilst the rudder is a single piece. All of these parts exhibit a very nice rib and fabric finish which I am certainly more than happy with. Sprue Ac Here we see the major changes between the original V-6 kit release and this new incarnation. However, not all changes are manifested here. The V-23 had different horizontal tail planes which were kinked upwards not far from their root, and these are moulded here as single-piece units. Quite a lot of cockpit enhancements are found here too, such as the fabric and ribbed nose, lower floor tubular frame and covered side frame panels, instrument panel frame, upper cockpit tub cowl, and brackets to mount the external fuel tanks which sit either side of the cockpit tub. Sprue B (x2) Remember, this isn’t a 4-blade rotor, but instead two 2-blade intermeshing rotors. Here you can see the blades for those, moulded with a sag in them so that you don’t need to manipulate the plastic and bend them yourselves. Other parts on here are for the two-part main and nose gear wheels, engine and gearbox parts, and rotor connection areas etc. Whilst the wheels don’t have any flat spots on them for the weighted effect, they are still bulged, strangely enough, in that area. Sprue Bc Here, we have the only clear part on the whole model, and this is the rather slick looking, sloped windscreen. Moulding is superb and crystal clear with no distortion present. Sprue Bf On this new sprue, we are presented with most of the larger parts of the Fl 282, pertaining of course to the fuselage. The Fl 282’s fuselage was constructed from tubular steel and the majority of it was covered in fabric. This effect is clearly seen in the port and starboard halves, with the forward section being uncovered and the rear portion exhibiting a nicely reproduced taught fabric effect, hinting at the structures below. Note also a panel for allowing the second crew member. It would’ve been nice to have had this as a separate part. Other parts on this sprue are the upper deck with forward tubular framework, engine side panels and control surface rods. In order to cater to the multitude of thin frame parts, MiniArt has used a series of small tags for their ejector pins, and these simply need to be snipped off and cleaned up You will also find the parts for the two external fuel tanks, presumably moved to the sides of the cockpit in order to accommodate the second crew member in the rear fuselage. Sprue C Here we have the lion’s share of the engineering that went into the technology that made this thing fly….i.e. engine parts and gearbox/transmission units. You’ll note engine pushrods, transmission housing plates and drive shafts, propeller housing ring, exhaust gases collector ring, pilot seat back with nicely detailed cushion, main gear spreader tubes, nose gear forked strut, etc. A number of bulkheads are also moulded here, including the engine mounting backplate. I don’t think we can call the latter a firewall, in this instance. Note also the transmission/gearbox cowl panels and the plate which separates the brave pilot from the propeller spinning around to his rear. Sprue Ca I admit that the sprue nomenclature is a little confusing here. This is because MiniArt uses other sprues with different kit versions of this model. This sprue contains the engine and hub, more parts for the drive/gearing and transmission units, upper rear fuselage top into which the fin sits, lower fuselage belly, instrument panel with blank instruments (good!), pilot seat base with realistic wrinkles cockpit components, numerous other small frame components, etc. Sprue D This is the last sprue in this release. It appears that the majority of the parts here concern the engine and other ancillary elements. Note the transmission housing, fuel piping, propeller, control rods and their linkages, side panel interior details, and of course, a few more pieces of tubular frame. This is probably the busiest of all sprues, and the parts tend to be either small or fragile, or both. One part is broken from the sprue, but that part is undamaged. Photo Etch Like many kits these days, this one also comes equipped with a fret of PE parts, albeit quite small. Packaged into a cardboard sleeve to protect it from the rigours of the oversized box, this fret contains 11 parts. These make up the seatbelts, frame edge sections, and a small number of parts for the engine. The PE itself is nicely manufactured and left in its bare metal state. Both sides are covered in film which needs to be removed before use. Decals A single, small sheet of decals, printed in the Ukraine by Decograph, is included in this release. Printing is thin, with minimal carrier film and the colours appear to be opaque. Swastikas are supplied, but in a two-part format. Instrument decals are provided as a single panel or separate dials. I would use the latter, and also a punch & die to remove them so as to eliminate carrier film. The red bars on the US insignia look a little too vivid for me, but I could be wrong. The schemes provided in this kit are: Captured in the service of the US Air Force, Nellingen, Germany, June 1945 USAF, August – September 1945 Airbase USAF Freeman Field, October 1945 USAF Camden Airport, March 1947 Instructions These are printed as a 12-page, glossy A4 publication, with a scheme profile and blueprint-style image on the front page, along with a brief resume of the kit contents. Inside the manual, the first thing we are presented with is a proper set of German scheme profiles for CI+TW, despite being under American ownership at that time. Please remember that all schemes in this kit are for the same prototype, and generally just vary in base colour, with the exception of the silver-doped US scheme which adorns the box lid. A parts map is then supplied, complete with a paint chart for Vallejo, Mr. Color, Humbrol, Testors, and an unknown type, with a generic list of colour names too. Construction is shown in clear line drawings over 34 stages, in easy to follow imagery and annotation. The last pages are given over to the remaining scheme profiles. Decal placement is easy to follow and the painting codes are easily referenced. Conclusion This is MiniArt’s second Fl 282 Kolibri release and differs in a number of ways from the original, with this only having around half of the original sprues. In that respect, it’s certainly not just an extra sprue bundled with new decals. I would say this is a release in its own right, and one that more than justifies the new catalogue number. Of course, this also includes the American scheme, which looks quite neat in doped silver, and a real contrast to the standard splinter schemes of the previous German owners. The fact that this is a two-seat machine, with a second seat in the rear fuse, also sets it aside. A great kit with a lot of detail that can be seen in and around the frames, and of course this has a proper cockpit area instead of just the tubular version we saw on the V-6 release. I really can’t fault this at all, and like MiniArt kits in general, the price-point is very attractive. My sincere thanks to MiniArt for the sample reviewed here.
  2. 1:35 Soviet Ball Tank ‘Sharotank’ MiniArt Catalogue # 40001 I have to say that I usually steer well clear from What-If subjects, almost to the point of purposeful avoidance. There are times though that I do get tempted, and then overcome the temptation. In this instance, MiniArt’s new Sharotank is one subject that I just hadto take a closer look at. Of course, this armoured ball tank never existed, but I’m pretty sure that there was more than an ounce of influence and inspiration taken from Item No.37 at the Kubinka Tank Museum, just to the west of Moscow, Russia. Here, a rather curious exhibit, called a Kugelpanzer, is painted in what I assume is a totally unauthentic glossy grey paint. As far as I know, there are no photos of the inside of this curiosity, and even now, it seems sort of shrouded in secrecy/mystery. The Kugelpanzer isn’t a ball tank, but it is fairly close, being a squat drum shape, with two tracks running around its circumference, and with a rear stabiliser to support it. In the front is a vision slit and a welded port with what appears to have originally had a gun protruding from it. The tracks look almost welded into position, so I don’t know if this was a mock-up, or a later-welded machine. Either way, it’s intriguing. I don’t suppose it’s inconceivable that there could have been such a weapon eventually enter production, that was similar and entirely viable. It also appears that MiniArt have had that same idea with their Soviet version of the Kugelpanzer, except this one is entirely spherical and has two side stabilisers instead of a single rear one. Quite how that would actually work is beyond me! It also has a single track running around its circumference, leaving little in the way of front-back transverse stability. But hey….this is a What-If, right, so let’s enjoy the moment! The kit I have to say that the artwork on Sharotank really is quite nice, with two machines depicted in different schemes, kicking up dust behind them as they race on towards their targets. As can also be seen on the lid, this is the first in MiniArt’s new ‘What If Series’, and is also an ‘Interior Kit’, meaning that yes, it has a full interior! Now we can get down and dirty with what would theoretically make these curios actually tick. The box sides contain profiles for the SIX schemes that can be modelled. Inside the box, all TWENTY-FOUR sprues are packed into a single, clear sleeve. All except one of these are moulded in light grey styrene, with the single clear sprue being wrapped individually. Despite the high sprue count, some of these are quite small. There are only two parts on the clear sprue, and again, these are small. A nicely illustrated instruction manual and a single decal sheet complete the ensemble. I think it would be easiest to explain the Sharotank from the inside-out, and for you to relate the photos of the sprues to those details, as this is of course a fictitious machine. It’ll also give the opportunity to know a few basics about the design, plus the opportunity to look at the possibilities that it offers n terms on display and diorama work. The Sharotank is based around two large, circular disc frames onto which are fastened the rollers that aid the smooth movement of the single, central track. These two frames are held apart by a series of rectangular frames which hold the interior equipment of the machine. The tank has FIVE crew (which I thought surprising), and the guns and ammunition fit into the large side dome shells. Of course, those guns (two main guns and two machine guns) can be moved either in the ball mantlets or shields into which they are fitted into. There are no forward-firing main weapons, meaning the tank driver will need some good communication with both gun operators, and it’s to be hoped they both don’t want the driver to manoeuvre for them at the same time! Access to the tank is via a large circular door in each metal domed side. These are locked by means of valve-style handle that pushes out a series of locking arms into the circumference of the door opening, rather like how the door of a large vault would operate. Construction begins with the detailed engine, and this really does look very good, and again would lead this model to be an ideal diorama subject, and at least on display with the large doors open. The engine is connected to a gearbox what operates a roller that comes into contact with the inside of the single track. Just below the engine is what I believe to be an oil tank. This is quite small, so I’m thinking that two tank-like shapes in the inner domes are probably the fuel tanks. Just imagine dropping your lit cigarette into the rolling track area of this thing, and then sending it spinning around the interior with your crew cussing you J There are no crew positions within the main framework of the Sharotank, but instead, these are supported external to the frame, in various elevations and locations, so suit the crew role. The crew positions are rather spaced out in the tank layout, with no side-by-side positions. As for the guns, MiniArt has realised that both main gun and machine gun operators would indeed need bags to catch their spent cartridges, or else they would be spinning around in the interior! Gun detail is excellent, as is that of the spent shell bags. A box feeds each MG, whilst racks built into the side domes, contain the main shells. Those domes also are home to the engine radiators etc. The guns themselves can be positioned, but the doors appear to be an either/or option for open and closed. I don’t think it would take much ingenuity to make those also open and close to suit. The main track is moulded in four sections , and look very good, and certainly suitable for a vehicle from Russian terrain. How they would work in the Berlin streets is another matter. A single decal sheet is included, printed by Decograph, in the Ukraine. Printing is excellent with nice thin ink layers and perfect registration. Colour is also sold and carrier film minimal. My only gripe is that the sheet was in the same bag as the parts and is a little dented in places, with one decal being damaged. The six fictitious schemes available are shown in these images. I quite like the instructions manual for this kit, with the first inner page showing three schemes, and the last page showing the same. Construction is broken down into 40 stages, using shaded CAD images for illustration, and paint references given throughout. Paint codes are supplied for Vallejo, Mr. Color, Life Color, Tamiya, Testors, AK Real Color, Humbrol, Revell and Mission Models brands, as well as standard names. Conclusion It really does take something quite extraordinary to make me look twice, when it comes to What-Ifmodels, but this is most definitely one that appeals to me. MiniArt has taken the ball-tank concept and produced something that is reasonably credible, and with the complete interior, would give that extra buildability factor. Moulding and execution is first rate, and only minor parts clean-up is required. The finished result is also fairly small, so no issues with display space here! A lovely little model which will doubtless provide many fun hours in the workshop. My sincere thanks to MiniArt for the review sample seen here.
  3. T-44 Soviet Medium Tank MiniArt 1:35 Catalogue n.º 35193 Price tag: £ 39.99 659 plastic parts 15 clear parts 1 decal sheet for 10 variants 1 photo etch fret with 94 parts Total: 768 parts. MiniArt did make a good marketing move with the release of two videos on this model and truly it was not for less: one T-44, first released in injected plastic and then with full inside. Everyone can google it and search for a full history of this almost WWII tank. So a little resume in wikipédia: The T-44 is a medium tank first produced near the end of the World War II by the Soviet Union. It was the successor to the T-34, offering improved ride and cross-country performance and much greater armor. Designed to be equipped with a powerful 85 mm main gun, by the time it was fully tested the T-34 had also moved to this weapon. Both tanks offered similar performance, so introducing the T-44 was not considered as important as increasing T-34 production. Fewer than 2,000 T-44s were built, compared to about 84,000 T-34s. Although the T-44 was available by the end of the war, they were not used in combat. Attempts were made to improve the T-44's armament with a new 122 mm gun, but the turret proved very cramped and the rate of fire was poor, on the order of three rounds per minute. Another attempt with a 100 mm gun seemed more promising although a number of additional changes would be needed to make a truly effective design. Design work on a slightly enlarged version of the T-44 began during the war and a prototype was produced in 1945. This newer design entered production in 1947 as the T-54/55 series of medium tanks, the most-produced tank of all time We were lucky enough to get a sample directly from MiniArt of the brand new T-44 in 1:35 with full interior. I have an addiction when I open a new kit - see the instructions. Now I decided to start this review by precisely by the instructions. I know it's not common, but at least it's different. The instructions comes in in A4 brochure with features list on the front page. Before the constructions drawings, a short history, parts map which should be mandatory in all instructions), assembly process and finally profiles options. The color guide and info is made in collaboration with Ammo of Mig, so all references colors are from their paint range. The first thing I noticed is, unlike instructions Gaz Bus Passenger, that over the instructions are given information which colors to use. This help is very welcome and is a novelty in Miniart and very welcome and is a sign that actually Miniart is listening to their customers and Reviewers since the last review indicated that the low point of Gaz was precisely not have any indication colors for interior. Kudos MiniArt. The instructions indications and drawings are quite clear and modeller friendly, with the parts attachmet points well indicated and with very good color indications. As I said, now I have the habit of reading the more than 3 times instructions (addiction acquired with WnW) and a careful observation can be seen that the division driver is not included and the engine compartment may not be complete because only It presents the engine without further detail such as exhaust connections. If we see 12 in steps 17 and 20 clearly see what is contemplated is the only engine and only provided the possibility of even hatches open upon engine. And a careful observation of the points 17,21, 27, 32 and especially 35, we clearly see that there is not a single piece to the driver's compartment. As can check in step 35, upper hull portion which covers the driver has the hatch in one piece with the remaining part with no possibility of opening without an operation and scracthbuild. The thought of MiniArt may be the following: if you do not provide the possibility of make the driver's compartment visible (for having the hatch closed without possibility of opening) is not necessary to do the driver's compartment. It was indeed a MiniArt option but honestly with so much detail in the fighting compartment and the tower, the driver compartment would be a nice touch and a must I think to full interior model kit. As for the Gaz, the schemes options are made by Ammo of Mig, and give us 10 options with several profiles and full color indications. 8 are from Soviet Army and two are beute-panzers 1946 with two what if options. 1. T-44 from unidentified units of the Red Army in the summer of 1945; 2. T-44 from unidentified units of the Red Army 1945-1947; 3. T-44 from unidentified units of the Red Army 1947-1955; 4. T-44 from unidentified units of the 8th Mechanized Army. Operation “Whirlwind”, Budapest, Hungary, 4-11, November 1956. 5. T-44 from unidentified units of the 8th Mechanized Army. Operation “Whirlwind”, Budapest, Hungary, 4-11, November 1956. 6. T-44 presumably Belarussian Military District, 50th years; 7. T-44 from unidentified units of the Red Army in the summer of 1945; 8. T-44 from the 29th Armored Division of the 5th Guards Mechanized Army, Slonin, Belarus, 1946-1947; 9. Captured T-44 battle group “Fries”, 38th Panzer Corps of the Wehrmacht, Kurland in January 1946; 10. Captured T-44 with its own name “Lilofee”, 101th Jaeger-Division of the Wehrmacht, Austria, spring-summer, 1946; I do have a soft spot for Luft 46 and Paper Panzer 1946, so I will with no doubt to one of those options. To these options, a small decal sheet is provide with good colour registration and thin film carrier that will provide a very good adaption to the surface. I never found out which is MiniArt manufacture so I wonder if it is a MiniArt fabrication and if it is is a quite good one. The only PE fret is packed between two cardboard sheets and contains 94 parts. Of course, here you will find some typical elements like engine meshes as well as some parts for interior. Now, cracking the plastic. All the plastic come in a one plastic bag, as usual by MiniArt. However, this time, some others more fragile parts came inside another plastic bag. A nice addition packing care by MiniArt. The plastic does have some nice engraved detail and no flash at all. The plastic is the new and improved one, so is a friendly modeller use. There`s a lot of sprue… several are simply equal and could be all in one and its looks like that they were all in one like the F1 that is quite a small sprue… They all are cut in one en and it looks that they were moulded in a single sprue and them cut in each one. With that politicy, there`re a lot of sprues in this kit, 65 frets in total. I really like the detail on the plastic and the best example of that is the cast iron textured surface sides and bottom. The hull comes in separate panels, which require careful alignment and dryfit to get it done. I confess that I prefer the single moulded hull. Another point that I always look is the barrel. In this case I`m quite happy with the box example. A single moulded piece with a hollow end and not a two slice pieces. Yup, someone could said: a metal barrel would be nice. Yes but I think we really can not complain with the barrel part give from the box. This tank does have quite a few transparent parts for a tank! 15 transparent parts included and in excellent quality and real transparent. The tracks have great engraved details and are made to be workable along with torsion workable bars. There`s a round of pics of the plastic of the fantastic kit. CONCLUSION This kit has everything to be a great success MiniArt and is well deserved because it can be an excellent replica out of the box. The injection moulding is top noch and the quality of the plastic shows MiniARt care with quality and detail. I think this will be and should always be the manufacturers of the way: get a good direct replica box. And in this case the MiniArt actually offers that to the modeler. Certainly not have all the inside detail but the detail missing with the current design of the upper parts is not visible and therefore we can always say that with the upper hull kit designs, the missing interior detail was effectively useless for invisible. The options given are very interesting and mostly beute-panzer 1946. The kit is very well done and shows clear improvements regarding the latest releases specialty in the colour guides. Yes, is space left for AM for the interior and the metal barrel but the kit remains a great model straight from the box. Very Highly Recommend My truly Thanks to Miniart for the review sample. Fran
  4. 1:35 U.S. Tank Crew MiniArt Catalogue # 37005 MiniArt really do create some superb sets to aid the diorama modeller, whether it be something as simple as a wartime domestic scenario, or the popular vehicles and figures combo. We recently reviewed the East European House Stuff kit containing table, chairs, and domestic items, but today we’re going to zip forward a few decades to look at a set that’s been designed to complement your U.S. armour builds. Photo courtesy of We Are The Mighty Whilst it’s quite vogue at the moment to produce armour with full interiors, the majority of kits on the market don’t possess that level of internal detail, yet still allow the modeller to pose the various hatches in the open position. Maybe not too good for a solitary vehicle on a display shelf, but certainly perfect for adding some figures. This new set from MiniArt depicts FIVE modern U.S. tank crewmen, and would be ideally suited for displaying with one of the many Abrams releases, for example, or indeed any other piece of modern U.S. armour (Bradley, Stryker, M1117 etc.) The kit itself is packaged into an attractive end-opening box which has an image of the combatants on the front, and an individual painting guide on the rear, despite the fact that the crew themselves are very similar in outfit. These rear illustrations also serve as an assembly guide for the crew, with the poses being clearly seen and the parts/appendages numbered for clarity, with a sprue letter annotation. The camouflage fatigues themselves are actually finished in a digital camouflage, and this could be difficult to recreate, but I’m sure there must be a few tried and tested techniques to produce this, including decals from companies such as CrossDelta. Inside the box, a single clear sleeve contains five sprues (3 of which are joined by a master sprue length), and each of these sprues contains the parts for one single figure. Moulding is excellent, with just the inevitable minor seams lines to scrape away, and the breakdown of the figures is obvious. Having separate heads, you can of course pose these even more dynamically so as to perfectly fit your diorama. Helmets are also moulded separately to the heads but leaving a full head underneath in case you wanted to pose the helmet off the crewman. A few other accompanying parts are included on each sprue, such as weapons, mic booms etc. Detail is superb, with realistic fabric folds and creases, boots/straps, and torso padding. Not much can generally be seen of the faces due to the uniform. All poses are very organic/natural in appearance and would suit just about any application you have in mind. Conclusion A simple yet effective and detailed set that should sate your appetite for U.S. armour dioramas. The set itself is also quite inexpensive, and most certainly in comparison to resin figures. Assembly is a breeze, and it’s just the camouflage application that you would need to overcome. In all, a seriously nice release. My sincere thanks to MiniArt for the review sample seen here. To buy this kit, check out your favourite local or online retailer.
  5. 1/35 EAST EUROPEAN HOME STUFF MiniArt Catalogue # 35584 Every good Eastern European home needs good Eastern European home stuff, right? Without a doubt. As long as it’s not Morphy Richards, Kenwood, Sony, Ikea or anything else that was manufactured outside of the 1940s, then this set should be just about perfect for your diorama. MiniArt creates some wonderful and quite leftfield sets for an unspeakable number of diorama possibilities, and this time we have some nice, antiquated-looking items that could well have adorned the interior of an Eastern European home, or maybe even some of the more rural areas of 20s, 30s and 40s Germany or France. This set comes in a box which is way too large for the parts included, but it pretty much standard for many of MiniArt’s figure and diorama releases. The box itself has a colour rendering of such a period house with a Russian propaganda poster on the wall and a parquet floor. All the items you see in that room (with the exception of the plants and poster) are supplied in this new release. Opening the box reveals a small, clear sleeve that contains five small light grey sprues and a single small white sprue. Also in that sleeve is a carboard wallet that holds a single PE fret. Each sprue is designed to hold one particular element of this set, meaning that you can build a table from a specific table sprue. Simple logistics, but it makes things easier! Sprue Gc – Stove This is one of those typical wood-burning stoves that I most associate with log cabins out in the wilderness, but of course is typical of this period in Eastern Europe. The main stove is superbly moulded as a single, hollow part with provision for two shutter doors for fuel and cooking etc. to be added. Slide-moulding has been used for this part. There is a name plate on this with Russian writing, but this can be erased if you want to use it for a non-Russian diorama. The sprue also contains shutter doors, piping to remove the smoke to outside of the house, pipe flange and hotplate, and handles for the top of the stove. Two PE parts are supplied for the wood burning plate and the cooker element of the stove. Sprue Kb – Stools and Chairs (x2) There are two chairs and two small stools that are to be made from these sprues, which are both identical. These comprise of two A-frames each, two cross members and a seat lid. Also found here is a chair with a back, with the rear legs and back forming the main part, and the seat and forward legs being the last two parts. The seats and stool are very simple in appearance with no fancy carving, as would befit the home of a poor agricultural or Eastern European family. Sprue Kc – Table A simple sprue containing only four parts that make up the main table. These are the table top with its wooden plank effect, two sets of H frame legs and a centre spreader that connects these together and secures to the top. I quite like the wood grain effect of this which should look good with some paintwork that is weathered back down to the wood. All parts have positive locating pins for assembly. Sprue Jc – Water Urn and utensils The urn has quite a simple beauty to it despite its utilitarian appearance. Both plastic and PE elements go to create this little desktop masterpiece. The main body is built as halves and onto this fits the lid, along with a PE and plastic ring. A fancy four splayed leg is fastened to the underside. As well as these are ornate handles and a tab with a separate valve. Thirteen parts go to build up this little masterpiece, but some are very small, so take care! You’ll also fund cups and utensils on this sprue. Sprue Am – Utensils Set apart due to its white styrene, this small sprue contains the various parts you’ll need to construct the different pans, teapot, milk jug, and also the plate. A number of these items will also require the PE fret for the more delicate details. More slide moulding is used here to as to create hollow vessels. PE fret A stated, this is where you’ll find those small but important parts for the utensils etc. This small fret is protected in a card envelope. Quality is excellent, and the removal tags are thankfully small. Instructions As well as the painting guide on the back of the box, showing you the completed items in suggested colours, the single sheet of instructions shows assembly in simple line drawing format and is easy to follow. Conclusion What a great little set! Simple, yet effective and with endless possibilities for the diorama modeller. This kit is also pitched at a relatively inexpensive price so it’s well worth considering for your next project. Just be careful with those tiny parts! Highly recommended My sincere thanks to MiniArtfor this review sample.
  6. 1/35 Flettner Fl 282V-6 Kolibri Aircraft Miniatures Series MiniArt Catalogue # 41001 The Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri ("Hummingbird") is a single-seat intermeshing rotor helicopter, or synchropter, produced by Anton Flettner of Germany. According to Yves Le Bec, the Flettner Fl 282 was the world's first series production helicopter. though other writers claim the same for the Focke-Achgelis Fa 223. Flettner’s Fl 282 Kolibri was an improved version of the Flettner Fl 265 announced in July 1940, which pioneered the same intermeshing rotor configuration that the Kolibri used. It had a 7.7 litre displacement, seven-cylinder Siemens-Halske Sh 14 radial engine of 150-160 hp mounted in the centre of the fuselage, with a transmission mounted on the front of the engine from which a drive shaft ran to an upper gearbox, which then split the power to a pair of opposite-rotation drive shafts to turn the rotors. The Sh 14 engine was a tried-and-true design that only required servicing every 400 hours, as opposed to the nearly 27 litre displacement, nine-cylinder BMW/Bramo Fafnir 750hp radial engine powering the larger Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 helicopter, whose outdated design required maintenance every 25 hours. The Fl 282's fuselage was constructed from steel tube covered with doped fabric, and it was fitted with a fixed tricycle undercarriage. The German Navy was impressed with the Kolibri and wanted to evaluate it for submarine spotting duties, ordering an initial 15 examples, to be followed by 30 production models. Flight testing of the first two prototypes was carried out through 1941, including repeated take-offs and landings from a pad mounted on the German cruiser Köln. The first two "A" series prototypes had enclosed cockpits; all subsequent examples had open cockpits and were designated "B" series. In case of an engine failure, the switch from helicopter to autorotation was automatic. Good handling in bad weather led the German Air Ministry to issue a contract in 1944 to BMW to produce 1,000 units. However, the company's Munich plant was destroyed by Allied bombing raids after producing just 24 machines. Towards the end of World War II most of the surviving Fl 282s were stationed at Rangsdorf, in their role as artillery spotters, but gradually fell victim to Soviet fighters and anti-aircraft fire. A total of 24 machines were built. Edit courtesy of Wikipedia The kit When Ukrainian company, MiniArt, announced their new Fl 282 kit, it caught us all pretty much by surprise, despite the companies more leftfield releases. We’ve not exactly been inundated with large scale models of this quirky yet important helicopter, with the only other kit being Anyuta’s 3D-printed 1/18 kit. MiniArt’s release started to trickle into retailers around a month or so ago, and we’ve managed to get our hands on this one from our friends at Modellbau-König (MBK), in Germany. This release is packaged into a box which is perhaps a little bigger than it should be, with the bag of contents rattling around it inside. The box artwork depicts the V-6 machine on the deck of the minelayer ‘Drache’ in the Adriatic in 1942. Box side images show some coloured CAD renders of the Fl 282. Inside the box, EIGHT medium-grey sprues are packed into two bags, and then sealed into a single, heat-sealed bag. Out of those grey sprues, two are duplicates, and a small clear sprue is separately packed within the main bag to protect it from scuffing. A single PE fret is included, and this is packaged into a small cardboard sleeve. Of course, decals are also a part of this release, and the small sheet is also packaged into a separate sleeve, again within the main bag. The kit’s instruction manual is a 12-page A4 publication in a mix of matt and glossy paper, with the glossy leaves containing the various artworks etc. More on that later. Sprue A On this first sprue, we are presented with most of the larger parts of the Fl 282, pertaining of course to the fuselage. The Fl 282’s fuselage was constructed from tubular steel and the majority of it was covered in fabric. This effect is clearly seen in the port and starboard halves, with the forward section being uncovered and the rear portion exhibiting a nicely reproduced taught fabric effect, hinting at the structures below. Other parts on this sprue are the upper deck with forward tubular framework, engine side panels and control surface rods. In order to cater to the multitude of thin frame parts, MiniArt has used a series of small tags for their ejector pins, and these simply need to be snipped off and cleaned up. Sprue Ad We look at the Kolibri these days and appreciate how unusual it is with regards to modern helicopter design. Here, we don’t have a tail rotor assembly and small tail surfaces. Instead we have a propeller rotor buried within the fuselage, and the tail surfaces are reasonably conventional with tubular frames fin, rudder and stabiliser. On this sprue we have a two-part fin with a rather nicely rendered frame and fabric exterior, and a single-piece rudder with those same details. You will also notice the small frames/mass balance for the rudder too. These are very delicate, so care need to be exercised when removing them. This also goes for the other small frame parts on this sprue, of which there are several. Lastly, note the lower belly section with sprung tail hoop skid and also the instrument panel rear enclosure. With that last part, there’s no need to plumb the rear of the instruments, but you will want to look at adding wiring from this unit to other parts of the airframe. Sprue B (x2) Remember, this isn’t a 4-blade rotor, but instead two 2-blade intermeshing rotors. Here you can see the blades for those, moulded with a sag in them so that you don’t need to manipulate the plastic and bend them yourselves. Other parts on here are for the two-part main and nose gear wheels, engine and gearbox parts, and rotor connection areas etc. Whilst the wheels don’t have any flat spots on them for the weighted effect, they are still bulged, strangely enough, in that area. Sprue Be This fairly small sprue contains the tubular cockpit sidewalls and floor, as well as the single piece stabiliser parts. These parts are finely represented with delicate tubular frames and the various fittings. The use of ejector pin tags has been employed again so as to stop the tooling miring the parts. Seams are generally minimal, and sprue gates are thankfully small. Sprue Bd Only two parts are included on this, the only clear sprue in this specific release. Having excellent transparency, these parts are for reflector and lens that mount to the nose gear strut. The reflector itself will sit inside a main light housing. A little lead wire for the power cable, would really set this off. Sprue C Here we have the lion’s share of the engineering that went into the technology that made this thing fly….i.e. engine parts and gearbox/transmission units. You’ll note engine pushrods, transmission housing plates and drive shafts, propeller housing ring, exhaust gases collector ring, pilot seat back with nicely detailed cushion, main gear spreader tubes, nose gear forked strut, etc. A number of bulkheads are also moulded here, including the engine mounting backplate. I don’t think we can call the latter a firewall, in this instance. Note also the transmission/gearbox cowl panels and the plate which separates the brave pilot from the propeller spinning around to his rear. Sprue Ca I admit that the sprue nomenclature is a little confusing here. This is presumably because MiniArt will use other sprues with subsequent kit versions of this model. This sprue contains the engine and hub, more parts for the drive/gearing and transmission units, upper rear fuselage top into which the fin sits, lower fuselage belly, instrument panel with blank instruments (good!), pilot seat base with realistic wrinkles cockpit components, numerous other small frame components, etc. Sprue D This is the last sprue in this release. It appears that the majority of the parts here concern the engine and other ancillary elements. Note the transmission housing, fuel piping, propeller, control rods and their linkages, side panel interior details, and of course, a few more pieces of tubular frame. This is probably the busiest of all sprues, and the parts tend to be either small or fragile, or both. One part is broken from the sprue, but that part is undamaged. Photo Etch Like many kits these days, this one also comes equipped with a fret of PE parts, albeit quite small. Packaged into a cardboard sleeve to protect it from the rigours of the oversized box, this fret contains 11 parts. These make up the seatbelts, frame edge sections, and a small number of parts for the engine. The PE itself is nicely manufactured and left in its bare metal state. Both sides are covered in film which needs to be removed before use. Decals A single, small sheet of decals, printed in the Ukraine by Decograph, is included in this release. Printing is thin, with minimal carrier film and the colours appear to be opaque. There seems to have been an issue with registration with the white borders on the yellow fuel triangles, but these have also been supplied, on the same sheet, as separates, so all is good. Swastikas are supplied, but in a two-part format. Instrument decals are provided as a single panel or separate dials. I would use the latter, and also a punch & die to remove them so as to eliminate carrier film. The schemes provided in this kit are: Erprobungs-und Lehrkommando 20, on board the minelayer ‘Drache’, Trieste, Adriatic Sea, November 1942 Tests on the floating base hydroaviation ‘Greif’, Travemünde, Lübeck Bay, Baltic Sea, August 1942 Erprobungs-und Lehrkommando 20, on board the minelayer ‘Drache’, Trieste, Adriatic Sea, January 1943 Erprobungs-und Lehrkommando 20, aboard the anti-submarine ship KUJ 13, Baltic Sea, April – May 1943 Instructions These are printed as a 12-page, glossy A4 publication, with a scheme profile and blueprintstyle image on the front page, along with a brief resume of the kit contents. Inside the manual, the first thing we are presented with is a proper set of scheme profiles for GF+YF. Please remember that all schemes in this kit are for the same prototype, and generally just vary in base colour, give or take. A parts map is then supplied, complete with a paint chart for Vallejo, Mr. Color, Humbrol, Testors, and an unknown type, with a generic list of colour names too. Construction is shown in clear line drawings over 32 stages, in easy to follow imagery and annotation. The last pages are given over to the remaining scheme profiles. Decal placement is easy to follow and the painting codes are easily referenced. Conclusion Sometimes you come across a subject that you had no real idea you wanted to build, until you see it in the box in front of you. For me, this is definitely one. Yes, I knew of the type, and saw the large scale 3-D printed one, but I never really expected to see it in this scale, in injected plastic. Moulding quality is excellent throughout and whilst the parts count is fairly high (185 parts), the model does look relatively simple to build, and has excellent overall detail. I also think the price point is very attractive. If you are a fan of the esoteric and anything Luftwaffe-related, then you should check out this release. Take a look at our partner shop, MBK, and pick one up soon. HIGHLY recommended! My sincere thanks to the Heike and the good folks at MBK Distribution for shipping this sample out for review.
  7. Plusmodel 1:35 U.S. Road roller PlusModel Catalogue #467 Introduction On our everyday paths, on the roads, we come across on same given time, usually when we are late for a meeting (or late for work, or picking up the kids), with a road repair. Usually there’s a machine with a resemblance with this model on review. On this particular case, Plusmodel presents us with a 1:35 scale replica of a hyster C330A smooth drum roller, on a military or civil paint. This dual drum roller model in particular has been around since the 80’s. A internet search using or favourite search tool will deliver us with a ton of highly motivated, beat up machines with a lot of scratch and general tear & wear. So what’s on the box? Upon opening the card box, we are presented with several bags containing 106 resin parts (including 4 clear resin parts), photo etch which includes the radiator fan, and the engine cover (bonnet?) grills. The parts source is completed with a length of copper wire and a decal sheet is also provided. All of this is wrapped on a bubble bag. The box has more than sufficient space to hold all the parts, but i must admit that some of the most fragile resin parts of this set, could be better protected from the harsh environments that characterize some postal services. On our review, the front and rear drum suffered from immediate contacts with other parts, resulting in some damage (easily fixed). As the previous photos show, the front and rear drum are moulded in one piece each. Each of them offers a scale rendition of the real ones. Let’s then begin There are some major resin components on this model that sustain all the build, I’ll focus the piece nº3 – the body chassis: There are some resin flush to remove, but it’s minimal and with a sharp hobby knife, easily removed. There’s also a resin mould block, that, to be properly removed, I would recommend the use of a small saw. The location pins for the several parts to be attached on the “chassis” are clearly defined. The engine – a hidden kit on the kit This section capture some of my attention for a long time, due to the considerable sub-assemblies and the detail put in it. The engine group is compose of several pieces, including, of course, the engine block, with raised and detailed nuts and bolts, clutch housing and location holes for the engine exhaust manifolds and remaining mechanical parts (pumps, intakes, tubing, etc) Detroit Diesel Power! Small details as the starting engine, oil pump and filters are also included as separate resin parts. The cooling system is also present with the radiator and several hoses as does the exhaust system Pulleys, several engine parts and exhaust muffler several filters (oil, fuel, etc) Moving on to other areas: Seats, steering wheel and instrument console . Air filter cover, seat rails. Front and rear drum blades and sprinklers (to clean and lubricate the drums for example to prevent hot asphalt sticking to the drum). Engine compartment cover Front drum guide fork. Rear drum axel covers Battery pack and front drum drive axle connector. Clear parts for headlamps Enter the photo etch fret The photoetch fret supplies us with the radiator fan, several engine belts (yep, belts..) and engine cover grills See! photo-etch belts ! (instructions - step XII ) Decal sheet The decal sheet covers the basic stencils for the decoration options. the carrier film is minimal with a good and well defined print. Paint and decoration Plusmodels offers 3 paint options All dark green Military decoration with a 80's 4 colour camouflage A yellow and black machine Instructions The instructions are in the traditional Plusmodel type, being three A4 sheets, folded in half, making a small booklet of 12 pages, with drawings for the several construction stages. Conclusions Every year we are presented with a new king tiger, a new Sherman, a new FW-190. this model isn't it. It's a complete approach to a very exotic theme. the fact that comes as a complete resin kit with photo etch could strike fear on some modellers out there. ( i know because i also felt it). But when i started to analyse the pieces, admiring the details, the location pins for the parts, like a regular plastic model, i started being interested by it. I do believe that the real challenge lies on the pieces removal and cleaning, despite the fact that the "flash" is easily removed with a blade. The pieces preparation for paint and it's sub-assembly approach could require a bit of planning and thinking ahead, but in the end it will turn into a very attractive and quite original model. Our thanks to Plusmodel for the review samples and all the support given. To purchase this directly, click THIS link Ricardo Veríssimo
  8. Champagne & Cognac Bottles with Crates Miniart 1:35 (Buildings and accessories series) MiniArt is well known manufacture that have in the past years marking a set of quality and originality. This particular set is no different as quality and originality are present. Packed in a standard cardboard box with side flip open. But don’t let you fool by the size of the box… you have inside 276 parts… yes 276 parts divided in 12 sprues for crates and 17 sprues with bottles. The crates are quite amazing in detail, as that was possible but yes... but each grade has 11 parts… so to make 6 crates you will need 66 parts. The bottles to fill the crates, you get 4 types of bottles (two dark an two green). To help to give several contents to those bottles a nice printed decal sheet with several logos of brands of champagne and cognac for the bottles and for the cranes. These are with very good registration and color pigment. The instructions for building and decals are on the back of the box and are quite straightforward. Conclusion A great set for all types of subjects in 1:35 and even 1:32 and It´s can be used all at once or in several dioramas or vignettes so it’s a great value for what you get… 276 parts to get 6 crates full of bottles! VERY Highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to MiniArt for the review samples. Available in any good model shop.
  9. Concrete Telegraph Poles MiniArt 1:35 Catalogue n.º 35563 (Buildings and accessories series) Price tag: 13,50€ (available in MBK – Modellbau-Koenig) This set is a quite useful one in several sceneries since WWI and modern conflict so it’s a quite useful set that I was quite happy to see it release by the same usual suspect: MiniArt. This set has a quite strange looking box… It’s a very long and sturdy box. The inside is quite simple with 4 identical sprues containing the poles and fixtures, and two transparent ones containing the lamp lenses and light bulbs. These clear parts are quite a really nice touch of realism, one thing that we expect from MiniArt. Kundos. These poles are quite big - 20 cm long each. So in 1:1, its represents a pole of 7 metres. Sounds accurate to me. The injection mold is very well done with very fine details. The fixtures are very thin and fragile so extra care must be taken to remove then. The only low I can point to this fantastic set is the fact that the poles do not have grainy surface of poured concrete. However its not hard to replicate that grainy surface if you want to. The instructions are in the back of the box and the construction is quite straightforward and easy. Conclusion Another winner from MiniArt. An original subject, with tons of possibilities, at a very affordable price tag and in top of that, with extyerme good quality. A perfect add to your diorama or a simple vignette. Very Highly Recommend Our thanks to MiniArt for the review samples. Available in any good model shop – click here.
  10. Su-85 Soviet Self-propelled Gun (Interior Kit) 1:35 Miniart Catalogue n.º 35187 Price tag: € 44.95 707 grey styrene parts and 10 clear parts 1 decal sheet for 2 schemes 1 photo etch fret with 88 parts The SU-85 (Samokhodnaya ustanovka 85) was a Soviet self-propelled gun used during World War II, based on the chassis of the T-34 medium tank. Earlier Soviet self-propelled guns were meant to serve as either assault guns, such as the SU-122, or as tank destroyers; the SU-85 fell into the latter category. The designation "85" signifies the bore of the vehicle's armament, the 85 mm D-5S gun. Early in World War II, Soviet tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1 had adequate firepower to defeat any of the German tanks then available. By the fall of 1942, Soviet forces began to encounter the new German Tiger tank, with armor too thick to be penetrated by the 76.2 mm guns used in the T-34 and KV tanks at a safe range.[1] The Soviet command also had reports of the Panther tank, that was in development then and possessed thicker armor than the Tiger; both represented an advance in German tank design. Although the Panther was not seen in combat until July 1943, the new generation of German vehicles meant the Red Army would need a new, more powerful main gun for their armoured formations. In May 1943, work was begun on a new anti-tank gun. Military planners directed the design bureaus of both Gen. Vasiliy Grabin and Gen. Fyodor Petrov to modify the 85mm anti-aircraft gun for use as an anti-tank weapon. Petrov's bureau developed the D-5 85mm gun. Though much too large for the T-34 or KV-1 turret, it was thought the gun could be mounted upon the chassis of the SU-122 self-propelled gun to give the weapon mobility. The version of this gun intended to be mounted upon the SU-85 was called the D-5S, with the "S" standing for self-propelled. Initially the production factory at Uralmash rejected the proposed design. Nevertheless, the administrators at Uralmash were persuaded to proceed, and the new design was put into production. The weapon was later modified to include a telescopic sight and a new ball gun mantlet. This vehicle was retitled the SU-85-II. The SU-85 was a modification of the earlier SU-122 self-propelled howitzer, essentially replacing the 122 mm M-30S howitzer of the SU-122 with a D-5T high-velocity 85 mm antitank gun. The D-5T was capable of penetrating the Tiger I from 1000 m.[2] The vehicle had a low profile and excellent mobility. Initially given an armored commander's cap on the first batch, the SU-85's observational optics were improved by the introduction of a standard commander's cupola - the same as on the T-34-76 model 1942. In addition to the already existing prismatic observation sights installed in left side and rear. On later vehicles, the same optics were added, almost allowing all-around observation. SU-85 production started in mid-1943, with the first vehicles reaching their units by August. When the up-gunned T-34-85 medium tank entered mass production in the spring of 1944, there was no point in continuing production of a tank destroyer without superior firepower,[4] so SU-85 production was stopped in late 1944 after 2,050 vehicles had been produced. It was replaced on the production lines by the SU-100 tank destroyer, armed with the more powerful 100 mm D-10S gun. There were two versions: the basic SU-85 had a fixed commander's cupola with a rotating periscope and three vision blocks; the improved SU-85M had the same casemate as the later SU-100, with a commander's cupola as used on the T-34-85. The SU-85 entered combat in August 1943. It saw active service across the Eastern Front until the end of the war. Though a capable weapon, it was found that its 85 mm weapon was not adequate to penetrate the armour of the larger German armoured fighting vehicles. It was replaced by the SU-100. The SU-85 was withdrawn from Soviet service soon after the war, and was exported to many Soviet client states in Europe and elsewhere. Some SU-85s were converted to use as command and recovery vehicles. In places such as North Korea and Vietnam, it remained in service for many years - from Wikipédia. ** Miniart for the past few year, have been developing a series of model kits with interior with great success. Even it’s a tank (so no many canopies to look into it) modellers are keen for detail and interiors, giving Miniart the beat and courage to advance with all these detail. The AM parties are having a hard time with this fashion now also follow by many others IM manufactures. This time and follow their SU-series, MiniArt launched the Su-85 with full interior. We know that it´s was release a in the middle of last year (2016) and Everything went quite smooth from MiniArt Factory to our hands excepted the fact the customs retained this little baby more than 4 months. So it´s better late than never! J The MiniArt marketing team has been making a hell of a job in the past two years especially with announcement videos of the upcoming release. Here`s the one from the Su-85 The model comes in the typical MiniArt box, with a fantastic box-art and full of plastic. The design of the box is really good, its one of my favourie, when we talk about AFV box art. On the side its several 3D renderings of the Su-85. It’s a medium box, full of plastic. 717 plastic parts (in more of 75 sprues) and 88 PE parts? Oh dear God… well for sure it´s not a weekend project. We already review the Su-122 (without interior) so the main parts are the same as in real life the both come from the same base: T-34. Here´s the sprue index: Ab (engine) B (hull) C (driver’s compartment); Ca (parts of the engine deck) Da (transmission and engine) E (engine) Ea (suspension, small parts) Eb (drive wheel) Ef (ammo, small parts for the interior); Eg (clear parts) F (Christie suspension) Fa (ammo) Fi/Fg (roadwheels) Fj (tracks) Fk (Christie suspension, external fuel tanks) H and Ha (gun, ammo racks) J (fighting compartment sides and top) Je (box on the back of the engine compartment) K (tracks). The detail is humongous and that is well seen in the pictures and the gigantic quantity of parts and sprues. All the interior details are very well reproducing alongside the fantastic engine. The engine compartment is really impressive with tons of details. Yes, there`s still place to super detail a little (for example, some wires) more but for that you really should think in left the upper hull un-glue The fighting compartment is quite busy with enhance to the driver location. Not in particular but I really like all the details on that, all the handles and pedals and seat structure. Being an area that could have an open hatch, it’s a really nice detail area. All the model kit is a detail itself. Another example are the springs. It’s an amazing detail Here´s the MiniArt renderings: The instructions are in a booklet format, being now a usually A4 format and design from MiniArt. The instructions drawings are quite clear and modeller friendly, with the parts attachment points well indicated The color guide gives colors of AMMO references. Its curious to see that in the Su-122 there was a table code with several others color references. In this case you have colour name and AMMO Mig color references and that it. Its probably a join collaboration between these two companies. A small decal sheet is provide with good colour registration and thin film carrier that will provide a very good adaption to the surface. I never found out which is MiniArt manufacture so I wonder if it is a MiniArt fabrication and if it is, is a quite good one. The two profiles colour are also from Mig, one from an unidentified unit of the Red Army, Winter 1943-44 and a “Kapitan Otacar Jaros”, 1st Czecho-slovak Armored Brigade, 1944-1945. The only low on this fantastic kit is in fact about the decals options… not option but the quantity of options. The only PE fret is packed between two cardboard sheets and contains 88 parts. Of course, here you will find some typical elements like engine meshes, straps as well as some parts for interior. The gun barrel is always a point to check. In this case, just like the T-44, its in a single piece so I don’t think that you will need a replacement. However it´s not perfect… It has no rifling on the inside. If you need it, or you scratchbuild it (I bet it won´t be an easy task) or you get an AM one. (all the plastic out of the plastic bags after the review – It’s a quite amount of plastic) Conclusion The injection moulding is top noch and the quality of the plastic is very good. MiniArt is on the op of AFV manufactures in term of quality/price. With this model you can have a good direct replica box and you can leave open, destroyed, maintenance, anything that you not need to go to AM. This one is even more complete than the last one I reviewed (the T-44) The kit is very well done and show that MiniArt know what is doing! J Very Highly Recommend My truly Thanks to Miniart for the review sample. Fran
  11. “German sitting civilians” (1:35 Miniatures series) MiniArt Catalogue #38006 Available from any good model shop Miniart is continually adding some interesting items to their catalogue and tis set is an example of that. Here a set a civilians Germans, all sited but in different body postures. I really don’t understand why Miniart gave the name German sitting civilians as they could only putted “Sitting Civilians” because I can´t tell the different of these faces to some French civilians for that same age and time. This set is on a typical MiniArt style box of thin cardboard with openings either end and a nice box art on the front of the box. The back of the box is where are instructions (kid of instructions) and colour profiles. The full set of 5 figures is made by 5 light grey sprues of the same size, and one small piece of paper which has some old newspapers and magazines for the use with the figures. The latest figures I reviewed from Miniart was a bit disappointed about the soft details and lots of flash (see here), that as not usual on Miniart figures. So I was quite expecting for some news figures. And just for the first look they look much better, again on the top quality. Starting with the clothes I think that are quite well reproduced with some good detaisl. Not as sharp and clear detail as resin but still, very good for plastic. The type of clothes looks adequate to the 1930/1940 and to see the accuracy of that you just need to google it. I really enjoyed the tie of both men and the details on their jacket. For the women my only fear was the reproduction of the fur of the jacket of the lady in the left side of the box (front view). Well check it, nothing to fear from as its not good as resin but is quite good indeed. The posture and body positions are quite convincing and very well reproduce making all the figures in a natural pose which is a quite hard task to do. The hands of all figures are extraordinary made and give the full bonus to these fantastic figures. Now the impossible in injection plastic: faces. Well not so impossible. I`m impressed with these faces of the civilians. Still resin heads are a extra to consider if you have the funds. In my sample, all the faces have a little mold seam on the side but is quite gentle so its easy to remove. The facial expression is quite good and I really enjoy it. For the first time, I can say that you, the have limited budget, do not need to get some hornet head for these. Their sad look, alongside the more intrigued and curious look and the attention look (maybe from Gestapo??) are very well made. The last but not the least, a little paper sheet in good color registration with maps and cover magazines. Conclusion: The figure set is quite comprehensive giving the modelers endless possibility for use in dioramas or vignettes, is the complete set is just one of the figures and all that for the price (at least in my usual store) of a resin figure. However a few limitation: the sitting position for all the figures and the winter clothes. Very well done Miniart! Very highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to MiniArt for the review samples. Available in any good model shop.
  12. MiniArt Buildings & accessories Series 1:35 Railway track with Dead end #35568 Available at any good shops As my previous review this set highlights the latest releases from MiniArt. Simple, highly detailed set containing a 342mm of railway Track with a dead end (or also called a buffer stop). In the total, 90 plastic parts are provided. According to Wikipedia and I quote: “A buffer stop or bumper (US) is a device to prevent railway vehicles from going past the end of a physical section of track. The design of the buffer stop is dependent, in part, on the kind of couplings that the railway uses, since the coupling gear is the first part of the vehicle that the buffer stop touches. The term "buffer stop" is of British origin, since railways in Great Britain principally use buffer-and-screw couplings between vehicles.” What’s on the box? The relatively small but compact paper box present us, upon opening, a plastic bag with all the content properly align and secured. In the bag there are 8 sprue's (4 for the railway tracks, sleepers and bolts and 4 for the buffer stop). In a more close up look The sprues of the railway track are the same of the ones reviewed here, and they are in fact full of small and very nice detail. The four sprues allows to build two lengths of railway track. And what about a bumper? The sprue layout : This sprues represent the buffer inner frames, and once assembled represent the iron beams that compose the real thing. The pictures above show the parts that represents the metal plates that simulate the external frame of the buffer. They are simple but efficient parts of the sub assembly. I particularly like the nuts and bolts details of the structure, as they stand out once painted and properly weathered. An also visual interesting detail is the wooden pattern of the plate that makes the rail wagon stopper. For this part MiniArt recommends that a white and black stripes should be applied on the finished model. Instructions One A4 paper (front and back) divided in 8 steps with simple and effective draws. Conclusion Miniart, once more did his homework on this relative simple but detailed set, as it almost the track itself could be assembled and presented as model itself and not as complement on a diorama. Recommended! My thanks to Miniart for the review sample Ricardo Veríssimo
  13. Miniart Early Production SU-122 Catalogue #35181 Available from any good model shop MiniArt has been releasing from some time now a new generation of 1:35 injected moulded kits. The WWII Russian Self-propelled family SU has received a detailed attention, on the form of SU-85, SU-85 with interior and SU-122 with interior . The subject of this review is the Su-122 simplified version without interior detail (no engine and minimized detail on the interior). The fact that it has simplified model does not means that it does not boost details and modern mould injection. Miniart did its job well done. From my knowledge, the only 1:35 scale representation of the SU-122 was Tamiya (dated from 1976). The Miniart model is a qualitative leap. A little bit of history The SU-122 (from Samokhodnaya Ustanovka 122 mm) was a Soviet self-propelled howitzer or assault gun used during World War II. The number "122" in the designation represents the caliber of the main armament—a 122 mm M-30S howitzer. The chassis was that of the T-34. In April 1942, design bureaus were asked to develop several assault guns with various armament: 76.2 mm ZiS-3 divisional field guns and 122 mm M-30 howitzers for infantry support, and 152 mm ML-20 howitzers for attacking enemy strongholds. A prototype assault gun, armed with the 122 mm howitzer and built on the German Sturmgeschütz III chassis was developed, designated SG-122. Only 10 of these were completed. Production was halted when the vehicle was found to be hard to maintain and judged to be unsuccessful. Simultaneously, an SPG based on the T-34 medium tank was also developed. Initially, the T-34's chassis was selected for the 76.2 mm F-34 gun. This vehicle, the U-34, was created in the summer of 1942 at UZTM (Uralmashzavod – Uralsky Machine Building factory) design bureau, by N. W. Kurin and G. F. Ksjunin. It was a tank destroyer with the same armament as the T-34, but without a turret. The vehicle was 70 cm lower than a T-34, had thicker armour, and was 2 tonnes lighter. It did not enter production. UZTM then worked on combining features of the U-34 and the SG-122. Initial design work was completed between July and August 1942. The project emphasized minimizing modifications to the platform and the howitzer. It used the same chassis, superstructure, engine and transmission as the U-34 and was armed with (the then new) 122 mm M-30S howitzer from F. F. Petrov's design bureau. This vehicle also used the same gun bed cover and mountings as the SG-122, to keep costs low and simplify production. It had 45 mm thick frontal armour. The M-30S howitzer could be elevated or depressed between −3° and +26° and had 10° of traverse. The five-man crew consisted of a driver, gunner, commander and two loaders. (Source Wikipedia) What’s in the box Miniart present us a relative compact box, considering the amount of parts supplied. It’s a very nice and warm feeling when we are in front of compact and fill to the top box containing an appealing modelling subject. The sprues are nicely package on two clear plastic bags. In the total we’ll have 565 plastic parts divided by 56 Sprues. Yes… 56 Sprues. Before you get scared, more than half of this sprues correspond suspension parts, road wheels and individual tracks. But all of this has a purpose: Detail Sprue Layout: Allow me to show you the sprues and provide some visual of some details of this model. Sprue B – Contains parts for lower hull, rear upper hull and engine cover Sprue Ca - Hull rear, engine deck details and spring tower covers Sprue D – Casemate, Glacis and gun mantlet General overview of the sprue Detail of the cast on the gun mantlet A nice touch on the weld seams around the periscope mount and front hatch Sprue Da – Engine exhaust Look at the detail of the exhaust clamps! Pity that they won’t show up on the finished model, as this doesn’t bring the engine parts to couple with the exhausts .But the detail is there! Sprue Ea (x2) - Idlers, suspension parts and interior details I should mention the detail on the suspension springs Springs you say? The detail on this part in simply fantastic, as a statement of the modern injection molds technology. Just for curiosity, here’s a close-up of the instruction for this parts Sprue Eb(x2) – Drive sprockets, exhaust covers Sprue Ed (x2) – Driver’s Viewer flaps, details Sprue F (x10) - Road wheel hub caps, fuel tank brackets, suspension springs and attachment points Sprue Fi (x10) – Front and back road wheels These road wheels boost a nice detail, despite the mold line across the rubber tire of the wheel. Minimal cleaning is required with no harm to the rubber pattern detail. Sprue Fj (x10) – tooth track link The tracks are well molded with crisp detail, one of them call my attention, so … Every track has a number casted. I really needed to zoom in on the picture. Sprue G – gun mount, breach, and 122 mm barrel The gun barrel on his full display. Hollow barrel with rifling. Sprue Fk (x4) - Fuel tanks, spring casings, road wheel arms Sprue Jc - Casemate roof plate Close-up on the cupola cast detail Sprue Je – rear storage box Sprue L (x7) – simple track links PE parts – Engine grill, fuel tanks fasteners, headlamp mounts Sprue Eg (x2) – main headlamp, periscopes glasses Decal sheet The decals are well printed, thin and a minimal carrier film. Decoration schemes Su-122 “Frunze”, Bryansk Front, Summer 1943 – green overall Su-122 4th Tank Army, Bryansk Front, August 1943 – green overall Su-122 with slogans on the casemate, Uralmash, Sverdlovsk, 1943 – green overall SU-122 1434th Self-propelled Artillery of the Red Army, Leningrad front, December 1943 – green base with a winter white wash, a red circle on top of the casemate and branches painted on the hull and casemate lateral. Instructions These supplied as a A4 colour booklet with clear locations called out for all parts. Painting chart colours provided with equivalences for Ammo Mig, Humbrol, Mr. Color, Testors and Vallejo. A column also describes the colour name Conclusion This model is very impressive. It has small and big details that make the difference once assembled. MiniArt studied the lesson very well, as it allows the modeller to have a detailed replica of this assault vehicle. It is true that some details are hidden on the finished model (unless you prefer not to glue some hull parts to show the detail), but you’ll now that the detail / parts are there. The photo-etch fret offers an OOB model with finesse details without need to invest on a detail set from other brand. Very highly recommended I wish to thank Miniart for the review sample. Ricardo Veríssimo
  14. Miniart Buildings & accessories Series 1:35 Railway Track (European Gauges) Catalogue #35561 MiniArt has treated us with some new and innovate model kits. This set, despite it’s apparent simplicity fit on this description. Once assemble it supplies us with 686mm of 1:35 (WW2) railway track. Very useful for a railroad diorama with a draisine, or a flat wagon cargo with a Tiger or SU-122, this set is highly detailed and it almost a shame to hide some detail on the weathering process so typical on this kind of environment. What’s on the box? When we open the small and compact paper box, we are presented with a plastic bag containing 8 sprues with beautiful rail tracks (Rail, wooden sleepers with molded in fixing mechanisms, joint bars and attachment nuts). In a closer look… In a first glance, the detail on the wooden sleepers are very nice with individual detail between them. I also notice (and it’s visible on the photos) the detail on the rail fixing bolts. Bolts, bolts and more bolts.. For each sprue provided, you’ll get 10 bolts to glue on the fixing section on the sleepers. The rail itself is well detailed with location pins to facilitate the assemble process into the sleepers Instructions The instruction are very simple and direct, with clear draws of the building process. (yeap, that’s 80 bolts to glue) There’s no painting guide, but a quick search on the global knowledge of the internet (aka google), there’s plenty of images to inspire a well-worn, weathered and beat up look on the railway tracks. And as so, I took the liberty to add some photos taken today on near a Portuguese rail road station (Devesas). Please be inspired! Conclusion Miniart, once more did his homework on this relative simple but detailed set, as it almost the track itself could be assembled and presented as model itself and not as complement on a diorama. Recommended! I wish to thanks Miniart for the review sample. Ricardo Veríssimo
  15. U.S. Soldiers at rest (1:35 WWII Military Miniatures series) MiniArt Catalogue #35084 Available from any good model shop MiniArt does have a good range of 1:35 military (and now sarting also with some civilians) with several ones being quite original and with unseen positions in 1:35 scale. So whenever Miniart releases another figures step at a very good value price (comparing with resin ones) I always jmp myself in happiness! J The boxart of this set of soldiers at rest is a good one, caughting the attention to all the figures that this set contains with some workart around the box to give the modellers the temptation to buy it. In the back of the box, there`s the color guidelines for all 5 figures. You will get also, on the down right side, a quite helpful color chart with full color reference. Now let`s go inside. You will get 5 Americans soldiers at several positions of resting, like sleeping, smoking, reading and playing cards. Inside the three sprues of grey plastic are kept together in a plastic bag. No instructions ...but really do you need it? Absolutely not. Just be checking the sprues, I was quite surprised with the plastic and the injection molding. These sprues do have several flash to remove and some soft detail. Its quite strange as all the previous late release of figures from Miniart, the are becoming better and better. So lots of cleaning that flash will be needed but after that you can build some great and original figures of these. be construction of these figures. The surface detail on cloths is good, not as crispy as the others sets I reviewed (here and here). All the figures postures are quite well achieved, very natural and realistic. Concerning to the head and facial expression, injection models limitations are in fact visible here and everywhere else. Notwithstanding the head are well molded, balanced in size and the faces are quite nice in expression and look… the cleaning simply can ruin it. But you`ve got a good solution: resin heads. To add extra detail to your set, Miniart give a full set of newspapers, magazines and a playing card set. These sets come in very well printed in matt coated paper. Conclusion: The figure set is quite comprehensive giving the modelers endless possibility for use in dioramas or vignettes, is the complete set is just one of the figures and all that for the price (at least in my usual store) of a resin figure. This set however does have lots of flash and some soft detail in some small parts that I quite don’t understand why looking back to others Miniart Releases. I`m quite sure that those flash are only in was my sample, I bet. Highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to MiniArt for the review samples. Available in any good model shop.
  16. “German Tank Crew” (France 1940) (1:35 WWII Military Miniatures series) MiniArt Catalogue #35191 Available from any good model shop MiniArt just release a new set in the already long sets of figures sets. In the small box there is one sprue that with can sub-divide in 5 sprues, all inside a single plastic bag. In each sprue, there`s complete figure with 7 pieces each. Just be checking the sprues, a modeler can see how quite simply it would be construction of these figures. There`s a little bit of flash but nothing hard. Also surface detail is the first thing that pops out on the figure set. The surface details on the clothes for an injection molded figure are quite amazing and do have a very good body language. The wear looks quite adjusted to France 1940. A wrap tunis, pants and the black Panzer beret helmet are well represented in 3 figures. The others two figures do have also a good representation with a cotton shirt and black uniform trousers and long boot. In the back of the box, there`s the color guidelines for all 5 figures. There are colour references for Vallejo, Testors, Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell, Mr. Colour and Life Colour. No instructions ...but really do you need it? Absolutely not. All the figures postures are quite well achieved, very natural and realistic. As you can see on the pictures, there`s some cleaning that it`s need because of the seam mould line. If that means no problem on the clothes and weapons, you cannot say the same thing concerning to the head and facial expression. The seam line on the face or hair is particularly difficult to remove without damage any details. Notwithstanding the head are well molded, balanced in size and the faces are quite nice in expression and look… the cleaning simply can ruin it. But you`ve got a good solution: resin heads. Conclusion: MiniArt did it again! The figure set is quite comprehensive giving the modelers a full tank crew for Pz III or IV or splitting them to several others AFV vehicles. An almost perfect for the price (at least in my usual store) of a resin figure. Very well done Miniart, again! Very highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to MiniArt for the review samples. Available in any good model shop.
  17. Passenger Bus Gaz-03-30 1:35 Miniart Catalogue n.º 38005 Price tag: £ 34.99 297 grey styrene parts and 26 clear parts 1 decal sheet for 8 variants 1 photo eteched fret Miniart have been releasing several variant of Gaz-AA, and now we have the opportunity of review the Bus version, The GAZ-3-30. The base truck for the Bus passenger is in fact the GAZ-AA. This type was very versatile and Russian did have this to almost everything, since ambulance to anti-aircraft. There`s a lot of pics of it on the big World Wide Web. This truck has used as a bus role until the 50`s as we can see in the markings options. GAZ however still present to present day. It’s a really fantastic the knowledge that we get by making a review. Being in Portugal, I did have almost no knowledge about GAZ history. Googling around and we easily find GAZ website. And the company history that`s on the website, is highly detailed and a joy to read. “The first ever product engineering department of Nizhny Novgorod automobile plant was established on July 6, 1929. The first head of the so-called Technical Office was Mr. Vladimir Tsipilun. The main task of this department was to verify completeness and to translate engineering documentation for Ford-A and Ford-AA vehicles supposed to be built under license. This happened three months after USSR Supreme Council of National Economy had made a decision to build “a powerful automobile plant” in Nizhny Novgorod. Four months later, the Technical Office was converted to Technical Department and 10 further engineering units with a total headcount of 226 employees were established. July 1931, the organization structure of the department was finally determined, which included a vehicle design office, an experimental laboratory, an experimental workshop, a translation office, a common blueprinting service and a technical library. Among the tasks and functions to be performed by its employees were: translation of design and engineering documentation, its duplication and distribution, testing of vehicle prototypes, identification of structural weaknesses, elimination of identified shortcomings, improvement of parts and assemblies as well as fabrication of pilot and prototype components and assemblies. Before November 1930, the Department occupied an office in a cinema-theater in Rozhdestvenskaya street near Volga river. At the end of 1930, the department was relocated to the construction site of Nizhny Novgorod automobile plant. With the establishment of the Technical Department, Vladimir Tsipilun was appointed the first Chief designer of the Nizhny Novgorod automobile plant. He was a mechanical engineer specialized in automotive technology, a highly experienced professional with an in-depth knowledge of vehicle repair and restoration technologies, who had studied automobile production in Europe and, most importantly, had acquired immense knowledge in practical motor vehicle building during his employment at AMO automobile plant. Vladimir Tsipilun was actively and directly involved in creation of the first ever Soviet truck AMO-F-15 and was managing development of the next model AMO-3. In his capacity as chief designer of the Technical Department, Tsipilun took the lead and charge of processing and adjustment of technical documentation for license-built American Ford-A and Ford-AA vehicles, which were prototypes of the first ever home-made mass production motor vehicles, in order to bring it in line with GAZ manufacturing capabilities as well as peculiar vehicle operation conditions (road and climatic conditions) in the USSR. Beginning of the mass production demanded from the young and small engineering team immediate and self-reliant solving of many issues. For example, by the beginning of GAZ-AA production there was no tooling for steel cabin in place. Therefore, a wooden cabin had to be developed and designed (senior designers A.Kirillov and Y.Sorochkin). And the platform of that vehicle was made based on the in-house drawings made by designer L.Kostkina. In January 1932, Nizhny Novgorod Automobile Plant was finally launched; a conveyor assembly of GAZ-AA trucks was started. In December 1932, the plant commenced production of GAZ-A passenger cars. After the plant was launched, Vladimir Tsipilun was transferred to Moscow to take a position of deputy head of the Main Agency of Automobiles and Tractors of the USSR. After that, the Technical Department was headed by V.Danilov, who yet before his transfer to Nizhny Novgorod Automobile Plant had had plenty of engineering experience behind him by that time, working as chief designer and chief engineer at Yaroslavl automobile plant and heading the development (1926) of the first ever Soviet diesel-powered heavy-duty truck Y-3 and being involved in organizing of Y-3, Y-4 and Y-5 trucks production. Also he had been working for some time at the All-Union Automobile and Tractor Association (VATO) in Moscow, from which he was sent to Nizhny Novgorod. V.Danilov stood at the origins of the GAZ specialty-vehicle design and engineering school. Under his direction, optimization works on the turretless tracked tankette T-27 and the small swimming tank Т-37 (with a 40 hp engine and GAZ-AA gearbox), which had been developed by Moscow Tank Plant No 37, were conducted as early as 1932 and 1932 respectively. In 1934, such special-purpose vehicles as airborne cargo-and-personnel pickup track GAZ-4, self-propelled gun GAZ-TK (SU-4), command bus ГАЗ-03-30 (based on the GAZ-AA chassis) as well as three-axle truck GAZ-AAA were developed under his direction. In view of large amounts of upcoming design and engineering works aimed at improving performance characteristics of the vehicles, V.Danilov invited from Moscow Mr. Andrey Lipgart – a high-skilled, competent and ambitious specialist, who were at the time chief designer of the automobile department at the Scientific Automobile and Tractor Institute. V.Danilov delegated a part of his authorities to Lipgart. А.Lipgart worked in this position for 18 years incl. 11 years (since 1940) as head of the Design and Experimental Department (from then on, all GAZ chief designers also combined their chief designer position with the office of the head of the Design and Experimental Department). Being a highly talented designer and possessing excessive background knowledge and managerial abilities, he managed to create a great creative team of specialists around him. The first steps A.Lipgart made in his capacity as GAZ chief designer were upgrading single components and systems of the existing vehicles as well as developing new types of the vehicles on the basis of the existing ones. After that, development of a new limousine GAZ-M1 (that very famous and well-known to many our countrymen “Emka”) was started. At the same time V.Danilov was involved in the development of special-purpose 3-axle wheel chassis GAZ-30 for armored vehicles manufactured by Izhora Mechanical Plant (which was further developed to a special variant of the three-axle army vehicle T-31 in 1938). In 1936, he designed the small amphibian tank GAZ-TM (Molotov tank) for the first time at GAZ. In 1937, he took the lead of development of armored artillery tractor T-20 “Komsomolets” and three-axle pick-up truck GAZ-21 for the Red Army, whose chassis was also used for light armored reconnaissance vehicle BA-021. During development of the above mentioned special-purpose vehicles, V.Danilov was also supervising development of GAZ-М1 passenger car, GAZ-55 buses, GAZ-60 trucks as well as works for upgrade of existing 4-cylinder engine and development of a new state-of-the-art 6-cylinder high-performance engine. In 1938, V.Danilov was transferred to the plant management to take an office of deputy chief engineer with a focus on the production of special-purpose vehicles. Acting in that capacity, V.Danilov organized building of prototypes of GAZ-VM wheel-cum-track vehicles (Molotov crawlers) designed by NATI using reinforced GAZ-M1 chassis, which received later on the name GAZ-MS. That chassis was further used to build BA-20M armored vehicles, which took part in the battles of Khasan and Khalkhin Gol as well as in the Finnish campaign and WWII. At the same time, GAZ-61 all-terrain vehicles, GAZ-M415 pick-ups and GAZ-42, GAZ-44, GAZ-45 trucks and GAZ-05-193 buses were created under the direction of A.Lipgart and with the participation of V.Grachev. Engineering potential and design experience gained during that period were efficiently implemented during WWII, when civil vehicles designers and engineers had to switch to military products. The first military vehicle manufactured at Gorky Automobile Plant was T-60 – a light tank developed by Mytischi Machine-building Plant and then adapted for mass production. Two next tank models Т-70 and Т-80 as well as the well-known self-propelled gun SU-76, armored vehicle BA-64B, army jeeps GAZ-64 and GAZ-67 were designed by GAZ specialists independently. It should be noted that even in the hardest times, GAZ designers kept on developing GAZ-M20 passenger cars (to be later named “Pobeda:) and GAZ-51 two-tonner trucks (launched in 1946) in parallel with military product development. it is noteworthy that GAZ design department was the only product design and engineering team till mid '00s, which was involved in developing serial trucks and passenger cars as well as special-purpose mass-production military vehicles at the same time. Based on GAZ-51 platform, the all-terrain vehicle GAZ-63 was built. For country’s warm regions, a convertible variant of GAZ-M20 "Pobeda has been developed and launched in 1949. The final touch to the post-war product range was development and launch of production of GAZ-12 “ZIM” passenger cars in 1950 (two further variants of the car - a convertible and an ambulance were launched in 1951), which featured an unique combination of unibody multiseater design with comfort and ingenious external appearance, as well as development of jeep-like off-road vehicle GAZ-69 that further successfully replaced GAZ-67. The post-war GAZ vehicle generation generally featured rationality and adaptability to manufacture due to high level of communization of their parts and assembly units. Good combination of their exterior shapes contributed to their unique external appearance and formed the features of GAZ style that was also adopted by the next generations of GAZ vehicles: compactness, lightness, simplicity and clarity of logically and functionally designed inner spaces and minimum required level of decorative finish. Successfully mastering of new vehicle designs as well as their production and operation has proven professional maturity of GAZ design team headed by А. Lipgart. In 1951, А. Lipgart was trasferred to the position of deputy chief designer for advanced projects, while the former chief designer for trucks Lev Kostkin was appointed chief designer. During that time, they were in charge of design refinement of GAZ-69, GAZ-69A, GAZ-47 crawler and GAZ-46 amphibian vehicle. In 1952, A.Lipgart and L.Kostkin were relieved from their offices by decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Following that, N.Borisov was appointed GAZ chief designer. During his term of office, the following vehicle models were developed, upgraded and put into production: GAZ-51A, GAZ-63A, GAZ-M72, GAZ-21 Volga, GAZ-22 (station wagon and ambulance), GAZ-40, GAZ-47, GAZ-46, GAZ-69 and GAZ-69А. GAZ-51P saddle truck was put into production and development of a new saddle truck GAZ-63P was started. Also, a lot of pilot vehicles was created during that time: GAZ-19, GAZ-19A, GAZ-54, GAZ-M73, GAZ-18, GAZ-62, GAZ-62B, GAZ-48. All that allowed GAZ to lay the groundwork for future design works. In 1958, N.Borisov was appointed GAZ chief engineer, while the office of chief designer was taken by D.Prosvirin, who had previously worked as chief designer for trucks. He was in charge of the plant’s design engineering team for 29 years until he retired in 1987. During his term of office, the large-class passenger vehicle GAZ-13 «Chaykа» (meant to replace GAZ-12 «ZIM») as well as GAZ-13B («phaeton») were developed. GAZ-63P - saddle truck was designed based on GAZ-63 platform. Also, the station wagon and ambulance vehicles were upgraded. New vehicle variants GAZ-22V and GAZ-22D were developed. The third generation of GAZ trucks was created: GAZ-66, GAZ-53, GAZ-52-04, GAZ-53А. During this period, GAZ started works to create a new medium-class passenger car - GAZ-24 “Volga”, which was finally mastered and put into production in 1970 to replace the first generation GAZ-21 “Volga”. The new generation «Volga» featured elegant external appearance, advanced dynamic performance, more roomy and comfortable interior, structural safety and steering behavior. High robustness of body and chassis of GAZ-24 made this vehicle irreplaceable for taxi service operation as well as for development of the vehicle’s cargo and passenger variant with station wagon body - GAZ-24-02 and ambulance vehicle - GAZ-24-03. Also, large-class vehicle GAZ-14 “Chayka” and its parade version GAZ-14-05 as well as luxury version of GAZ-3102 “Volga” were developed. A.Prosvirnin contributed greatly to the dieselization of Gorky automobile plant, who was involved in development of the Russian first medium-sized air-cooled diesel engine and production launch of GAZ-4301 truck equipped with this engine. Along with it, the works for development of new two-axle off-road truck GAZ-3301 with air-cooled diesel GAZ-3301 as well as four-axle amphibian off-road vehicle GAZ-44 with KAMAZ engine were carried out. Also, A.Prosvirnin was engaged in development of design of a brand new all-wheel drive passenger car family (GAZ-3105, GAZ-3104 and GAZ-3103). Also under the heading of A.Prosvirnin, GAZ engineering team developed, tested and mastered following vehicles: four-axle armored personnel carriers BTR-60 and BTR-70, two-axle armored reconnaissance vehicles GAZ-41 as well as tracked vehicles GAZ-71, GAZ-73, GAZ-3402, GAZ-3403, which were put into military service of USSR army and armies of Warsaw pact countries. Another great achievement of A.Prosvirnin was the extension of the available research and development infrastructure, erection of new building, outfitting the plant’s testing facilities with up-to-date equipment and construction of proving ground. In 1986, the plant’s R&D Center was established. Igor Mukhin was appointed GAZ first deputy general director and R&D center director. Following the appointment, he engaged actively in works and activities for development of business-class passenger car GAZ-3105 “Volga”. The first vehicle samples were built within the shortest possible time and presented in the Kremlin, as it was common those days, to the members of the Politbureau and personally to M.Gorbachov. A little later, a new 1,5-tonner truck family (which was later named “GAZelle”) was started. Mukhin passed away in 1988 of an incurable disease. After that, GAZ structure was re-organizied and the R&D Center was abolished and replaced by a structural unit called “UKER” (Design & Experimental Works Directorate). Following that, Y. Kudryavtsev was appointed GAZ chief designer and UKER chief. Among the trucks, which were developed under his term of office in his above capacity, were light commercial vehicles GAZ-3302 "Gazelle" and GAZ-22171 "Sobol", which enjoyed a high demand on the country’s emerging small business market. The design concept proposed by Y. Kudryavtsev was restricted by 1,5 t. load capacity, thus allowing the company to use the main transmission units and assemblies, which had been originally developed for GAZ-3110 passenger cars, and to speed up the development and pre-production of "Gazelle" vehicles as well as "Sobol" vehicles. Medium-duty trucks also got their further development during that period. GAZ-66 was substituted by all-wheel drive truck GAZ-33081 "Sadko". Also, urban commercial vehicle GAZ-3310 "Valdai" was designed, manufactured and tested those days. At the same time, "Gazelle" vehicles were built in numerous versions and configurations, "Sadko" vehicles got their further development in "Eger" and "Vepr" versions (GAZ-330811. Based on “Valdai” platform, some crew cab versions as well as 36-seated urban buses were manufactured. In the area of passenger car development, the design of brand-new GAZ-3105 "Volga" with all-wheel drive and GAZ-3104 4x4 was refined and fine-tuned in this period. At the same time, totally new passenger car GAZ-3111 "Volga" in its original version was developed, which was intended to be equipped with import components. But its mass production was interfered by the default of 1998. As a result, the design of the car was "simplified" to use existing in-house components and assemblies. And its production was limited to several hundreds of cars. In the sphere of serial vehicle production, it is the merit of Y. Kudryavtsev, who managed to bring back to life the projects “multipurpose vehicle GAZ-3937” and “module-type vehicle "Vodnik", which had been "frozen" a few years earlier. Following a number of additional works and acceptance tests, engineering and design documentation for these vehicles was finally approved in 1998, and the vehicles were passed into military service seven years later. His another major achievement in this field was development of multi-purpose off-road vehicle "Tiger". Also, the following specialty and special-purpose vehicles were developed during his term of office: armored personnel carrier GAZ-5923 «Rostok», crawler GAZ-3409 «Bobr», articulated amphibian vehicle GAZ-3340 as well as a variety of conversion purpose vehicles: SIAM, «Vetluga», ML-104, GAZ-8017. Under the direction of V. Kudryavtsev, dieselization of GAZ gained further momentum: development of self-designed 4-cylinder diesel engine with air cooling GAZ-544, adaptation of design of passenger cars as well as that of small and medium trucks for installation of Steyr diesel engines, adaptation of all currently manufactured medium trucks and tracked vehicles for installation of Belorussian diesels D-245.7, preparation of GAZ vehicles for installation of diesel engines from Cummins, YaMZ, Iveco, Toyota and others. Diesel engines started to be used for equipment of GAZ serial vehicles. In 2001, V. Kudryavtsev was appointed advisor to the General Director of the plant, while V. Chetverikov, who had previously worked as chief designer for trucks, became chief designer of the plant. In 2010, he became the head of GAZ Group Unified Engineering Center. With his active participation, "Gazelle" and "Sobol" LCV family were restyled and upgraded. In 2002, these vehicle families started to be equipped with Steyr GAZ-5601 turbocharged diesel engines as well as with ZMZ-40522 gasoline engines with direct fuel injection to meet international emission standards. In 2003, "Gazelle" and "Sobol" families underwent the facelifting and were equipped with upgraded interior. Also, a "Sobol" 2x2 variant was introduced. In 2004, a long-base "Gazelle" and a crew cab "Gazelle" were mastered. Also, right hand-drive "Gazelle" and "Sobol" versions, passenger car "Volga" (GAZ-31105), special purpose vehicles “Vepr” and “Tigr” (GAZ-2330 and GAZ-233014), "Vodnik" (GAZ-393771) as well as cross-country vehicle GAZ-3106, D-class vehicle GAZ-3115 and new armored personnel carrier GAZ-4120 were developed. Further development of the Russian market as well as free competition with leading international automakers dictated the necessity of significant improvement of products, processes and overall quality as early as at the design stage. Realizing this, the management of "GAZ Group" that includes the Gorky Automobile Plant, initiated the establishment of its own product development quality system. Today, the product development is accompanied by in-parallel manufacturability analysis, choice of optimum process approaches and in-depth calculation taking into account the investments needed as well as production costs, with full focus on the needs of consumers. During the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the main focus was made on Gazelle. According to new approaches for product development, weaknesses of the existing vehicle were studied and a program for upgrade of GAZelle and Sobol vehicle range called "Gazelle Business" and "Sobol Business" was developed. The task was to improve consumer values, quality and reliability of the major units of the vehicle. At the same time, the vehicle variants with Cummins diesel engines were developed. This model upgrade resulted in a sharp increase in demand. In 2009, Gazelle NEXT project has been launched. The aim of the project was to develop a completely new LCV line to be competitive in the modern market conditions, both nationally and internationally. The vast experience of UEC team allowed it to develop the new light commercial vehicle combining the best features of existing "Gazelle" with innovative solutions in the shortest possible time. Already at the prototype stage, the new vehicle was highly appraised by European partners, who were in charge of prototype testing. "Gazelle NEXT» has become the basis for creating a wide range of light-duty trucks and buses. Along with the activities in the field of development and manufacturing of commercial vehicles at GAZ Group’s Nizhny Novgorod site, UEC specialists are also actively engaged in developing projects for other sites and business units of the company. Among the top-priority tasks are commonization of automotive component base across all GAZ Group production sites, development of new Ural truck variants as well as CNG-powered buses. Thus, carefully preserving its own long-term experience in the field of automotive design engineering and following advanced trends in the international automotive industry, GAZ Group Unified Engineering Center is able to create unique products, which allow the company to proudly bear the name of the leader of the Russian commercial vehicle market.” http://eng.gazgroup.ru/united_engineering_center/history/ The boxart is a very good one! Miniart has been getting better in their boxarts in my opinioin. And the boxart is one of the most important thing of a model kit… The boxart alone is half the way for the modeler to buy the kit….At least for me… The box has 34,5cmx24,1x7 dimension. It`s a medium size AFV box with 435 pieces inside! Inside of it, we find a full box of plastic. All sprues come in a single plastic bag, gave the clear parts, the decals and the PE sheet all in a small bag. Although this awkward sprue packing, every parts have no damage. The sprues are molded in grey styrene and its looks with great quality. Sometime ago, Miniart sent an email telling that they were changing the molded techniques and using a new plastic. Well this one is from the next generation, and the plastic has almost no flash with some great subtle and sharp details. There`s in fact lots of plastic or better yet, lots of sprues, has some are quite small. So in fact inside of the box there`s 41 sprues, one PE-sheet and on decals sheet. Sprue A and B, we got all the main chassis structure and engine. The engine is quite a simple ones, but MiniArt give it a good detail treatment, giving however space to the super super detailers because you just can leave it open or if you want to keep it “simple”, just add wiring! J The chassis frame do not come in a single piece. Looking up the pieces looks like that all parts have a “glue” connector and for that a nice, tight and a proper alignment fit. The chassis frames, suspension, bars and all mechanical pieces are very well reproduce and its turns the chassis frames very busy and details… so no problem if you just want to put this model on the side, or upside down in a wrecked situation. The details are there. There´s quite some good parts so care and dry fitting will be need it to get a proper alignment As usual of Miniart, there`s a lot of sub-assemblies, with lots of parts that will make the assembly slower that a Tamiya kit for example and lots and lots of parts. The wheels or better yet, the tires. For me it’s the first time I see in flesh the wheels (in particularly the wheels) from a MiniArt model kit and I really, from the sprue, can`t understand the concept. So I was really curious to see if the approach does really work. It`s the first time I see a tire with more than two parts (and I`m really sceptial about it) so I decided to build one tire. And, Voilá. The result is not as bad I thought that will be. Moving to the upper part of the vehicle, the driver and the passenger cabin are very well detailed. Some injection pins needs to be removed from the roof and sidewalls, as all the inside of the cabin, with all the windows will be quite visible. I'm afraid that any structure composed of three parts to be slightly more sensitive in their grooves must clearly take place upon the placement of the sides using the roof part as a template to obtain a good fit. The floor was some good engraved details and passenger seats are multi parts that attached the floor and cabin side walls. All the interior must be finish and painted before putting the roof top. Some planning and attention must be taken by the modeler as the windows must be putted before the roof as after its impossible to do it. Also you will need to mask them before color paint and weathering. The proper and own bus structure, well obtain by MiniArt, makes this model a quite delicated one to build. Speaking of clear parts, they are in fact quite clear but also very delicate. The removal from the sprue must be quite slow with a saw to get it with no damage. Passing to non plastic material. The metal stuff. The small PE fret has 13 parts, all of them to represent hanldes and registration plates. Decal sheet is a quite small one but with lots of registrations plate. The color saturation is good and with good register. I can`t tell who the manufacture but looks like is MiniArt itself that make the decals. Instrutions The instructions booklet is printed in A4 size with the cover and markins options in glossy paper and in full color. The rest of the instrutionx (the building process are in black and white, with very good drawings and pieces places well indicated. The only sidedown is there no color guide to the interior cabin, engines, seats… simply nothing. Given that color info and profile were made by AMMO, they could also give inside colors... just my two cents. Another thing is that there no history of the model in any parts… do we really need it now with the internet? If the subject is not too obscure, for me, I just can pass a simple history text. On another hand, a good and concise history text can really give an extra mojo to get that build done.. Markings options The markings options are bring to us by AMMO with of course, color reference for AMMO. You got nonethelees than 8 schemes 4 early and 4 late type wich mean that you have four Mod. 1945 and another four Mod. 1938. Mod. 1945 1- Service Bus for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Minsk, 1946-58; 2- Services Buses fro construction management n.º 5 (SMU), Zaparozhskaya Oblast (Zaporizhzhya), 1958-65; 3- Service Bus for tourist camp “Sochi” , Sochi, 1951; 4- A regular-route bus, town of Przhevalsk (now Karakol), Issyk-Kul region, Kyrgys Soviet Socialist Republic, 1946-58; Mod. 1938 5- Service Bus for unknown organization/enterprise, Gorky City (now Nizhny Novgorod), 1940-ies; 6- Service Bus for “Aeroflot” company, Moscow, 1946; 7- Service bus for Kharkov rope plant, 1938-41; 8- Service Bus for All-union young pioneer camp “Artek”. Gurzuf settlement, Crimean Peninsula, 1940-41. All the schemes are quite attractive and quite difficult to choose from but I will stick to the red and yellow one! CONCLUSION: MiniArt through time, always have bring to the modeler quite unusual model kits and this one is not exception. This beautifull Gaz Bus should be a very useful addition to a diorama or even by itself. The quality of the plastic alongside with the top noch details will give you the certain to have a great model. Even the tires convinced me that the solution, not being my favorite, is also doable and with details. However I really think that a solid tire would be a lot better. So I Highly Recommend this little and cute bus! J My truly Thanks to Miniart for the review sample. Fran To end this just an aftermarket round up and curious to see that most of then are for the wheels (tire) - 1/35 GAZ-AA/AAA Wheel Set by Micro Scale Design - Ba-2/6/10, Gaz AA/AAA - Wheels with Spare - Hussar Productions - Nr. 35031 - GAZ-AAA; BA-6; BA-10 Road Wheels - MasterClub - Nr. MC235001 - Russian wheels - GAZ type - M4 Models - Nr. 35025 And finally a detail set: - GAZ-AA / AAA detail set - Minor - Nr. VMD35026
  18. 1:35 European Farmyard MiniArt Catalogue #35558 Available from any good model shop MiniArt is a Ukrainian manufacture that over the years has been to settle his place in the modeling, specifically in modeling armored and dioramas always with great originality and excellent quality. Miniart brought to the world of Modeling pre-organized dioramas, duly pre-thought, so very full but without curtailing the imagination of the modeler, at low cost or at lower cost than the plaster/resin buildings. The kit that we will analyze is the latest release of Diorama series, so come join the ranks of this series and further enrich the catalog of MiniArt and once again increase the options for modelers. The box is a quite large box, it a typical Miniart Box art, with all the parts being in one plastic bag. As usual, the structures (walls) of the dwelling and outbuildings are vacform. All the farm buildings are in stone and all the stones are well engraved in several sizes representing realistic the stones and their different sizes. Also in the roof, Miniart had the same care, with some very good details on giving broken edges to give a realistic look. I know quite a few modelers that vacuform puts them away but there is no reason for that because the plastic is quite stick and with care and patience, the parts will came out easily. Moreover, only the time to cut the pieces not increased in any way its difficulty. After cutting and sanding all the vacuform parts and assembling all of then, you will get three buildings that can be dispose in several aways, all together and by itself. MiniArt gives three disposition of the builings and the accessories parts that we analyses belong. For me, the best full combination is the one given on the boxart. The remaining details are in six plastic sprues. In sprue "A" have doors, window frames and shutters with sharp detail and an engraved and quite well attained wood grain. Sprue "B" is united and exclusively for the wooden wagon, a quite simple built but not simplistic model with sharp detail. The Sprue "C" (x2) is all about the fences, the table and benches. Once again simple and effective details. The Sprue "D" (x2) presents us the two big cellar doors, respective hinges and some exterior details. The instructions are very clear and with clean drawings and quite good indications about parts numbers and their attachments along the constructions. For the vacuform parts, I strongly advise the check up the tutorial on Miniart website how to wrok with vacuform. It`s an excellent tutorial. CONCLUSION: Miniart is a serious manufacture in the modelling word, being among on the top!! And concerning to these building series, they are, for me, the number one. This model allows the modeler to have a full diorama building for a quite a fair price, with very good detail, with tons of possibilities. I can thing quite a few… and I have the perfect figures for it! J Very Highly Recommend Francisco Guedes Our thanks to MiniArt for the review sample. To purchase this directly, click THIS link. If you found this review helpful and decide to purchase this product, please tell them you read about it at Large Scale Modeller!
  19. GERMAN TRAMCAR 641 (Straβenbahn Triebwagen 641) MiniArt Catalogue #38003 Available from any good model shop The Trams/trolleys were the primary people movers on the big European Cities until the 80s. I distinctly remember in the early '80s still there trams in the city where I live in Porto, Portugal ,and along with buses, was the best way to travel in public transport around the city. They still around for tourist tours. The one below has been restored by the Nurnberg tram museum (Triebwagen 641) and it was used since 1913, until 1966, and quite frankly looks quite like MiniArt Triebwagen 641, the n.º 18, to Stadion! J Miniart has marked its presence in the world of modeling, since their beginning, with original and daring releases, never before in model kit, and always represents an added value to the modeler through originality. After the launch of the European Tram that, for me, one of the kits of the year 2013, MiniArt surprises by launching another tram. The box art is a beauty, and I really do think that MiniArt designers are really good, because I always love their box art. And I think that the answer is on the box art. Check up both of them: The first difference is just the indication of the specific model instead of the previous release that it had no indication of which model tram as it had the essential characteristics of a MAN / SSW states themselves, but had no direct reference to a specific type of tram. I really do thing that they are because this one has two extra sprues, because we`ve got on this box 21 sprues and online reviews of the European Tram states that it have 19 sprues. The two major and significant different are the both sides commercials ads and rolling station pointer on both ends of the Tram that represents two more sprues, that are Ga. So this Tram has two more sprues. Here it is – Ga (x2) So, moving to the interior of the large box and by opening it (345x240x100 mm) you will see that all sprues are in a large plastic bag, with the five transparent plastic sprues wrapped in a small plastic bag to prevent any damaged. The kit itself contains 625 parts on 21 sprues in light gray color plastic, five sprues in transparent plastic as already, decal sheet and vacuform base. That`s a lot of plastic, tons of fun and tremendous detail. In general look of all sprues, in my sample, I really don`t see any flash. The injection pin marks will give you some work to remove. Despite not being on the inside, and this kit has many windows and full interior detail, will have to be carefully removed. The model construction was well thought by MiniArt. The model is made in mirror mode, so everything is made two times as you can easily see on the instructions. This is quite different from others AFV models because at least me, on AFV model kit you can assemble all first (or just leaving the tracks out) and then start the paint job. Clearly this one is quite different. The construction is more like an airplane one, starting with painting all the interior and weathering and then pass along to the undercarriage, and outside details and paint job. So all of plastic light grey sprue are in double. For me one of the most impressive parts of the kit is the undercarriage. It`s a kit inside a kit, with tons of crispy detail. The problem is that all the beautiful details will disappear underneath the Tram. The interior is totally and fully detail: ceiling lights, handrails and wooden benches for seating. In the driver place, on the on both sides, has instrument table with levers and buttons. The attention to detail from MiniArt is impressive and rightly so, because with so many windows, the entire interior is easily visualized. Furthermore, the doors can be fully opened, favoring even more visibility to the interior. The decal sheet gives the stations names and others details. They are with some good registration, nice color, and they are made by Begemot. But it does not stop there: Miniart gives the modeler, on glossy paper, highly quality print in full color, several advertising posters of pre-war (1937) and war time. Attention, these one are no decals, so you will have to cut then off with careful and place then in place with cyano. The clear plastic parts are bright and crispy. The vacuformed styrene display base is a cobble street with a tram line, and of course it comes with some extra details to put on like catenary poles as tram support and you can connect the tram to the electric wires that is the only thing that is not included in this awesome kit. The details on the vacuformed piece is quite good with good engravering and detail, being in the high standards that MiniArt always offer on their buildings. The only work that has to be made in quite some attention, is the removal of all little bubble that all vacuform parts has it, because they are part of the process. It`s a quite tedious job but not quite hard. Finally the instructions. It`s a small booklet (size A4), giving a full layout of parts. All the construction is given in 54 steps, with a very noticeable scheme, not stressing me so at first glance, great difficulties of interpretation of locating and mounting scheme, this course subject to careful study and dryfiting. Also you will get a colour guide is provided for Revell, Life Color, Humbrol, Gunze Sangyo, Vallejo, Testors and Tamiya. Conclusion: This is a really nice kit with good and crispy details. All the parts have no flash All the windows, very tiny parts and construction layout makes this beauty for average/advance modelers only. This kit is truly a spectacle. The amount of parts and their detail, build quality and all the detail in several aspects (interior and undercarriage) causes time modeling that will pull this kit is very rewarding. I can not recommend it for the novice modeler for the various sub-structures, the number of pieces and placement of the transparent parts are not easy steps. The possibilities that can come from this kit for a beautiful diorama are enormous. I just love this one, so it earns two thumbs up from me. Our thanks to MiniArt for the review sample. To purchase this directly, click THIS link. If you found this review helpful and decide to purchase this product, please tell them you read about it at Large Scale Modeller!
  20. Hi all, The latest news and very good ones, from our friends MiniArt from Ukraine. "Dear Modelers and Customers, as you may know our country have faced many problems this year. Situation in Ukraine and particularly in Crimea forced us to relocate business to the capital of our country - Kiev. All facilities was transported successfully and we were able to keep all our key personnel. Right now MiniArt is in reorganization period but it's planned to restart all activities in nearest future. We are already preparing new models for release and soon will announce what these models are. We would like to thank all of you for the concern and support in these difficult and full of changes time for our company." MiniArt team http://miniart-models.com
  21. “Battle of the Bulge” Ardennes 1944 (1:35 WWII Military Miniatures series) MiniArt Catalogue #35084 Available from any good model shop Before diving in on the inside box to see what inside, all WWII knows the history, even a brief one, about the Battle of the Bulge. A quick walkaround on the internet and you can find pleny of links and sites with the Battle of the Bulge. So here`s a little history of the this famous battle before diving into the box contents. In December 1944, Adolph Hitler attempted to split the Allied armies by means of a surprise blitzkrieg thrust through the Ardennes to Antwerp, marking a repeat of what the Germans had done three times previously–in September 1870, August 1914, and May 1940. Despite Germany’s historical penchant for mounting counteroffensives when things looked darkest, the Allies’ leadership miscalculated and left the Ardennes lightly defended by only two inexperienced and two battered American divisions. On December 16, three German armies (more than a quarter-million troops) launched the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war in the west in the poorly roaded, rugged, heavily forested Ardennes. The once-quiet region became bedlam as American units were caught flat-footed and fought desperate battles to stem the German advance at St.-Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize and, later, Bastogne, which was defended by the 101st Airborne Division. The inexperienced U.S. 106th Division was nearly annihilated, but even in defeat helped buy time for Brigadier General Bruce C. Clarke’s brilliant defense of St.-Vith. As the German armies drove deeper into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridgeheads west of the River Meuse quickly, the line defining the Allied front took on the appearance of a large protrusion or bulge, the name by which the battle would forever be known. A crucial German shortage of fuel and the gallantry of American troops fighting in the frozen forests of the Ardennes proved fatal to Hitler’s ambition to snatch, if not victory, at least a draw with the Allies in the west. Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s remarkable feat of turning the Third Army ninety degrees from Lorraine to relieve the besieged town of Bastogne was the key to thwarting the German counteroffensive. The Battle of the Bulge was the costliest action ever fought by the U.S. Army, which suffered over 100,000 casualties – in The Reader’s Companion to Military History. Edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker. Copyright © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Before opening the slip side box, I must say I quite like the boxart. Nice artwork from a unknow artist (do not know the copyright) representing a surrender action. In the back of the box, there`s the color guidelines for all 5 figures. You will get also, on the down right side, a quite helpful color chart with full color reference. Now let`s go inside. You will get 3 Americans and 2 Germans soldiers and of course you can use all 5 of them or simply use then separately. Inside the two sprues of grey plastic are kept together in a plastic bag. Also a small paper sheet with the trees parts, and their corresponding numbers. No instructions ...but really do you need it? Absolutely not. Just be checking the sprues, a modeler can see how quite simply it would be construction of these figures. Also surface detail is the first thing that pops out on the figure set. The surface details on the clothes for an injection molded figure are quite amazing. All the figures postures are quite well achieved, very natural and realistic. As you can see on the pictures, there`s some cleaning that it`s need because of the seam mould line. If that means no problem on the clothes and weapons, you cannot say the same thing concerning to the head and facial expression. The seam line on the face or hair is particularly difficult to remove without damage any details. Notwithstanding the head are well molded, balanced in size and the faces are quite nice in expression and look… the cleaning simply can ruin it. But you`ve got a good solution: resin heads. Conclusion: The figure set is quite comprehensive giving the modelers endless possibility for use in dioramas or vignettes, is the complete set is just one of the figures and all that for the price (at least in my usual store) of a resin figure. Very well done Miniart! (copyright Miniart) Very highly recommended Francisco Guedes Our thanks to MiniArt for the review samples. Available in any good model shop.
  22. Pardelhas

    Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.B

    Future release from Miniart. Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.B for the first time in injection!! Great news! http://miniart-models.com/index.htm?/35162.htm Cheers
  23. Pardelhas

    European Tram

    Just release by Miniart!! A totally diferent model... But is a great piece to model and to be the centre of a diorama!! Cheers Francisco
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