With the (virtual) renaissance of interest in Soviet AFVs thanks to Trumpeter
(KV Series), DML
(T34s) and Miniart
(The T70), many diorama and AFV modellers have been looking for more modern alternatives to what was previously available from the 'plastic' manufacturers. The Ukrainian company MiniArt Limited
have made enormous strides in the last year or so, firstly with a considerable increase in their range and certainly in a qualitive sense.
35017 - Soviet Tank Crew at Work
is produced by MiniArt
and consists of five, 1/35th scale figures moulded in a light-grey plastic. Three of the figures are designed to be used in conjunction, having been sculpted in the act of ising a 'pull-through' on a tank gun barrel. The remaining crew figures consist of a crewman watching the proceedings and the vehicle commander in a 'supervisory' capacity. The kit comes on two small sprues with each figure attached to its own 'area' - making construction a little easier. Basic painting instructions are included which go by color without any reference to a particular manufacturer's reference numbers.
Once again, i'll be looking at several (seperated) areas of the figures and finish the review with overall impressions.
: In general this is good. There ARE some mould lines present but very easy to remove. Register is excellent with none of those irritating 'offset' mouldings. The plastic is hard but not brittle...
: The creasing is quite deep in places, but after painting, these should be less apparent. The creases are smooth with none of those nasty 'sharp' edges present. Where necessary, the seams on the clothing are competently reproduced. As to detailing, flaps, pockets etc. are all present and although not as sharply defined as one could hope for, they will look good when painted. As the original AFV Crew uniform was noted for its 'minimalist' detail, there is not a lot that MiniArt
could actually have added..
: The heads (as is common in plastic figures are NOT the best feature of this set although they are competently enough done. This set would inevitably (like 99% of plastic figure sets) benefit from replacements. They SHOULD paint up well enough, but as I am one of the 'If its Plastic, Replace it' brigade, i'm perhaps not the most neutral in this matter...
: As I mentioned in the preliminary overview of this set, three of the figures are designed to be used together. This is a fairly innovative feature of this set and should, with VERY careful assembly, look very eye-catching. This however, does to a ceratin extent, limit their usefulness, although conversions should be very easy with this set.
: Four of the figures are wearing the standard Coverall buttoned up, the fifth has pulled it down and tied it round his waist - again, a SUPERB touch, which breaks up any suggestion of uniformity. Again, there WASN'T that much variation in Soviet AFV uniforms, so...
: the hands are not as well-defined as they could be although they aren't too bad. The arms are consistent with the quality of the rest of the set.
: These are well-done with clear definition between the soles and the heels, they present a good representation of creases and (again) should paint up well. The only (recurring) niggle I have is the insistence of moulding everyone with long leather boots - can we have some short boots please?
This is again, a competent and useful set. It does have some excellent potential for conversion and will doubtless be of great use to the diorama builders. From what I have seen of the prices (particularly in the U.S.A. and from HK) it represents excellent value for money. It isn't perhaps the most interesting set available, there again, Soviet Coveralls don't have (in general) the variation in detail as German camouflage uniforms. MiniArt
, with this and the other sets I have reviewed, is producing some good, attractive, figure sets with some imaginative touches. It is also good to see a manufacturer producing something other than the 'Standard' subjects - for this they really deserve the support of the modeller...
My thanks to MiniArt
for supplying the Soviet Tank Crew (at Work) set for review.