MiniArt has a formidable catalogue of injection moulded figures and every now and then they re-release a set with additional features. The Soviet Tank Crew at Rest Special Edition is just such a set, MiniArt has discontinued the original offering of five figures and now offers those figures with some armoured crew small arms and equipment plus three sprues of 152mm rounds and storage boxes. So letís take a look inside and see how everything has lived up to a re-release.
The contents of this offering are in a card end opening carton; this type of container is fast falling out of favour with me due to its susceptibility to crush damage. The issue of crush damage has become very clear due to my collecting figure sets for use at later dates and the boxes not being up to the task, I will say that this is not confined to MiniArt but is a problem across many manufacturers. Inside of the carton is a single plastic bag holding six grey sprues. Also present is an instruction sheet for the included ammunition sprues.
The ammunition contained is 152mm offerings I am informed. Each sprue consists of a multi compartment ammunition case, a shell casing and a choice of two types of 152mm shell; I am unsure of the differences in this regard. The shells and casings have small mould seams that will need attention, but otherwise everything looks good to me. The wooden cases have good wood effect present on all faces except the inside if the side panels. All told this is a nice inclusion in the offering which you will likely find a purpose for sooner or later if buying this offering, maybe as part of a lorry load or left in the field during a bug out, and of course they could be strategically placed with any Soviet armour or artillery that used this calibre.
The small sprue of small arms and equipment is a very nice addition to this offering due to it consisting of those small touches that can make all the difference. In the set we are supplied with a Nagant revolver and a Tokarev pistol, the Tokarev pistol looks to have also been supplied with a separate magazine; these are complimented by the inclusion of holsters specific to both weapons. Also included are two flare pistols with one split open and the other ready for use, there is also what I believe is a holster for the flare pistol but I could not find proof of this belief. In addition to these items MiniArt has included binoculars and separate binocular case plus two cases.
Moving onto the five figures that make this set up, I am pleased to say the moulds look to be holding together well for the most part. There is some flash present that will need to be cleaned up, but this should not present any issues to most modellers, but take care not to damage to detail present. The detail on the figures is not up to the current standards of MiniArt; this is most notable in the hands of the figures or more accurately the fingers. The uniform or more often the coveralls are very nicely replicated here having what I consider to be very good natural crease detail present in abundance. The footwear has also got nice detail present and the members who excel at figure painting should be able to make the most of these aspects. I will say there is no tread pattern present on the footwear, but nice heel detail has been provided and so giving a natural look to them.
Soviet tank crew coveralls varied in colour usually being a shade of blue or black and so the modeller is free to decide who wears what colour and indeed can be mixed within a crew. Too my knowledge colour was not represent-able of a type of crew such as tank or self propelled artillery. The only part of the uniform that I feel could be better replicated are the helmets: the details appear correct to me, but they look to be too prominent to me and may benefit from being reduced prominence a little.
As I mentioned earlier the figures hands are not up to the present standard of MiniArt, but with that said some work by the modeller could greatly improve the look of the finger detail. Moving onto the heads of this offering; the facial details are good for the most part with features such as the mouth, nose and eyes being well represented in my opinion. The two figures that have ears that can be seen are represented, but again some work by the modeller will greatly improve this aspect of the two figures.
Figure construction is covered on the rear of the carton as is usual for MiniArt. The artwork accurately depicts the stances of the figures, but three a shown having a laugh and joke but is not represented on the actual kit. The instructions on the box rear more accurately depict the mood of the figures.
If you are on a budget and need Soviet armoured vehicle figures this may be just what you are looking for. Most of the details are there and can be improved with a little effort on the part of the modeller. The addition of the small arms and equipment sprue is a great addition the set in my opinion. The value of the 152mm shell sprues depends on what the modeller is up to, but as the cost of this set is the same as the figures on their own it can only be seen as another plus.
Please note MiniArt has made big changes to their website so please take a look.