by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has released a new four figure set for all of those Soviet tanks they has produced covering the 1960s and 1970s. No mention is made of the season that this uniform is supposed to represent, but from what I have been able to find there was no winter summer uniform by this period in history. So lets look a little closer at this offering from MiniArt.
This figure set offering is supplied in the usual end opening card carton favoured by MiniArt, and depending on how it is handled it will do a reasonable job of keeping everything together. The front of the carton has an artistic representation of the figures in the set, on the rear is the same artwork used as a painting and assembly guide. Inside there is a single sealed plastic bag with the sprue for the figures.
Taking a close look at the mouldings reveals a mix of good and bad for a newly released product. On the negative list there is flash in places and this has increased the amount of work that will be needed to also clean up the seam lines present on the mouldings. On the plus side each of the figures is in its own section of the sprue and so the parts required are easily found. MiniArt has kept the number of sprue gates small by using nipples for the extra plastic to flow into and so insuring that short shots are avoided. The sprue gates are also small in size which is a plus.
The figures provided offer two standing and two seated, one of the standing figures is obviously outside of the vehicle and is carrying an AK47 rifle; I would have thought that a tank crew AK47 would have a folding stock but a solid wooden stock version is supplied. The AK47 will ideally need the modeller to add a harness to it. Also included with this figure is a bag that I assume to be containing magazines for the AK47, no straps are supplied for this and no webbing is worn and so it appears to be defying gravity in the artwork. The other standing figure is I believe designed to stand in the cupola of the tank and is holding the access hatch. I do like that MiniArt has taken the effort to include the communication wires for the helmet.
Moving onto the seated figures and we have one who is obviously the driver, this figure should look good in one of the interior models that MiniArt has released. The other seated figure could be displayed inside or out of the vehicle; in the vehicle would be with his head out of the turret and left arm resting on the roof of the turret. This figure could be displayed on the outside of the vehicle with his arm resting on an aspect of the vehicle or even sat side on a chair with his arm resting on the back rest.
Now moving onto the uniform and its elements and an area of the figures that concerns me due to my reference material. I believe that MiniArt has opted to identify this as a 1960s 1970s crew via the use of a two piece uniform as opposed to the standard coveralls worn during the Great Patriotic War, my reference indicated that the two piece uniform did not enter service until 1972. I will say that the reinforcement material for the knees is well replicated. The large left breast pocket is also well replicated; this was designed to contain a Makarov pistol for defence if forced to evacuate the vehicle. No insignia was worn on this uniform and that has been noted by MiniArt. The creases on the uniform look good and please me as a modeller.
The boots worn by the figures look pretty good and have a reasonable level of detail present as regards side seams. The stars of this offering are without doubt the helmets that have been supplied in three pieces that has enabled MiniArt to have a very pleasing scale aspect to them that looks very realistic. The faces of the figures look on the small side due to having been moulded with the helmets taken into consideration; however I checked the head size against a resin Hornet offering I had to hand and it scales out very well against this. The facial details are good for injection moulded plastic and should meet the expectations of most modellers. The hands are also very well replicated for injection moulded plastic with a little work on the finger detail raising them to a very high standard.
This figure set from MiniArt should please most modellers with the time period of the uniform being my only major concern as regards accuracy. It is disappointing to find flash on a new product release, but it may have been a Friday afternoon production run. I like that two of the figures will look good outside of the tank as I feel this is where the crew would prefer to be when not in combat. I useful figure set that with very little work will look equally at home in a World War 2 setting.