by: Jim Rae [ ]
Introduction There are a number of new companies making real waves in the injection-moulded figure market with all of them following different but very interesting directions. In the case of MiniArt Limited they are producing a range of figures of which gun-crews, drivers and AFV Crews, are their principal products. With this new set, they have become a little more confident by producing a highly animated kit of five artillery crew figures.
The basics 35031 - Soviet Artillery Crew is a styrene set of five (late-war) figures. Consisting of some 60 parts on two sprues. The set is moulded in a good-quality. light-grey plastic. Briefly, the set contains three kneeling and two upright figures - the three kneeling figures consist of the section commander and the other two loaders/gunners. The other figures are bringing forward ammunition.The set comes in an end-opening box with the reverse giving brief construction notes and a painting guide. The color scheme is keyed into Model Master, Tamiya, Humbrol and Revell paints.
In Detail Once again, as is customary with this kind of review, i'll be looking at specific areas of the figures. This will finish with comments over the construction. It's worth noting at this point, that I constructed the set pretty quickly and NO filler was used. They were 'tacked' together rather than being built with real care, so, my apologies in advance!
The Heads: The heads aren't bad at all. There is a bit of variation between them and they are generally quite good. All are wearing the standard Soviet helmet,
Hands: Some are better moulded than others - again, the open hands are better than the clenched ones (something I have NEVER been able to figure out!) there are some of the hands which would benefit from being replaced. Adequate rather than brilliant..
Legs/feet::: In a word, excellent although there is some cleaning up necessary in seam-lines. Definition is nice and crisp with good creasing on the legs and boots.
Torsos: These are single-piece mouldings. Detail is good although, once again, there is some need for cleaning-up.
Equipment: Very well done with good detail. As one would expect, there isn't a great deal, but what there is is very well-done.
Weaponry: Included in the set are two PPSHs and two rifles. Excellently done. In the case of the rifles, they do require the (careful) removal of some flash, but still look very good.
The Poses:: Very convincing indeed although care (more than I used, for example!) needs to be used when attaching the arms along with the leg-halves.
Construction Notes: No problems were encountered during assembly. Some care is required in matching up the leg halves. With the plastic used, both Revell Contacta and Tamiya Extra-thin were used without problems. Getting exactly the correct position for the arms involves a fair degree of attention also.
Conclusions A highly versatile set although not without a few (minor) problems. This is, once again, s good indication of just how far companies such as MiniArt are improving technically. The attempt to create a set with 'movement' should also be highly-praised. This is the fourth set from an Eastern-European manufacturer which I have reviewed recently, where they have given a LOT of consideration to animation. It also has to been seen as a set where to provide a complete crew, it would be better to buy a couple of these sets to give more variation. As I mentioned earlier, combining several of these sets would create some interesting variations. In conclusion though, MiniArt with their imaginative approach with sets such as this, are really setting themselves up as very serious 'players' in a VERY competitive and constantly evolving market.