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Built Review
135
British Tank Crew
British Tank Crew: Late war cold-weather dress
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by: Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]

introduction
Does anyone remember a decade or so ago when we were begging manufacturers for Allied figures? One of the manufacturers that has really stepped up and released a wide variety of animated figure sets is MiniArt.

Contained in this set are five figures in the padded denim "pixie-suits" issued to Commonwealth tank crews in the latter part of the war. The sculpting is quite nice, although the cloth wrinkling seems a little overdone in some of the figures. Details are pretty good throughout, with the faces being quite nice. However, the hands, shoes, and pistols are rather soft. The instructions consist of an exploded view diagram on the back of the box and a legend for the part numbers on a small piece of paper. I have to admit, it would have been easier if the numbers were on the sprues instead.

The Figures
Figure A:
This is easily my favorite figure in this set. Depicting a standing figure with his hands in his pockets, this figure is full of personality and just FEELS cold. Assembly is straightforward with separate parts for the two halves of the scarf and the openings of the gloves tucked into the belt. If there is a weakness to the figure it is that the scarf ends and hood just kind of hang there without seeming to be attached to anything. A little epoxy putty or Miliput to sculpt around the sides of the neck will fix that up without much trouble. I'll use a bit of that as well to sculpt the left wrist as there is a noticeable gap there where the hand tucks into the pocket.

Figure B:
The other standing figure is of a tank commander talking on his headset wearing the leather jerkin and beret. This is my next favorite figure as it is quite animated with a great facial expression - the sculpting is natural and the details are very nice. The left hand might have been better served if it had been molded with the earphone as it doesn't really overlap the piece well.

Figure C:
Another decent figure with some natural positioning. It does have a few issues though. The first is that the separate hood just doesn't lay properly with the scarf ends floating in space. The other problem is the body position. The center of gravity is too far forward for the figure to be sitting, so it is more of a leaning back position with the right leg and arm propped up on something. This not only limits where this figure can be positioned but the upper body is just a little too relaxed to be leaning precariously like the lower figure. It simply feels a bit off. Also, supermodels have a larger waistline than this figure which does emphasize the bulk of the padded suit but the taper is noticeable.

Figure D:
My least favorite figure in the set. From the neck down the sculpting is acceptable with some really nice details on the suit and gloves. However, this is another “supermodel” waist and it is more noticeable than on the previous figure. In addition, the head and hood is horribly fitting from the box. It simply doesn't fit together, the head fits in the cutout in the right hood piece fairly well but then the left piece cannot fit, with a >1mm gap. It is salvageable if you grind away the lower part of the left hood half and putty the seam but then the fact that only the front half of the head is molded is visible. If you creatively painted the back of the hood for black shadow you could camouflage this but it's still something that should have been avoided. In addition, this is another figure if you sit it down he's leaning back at a 20 degree angle. Rock him forward until his torso is upright and he looks like he's sliding off the edge.

Figure E:
A nice figure, leaning forward and smoking a pipe. The pipe won't actually touch the lips without some surgery on the right shoulder but it looks natural enough as is. There's a little gap at the neck but overall the fit is solid with a little putty needed for the junction of the left cuff and pocket.

Conclusion
For the price of one resin figure you get 2 great figures, 2 good ones, and one mediocre one that could be elevated to good with a half hour’s work. The detailing on the suits is good, especially the seams on the pant legs. The faces are very good for plastic figures and they have character, no blank glazed stares here. If there is an overall criticism, it is that this is a "set" with no interaction at all, really a collection of five separate figures in the same box. That's not necessarily a criticism as you get a figure useful for up to five different kits for $3 apiece. However, if they are all used unmodified on the same kit you will be in the trap Shep Paine used to (justifiably) lament where they are all in their own little worlds.
SUMMARY
Highs: Great facial sculpting and expressions. The two top figures are comparable to first rate resin figures.
Lows: Wasp waists on three of the figures. Sitting figures, well, won't. Figure D's hood will require some real work.
Verdict: Overall, this a useful set for your Commonwealth AFV's. The sculpting as quite good and the faces are very good, put your Hornet heads back in storage!
Percentage Rating
82%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35121
  Suggested Retail: $15
  PUBLISHED: Aug 23, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.45%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 85.89%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Matt Flegal (ninjrk)
FROM: ALABAMA, UNITED STATES

Copyright ©2017 text by Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hi This kit is made in UKraine (ex URSS) not in the UK (United Kingdom)
OCT 23, 2012 - 05:02 AM
If you're referring to the Nationality tag it refers to the nationality of the figures depicted and not the company that made them
OCT 23, 2012 - 07:39 AM
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