by: Roman [ ]
MiniArt continues to surprise plastic modellers with their new releases. This kit (35170) of Soviet heavy infantry equipment was unthinkable a couple of years back when everything was dominated by Axis subjects. Given the fact that MiniArt is based in Ukraine, one could expect thorough research and access to real examples of weapons and soldier gear.
The kit comes in a cardboard box with all items drawn on the front, assembly manual and item identification charts on the back. Inside there are 6 sprues of grey styrene packed together in one plastic bag. Basically, there are 3 sprues which are duplicated.
7.62mm Maxim machine gun model 1910/1930 and model 1940
Both these MGs were a further development of Russian adaptation of Hiram Maxim’s recoil-operated MG to Russian 7.62 x 54 ammunition. The MG itself weighted around 20 kg and the wheeled mount was approximately 40 kg, making total weight up to 64 kg (with cooling jacket filled with water). The crew consisted of a gunner and a loader which were protected by small shield. Even though it was a powerful weapon capable of 600 rounds per minute it was slightly outdated already before the winter war in 1940. Nevertheless, as no better main infantry MG was produced by the industry it remained in service until the end of WW2 and was used not only as infantry standalone MG, but was also mounted on jeeps, trucks (f.e. quadruple mount used as anti-aircraft weapon). The main difference between model 1910/1930 and 1940 is a modified cooling jacket that had a large valve so it could be filled with snow instead of water (this adjustment was made after the Winter War experience, similar to Finnish M/32-33 MG).
Parts corresponding to Maxim MGs are located on sprue Cb and there are 22-23 parts required to make 1 MG which is rather impressive for an item that is approximately 6 cm long! The Vladimirov wheeled mount alone has 15 parts and care should be taken during the alignment and clean up. As with other MiniArt product the molded detail is very nice but some of the tiny parts would be difficult to sand as they are rather fragile. Overall the plastic version replicates original quite nicely, however I wish the shield would be thinner then what is present in the kit. The barrel opening is bored a little bit, and one can drill it a bit further if desired. The missing elements are small chains that can be seen on war time images and original weapons, however they would be extra tiny in 1/35th scale. Extra parts are: 2 closed ammo boxes, 1 open ammo box with separate lid, 1 spent ammo belt and 1 loaded ammo belt. The handles are molded together with the ammo boxes and I would substitute them with PE for better detail. Dimensionally the set matches available data (length 1067mm equal to 30,4mm in 1/35th scale). The assembled example is model 1940 with valve on the cooling jacket.
PTRD-41 (Protivo-Tankovoje-Rugje-Degtereva, or Degterev anti-tank rifle)
This was the main anti-tank infantry weapon of the Red Army and total 281,000 of PTRD-41 were made! PTRD-41 was single-shot and fired 14.5mm bullet which was able to penetrate 35 to 40mm armour at 100 meter distance. Although it was able to penetrate side armour of German tanks, the performance was not very effective as the PTRD crews had to operate at very close distance. Moreover, the muzzle brake was making the position of the crew visible to enemy and lack of periscopic sight was reducing the capability of operator to target. Later, the PTRD were used for knocking out lighter armoured cars, half-tracks and personnel. Here the performance was effective up to 3000 meters.
The parts corresponding to PTRD-41 are located on sprue Cd and these include the PTRD itself, the parts corresponding to open and closed breach bolt, a bipod with wing nut, 3 separate ammo rounds and ammo bag. The detail level on the PTRD is very good with hollowed muzzle brake and correct length (total length 2m which is 57,1mm in 1/35). Again, care should be taken when removing the parts from sprues and they require very delicate clean up (especially ammo).
mine detector VIM-203 model 1942
VIM stands for Vintovochny indukcionny minoiskatel or Rifle induction-type mine-detector, meaning that a rifle could be used instead of a simple pole so the soldier could be armed and detecting mines simultaneously. Total around 250,000 of these mine-detectors were made by the Soviet industry during the war and they were either with square or round sensor. These were able to detect mines at a depth of between 35 and 50 cm. The assembly of VIM-203 is straightforward, however the clean-up might be challenging. The mine detector itself is made of 4 parts – 2 for round sensor, 1 for generator and a pole. Headphones are also included and these would require wiring. Extra items on this sprue (Ce) are probing rod (2 parts), mine flag and engineer satchel.
Overall, this is a very welcome set of Soviet heavy infantry equipment that includes parts sufficient for 2 Maxim MGs, 2 anti-tank rifles and 2 mine detectors. Together with extra items it makes a great value and I hope we will see many Maxims in use on models and dioramas in the future. The parts have fine detail and appear to have accurate research. As with many MiniArt releases I am sure that these elements will appear in a figure sets (Soviet MG or anti-tank team for example?).