by: Darren Baker [ ]
When it comes to original figure releases in injection moulded plastic MiniArt is one of the leaders in todayís market. Their offerings cover a broad time span from the very earliest military units in 1/16th scale to figures of the forces from the present day in 1/35th scale. As you would expect the military units of World War Two make up the majority of MiniArtís offerings and it is that time period where this latest release is set. This set features two members of the 101st Airborne with three German prisoners.
This figure set is packaged in the now well known MiniArt end opening box which contains two grey sprues packaged in a plastic bag along with a sprue parts placement guide.
I am sure most of us are by now familiar with the packaging standards of MiniArt and as such will skip over it. The sprues are cleanly moulded for the most part with minimal flash present on one of the hands of the figures in the set. Parts placement is good with the figures laid out in a fairly logical way which will make finding parts easy. This figure set from MiniArt does have one of my pet hates, which is that the gates on the arms are at the elbow making clean up more difficult.
The uniforms all look accurate for the period of both the German prisoners and the 101st Airborne with MiniArt having put a lot of work into replicating the bulged thigh pockets of the Airborne troops. One of the 101st is depicted as a medic, and this figure is very accurately reproduced in the artwork on the box top. A downside with this figure is that due to no decals being supplied with the figures it will be quite difficult to reproduce this detail by hand painting and for that matter that also applies to a slightly lesser degree on the other Airborne figure. Uniform crease detail is good overall and with careful painting this detail should help to add some life to the figure.
The German prisoner figures in the set also look very good overall if simplified due to a complete lack of equipment with the figures being prisoners. These figures are also a disappointment to me in one respect and that has to do with the artwork compared to the contents; the figures in the box art are shown as 3 young soldiers, which is ideal for the period; however looking at the figures on the sprue it is my considered opinion that they look older. That aspect may not be a concern to many of you and they can of course be used perfectly as is, but I was looking forward to seeing some younger looking infantry which would be appropriate for the later war period.
As said earlier removal of the various body parts and equipment is easy, and clean-up of seam lines is also easily accomplished with a light scraping of a knife blade. The face and hand detail is good overall with my only complaint being a seam line running up the middle of the face on some figures which does mean great care is needed during clean-up of these areas. The fit of parts is by un large good but some areas are disappointing; this relates mostly to the waist fitment area which will require filler to correct. On a plus point the two bags supplied for the medic have been shaped to get as good a fit as possible; these could of course be improved further by removal of the strap detail and straps being made for the bags. I chose to build the two figures that are interacting and I am very happy with the overall result. I would have liked to see the legs of these figures fitting into a socket of the jackets rather than to the bottom as it would have resulted in some nice undercut detail. Two areas that should be mentioned are that the soles of all of the footwear is domed and needs to be trimmed back, also the connection points on the Airborne troops well replicated helmets means you will get a detailess area that will need addressing.
This set of figures from MiniArt are original in design and provide an out of the box diorama if so desired. The detail overall is very good and while there is room for improvement they are acceptable straight from the box. So far as I could see MiniArt has done a very good job of including all of the relevant equipment and uniform detail. Overall this is a very worthy of picking up when you see it.