by: Roman [ ]
MiniArt continues to cover weapons of the Red Army and in addition to Heavy machine guns, rifles and infantry equipment; which are also reviewed on Armorama they offer a set of automatic weapons. Basically, this set is complimentary to the one with rifles and should be on a list of every modeller interested in Red Army’s participation in WW2.
Similar to previous offerings the set is packed in a standard figure set sized cardboard box with all of items drawn on the top and painting guide with instructions on the back and a total of 9 sprues are provided in grey styrene. Sprue Ca is dedicated to helmets, entrenchment tools, canteens, spoons, and mugs and to avoid writing same information twice I will refer to review of Rifles and infantry equipment that has same sprue included. Below I will concentrate on new items that are dedicated to automatic weapons.
Here we have Degtyaryov machine gun in 2 variants – DP (Degtyaryov pehotny or infantry MG) and DT (Degtyaryov tankkovy – tank MG). DP was produced from 1928 and was a relatively effective infantry MG for close support action. It was easily manufactured and was very durable during tests in the field. The disadvantages were a weak bipod and low amount of ammunition in the disk magazine (only 47 rounds). Overall it was produced by Soviet industry in large numbers and was used during the whole of WW2 (also by Finnish and German armies) and later by Chinese forces. DP’s modification for armoured vehicles designated DT was developed together with another Soviet designer Shpagin (author of PPSh). The wooden stock was replaced with adjustable metal one and the magazine was developed to fit 63 rounds in 3 rows, and the barrel tip received new design too. Shpagin also developed ball mount that was standard for most Soviet Armoured Cars and tanks. DT could be also removed from the ball mount and equipped with bipod to be used as infantry MG by the retreating crew.
Here we see that MiniArt did a good job of replicating both weapons. The detail is crisp and parts require minimal clean up. Care should be taken when removing these from sprues as the parts are rather fragile. Both DP and DT have bipods in 2 variants – unfolded and folded, separate magazines and smaller parts like wing nuts. A brief comparison with existing DT from AFV club T-34 kit with full interior shows the superiority of the MiniArt offering due to the fine detail, and I will replace it on my model. The only drawback is of course lack of bored barrel and one should use Aber turned metal replacement if desired. As extra there is 1 disk magazine pouch for machine gunner and 2 larger ammo cases for disk magazines (located on a sprue A). The pouch has nice folds detail and ammo cases are made of 3 parts for better representation of shape.
Pistolet-pulemet Shpagina (PPsh-41, submachine pistol). PPSh-41 was developed by Georgy Shpagin as replacement for more expensive PPD. It used stamped parts and could be easily produced by low skilled workers. Introduced in late 1941 to fulfil the demand for mass produced automatic weapon for the Red Army over 6 million weapons were produced in 2 variants – mod; 1941 with drum magazine with a 71 round magazine and mod. 1942 with box type magazine for 35 rounds. Moreover, adjustment to the aiming mechanism were made as well as the magazine receiver. PPSh was used not only by Red Army, but also by Wehrmaht, Soviet partisans, Finland, Polish and Czechoslovakian units during WW2. After WW2 it could be seen in North Korea, Vietnam and some African conflicts.
MiniArt included 2 PPSh in the kit. These are accompanied by 2 drum magazines and 2 box magazines. As mentioned above the drum magazines used on PPSh mod 1941 and these have slightly different detail not reproduced by MiniArt. Of course this is a minor issue, but those interested in accuracy should rework the aiming equipment when they use drum magazines. Also installation of the box magazine requires some adjustment of the receiver with knife to it. Accessories are 2 pouches for the drum magazines and 2 pouches for box magazines. All have nice detail on both sides and good folds. Magazines can be used as separate items in the vehicle or on diorama.
Sudaev submachine gun PPS-43 (Pistolet-pulemet Sudaeva). PPS were a further development of Soviet submachine guns based on robust mass production and at the same time keeping the firepower and efficacy. Total weight of the weapon was reduced to 3 kg only that also required fewer raw materials. A low skilled worker could make a PPS within 3 hours only from components made of stamped steel! Equipped with a 35-round box magazine (not interchangeable with PPSh) it had similar fire rate to heavier PPSh’s and was effective up to 200 meters.
Here MiniArt offers an excellent rendition of PPS (2pcs per set) and the weapon is made as a single part with stock folded on the main body. Accessories are 2 extra box magazines with excellent detail and 2 ammo pouches for 3 box magazines.
Sprue Dc (2pcs)
Here the parts for Degtyaryov submachine gun (PPD) and Tokarev Self-loading Rifle (SVT-40) are located. Although PPD was designed in 1934 by Vasily Degtyaryov it was not produced in large numbers until the Winter War between the USSR and Finland. Similar to German MP28 it had a wooden stock and open bolt. Fed with 71 round drum magazine it was effective up to 200 meters. PPD was a well-designed weapon but had complicated manufacturing process using milled instead of stamped steel (used in PPSh and PPS that were developed later). Therefore only 90,000 pieces were made before it was completely replaced by PPSh. PPD was used during early WW2 by Red Army and as captured weapon in Wehrmacht use. MiniArts rendition of the PPD appears accurate and it is supplied with 1 drum magazine and 1 ammo pouch (on each sprue).
SVT-40 was a further development of SVT-38 designed by Tokarev and it was a gas operated self-loading rifle with 10 round magazines. Initially produced in Tula (south of Moscow) SVT-40 constituted a third of all rifles in the Red Army at the time of German invasion, and many of them were lost during the first months of war. Therefore there are many photographs of German troops with SVT-40’s. Overall this weapon was more demanding in terms of production when compared to the Mosin rifle and factories were ordered to switch back to production of Mosin rifles instead of the SVT-40. SVT-40’s were difficult to repair and maintain and so not really favoured by the troops. Overall, some 1,5 million rifles were made including 50 000 sniper variants with PU optical scope.
MiniArt’s rendition looks very good and it has a separate 2 part bolt and optional bayonet. The rear part of the bolt is different for the sniper and regular version so either 2 regular SVT-40 or 2 SVT-40 with PU sight can be built from 1 kit. Extra accessories are 2 ammo pouches (per sprue, 4 total).
Sprue A (2 pcs) has parts for already mentioned DP ammo magazines and 7,62 ammo wooden box. The texture on the wooden box is excellent and it is made of 8 parts! However, no decals for the boxes are included.