by: Mark R. Smith [ ]
MiniArt Ltd, Ukraine, added a unique set of five new 1/35 scale, injection molded plastic figures, to its WWII Military Miniatures Series. This new set, entitled “German Tank Repair Crew”, offers the modeler the chance to create a diorama scene with some fresh new figure poses.
The kit, the box, and what’s inside…This kit consists of one sprue of plastic model kit parts, 36 in total, to build five separate tank repairman figures, each one performing a different task. Molded in a light gray plastic, the pieces are clean and crisp, and molded quite well. No flash is apparent on any of the kit pieces, and only some light mold seams are seen on a few of the parts. The creases and blousing of the figures’ trousers and shirts match the body positions accurately, adding to the quality look of the figures. This is a very important detail which helps maintain a scenes integrity.
The pieces are attached firmly to the kit sprue, and packaged in a clear sealed plastic bag for protection from loss. Also inside the bag is a one sheet parts diagram, numbered accordingly to the assembly diagram for easy parts identification. A full scene showing the five figures hard at work replacing and repairing tank treads graces the cover of the box. On the bottom of the box are full-colored and numbered assembly diagrams for each of the figures. There you will also find easy to understand numbered paint schemes.
A closer look at the figuresFive figures make up this kit, and as shown in the suggested depiction on the box there are two separate mechanical operations being performed here, by two men each, with one senior commanding officer in charge of the actions. On one side of the scene we see two men working together re-treading a downed machine. One man molded in a “pulling on a rope” position, dragging a section of treads over the tanks idler wheels, while his partner is molded in a “two handed pushing” stature, as he guides the treads over the idler wheels. Both of these figures are dressed to work, wearing only long sleeved gray cotton service shirts with sleeves rolled up to the elbows. One man wears the special M1940 feldgrau issue trouser and the other man in the standard M1942 black trouser. A black field cap dons the head of the man on the rope, as does a pair of black leather gloves to protect his hands. Both men wear the standard black leather lace up boots.
A third figure is standing nearby these first two, obviously a senior officer by his uniform and stature with one hand at his side and the other in the air as he gives a directional order. He is dressed in the M1942 black standard panzer issue trouser, and the reed green summer version shirt with his tank battle badge and iron cross displayed on the left front side of his uniform shirt. Atop his head is the M1935 peaked service cap. A black leather holster with sidearm and black leather lace up boots complete his look.
The other two men are displayed replacing a connecting rod in a tread assembly on another machine, separate from the first. One man is molded in a bent over position, holding a twenty pound sledge hammer in his hands, pounding in the connecting rod, while his partner, molded in a crouched position, is holding down a pry bar with both hands, taking the weight off the treads. These two men are dressed almost identical to the first two men, with the addition of leather “Y” suspenders.
Test BuildAlthough four out of the five total figures in this set are molded in challenging positions, I chose the one I thought would present the largest possibility of fit problems. In this case it looked to be the crewman that is operating the pry bar, in a crouched position. This figure consists of seven separate parts; two leg/lower body halves, torso, two arms, head/neck, and cap. All parts separated from the sprue quite cleanly and with ease. There are some light mold seams on the lower pant-legs, but were cleaned up easily with a light shave of the x-acto point. The two halves went together smoothly without any trimming required and mating quite well together. Next, the torso section matched up perfectly with the newly formed lower body half without any additional trimming. Personally, I omitted this step, but I would suggest to drill out the figures’ closed fists, as he is molded holding a pry bar (included) with both hands, and would be much easier to accomplish before attaching these pieces to the figures torso. Both left and right arms fit well to the upper torso, as did the head/neck piece. Finally, the field cap was applied to the head without a hitch.
I have built a few different figures made by MiniArt in the past few weeks, and after doing so I would suggest using plain old Testors model glue (or a comparable slower set glue) in the construction of these figures, as there seems to be a bit of fine adjustments necessary as you build these pieces, but afterwards the look and fit are really nice. Slower setting glue allows you to make these adjustments with ease. No trimming at all was done to this figure to achieve a good, smooth fit.
Final ConclusionsOverall, I think that this kit is another great addition to MiniArt Ltd’s WWII Military Miniatures series. This is the fourth figure set from MiniArt that I’ve examined, and so far each one has been a good kit. Interesting subject matter, clean and crisp lines, unique pose and expressions, all tie together to make up a decent lot of figures at a good price. Definitely recommended from this modeler.
Many thanks to Svetlana Dubchek, Commercial Director of MiniArt Ltd., for providing this review sample.