by: Darren Baker [ ]
When MiniArt released their WLA Motorcycle, it proved to be quite popular with modellers. Since that initial release MiniArt has released a number of variations of the WLA motorcycle, this usually involves very slight differences to the motorbike and a new figure to interact with the bike. The latest version released ‘US Soldier Pushing Motorbike’ is the set I will be looking over in this review.
This product is packaged in a cardboard tray with a card lid. Inside of this there is a single plastic bag in which all of the contents are packaged, this does bother me a little as it has caused damage to the photo etch. The contents break down as follows;
2 grey sprues
1 clear sprue
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
I know that this motorcycle model has been reviewed and built numerous times on this network and that the opinions of it vary wildly, I will now add my opinions into the mix.
First impressions of the sprues is very positive as there are no obvious flaws to speak of, the moulding is of a very good quality with only the lightest of seam moulding lines. The photo etched fret supplied with the model has received denting damage during the packing and/or postage, this damage is to the spokes and so fortunately easily corrected, it is however something to consider when ordering online.
The motorcycle itself looks to be well thought out as in addition to the parts that make up the bike there are also jigs for the shaping of the photo etched wheel spokes and the front mudguard frame work. I am by no means an expert on the Harley Davidson motorcycle of this period, but it looks a good match for online photographs of various set ups. I am very pleased with the engine detail as it will add an eye catching area of the model if care with the painting is taken.
The figure being the new aspect of this release is the only area where the moulding seams can really be seen, but that is due to the difficulty of moulding figure I believe. As said I feel that these seam lines are of a reasonable appearance for a currently produced model. Uniform detail looks good, having good definition present, the gaiters are particularly well done in my opinion. Crease detail appears natural and is not overly angular which can be a problem.
The headgear looks a little odd, but I believe that is due to it being moulded in three parts. I do have one complaint about this and that is the goggles, they would have looked better if moulded as a part of the clear sprue rather than in grey plastic. The box art depicts the figure with a US 2nd Armoured Corps badge on the left arm, MiniArt does have a triangle present on the arm of the figure and it would have been nice to see a decal on the included sheet for this aspect of the figure. It is also worth saying of course that any US Armoured Corps badge would be ok.
The facial details of the figure are very good and will meet the expectations and requirements of most modellers, I feel. The details are very nicely formed in all respects except the ears; these are a little featureless and will benefit from some work on the part of the modeller. The gloved hands are reasonably detailed, but the fingers will be improved with a little work to creases between the fingers.
The decals provided by MiniArt look ok to me, but I cannot verify if they are specific and accurate for a vehicle in use by an Armoured Corps unit. The instruction pamphlet has been printed on good quality heavy paper, the printing itself is in colour and also of a very good quality. The instructions are also well laid out and easy to follow from what I can see.
Not having built a version of this bike as yet, I am pleased with what I see in the box for the most part. The clean moulding leaves me happy with the product at this time and I will let you know if that opinion changes during the build process. I would have liked to see the figures goggles supplied as a clear moulding and decals for the figures unit, but otherwise I am very happy at this point in time.