by: Darren Baker
Modern tank crews are few and far between as it has not been an area that was catered too except by the resin manufacturers. Move forward to today and MiniArt has taken on this issue by releasing and announcing a series of modern armour crews, the latest release in this vein is a Modern U.S. tank crew in 1/35th scale.
This offering from MiniArt is provided in the usual end opening carton favoured by MiniArt where figure releases are concerned. The front of the carton provides the product details and shows the five figures in the offering in the stances that the figures do look to be in at this point; I raise this as MiniArt has been lambasted in the past for not matching images to the product. The rear of the box shows the same images of the figures with parts numbered and a digital camouflage painting scheme.
Inside the carton is a single plastic bag that contains five sprues in reality as each figure has its own sprue. First impressions of the mouldings is that MiniArt has gone to a lot of effort to provide good natural crease detail to the uniform and to my limited knowledge an accurate uniform, the body armour looks good on the four figures where it is present. It is my understanding that the UCP ‘Universal Camouflage Pattern’ known to most of us as digital camouflage is or has been replaced with OCP ‘Operational Camouflage Pattern’. The uniform as indicated covers a time period from the 2005/6 to the present day, I believe the uniform began to be distributed in 2005. The helmet and microphone detail also looks good.
The only thing shown in the images that is not in the box is the communications cables, but these can be easily added with fine wire and that will look far better than plastic ever could scale wise. The hands are all depicted with gloves in place and this has made the hands look a little large, but the detail is good for injection moulded plastic. The faces are hidden for the most part as all but one is wearing glasses or goggles that have been moulded as part of the head; I am torn as to whether these would have been better represented with clear plastic.
The only thing I am not pleased with at this point is that there are quite heavy seam lines on a number of parts verging on being identified as flash in some places, this being a new mould this bothers me as it indicates that the mouldings may deteriorate with future releases unless this is a one off issue. Moving to the positive I see no reason why these figures should not be used in just about any US Army military vehicle. The poses as indicated offer a series of nice relaxed poses that still look appropriate.
I have built two of the figures in order to assess the fit of the parts. The first of these is D that is stood upright with one arm resting on a hatch surround or similar. The figure was easily removed from the sprue, but you must take care or you could easily remove details that could prove difficult to replace. I have altered the placement of the left arm to one I prefer and I am pleased with the joint it has created. The rest of the figures parts do not fit together that well and I am at a loss as to why this should be. I cleaned the parts well and even tried shaving the mating points, but the joints will still require filler to achieve a pleasing result.
The second figure I tackled was figure A and this one is as chalk to cheese when compared to the other. The pose is that of a figure leaning against a surface with a hand raised as if eating or talking into a microphone, I have found this pose very pleasing visually. The fit of parts is very good with very little work required at the joints. I found the clean up of this figures parts far easier than the other and this may to some extent be due to the lack of body armour on this figure. The seam lines still needed to be tackled, but they were not as pronounced as on the other figure.
I have placed these two figures on the Academy Abrams as this provides a scale background for them. The figures have not been specifically designed for this model and so will need some help when placing them and platforms will need to be added.
I am very pleased with this offering from MiniArt due to the small number of modern armoured crews offered and the pleasing stances offered. The detail offered is of a high standard and should meet with everyone’s approval. On the downside the seams are rather large for a new release and the fit of parts on one of the assembled figures is disappointing as well. With all that said no-one said this hobby was always easy and the effort will be worth the potential result.