by: Henk Meerdink [ ]
Buildings are an important part of many diorama's. They can provide a dramatic backdrop for a vehicle or be the centerpiece in their own right. The choice for those not scratch building their own masterpieces has generally been limited to either plaster or resin, plaster being very heavy and prone to breakage and resin being expensive. Most kits will also require the modeler to scratch their own fittings such as door and window frames, roofs, interiors etc. Well, no longer. MiniArt bring us a series of buildings from around Europe. And not only that, everything you need to build a complete ( although battle ruined..) house is in the box. So without further ado, lets have a peek inside..
A word of caution to start. This kit is not for beginners. The main components,such as walls and roof, are vacuum formed, and need carefull triming of waste plastic. Vac-form also means that there are no locater pins, so the main parts need carefull lining up to avoid gaps.
That aside, this looks like a good kit. The photo's speak for themselfs, but the house consists of a front wall, two sidewalls, two floor sections and two deviding wall sections. Plenty of scope to fill these rooms with rubble, broken furniture or snipers...
The instructions are clear and easy to follow and a quick dryfit of some of the components promises good fitting parts, and little filler should be needed. All the parts have been formed well, uniform in thickness, with only the first floor part having a beam a bit thin. It looks like it will be ok to work with, and after it's been painted it won't be noticable. The walls come in two parts, a front and back, and are thus fully detailed on all sides. A bonus over most plaster buildings. The details are rendered very nicely, in places a little soft but for the process of vac-form it's good. The woodgrain of the timbers should come out quite well if painted and weathered carefully. The brickwork exposed under the plaster looks good as well, but the edges of the cracked plaster are to soft. The roof sections have been rendered very well, with full timber detail on the inside and shingles on the outside. The only nitpick is that for a bomb damaged roof the edges and shingles are a little to straight and uniform. This does however not detract from the overall nice building.
The part that really sets this kit apart is the inclusion of everything else you need to finish the building. On two, identical, white sprues we get the windowframes, the windows, doors ( two options, glazed or solid door), street lamps, wall lamps, decorative window security iron work, and a separate sheet with some German propaganda posters and streetname shields and house numbers. The windows can be built open or closed and include even the latches. Ideal to built them 'blown open'. The only thing missing is some clear plastic for the window panes...
So then, here we have a nice plastic kit to built a German Village House, with pretty timbers, very nice windows and fully detailed throughout. Not a kit for the novice modeler, as some skills to work with vac-form are needed. For this price it's difficult to find a plaster building consisting of two straight walls without interior detail, let alone streetlamps and windows. Recommended.
At the moment I don't think MiniArt has a U.K. distributor, but I bought my kits from C&J Hobbies, via eBay. A quick search under ' MiniArt Building' should give you a result.
Happy modeling, and be carefull with that Exacto.