by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has released the latest of the World War 2 US tank crews in 1/35th scale. This offering provides four figures handling shells and the remaining figure giving their ride a drink.
This offering from MiniArt is provided in the usual end opening card carton. Inside is what can be considered 6 grey sprues in a plastic bag
I will say that from the outset I like this figure set, they are doing what tank crews spent most of their time doing making sure their ride was ready for business. You have one figure wiping a shell, another handing a shell up, the third sat on the turret and the last taking them inside. At this point I will say that is the only way I can make these four figures work, but I believe all five crew members would have been involved with loading the ammunition into the vehicle. The fifth figure is depicted standing on the engine deck and pouring fuel into the vehicle.
An examination of the sprues does cause me some concern, there is a large amount of flash present in some places and that is concerning on a new product. In all other respects the mouldings appear to be fine. One thing I do notice is that there are a lot of moulding nipples present on the figure and while these are not an issue per say, it will result in extra clean up being required.
The uniform depicted is appropriate for the western front in the warmer months, detail wise I am very pleased with what has been offered by MiniArt, but there are the mould seams to overcome. Crease detail is very good on the trousers and with careful painting should make these figures stand out. The cloth jackets have much more restrained creasing present, but it still looks natural. I do have a complaint about the patches on the shirt arms, these details are moulded on and would look far better if decals were provided; I do wish companies that have the ability to produce decals would do so for their figure kits.
The hats for the figures are supplied as four separate parts and as such may require a high level of finesse when it comes to adding them to the separate heads. I do like that the heads have a recessed lip which will enable very positive placement of the top portion of the helmet, the separate sides and rear will be where careful placement is required. During a parts check against the plans I have located a couple of pieces that are incorrectly numbered in the instructions; things such as giving a holster the same number as the rear piece of a helmet, that said parts count is low enough that it should not be a major issue.
The facial detail of these figures is fair, but due to the helmet pieces it may be worth considering looking at resin offerings for the more discerning modeller. The hands are a little weak detail wise and I have seen MiniArt produce better detailed hands on their figures. The holstered side arms offered with some of the figures are well done as are the shells that four of the crew hold. The jerry can despite not being offered any photo etched seaming is rather well done in plastic, as is the pouring nozzle.
As I said at the start I really do like the style of this figure offering from MiniArt, having a crew doing the usual tasks rather than the midst of combat allows some nice scenes to be depicted. The figures do have the issue of heavy seam lines and flash in some places, but it is the cloth badges covering rank and insignia that bother me most as decals would do a much better job and be well received by the modeller. With that said I do still like this offering and will likely seek out another couple of sets.