by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has been pushing hard of late as regards the number of releases and the high level of detail they are incorporating into these releases. One of the latest kits from MiniArt in 1/35th scale covers the LGOC (London General Omnibus Company) B-Type 3ton British Lorry. LGOC after changing hands eventually became a dedicated company under AEC, with AEC eventually British Leyland which produced a number of successful vehicles.
This offering from MiniArt is protected by a good stiff cardboard tray and a separate card lit with the artwork on it which will require a further protection in the postage system. Inside the model sprues are packaged inside a single plastic bag, an aspect I am not a fan of due to the risk of damage to items on the sprue. Also inside the bag is a card sleeve that contains the photo etched fret, something I highly approve of as I am sure I am not alone in finding dented or bent in the odd kit here and there. Another aspect I am not a fan of is placing the clear sprues in with the decals due to the risk of damage to the decals. I am happy to say that there are no damaged areas of this model; there are some flow lines in a few of the mouldings, but again this has not caused any issues with the contents.
The engine of this offering from MiniArt is a great place to start as it is truly stunning. The mix of plastic and photo etched parts enables the modeller to produce an element of the model that will have huge visual appeal which due to the difficulty of seeing I would consider having the model displayed tilted on a mirror plus I would get the cowlings opened up. There is the issue that the sometimes small photo etched parts and very fine plastic parts could be damaged during removal and clean up, but if you take your time it is these aspects that will attract the eye. One thing I need to congratulate MiniArt on is that they have included details on how the modeller can add things such as spark plug leads and also plans for bending some very small actuators that I feel will be especially approved of by the modeller who wants to go that little bit further. To give you some idea of the work put into this area by MiniArt, there are sixteen pieces for the radiator alone.
The chassis of the model is multi-part affair and so will require a high level of care during assembly in order to insure it is assembled square. I feel the easiest way to tackle this aspect and to provide visual guides is to assemble it on a cutting mat with the squares on. One of the great things about this approach is that it has enabled MiniArt to provide an excellent level of detail and accuracy in every element and on all faces. The rear drive axle is a great series of parts that really shows great detail, perhaps it is the great detail in the huge fly wheel and its cover that really shows the effort put into this model. A look at the leaf springs that supply the suspension all round the vehicle is very good with the minimal of cleanup needed to remove mould seams. The wheels are solid rubber and anyone old enough to have had a bike with this type of tyre will tell you how uncomfortable the ride is, MiniArt has produced an excellent representation of the wheels and tyres. I do have a complaint which is more me than what is offered and that is the inability to depict the front wheels turned, a real bugbear of mine with wheeled vehicles. I am so impressed with the detail here that I have considered just building and painting the oily parts and not bothering with the rest of the assembly.
Moving to the cab and bonnet area of the model and there is a lot of features that I highly approve of, so here goes. The hood or bonnet depending on where you are is very well tackled by MiniArt as it can be assembled closed or at any point through to fully open. The level of detail on the parts is excellent and I am pleased that the thickness of the parts is good even if beyond scale due to the limitations of moulding technology. The cab is an open design with a simple shelter for the driver with nice glazed areas. The interior of the cab is simple but functional as would be expected in a vehicle of this period. A very big thank you from me to MiniArt for texturing the seat cushioning and making it look as if it has some age. Light fixtures are well tackled having clear lenses and the choice of early oil lamps or later electrical ones. My only concern here is that there are a lot of fine parts added to the cab exterior and may be subject to damage during the following stages and may benefit from being added at the end of construction.
The truck bed is a plain wooden affair with what I suspect would be cast iron fittings and these aspects have been well tackled. The wood has a very fine texture to it with good plank detail, the fittings look appropriate and I was very pleased not to find any ejector pin marks which can be an issue on these areas of this type of model. Another treat in this area from MiniArt is that they have taken the trouble for the bed sides to be displayed open or closed and I consider this a nice touch. I nice addition to this model would have been some coal sacks, but I can forgive that in this case.
MiniArt has provided three finishing options for this model in the form of:
A coal lorry
A general transport lorry
A pottery company lorry
I am old enough to remember coal Lorries and they get really dirty and so one for the modellers that enjoy the weathering aspect of a model. The general transport offering lets the modeller go to town when it comes to loading it up. Finally the pottery company name does come up in a search and it would appear produced high quality pottery in the Stoke on Trent area of Britain.
This is another great model for anyone interested in early transport from the WW1 period. Details are of an especially high standard that should meet the expectations of all modellers. The only complaint I can make is in regards to the packaging, most notably placing the clear sprues in with the decals. In all other regards this is an exceptional model.