by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Figures are great for showing off the size of vehicles, and good assets for dioramas to help tell a story. Not all war was fighting, there were breaks, and MiniArt has provided a new set of figures of German tank crew at rest.
Inside the box contains two sprues, with five figures and one pig.
When I first saw this kit, I was excited as I thought the concept and poses were great and would be very useful for a diorama with a Tiger or Panther. The addition of the pig as a pet also looked very intriguing. Upon opening the box and an initial inspection of the sprues, my excitement dwindled a little. The kit comes molded in grey plastic; typical of previous MiniArt releases, but that is where the similarity ends.
One of the first things I noticed was some heavy seam lines, and on closer inspection I noticed some parts looked as if the mold halves were not properly aligned. This was especially prevalent on some of the heads, where I even had one head that due to the heavy seam line causes the figure to have no ear on a head where the position of the cap and hair would show the ear prominently.
As for the moldings themselves, I was not totally impressed there either. The overall figures look good, but I found some of the molded detail soft, including around the collars, belts, and faces. Due to the heavy seam lines, some of the epilate details get lost, especially where trying to remove the seam.
While the faces are not bad, I found most of the figures have a bit of a ‘chubby’ older looking facial look. The caps and hair looks good, but I found on most, if not all, the ear detail is very weak. This is also complicated by the heavy seam lines going up the side of the heads.
As for the uniforms, the moldings are not as bad. While some of the details are little soft, the overall effect of the wearing of the uniform looks good overall. I did like how the one figure had the overcoat worn over the shoulders, and MiniArt did a decent job of representing this, and made the construction of it easy. I was a little disappointed in the representation of the collar insignia and representation of the detail.
Inspecting the pig, the moldings did not look too bad either. The pig is molded in three main parts, body halves and head, with the tail, ears, and snout added separately. The kit did not include any material for the leash, but this would be an easy thing to recreate with a little thread or thinly slice tape.
Upon starting to assemble the figures I discovered that the plastic was incredibly and abnormally soft. This made the seam clean-up a little tricky, and even a fine sanding or pass of the hobby knife for scraping a seam would dig in deeper than normal. This was more complicated on the head, due to the lack of ear details and the heavy seam, great care was need here. In some cases, I left the seam on the ear to help leave a little detail so that it at least looked like the figure had an ear.
With the actual assembly, I did find the fit not bad. There were some spots that will need filler, especially the pig, where the fit was not the best, and the soft plastic left joints not very square and tight. I also found with the figure whose hands are showing in the pockets, great care is need to ensure these line up, and even then the overall effect of the hand in the pocket is not the best.
The instructions and painting directions are included on the back of the box, and are pretty straight forward for the assembly of the figures.
One final thing to note is the kit does not include any accessories for the figures, for example map cases, holsters, etc. This is a little disappointing, as even at rest, you would think that the crew would maintain their pistols on their belts.
Overall, while the concept and ideas for the figures was great, the execution of the kit by MiniArt was not one of their best. The combination of very soft plastic and some larger than normal seam lines cause a great distraction to what could have been a great set of figures. It should also be noted that the overall detail and fit of the figures is not bad, but the heads lack any real detail, especially around the ears. This is a disappointing kit from MiniArt, and for the first time, I would say that I can’t really recommend this kit.