This, in my modeling career, is first ever civil vehicle that I get in touch with. I have been around some passenger airplane models, but never built one, and now, in very different scale and unusual subject, this comes to my stash! The subject is unusual because, it is somehow connected with the aircraft industry, or at least partially. By that I mean, that the first schematic of the painting guide I open, I see Aeroflot passenger bus, in blue and white. But not only that, there are many more. We will talk about that a bit later in the article.
The model is based on successful MiniArt’s GAZ trucks released in the recent years. This particular version is sort of a addition to their TRAM models, in terms of a vehicle, very suitable as an add-on for a diorama, and of course – as a standalone item. The vehicle was widely spread and used in various conditions and in many options. That should give you a lot of ideas what you can do with it.
The particular kit is divided into 435 parts, including photo-etch and very nicely executed transparent parts. I still cannot confirm how the transparent parts works with glue, but their appearance is outstanding! If they cope with the adhesive as Meng Model clear parts do, this will be a definite hit.
PE set is small compared to what we have used to see in MiniArt’s models, but it is with the same high quality. It is thin, it bends pretty easy, and its clearly and precisely created. The form of the vehicle itself does not offer an enormous options for applying photo-etch, so the company designers decided to not expand it too much. For me, this is a good news, since I am not a particular fan of photo-etch. They are nice addition, but it should be not more than 5-10% of the kit parts in total.
The sprues are grey plastic, made from the new material that MiniArt is using since the second half of 2015. It is more flexible, more pleasant to work with and it is more forgiving. The parts are just enough to satisfy the pickiest modeler, presenting us with a suspension which is second to none, and only comparable to AFV Club models. Miniart provided an engine and an interior, which for a bus, with so many windows – is mandatory. The wheels are well known from the previous GAZ sets that we have on the market, featuring several discs for each wheel, following the thread of the tire. That gives you the option to sand where you cut the wheel without having worries that you will mess the tire appearance in the end. Overall, the whole bottom part of the vehicle is good enough, and can be even presented as a standalone kit itself, depicting a damaged vehicle or a junk yard sample. Another good idea for a diorama.
It is noticeable, that inside of it, even the tiniest detail is depicted with very high precision. The seats, the floor, everything begs for attention and with enough amount of patience, can be turned out to be a state-of-the-art paint and weathering example. Even the seats are made with care and attention.
On the outside, the real vehicle itself its not a complex one, and what saves the day here is the difference in color schemes provided. For myself, who prefers painting to any other stage of the modeling process, this is the most attractive side of this kit. There are 8 options in total, including service trucks, Aeroflot passenger bus, Tourist bus and Militsia /USSR Police/ bus. It would’ve been a big hassle to cope with the colors of these, if it wasn’t for the fact, that the schemes are made with MIG, and the proper colors of the paint schemes are already available for sale. The only thing you need to do in order to be sure you have the right color for some particular scheme is – get a MIG paints! Many modelers swear to those, and other don’t like them. I believe the truth is in between. I can work with them just fine, and yes, they are not superior /maybe not even comparable/ with Tamiya and Gunze, but they still do well enough.
Painting the bus correctly is half of the job done though. Decals provided by Miniart are truly awesome! being a fan of masks, I would prefer not to use decals, but small applications on similar vehicle leave you with no other choice but to decal it. Whatever the case is with you /you might love decaling, some build models just for that part of it!/, the sheet provided by MiniArt is superb. The only thing that I think you gonna need is to make masks for the windows and for the straight lines when painting. Everything else is great! In my opinion, painting options and decals are the best part of the kit, and if it wasn’t for them, it would’ve been a bit of a dull subject. However, with what we got from the Ukrainian company, well, it begs for more than one in any collection.
Summarizing MiniArt 38005 – A great kit of an unusual vehicle, which will be nice addition to any collection. Eight color options and two vehicle variants – it is far from what we’ve used to see, just like the TRAMs that MiniArt gave us last couple of years. Even with that many options for painting OOTB, you can still go further with some research, and it is guaranteed that you will find even more. The vehicle was widespread and used in whatever conditions with various purposes, so it is up to one’s fantasy and creativity to make it really nice build.
I definitely look forward for their further releases of similar subjects!
Very highly recommended for all fans of civil vehicles!
You can get this MiniArt kit here: GAZ-03-30 Bus
A video review of it: