MiniArt European Tramcar Straßenbahn Triebwagen 641 is the latest Tram kit that MiniArt released in late 2016. This tram is slightly different compared to the previous version of Tramcars relased by MiniArt /#38001 and #38003/. This time, we have something close to a super-kit, featuring two more kits inside. MiniArt Tram Passengers and Tram Crew. We have also street accessories, support and base.
This isn’t the typical plastic model we are used to. It has no wings, no armor or gun. This is purely civil vehicle, designed for a different modeling perspective. Designed for modelers who are tired from military stuff and for the train lovers.
European tramcars were and in many countries still are a symbol of Europe. In most EU capitols trams are still in widespread service up to this date and this lies upon long and firm historical facts. It all started to spread rapidly in the beginning of 20th century, with expansion and modernization throughout the first half of it. Surviving two World Wars, changes in perception of “modern life society concepts” and many more, Trams lived through 6 decades to be the most used and reliable way of city transportation.
With the beginning of the 60s, the industry slowed down its pace, mostly due to larger availability of cars for personal use. That transport suffered decline up until the beginning of the 90s, when it almost died out, which was followed by a renaissance during the first years of 21st century. The comeback of that transport happened due to many reasons, most important of which were the economics for personal use and the environmental impact that cars have on our planet.
MiniArt made a clever choice couple of years ago, releasing their first Tramcar – #38001. That was a huge success among railway collectors who were also plastic modelers and was a nice off-road experience for many, who wanted little rest from the typical in that scale – tanks, APCs and howitzers. #38001 was followed by 38003, both being fantastic kits and with great success. So MiniArt decided to give us one more /for now/ and that is European Tramcar Straßenbahn Triebwagen 641, #38009.
MiniArt European Tramcar comes in a huge box. Thick and well designed, with similar to the previous tramcar kits boxart. We are talking MiniArt here so it is full of sprues. And I mean crowded. I happened to show that kit to a devoted plane modeler, who was speechless at first. Then he said: “If only plane kits were designed in such way…”.
The kit features many plastic sprues, with many details. As with previous Tramcar kits we have nearly 1000 parts inside. We have interior, thoroughly replicated chassis, interior features, many many clear parts and amazing detail.
The real tram features metal, glass and wood in its design, and this is perfectly presented in scale from MiniArt. The only letdown here is that all the sprues are packed in one big plastic bag. Of course, there is an explanation why. Imagine all those sprues in separate envelope. We would’ve needed box with twice the size and would’ve waisted a lot of plastic material for the bags. Not a small environmental impact.
Then, the fact that we have the new plastic material from MiniArt here is essential. Before, we had cracking parts, especially thin lines and tiny details. Not anymore. It has been a while since MiniArt uses the new material, made in EU and the improvement on their kit is significant. Especially with complex kits like Tramcar 641 that we have here.
Crew and Passengers:
There are two 2 crew figures and 8 figures of passengers. The last ones are very abundant in terms of poses, complimentary accessories, moods, etc., and are all optional, i.e. you could display the tram almost empty or with all the figures inside all at once. Some figures can be placed in the scenery around the tramcar if you make a diorama with a tramcar station, or something similar. The choice is enormous. And that`s only about the two front covers and for the two back covers of this “magazine”.
As always, MiniArt payed a lot of attention to the figurines. This will be very much appreciated by all figure painters and diorama builders. Have in mind that after all said, these sprues here are a bonus to the Tramcar 641 and very few companies will do this compliment to modelers.
MiniArt European Tramcar Straßenbahn Triebwagen 641 has many goodies inside of the box.
Decals first: They are stored in a rather typical bluish sheet and feature different decals for completing the model. Some are small, others are big, nevertheless – the quality looks good. Without decals /and decent ones/ this kit will loose some of its shine and MiniArt did good job here. The sheet is rather big and features emblems, numbers and routes. Depending on the option, you can choose the set and eventually make your own mix. As you know sometimes the tramcars are used on different routs, when carts are out for service. So some nice ideas might be used here. For example cart from another route, being used for a replacement and visible old-route markings still there. Stuff like that.
We have street accessories, crew, passengers, poles and cobblestone road. Inside that box. Wonderful job from MiniArt. You get a kit ready for a diorama OOTB. This is very rare. Similar, but simplified solutions we’ve seen with some Tamiya kits, which feature figurines and minor accessories like loading carts or tractors, but nothing that comes even close to that set.
I am not huge fan of diorama building. I love them, but I tend to avoid figure building, painting and weathering. I have to admit though, that #38009 is a set perfectly suitable for the job. Any of these missing would’ve been a minus. OOTB you can create a vivid picture of the era, featuring all that is needed to let the viewer drawn into details.
They are listed right on the first two colorful pages and on the very last page, and you could already think of what this kit provides in terms of optional outlooks for your model. It comes to 9 different tramcar outlooks! 6 are depicted in the beginning of the manual and the other 3 are on the last page. Each of the designs has a double-sided scheme – one that shows the tramcar viewed directly in front, and one picture of the tramcar`s profile.
The 9 different options at first glance look very similar, because this is a rather old-style tramcar, used mainly in Germany and in the nearby countries. The age period varies from tramcar to tramcar, but the period spans mostly between the two World Wars:
- Tramcar 1 – Europe, 1912-1932
- Tramcar 2 – Nuremberg, Germany, 30-40s
- Tramcar 3 – Nuremberg, Germany, 30-40s
- Tramcar 4 – Germany, 30-50s
- Tramcar 5 – Germany, 1930-1938
- Tramcar 6 – Service tramcar, Germany, 1938-1945
- Tramcar 7 – Liege, Belgium, 30-40s
- Tramcar 8 – Liege, Belgium, 30-40s
- Tramcar 9 – Germany, 30-40s
The different options have awesome reference photos for each of them, while the recommended paint guide is mentioned on the last page. There are 2 different chart colors – one for the tramcar itself and one chart with colors only for the figures and the street accessories. Paint guide shows a very extended range of suggested colors, including paints from AMMO MIG, Humbrol, Mr. Color, Testors and Vallejo. Each of these charts alone looks like a small conversion table.
MiniArt European Tramcar Straßenbahn Triebwagen 641 is a phenomenal kit. State of the art. There is nothing that comes close from the competition. It is civilian vehicle, which puts it in a whole different category than anything else in 35th scale. It is with plenty of colorful options, featuring many commercials and that is suitable for pretty much every taste.
MiniArt added accessories, crew and passengers which makes this kit perfect for a diorama OOTB. Very rare combination. Not everyday you can buy one box for that low of a price and get everything you need to make a diorama. This is brilliant bang for one’s buck. It is also extremely challenging – featuring delicate and thorough chassis, interior, commercials inside and out, many windows, many wooden parts /plastic to be painted of course/ and a wonderful cobblestone base. You will need to take your time with this kit.
Definitely not for a beginner. Definitely worth every penny. Definitely must-have in every scale model lover.
You can get this kit here: MiniArt 38009 European Tram