MiniArt’s Interior kits seems like the new hit on the market. They did the Su-122 and the T-44 and promised new line of T-54s. But what we are going to look at today is not a tank, but another self-propelled howitzer: Su-85. Again, Ukrainian company did their “Interior KIT” line here. That features a full interior, but not only that – it represents a completely different approach to the interior as it is.
Other companies /mainly aftermarket/ did offer interior sets for different vehicles from time to time. Those are engines, gunner’s compartments, ammo racks and ammo sets and so on. Sometimes they are made from plastic, but more often – from resin. Meng Model made a hit on the market with their Bradely Fighting Vehicle, and even though it seemed a bit overdone /or overcrowded/, people liked it and some very nice works emerged from that kit. Not many other companies tried it, however, interior is something nice and presents you with a fair challenge, especially when it comes down to AFV. But back to MiniArt and their Su-85:
Su-85 is self-propelled vehicle, based on the chassis of the famous T-34 tank. It is a rather gun destroyer instead of a self-propelled gun actually. It is a development of SU-122, but equipped with D-5T 85mm gun, which made it more powerful unit, with capabilities to destroy Tiger I tank from around 1000m. Su-85 entered service in 1943 and saw some battles throughout the war, proving the concept but also proving to be slightly under-armed. That led to Su-100, but that’s another story. Su-85 went on with service history within Soviet Union /until 50s/ and it’s allies, which used it for many years after the end of WWII. It saw other battlefields as well, and it gained a fair amount of respect. In total, around 2000 were built. All in all – SU-85 is a subject worth modeling! So, what MiniArt did is:
The kit is in a crowded box. And I mean – crowded! Once you break the plastic bags and the order that’s inside of them, it is very hard to put everything back and close the box. That was very typical for Dragon kits, but now you can see it all over the place. Sometimes caused by poor judgement of the box size, sometimes – as in Su-85 case – from the large number of sprues. MiniArt did a great effort separating all the details onto different sprues and even though this is a waste of plastic of some sort, creates an useful way for the modeler to arrange the whole build.
The instructions are very clear, organized well and put in a nice and luxurious leaflet. The leaflet itself is very nice, better than Tamiya, comparable with Meng and ages ahead compared to Kinetic or Academy. MiniArt do improve a lot small things with their releases and slowly but steadily crawl to the head places in the industry. The camo schemes are not many, but I must add, that there are two factors that eventually led to that decision. First is the lack of picture material about this particular vehicle. It wasn’t the star that T-34 was, so Soviets didn’t payed much attention in creating a decent archive about it. Second one is the fact, that most of the vehicles differ solely by the numbering. Rest is up to the modeler. Hence, the decals feature all of the numbers so to create whatever number combo you’d might think of. Of course, DN Masking set for Soviet vehicles might come handy in this case, but also painted by hand letters and numbers would do.
The plastic is flexible, there is enough detail /maybe even too much for my taste!/ and many many small sub-assemblies. The casings of the suspension are there, just like in their Su-122, the engine and the driver’s compartment, as well as the extremely abundant ammo set placed on many racks inside of the vehicle. The engineering of the assembly is done in such a way that there is a chance for you to leave a side or two open, so to show off with what you’ve managed to enclose in that small space inside.
Tracks are very interesting, because they are separate links, placed on two types of sprues. The detail is so fine, that even the moulding markings of the real thing are represented in scale. Not only that, but they are clear enough and it is a pleasure to watch them up close. All the bottom parts – tracks, wheels, active suspension and so on, is very detailed and it is a state-of-the-art thing. Engine is pretty much the same. MiniArt sell kits only with engines, so you might imagine how many small parts and goodies have we got here in the Su-85 kit.
Of course, many of these can be left aside and the vehicle will look perfectly balanced and attractive with only the exterior built. But it is the nicest thing to have more and more options, especially enclosed in one box or as it is popular to say – super kit OOTB. This is definitely one! MiniArt did kept their price low and simultaneously provided perfect tracks, engine, ammo set /a huge one/ and all the rest of the interior. Many other companies tried and failed. Even Tamiya, who kept their prices low, started selling improved tracks or gun barrels as separate kits which led to the huge increase in the price. I find that MiniArts ratio for details-per-dollar is probably the best on the market. Hand to hand to that goes the fact, that their kits are not for newbies, but they can be modified to be – leaving the interior aside. But hey, this isn’t only cost effective. There are no let-downs with this kit, except for the complexity which is a bit high. But this isn’t a let down per se. So I can only say that this kit is one of the best on the market, although challenging. Highly recommended as all of the Interior Kit series from MiniArt!
You can get this kit here: MiniArt 35187 Su-85 Soviet SPG with Interior