MiniArt T-54 line does not need introduction. The models released so far are with unmatched quality and very affordable price. So far, we’ve seen so-called pre-production vehicles, which were actually produced in quite some numbers. However, releases of popular and more widely used outside USSR mods are just getting started.
T-54B is one of those, available on the market from this month and with two options. One of those is T-54B with interior, another – without. In this article we’re going to take a quick look at the latter one: MiniArt 37019.
Box and the boxart:
One thing I spotted with MiniArt is that the kits with interior feature slightly polished in look boxarts. Interior versions have some landscape and look more like a picture. The ones without have pretty much the same looking tank on top, but the area behind it is separated into two, white and red, simplifying the overall appearance.
The difference is easily spotted and this is probably helpful for the buyer, but unfortunately, the box lacks attractiveness compared to the other kit. For those with bigger stashes this can be a bit disappointing, but for the devoted builders this won’t be any trouble.
The box /in both versions/ is crowded. Typical for MiniArt we have the sprues separated into big envelopes, combining them for better arrangement. Cardboard is not roomy enough for everything and once out, sprues require attention to be put back in if you want to close the lid.
This is mostly due to the track sprues which are many, but as you will see in a bit, the space was not wasted.
We have standard MiniArt instruction sheet, abundant in information and not overcrowded with explanations. It is mostly black and white and in the well-know booklet format. Color sheets with the camo schemes are on the front and back, inside being the assembly process.
Many photo-etch parts are included in the set, so be sure to follow the instructions thoroughly and not miss anything. Despite the overall pleasant appearance of everything, the kit is not a simple one, nor suitable for the novices in the hobby. It will demand your full attention and devotion.
Light gray plastic, being standard for MiniArt newest kits. For already two years, Ukrainian company is using better plastic material, which is flexible and very pleasant to be worked on. The detail on the sprues is second to none too.
We have absolutely fantastic welding lines, as well as many molded details, which are way ahead of the competition. In case you want to achieve the similar appearance, you will have to work a lot with scratch and still the results might not be as good as the ones we have in 37019 OOTB.
We have single piece gun barrel and very thin fenders. All in all, the parts are thinner than on most of the kits on the market today, with good texture, fine detailing and flexible material.
Turret details are the best of the tank. The mantled and the turret show specific texturing/also being different one from another/, which once being painted and weathered, will make the tank very distinctive from any other scale model. This will be quite helpful at any modeling show I believe.
Tracks are superb. There is no manufacturer on the market today, that offers a better option. They have castings with numbers, scaled down with absolute precision and devotion to detail. Compared to competitive kits, these are years ahead and although tricky for assembly, they do deserve the praise.
I am mentioning that they are tricky for assembly, since making them workable requires a lot of time and careful work. Many modelers encountered problems with MiniArt tracks in terms of movement once they were installed on the kit. This is due to their relatively delicate appearance and assembly process. It takes time and effort but more than anything – attention is required.
As usual, they are quite thin. I believe that Eduard and MiniArt compete in which one to be named The Best photo-etch producer in the World today. Eduard offer superb quality of their PE, especially dashboards and colored parts, but MiniArt as the thinnest one I’ve seen. They are more than delicate and sometimes I think that even scaled up, they will look thinner than the real thing.
Especially the meshes. We have a set which is pretty much standard here, including the meshes mentioned. This time, MiniArt made a special envelope for the PE parts, which before I’ve seen wrapped in cardboard taped to protect them. With this kit, everything is elevated on a whole new level, looking way more professional and nice.
We have four markings included in this set. It isn’t much, but it is normal, having in mind that 99% of the Soviet tanks were dark green. We have three green ones and one winter camo, which I find to be especially attractive. This one can be seen on the box of the T-54B with interior. Pictures of those tanks in Soviet service are rare finds, but in museums items can be found for reference.
Soviet green vehicles are quite similar in appearance, with minor differences, one of them featuring white lines on the wheels, idlers, sprockets and the fenders, and another – with logo next to the number of the tank. All things considered, I believe that these tanks will be most interesting if done in partially ruined and abandoned vehicles, without using those numbers at all, since the look of worn T-series is very familiar around the web. This can be easily done with DN Models masks, chipping out one or two numbers one over another, simulation long service life before abandoning the vehicle at some tank graveyard.
Whatever option you might decide to use, you should know, that the set is not lacking variants, just the contrary. In reality, the possibilities with T-54B are endless and it is all up to your imagination.
674 plastic parts
19 clear parts
108 photo-etch elements
Totalling: 801 parts with 4 marking options.
This is pretty neat for a 35th scale kit without interior and very promising, knowing MiniArt’s latest releases and their quality. T-54 is a milestone in armor history, with its variants making it the most-produced tank in the history. I hope that MiniArt will turn their T-54 line into pretty much the same production run, but scaled-down. There are many variations of T-54 and T-55, especially interesting being the Israeli and African variants. Takom has already set the bar pretty high in that matter, but I believe with MiniArt we have a superior kit.
With all things considered, this is very tempting kit and whichever of the two options you decide to get – with or without interior – you won’t be disappointed. You might be challenged by the build and the small details but in the end, pleasure and satisfaction is all that will come out of building MiniArt’s T-54B.