T-54-2 was a huge hit when MiniArt released its interiored version not long ago. Now, we get mod.1949 again, but repacked for those who do not want to get into the insides of the tank but rather play it safe and keep it simple.
T-54-2 is the second variant of the prototype, being upgraded from the T-54-1 variant. Although some sort of a pre-production vehicle, it was delivered to the army and more than 1200 were produced in total. In this case, the word “prototype” does not describe the vehicle exactly.
As you know, MiniArt did them all, so I won’t bother you with details and differences. We are focusing on #37012 and its qualities:
We have pretty much the same tank depicted on the boxart but lacking the background. More precisely – the background, since the soil is still here. The box colors are red and white with little orange on the sides so you can easily mistake 37004 for 37012 and the other way around. The nice logo saying “Interior KIT” is missing here but everything else feels quite similar and it is for a reason.
The Instruction sheet
The instruction sheet is made in typical MiniArt way – big and colorful. The color depictions are mostly on front and back showing several different versions of the vehicle. They are Soviet Green versions, pretty much equal one to another, with the numbers being the sole difference. I am sorry if you expected something else, but the appearance of the Soviet vehicles was always dull and boring.Then, there is a description of the sprues and of course – the building process begins.
This time we are lacking the interior parts, so you can expect that the sheet will be substantially smaller than what we had in 37004. T-54-2 was a medium tank, so it is a rather mid-sized vehicle, but still the thing becomes crowded with details once build. Depiction of everything is clear and not overly crowded on each step, so to avoid confusion and complication. In that regard, the kit is suitable for beginners. However, the workable suspension, tracks and minor details lead to a different conclusion.
The Plastic parts
The plastic parts of this kit are – of course – the same like on the interiored T-54-2. They are made from the new plastic material and troubles with those should not be expected. Noticeable feature of the kit is the thickness of the parts – for example the turret or the fenders. They are thin enough, which avoids the need for sanding them down or replacing them with Photo-etch material.
Nothing is perfect, but MiniArt got pretty close in that matter. Single piece gun barrel, tiny castings, texture on the wood – everything is precise and delicate.
Smaller detail might give you some headache with their attachment points, so rotary tool for polishing might come handy. Same goes for the wheels in case you want to damage them. They, alongside the
are one of the highest points of this kit. On all the T-series from MiniArt they are superbly molded down to the smallest details. Even the castings with the numbers on the track links are there, which are so small, that are hard to be seen. Too bad that they will be hidden beneath the weathering.
I have heard some controversial opinions about the tracks. Many people struggle to make them workable. This is mostly due to the over-glueing factor which many modelers suffer from. Myself included. In order to make it tough and sturdy, we apply more glue, which usually is useless. In this particular case – prevents the tracks from working.
So be careful when you work with those. Test a few link at first, to see how much glue exactly will you need to keep everything moving.
The Decals and Photo-Etch
Decal sheet is small, featuring mostly three digit numbers. There is one two-digit and three marking for Fuel, Oil and D-10T – the gun of the T-54-2. They are most likely Begemot decals, but I cannot be certain for that. Just guessing by the looks. I do prefer using masks and in the DN Models store there is a set for Modern Russian vehicles. Although this isn’t exactly modern vehicle, you can find that they are pretty similar and can be used. What can be used too, is the set for MiniArt’s T-44 made by DN Models for that kit specifically. T-54-2 appeared just couple of years later, so they do correspond to the time and the style too.
Photo-etch sheet of the T-54-2 is not big, but it features nice parts. There are the meshes, which are superb as always and the rest is small parts. Many of the PE stuff is so small that only tweezers and magnifying glass will help. On the other hand, the sheet is small because the detail made from plastic is delicate enough and that saved the day.
Some people tend to sand their PE parts or their whole sheets before glueing. I do not recommend that with MiniArt. Or, if you do, try to be very delicate. I happen to ruin more than one detail, just because it is too “in scale” or too precise. It is a good thing for detail maniacs, but for work it causes some hassle and attention must be applied.
Be careful is all I am suggesting.
With total of over 700 parts, 625 plastic, 73 photo-etched and 16 clear ones, this kit is superb. With its workable torsion bars, complex tracks and many sub-assemblies, this kit is not for the beginner. Although, MiniArt tried to make it easier, removing the interior. It is a nice touch, since it is a waste to buy the interior kit and dump all that plastic just because you don’t want it inside.
Now, we have an option. And what is better than to have an option!? The kit is still one of the best tanks in 35th scale on the market and probably the best from the T-series. We have it with and without interior as well. Pretty much you get what you want, depending solely on your mood and goal.
It is true that it becomes a crowded market with many kit variations and options, plus the fact that last couple of years we have similar subjects from different companies, and that makes it even more confusing. But hey, that was the same 30-40 years ago with the TV. From 15 channels, you jumped to 50 or 150 and many didn’t knew what to do with so many. But is great to have abundance in that area, especially knowing that 15 years ago this hobby was considered obsolete and dying.
MiniArt 37012 definitely worth your attention and it is a must for every T-series collector. I can only highly recommend this T-54-2, with the note that this is for a rather experienced modeler, no matter the lack of interior.