Tag - full interior

MiniArt T-54-3 with Full Interior

Introduction T-54 dash 3 or T-54 model 1951 is the third and last pre-production run of the T-54, before we get the T-54A version and the subsequent variants of the most famous from the T-series. Even being a pre-production vehicle, it was built in large numbers and it is a tank that you can distinguish easily from the other pre-productions, but no so much from the T-54A and T-54B models. The turret here is shaped as with the later models, without the curves at its bottom and the only two things that give away the vehicle are the gun barrel and the spider web wheels. And this goes for the experts. For an untrained eye it is very hard to tell the difference, although there is such. Boxart An urban scene is depicted on the box. Remains of what supposed to be a building and one T-54-3 with repainted numbers, standing over them. Just where the description of the kit contents are, if you look closely, you can spot Hungarian flag, which says enough. It is a scene from the revolt in 1956, where completely unnecessary, Soviet interfered in the political life of Hungary, invading the country with more than 1300 tanks /various sources says up to 4000/ and destroying any hope and attempt for a country, free from the grip of imperialistic Soviet Union. The box speaks a lot, especially for most of the people who live in Eastern Europe, residents of the former so called “friends” of the Soviet Union. That quite occupation is clearly depicted here on that boxart. Very touching. Sprues Grey plastic same one that we know from other T-series. Full interior with this kit, meaning enormous number of parts – more than 1000 – and lots of goodies. Among these are complete interior, full engine, full armament /the tank is crowded!/, workable suspension, workable tracks, spider web wheels and many more. The tank is a challenge even for the most experienced modelers which is its blessing and its curse. It isn’t suitable for beginners but that doesn’t mean that any experienced modeler will be able to cope with the kit. It is a true masterpiece of plastic, featuring many sub-assemblies, a lot of pre-painting and moving parts. The only thing that eventually can be substituted with aftermarket part is the gun barrel and this is my opinion only. I believe that I will loose my patience way earlier that that stage but for whatever’s worth I believe that if you get a metal part, you will spare yourself a bit of sanding of cleaning the single piece gun featured here. Overall, the detail is more than great and especially with the machine guns and the small details. In the same time, interior is quite scary so have in mind the fact. Clear parts, PE and Decal Clear parts are two sprues with periscopes mostly and even though great looking, I think that with a tank, they do not deserve the attention that they are getting. In reality, clear parts on tanks are often damaged and dirty, so they are not so important. Especially with urban working vehicles, like the specimens seen from the Hungarian revolt with this kit. Decals seems like Begemot, although I am only speculating. They consist of numbers and some rhumbs, plus Iraqi lettering for the arab tank. Nothing special, part of those being hand painted numbers which you can replicate by hand and patience. Photo-etch parts are packed in separate envelope, which I found to be a big improvement for Miniart. Before it was simply a cardboard. Now, it is far better and more professionally looking. We have two sheets, meshes mostly, some gun parts and such. Nothing too different from the T-series that we’ve reviewed before. But strikingly thin and fragile. As I often say – Eduard might be doing the best pre-painted photo-etch parts, but Miniart make the thinnest and most delicate. Marking Options We have seven marking options with this Miniart 37007 kit. They, except one, are standard Soviet green. That other one is unworn winter camouflage, representing a tank from a Taman division, seen twice as an option here with different numbers. The other one is Soviet green of course. There is one East German – GDR and there is one Iraqi vehicle, differing from the standard looks by the black hand painted number over the turret. The three that remain, are the vehicles from Hungarian revolt in autumn 1956. One is depicted on the box, with the covered numbers and the other too are with similar looks. It is hard to find decent photos of T-54-3, let alone pictures from the Revolt in 1956, which –alongside many documents - were most likely destroyed by the Soviets. Somehow Miniart managed to find their info and there we have it. I assume that there will be more options regarding the specific period and it will all depend on modelers. There were more than 1000 tanks during those bloody events and probably more than 3 T-54-3. Conclusion This kit was a tough one for me to review. It reminded me that I was born in a country ruled by communists with their idiotic propaganda and bullshit of a system. I can only imagine what Hungarian people went through in 1956, trying to escape from the grip of the Soviet government and how many people were scarred forever by those events. In total, 3000 were killed, mostly civilians. One very sad story. The kit is a good representation of the subject though and as a plastic piece and hobby object it is second to none. Actually, it is hard to find anything better on the market in 35th scale, not only as a T-series tank, but as a model kit itself. Miniart 37007 delivers and it is perfect OOTB, with decent price and very challenging contents. It is for the experienced modelers and I can assure you, this kit will keep you awake for long time. It has a lot of work over it. Absolutely necessary for detail maniacs, T-series lovers and for those, who in one way or another are connected to the events in 1956.  
miniart 37012 t-54-2 unboxing and review dn models

T-54-2 Mod.1949 from MiniArt without Interior

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: The Box 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 The Tracks 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. Conclusion: 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.
MiniArt T-54-2 DN Models Review 37004 tank

T-54-2 – MiniArt #37004 Full Interior, New Version.

T-54-2 tank is the first improved variant of the vehicle /T-54 tank/, featuring new wider tracks, different turret, improved armor in the front parts and it lacks the fender’s machine gun. The production started in 1949 and the T-54-2 was produced until 1951, when T-54-3, further improvement of the concept, replaced it on the production line. More than 1200 were built and were used with the Soviet forces, with no records about combat use. There is some information about its usage in some Middle-Eastern conflicts, but nothing that is confirmed. Just rumors. The Box: MiniArt T-54-2 is the second kit that the Ukrainian Company releases in 35th scale from T-54 line. The first one was the initial version – T-54-1. Soon it will be followed by more, but in this article we will focus on kit #37004. It is a full interior kit, packed in a nice big box, with orange sides. This was the first difference that I noted – before with T-44 and the T-54-1, the boxes were red on the sides, and now we have a new color, which probably might be used from now on with MiniArt’s kits. Opening the box, the neat arrangement is the first thing that catches the eye of the modeler. It is a deep one, with barely enough space for everything. That is the reason why MiniArt chose to pre-pack the sprues in separate bags. We have two transparent packages – one for the track sprues, which also holds one engine sprue, and one bigger – holding the larger sprues, the clear parts, photo-etch and decals. The instruction sheet: Instruction sheet in the form of a nice booklet is on the bottom and it is quite thick too. The quality here Is very high and can be compared only to Eduard and Meng booklets. We have color inside, as well as quality tank profiles for the marking options. Also clear depiction of the sprues and the paints to be used. As with the other T- series, the booklet of MiniArt’s T-54-2 features the build of the tank with all of its interior. That includes driver’s compartment, fighting compartment, complete engine and nice goodies like all the ammo and small details, plus active suspension. Sprues in General: We have a nice detailing on the underside of the fenders, featuring photo-etch parts and many other things around the whole build, which makes that T-54-2 one of the best kits available on the market. The texture on the turret and hatches is realistically represented, with welding lines nicely replicated all over the vehicle. Everything is thin and delicate, and requires attention. Another example we have with the track links. On the underside of those we have molded the production markings, which are so small, that you will need a magnifier to see them clearly and up-close. They will remain hidden behind the weathering probably, but in case you want to make a museum piece or not-so-weathered tank, MiniArt kept an option open for you. Fuel lines are great, thin and flexible enough. Made from the new plastic material that MiniArt is using for year and a half now. All small details too. In general, everything looks very promising! The Engine Parts: T-54-2, as T-44, T-44M and other nice MiniArt kits comes with an engine. Very cool one, with little- to no-room for improvement with scratch build. The V-54 engine here is something that you can easily take out of the box /and the context of the kit/ and build it as a stand-alone separate kit by itself. Not surprisingly, MiniArt sells similar engines as a separate item numbers. It is well detailed, all-round plastic piece of art, with all details needed to make a perfect replica of the real V-54 in scale. As suggested, you might complete the engine and install it into the built T-54-2 here, but in my personal opinion, that is the secured way to lose some of the details that comes with the kit out of the box. For me, hiding this inside of the engine bay, with that little visible space left is just a waste of one perfectly looking engine. I would better leave that aside, and close the empty engine compartment, just to show off that V-54 outside.   The DShK sprue: Here aftermarket companies lost the battle. Or almost. A very nice try with the gun made by MiniArt with #37004. Hopefully, not only with it. The gun has some geometry in real life and everything is spread onto one sprue with fine details and little to clean. Properly explained in the instruction sheet and how it should look from the front. That is very nice touch and the only thing I would’ve added is metal gun barrel for the tank and for the DShK. Even though the tank barrel is one-piece part. The Photo-Etch parts: Two thin sheets with almost 100 details on them. Especially nice are the engine meshes. They are very thin and you have to be extra cautious when sanding them if you ever decide to take that risk. Some other small parts like brackets or under fender details are there too. Maybe there could’ve been more, but for me that is plenty! Not many love PE details but nowadays this is a must and MiniArt’s T-54-2 has just enough for the perfect job! Decals and Clear Parts: Clear parts are not the most important thing when it comes down to tanks. Especially older models like T-54-2. Here we have a sprue though, crisp and nice, with periscopes and small details all over it and it is clear enough to use its transparency to brag about. However, we all know that in the real life those parts quickly become dirty and hardly visible on the vehicle, so in case you want to go down the realistic road, you won’t pay much attention to that. The decals of the T-54-2 are another not-so-interesting part of the kit. We have small blue-ish sheet with some small writings like “Fuel” and “Oil” in Russian, as well as some numeric combinations. Decals that comes from MiniArt usually are nothing exceptional and this sheet is like that as well. It isn’t Cartograf, so you cannot expect much from it. It will work fine probably, but I bet that a tank without any markings will do pretty much the same job for you. Marking options: We have 6 in total. They are all from the 50s. All – Soviet/Russian Green painted T-54-2, all with three-number combos on the turret. Some feature additional small decals, but nothing special. The problem with the marking options is that there isn’t much information about this T-54-2 in general. It was quickly replaced by the latter versions of T-54 and T-55 and soon after, T-62. So with such small produced numbers /for a tank of course/, it is no wonder that the marking options are almost equal in appearance and kinda boring. This isn’t anything else but a poor history keeping. Soviets, with their secrecy mania often neglected technological advances of the era, throwing the period into oblivion, not allowing proper documentation to be made. Especially for military stuff. Tanks for example… No pictures, no videos, or if any – the less the better! Conclusion: So we have 1007 parts. 899 from grey plastic and 16 from clear. The rest 92 are photo-etch details. We have active suspension, V-54 engine, one piece gun-barrel, wonderful DShK gun, full stack of ammo /for more than one thank if you ask me!/, full interior and wonderful tracks. Very nice stowage bag, better compared to the previous kits, beneath fenders details, even a shell that is to be placed in the loading mechanism of the gun! Positionable hatches, fuel lines etc. Not so high points are the decals and the marking options, but hey, you don’t get almost perfect kits every day! So I must only recommend this kit. With 1200+ T-54-2 built, this is not so rare tank and has its place in the history. With this kit, which is definitely the best in line of T-54, this is a must for every Soviet armour fan. The price is right and it is suitable for mid- and up-level modelers. Beginners will struggle, but that does not mean that some of the interior cannot be left aside. My verdict – 9 out of  10. Great job! You can get this kit here: MiniArt #37004
Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 Review DN Models sd.ah.32

Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 with Sd.Ah.32/1 Trailer 1/35

Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 is a German Halftrack based on Sd.Kfz.250 and used as an ammunition carrier. It was built by Demag AG and Wegmann during 1940 and then by Deutsche Werke in 1941. A little over 400 vehicles were built and they saw action at the first stages of the war. The ammo carrier was used to support StuG III carrying 75mm shells, as for that purpose a trailer was designed. It was Sonder-Anhänger (Sd. Ah.) für Munition (7,5 cm) (Sd. Ah. 32/1), and the combination between it and Sd.Kfz.252 is now easily recognized by every StuG III fan, especially those who love the initial versions of the Sturmgeschutz. This kit was missing from the modeling scene for many years, with only 1/72 and resin /1:35/ options available. Dragon released early versions of STUG III recently andquickly realized the need of such an add on to their line. So, several months after their STUG III ausf.E , DML came up with the long awaited new tooling of the small ammo carrier. What we have is a good looking box, not very small, probably because of the Full Interior featured in the Sd.Kfz.252. In 1/35, the vehicle is quite small though. The boxart is very neat, featuring a Sd.Kfz.252 with Sd.Ah 32/1 trailer, re-supplying a Stug III on the background. The fields behind it imply that this is Ukraine, but I am not sure that the vehicles of that kind were sent there. For European theater I am certain though. The back of the box also shows some renders of the model kit, showing some of its highlights. Among those are some PE parts, magic tracks, 7.5cm shells. Full interior is also mentioned, although with the overall size of the Sd.Kfz.252 in 35th scale this is close to a nightmare. It is interesting, because in order to show the interior, the openings of the vehicle are quite limiting. So you either have to do some cutaways, or make a lot of pictures and close it forever. The instruction sheet: At first glance we have typical Dragon Smart Kit sheet. Once opened, the pictures seen show the well known arrangements of the build, which is completed in 26 steps. Once thing I notice is that there are simplified here and there. Usually, we have most of the details of the kit represented and on the mid- and final steps here we have that too. In the beginning though, for whatever reason, Dragon made the vehicle quite simple, track lengths without texture, just two outlines from each side. One can only guess the reason for that.
Check out how simple is everything to the left, compared to the right
One step of the instruction sheet took my attention immediately: this is Step 9, the engine build. There we have different colors and even a short one, it is depicted clearly and differs a lot from the initial ones. Not yet certain are there any mistakes, but I guess there will be. If you continue to read you will find out why I think that. The sprues: We don't have an overcrowded box with the Dragon Sd.Kfz.252, like we are used to with other DML kits. Everything is sealed in separate envelopes and luckily, since the box of my half-track arrived severely damaged. Now, the fact that everything was sealed and that the box contents are rather sparse saved the day! In this particular case it was a good thing. It will ring a bell though, with 410+ parts, full interior and a DML kit, to have such small sprue number. Not necessarily a bad thing though. It might turn out really good once built. What I note is that the quality if the plastic is somehow doubtful. Yes, there are sprues with the well known Dragon plastic. But some of them appears to be different to my eye. Some of the details are perfect, some - a bit chunky. I have no idea is it my immagination here or Dragon changed something with this Sd.Kfz.252. The seats are beautiful, with the springs on the back, the gauges on the dashboard, texture on the seats. But still something is strange. I won't comment anymore here, I will leave you with the pictures so you be the one to judge. The additional parts: In an envelope we have the decals and three add-ons. Those are two photo-etch sheets and a metal tow cable. The smaller PE is 2 x 1cm /!!!/  and represents the bottom of the cartridges which goes in the Sd.Ah 32/1 trailer of the Dragon Sd.Kfz.252. They are optionable, since the trailer doors might be closed when you build the kit. The other PE sheet is bigger: 2,3 x 5cm and holds the grills on the engine hood, some belts and other tiny parts. Both photo-etch sheets very thin and delicate, some of the best that came out from Dragon so far. One of the high points of the Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 set for sure! In the envelope we also find a metal tow cable, described to be 270mm, however mine is 170mm. I am no saying fraud! here, I assume instructions were messed up. Like always with Dragon kits. Sd.Kfz.252 is a rather small vehicle as I mentioned numerous times here and 170mm cable is more than enough. The tracks: Magic tracks with Dragon Sd.Kfz.252!!! Wonderful news, besides the size. As you can see on the pictures shown, we are talking few millimeters here and two parts per track link. Many many track links too. They appears to be workable, although with that size it might be a challenge to keep the pins unglued. I have a certain experience with the Sd.Kfz.251 and Sd.Kfz. 7/2. Tracks are time consuming! Is one thing I can promise you. They are not for the faint hearted or nervous modelers. Nor for a novice. So keep that in mind when scouting for Dragon Sd.Kfz.252 or any other German half-track from Dragon. The decals: We have 4,5 x 6cm sheet here, which as everything else resembles a different scale, not 1/35. On it, we have WH- license plate letters, followed by 1-9 and 0 numbers, total in three sizes. Pretty much every vehicle number you can think of is available, just if you have that information. I doubt that many will find it though, since the vehicle is rare for its time, not to mention the lack of nice pictures with the license plates visible. We have also white outlines for the fenders and the from plate. They are where the mentioned license numbers sits on. The German cross of course, and few emblems, on of which is visible on the boxart. Those decals are NOT replaceable by whatever mask set, so DN Models won't be able to help here. If you wonder why...Way too tiny. Besides, if you don't trust Dragon decals, an aftermarket sets are available for Sd.Kfz.252, if, for whatever reason you want to use some. In my personal opinion, everything is good enough to go just with the crosses and eventually add an emblem or two. The other insignia or numbers can be covered in mud or winter wash. Overall - a good small sheet of decals here. Paint & Markings: We have 4 options. For what I know about the Sd.Kfz.252, it was used in Europe and I am not sure about Eastern front. However, the first glimpse that I had on the boxart reminded me of Ukraine, with that wheat field in the background. For those of you who haven't heard about it, Ukraine is famous for wheat fields and that was one of the reasons Hitler wanted that area and probably it has something to do with the nowadays troubles there. Anyway - proving my point of the boxart, Dragon added options for one unidentified unit in 1943 and three for the Eastern Front. Maybe my boxart impression was correct after all! We have three dark grey vehicles, typical for the era of course. 2/StuG.Abt.243, Eastern Front 1942 Infantry Division Großdeutschland - Eastern Front 1942 StuG.Abt.226, Eastern Front 1942 and an unidentified Unit from 1943 mentioned above, which differ from the rest with its two tone camouflage. I haven't seen any picture of two tone camouflaged Sd.Kfz.252 but I have seen several with Winter Wash, so I assume you can go ahead and proceed with your imagination for all four of those. Not a bad choice for camouflages here and hopefully they are correct ones! Conclusion: DML6718 is one very anticipated add-on to every collection, especially for STUG fans. Among half-track lovers this is also a precious kit, especially the full interior considered. Even small, the vehicle have its own identity, which is without substitute. The plastic quality here is with some unanswered questions, as will be the plastic tires for some modelers. This is mostly because it is a mixed bag of Sd.Kfz.250, Sd.Kfz.251 and new Dragon Sd.Kfz.252. However, the overall appearance and the fact that we have Magic Tracks in the set makes this kit an interesting one. With over 410 parts in the set, the only probable let-down of that Sd.Kfz.252 might be the price. I got mine for $65 delivered, but you can expect that to go around $55 very soon. I might add that the kit is not suitable for a start-up modelers, since it is very little overall. The tracks might cause a lot of fuss - again due to the size. Also painting the ammo. But if you add this Sd.Kfz.252 with its Sd.Ah.32/1 trailer next to Dragon early STUGs, you will have a beautiful set comparable with a painting! If you are a fan of the early days of the WWII, you probably gonna love it!  

MiniArt’s Su-85 Mid Production with Interior

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  

MiniArt T-44M – a step before T-54 and after T-44

MiniArt released T-44 just couple of months ago, and now they are putting out the T-44M. Not only that, but they have on the horizon T-54. Somehow, they followed the history steps in releasing those tanks, and we might be blessed to see them go all the way up to the Armata in the following years. Who knows... T-44M is a midpoint between T-44 and T-54. T-44M has elements from both of the others and sits in the history as a platform for innovation and implementation of the new features about to be used in the next generation tanks. T-54 is definitely a next generation medium Soviet tank, that's why T-44 remained somehow obscured in the history books, overshadowed by the propaganda concerning T-34 and the seemingly endless T-54/55 career and development. The main difference between T-44 and T-44M are the fenders, the fuel drums, the wheels /suspension in general/ and some invisible features like the gearbox for example. There are many more, but those are the ones concerning us in this thread here. MiniArt released T-44 with a number of different and beautiful camo schemes, including "What If"-s and presented us with a beautiful kit, featuring engine, interior, active suspension and more. What is important to be known is, that the -44M is visually different, and MiniArt were aware of the demand that will follow, after the release of T-44. So they did the M version as well. There are new sprues, most noticeable being the fuel drums, including fuels lines. Fuel lines were missing and important element of the T-series released from the other companies on the market so far. MiniArt corrected this, and also gave us all the bells and whistles of the -44M version. New fenders, new wheels and so on. The kit features less camo scheme options. This time there is no What-ifs, and only few 4B0 green vechicles, + one in winter camo scheme. This is more realistic representation of the T-44M. It was used mostly in training regiments and was away from public, so not much photo documentation is left from its service. That's what the camo schemes depict - training regiments, mostly towards the end of the service of the T-44M - around the 70s. Everything in done in a collaboration with AMMO/MIG, which guarantees proper color choice and hopefully historical accuracy. The thing that is not so nice about it, is that AMMO/MIG paints are not among the most popular within modelers, because they sometimes react not as expected and that causes some useless complications. On the other hand, they are good enough once you start using them regularly, so it is a problem which can be dealt with. Again, as in T-44 - the number of parts in the box is huge, and it is mostly because of the shells and tracks. Many parts are divided into sub -assemblies, helping showing off a partially damaged vehicle, and especially abandoned one. With all the interior and engine features, this is an easy task that MiniArt presented us with. A great gift from the Ukrainian company! The box is wonderfully done, luxurious, as well as the instruction sheet. Photo etch parts are abundant and the price is right, especially for a kit which is good enough OOTB even for the most pretentious out there. MiniArt did another great job. And even though they didn't put Interior Kit on the box, this is one of the new line kits starting to appear on the market, where armor is shown with the opportunity to build everything inside and outside as well. It is a hard job to make it, but once you do, the satisfaction is enormous! I truly hope that MiniArt will continue leading with such kits, and inspire companies as Rye Field Models and many other new comers with full-interior vehicles, letting you chose what to put in and what to leave out. The kit of the T-44M is very highly recommended, for its price, features and qualities. Looking forward for their T-54... You can get this kit here: T-44M MiniArt Full video review of T-44M can be found on my YouTube channel

Su-122 Initial Production w/ full Interior from MiniArt

Su-122 is a Soviet self-propelled howitzer and assault gun, based on T-34 platform. 122 comes from the caliber of the gun, which is M-30S howitzer. That vehicle was requested by the Soviet government and Army command, based on the bitter taste that Sturmgeschutz III left with the Russians. They quickly understood, that such vehicle is a key factor in armored warfare, and started asking the designers to provide one. The official production started in late 1942, and continued until summer of 1944, by which time more than 1100 has been built. There were no official variants of the vehicle, but there were some differences in between the production periods, making three sub-versions of Su-122 – Early, Mid and Late production runs. So far, we had a 35th scale option for that SPH from Tamiya. However, the tooling of that kit is old, and obsolete according to the current stream of new and sophisticated kits. Although Tamiya have satisfactory results with their set, especially when It comes down to fit and accuracy, the market demanded a substitute for the Su-122. MiniArt announced their plans of doing one, and spared the public the complexity of the kit that they plan to issue. If you have modeled T-34, you would know, that this is a relatively small tank, and Su-122 is pretty much similar. Although lower in height. So it was a huge surprise when MiniArt announced that their first Su-122 kit will be initial production version with full interior. And by full, they meant “full”. The kit is surprisingly detailed, surprisingly crowded and probably will be a challenge for most of the mid-level modelers, not to mention the newbies to the hobby. It has everything: driving and gunner compartments, engine, armament, transmission and separate track links. Everything is done in a manner not seen before in a scale model kit in 35th, and probably only Meng Model’s kits come close to that. Some of the parts are small, but you shouldn’t have to worry, since MiniArt are using new plastic material for already about an year. It prevents unpleasant cracking of the small and tiny details, and it is flexible enough. Full interior kits are a challenge to be completed, and trust me on this one, this Su-122 will not be any different. It will require time and patience, but you will be very rewarded once you finish it. The tricky part is how you will be able to paint all the details, and this is what I personally find to be the biggest challenge of this kit. Speaking of this – somebody once said: if it’s easy, it isn’t worth it. So, yeah, MiniArt made it worth a lot! Instruction sheet is made from nice and luxurious material, especially the parts where the description of the camouflage schemes are. Everything is in color /where it need to be of course/ and the booklet is pretty thick. Inside there are 6 variants, one captured German and the rest – Soviet vehicles. They are made in collaboration with MIG/Ammo, which guarantees proper colors and knowing MIG, adequate accuracy. In total, the kit features 828 parts, of which 729 are plastic, 4 are clear, 95 are photo-etched. Overall assembly steps does not look intimidating, especially on the outside. MiniArt kept it design relatively simple, cleverly adding options for side panels or hatches to be left aside for showing off the insides of the SPH. This shouldn’t fool you, because the box is huge and crowded, but that is because of the way engineers thought it should be. In conclusion, I first have to add that the kit is first of a series, which will include Mid- and Late- versions of Su-122 and will sent Tamiya into oblivion, at least for the foreseeable future. Also, I have to ad that this kit is not for the faint hearted. You have to know your way around plastic, you have to have time and not rush anything, and some idea of engineering decisions while installing already painted parts /if that is the way you work/. After that being said, I must conclude, that this kit is a state-of-plastic-art piece. It has everything you need in a box, the price is right, the fit /knowing MiniArt/ should be more than decent. Soviet/Russian armor fans, gotta have this for sure, and in my personal opinion, every armor modeler who is interested in “what is the future” of scale modeling subject should have this one. This is poetry in scale, music within plastic. I highly recommend this, you should have it! You can get this kit here: MiniArt 35175 Su-122 Initial Prod. Scroll down for a full video review of that kit.
Thanx to MiniArt for presenting me with such a beautiful kit for review!

T-54 B from MiniArt. The meaning of “superdetailed”

T-54 and T-55 are one of the most recognizable and popular main battle tanks in human's history. T-54 tank was a continuation of T-44 development, and first appeared shortly after WWII. Since than, more than 100 000 units of T-54 /along with T-55/ were produced and are still in active duty all around the world. They are constantly modernized, showing the opportunities that the design provides. Although inferior to many of the newer designs, T-54 /and -55/ is proven to be very successful, especially in guerrilla warfare, urban theaters and rebel actions of any kind. It owns the most popular and famous tank profile, and even old - it is still very beautiful. The modeling world was missing a decent kit of T-54 for number of years, and even though Trumpeter promised new line of T-54 and -55s, they still haven't provided. T-55s from Takom are great, but we were still missing the T-54. MiniArt stepped up. They developed an insane scale model in 35th scale, featuring almost everything that you can find in the real T-54, but this time in plastic. T-54 is not a big tank - in other words it is crowded inside. Guess how's that happening in MiniArt's 35th scale copy. We have engine, driver's compartment, gunner's compartment, two types of wheels, armament...everything! To be honest, even a T-54 lover, I have my doubts about how I am going to cope with all this details. They are so small and tiny...just check the video below. Whatever we try to say about MiniArt's new T-54 it will not be enough. They exceeded any possible expectation in modeling terms. I haven't seen such a kit so far. Not even Rye Field Model Tiger with interior is not that crowded. And again - T-54 is a small tank! Cannot wait to get my hands over it! Check the video that MiniArt shared down below, and you judge for yourself!

Miniart T-44 #35193 – the missing link of the T-series.

T-44 is a soviet tank, information for which is everything but abundant. Let's start with the fact that it was designed and built at Uralvagonzavod in Nizhny Tagil, the same place were several decades later, T-90 Tagil and T-14 Armata were born. It was based on T-34M project, an enhanced version of Soviet's "Hero Tank" with better armor protection and more ammo. The design was more or less secret, and even though the tank was ready and in production by 1944, it never saw action in WWII. It was produced in relatively small numbers - slightly above 1800, and due to its qualities remain in some /limited and not so popular/ service with the soviets until the 70s. Besides some tech specs, there is not many information about it. That is due to the fact that it was somehow hidden in the Second World War, and shortly after T-54 and T-55 overshadowed its presence with their appearance and engineering decisions. The fact is, that T-44 is the link in between T-34 and T-54/55. It looks a lot like T-34, but in reality is very different. It is closer in design to T-54 and it served a purpose - to prove the new technology adapted into it. If you look at it closely, you will find T-44 lower hull to be very similar to T-54/55 tanks. There are the tanks and the fuel lines on the side, additional stowage boxes, front armor plates.  Maybe for that reason - being the connection link - the tank was very secret during its existence. There are some sources that claim that the tank was used in Hungarian revolt against the communist regime, but the pictures that are available are disputed to be real. It is also speculated, that some units were dispatched in East Germany for quite some time, but it is also strongly disputed fact. In general, T-44 is a rather obscure tank, than a movie star like T-34 or T-55. It is an odd looking vehicle, just because it incorporates the looks of those two into one tank. That is, on the other hand, what Miniart are best at doing: giving us models of vehicles not so popular, but longed from modelers. When they announced it in early 2016, it arouse a great deal of interest and shortly after, when they showed a sample of how it will look, MiniArt truly dropped the bomb with it. What I noted with this kit is the fact that the sprues are a bit too many for my taste. However, this usually creates additional attraction when it comes down to a regular modeler /I don't consider myself one/. The tracks are cleverly thought, the wheels are perfectly molded. Wheel hubs are put as separate parts, which makes your life easy if you decide to do openings or a damage wheel. The active suspension is also nicely engineered, considering that it suppose to be a standing model in general. The way MiniArt design it made it seems like it is a one to be played with. Which is not the case of course. The only let down that I see in the model is the lack of texture over the superstructure. Turret is perfectly textured, but not the hull. Also, I might add, that the moulding of the tarp which sits on the back of the turret should be without any visible mouldings, but it is not. There is a nasty seam there. Nothing that anyone cannot deal with, but it's just annoying. The interior is insane - crowded, full with goodies and parts that needs to be pre-assembled and pre-painted and then installed. Same goes for the engine. The engine itself is my favorite part here. Perfectly looking beast of a V12 diesel. It seems that there are additional parts for it, maybe Miniart made their mind of doing more variations with slightly modified engines inside. We will definitely see. Gun barrel is one piece and it has some points where you need to clean it from the sprue attachments, but it overall look is superb. Great quality on pretty much everything. The abundance of ammo is always warm welcomed too, and here we have a lot of different ammo shells, molded nicely and onto separate sprues to minimize the damage over them and to maximize the ease of finding everything into that crowded box. Idlers, as well as suspension rods, small sub-assemblies are also onto different sprue, and one might think that Miniart wasted more plastic on the sprues than onto the model parts themselves. Whatever the case was though, they did very very good job with it! Summarize all here: MiniArt T-44 kit number - 35193
  • Total Parts - 768 /of which plastic - 659, photo-etched -  94, clear - 15/
  • Workable torsion bars  /active suspension/
  • Workable tracks
  • Engine included
  • Full fighting compartment interior
  • 10 color variants made with MIG including 'what if' options
Conclusion for me: The mouldings, the texture and the abundant detail of that kit makes it a wonderful example of the T-series. Being rather rare vehicle, T-44 /and its upcoming variants/ was a right-on-time product from MiniArt, superseeding all other T-tanks on the market currently, beating them with higher lever of detail, engine and obviously - a great interior. As you can see in the pictures above, they did a great job with the texture, and overall they are improving their products with each new item. It is extremely hard to judge the accuracy of this secret tank, but the information provided is that MiniArt worked alongside with engineers Morozov Design Bureau and with the original T-44 documentation. That pretty much kills the will even in the most devoted rivet-counter out there, and promises us a very fine addition to the T-series in 35th scale. According to my opinion, this is the best T-series tank released so far, and is a must-have kit. This T-44 has everything you might dream of - workable suspension, great looking tracks, engine, interior and most importantly - no need for aftermarket parts whatsoever. One of the few kits nowadays that have everything in it and it worth paying for. Thanx to MiniArt for providing this wonderful T-44 tank for the review! You can get this tank here: MiniArt T-44 #35193 For more detail review of the kit, check out the video in my YouTube Channel down below:  

1/16 Renault FT-17 – Takom Limited Edition part 1

Since the appearance of Meng's FT-17 in 35th scale, I have an idea to built that model in bigger scale. 1/35 is too small for that kinda vehicle, especially with interior provided by the company. It takes way too much time for masking, and a lot of effort for fitting and assembling the small interior parts. It is very well detailed and cleverly engineered model, but in order to finish it properly, you need patience beyond the standard modeler's limits. I've heard complaints from even the most devoted guys out there. Besides, once built, its small enough to fit it into one big tank from WWII from that scale. So, yeah, even I've built couple of those, I wanted bigger.
Takom offered standard version, /kit #1001/ with short barrel almost the same time Meng Model released their 35th scale item. However, within couple of months they /Takom/ offered limited edition of that same kit, with Hothckiss gun. That one also features resin figure of a tank driver, and most importantly - is limited edition of 1500 pieces.
That was pretty much enough to start my engines, and I ordered it immediately. The kit comes in a pretty big box, and the part resemble Meng ones stunningly. I am not sure if they are one and the same company, or at least owned by the same person, but I am pretty sure that the engineering behind the both kits is the same. Detailing on the small one however ...is better. Yeah, many out there think that this cannot be the case with models released in the same year and one which is half of the size of the other might be better. But it is! Nothing against Takom, but if they had put a little more effort into detailing of the seat, the interior parts and so on, they would've had a winner for some time to come. Anyway, bigger scale is always better for spicing up with scratch of aftermarket stuff, so 99 out of 100 times I would stick to 1/16th scale FT. Exept for the bigger flashes and sanding areas, everything is almost the same standard as Meng's kit. Tracks are links, but here we have three separate pieces per link, while in Meng it was one. Stuff like that. Nothing major. Interior was the first thing I started with. The bigger engine and other stuff gives you freedom to weather for weeks. Wonderful!
Engines of both FTs 35th and 16th scale,
before painting details and weathering
I wasn't happy with the final look, or more properly said - with what you can see inside. So I took out my Dremel, and hit the side panel with all the aggression that I had. I needed more open view of the weathered engine, with all the grease and grime on it. If I left it as out of the box, I would've lost most of the light inside, thus deprive the viewer from the real beauty of that kit.
Now, looking back at the project, I could've man up and cut more in the middle, so the gunner's position to be more visible. It's true that the turret is removable, but still, it looks odd to see the tank without it, which I show it at model shows...
So, interior was painted and weathered with oils mostly, making it look like the walls of my garage before I remodelled it. I did the kit and the garage at the same time, so...
And, following the idea of : A picture worth a thousand words - I present you with some of the pictures I kept.
Sadly, I lost some of the engine's pictures, once it was weathered. They were the best of that model. And now are all gone.
And what you can see below, is hardly visible on the built model, so enjoy it as much as possible.
See you in Part 2