Tag - t-55

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

MiniArt New Tool T-34

 

New Tool T-34 is something that many wanted for quite some time now. Although not anything near as popular as the Panzer IVs that are now flooding the market, T-34 is a loved subject among modelers. It has its variations in 35th and 16th scale, but so far nobody managed to catch the perfect representation of that rather small vehicle in 35th scale.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

At the beginning, MiniArt were flooding the market with their brilliant T-series. That surprisingly started with T-44 and continued with T-54-1, -2 and -3. Then on, they turned towards more popular and widespread versions of the T-series, reaching their peak with Czech, Chinese and Polish options now available for purchase.

Those kits are very sophisticated and demanding. They are full with small parts, feature separate track links, photo-etch and most importantly - usually full interior as well. We have reviewed plenty of them, so if you are interested, search the blog for more info.

The T-34 just announced at the Toy Fair in Germany is a continuation of that tradition that MiniArt created with the tanks mentioned. This new T-34 will feature Interior and most likely will be one of the best releases in terms of accuracy compared to the competition.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

The reason for that assumption is because MiniArt are Ukrainian company, and Ukraine is one of the best places on earth to get information about old Soviet vehicles as the T-34. This to some extent answers the question why it took them so long to get it done. Knowing how deep they go into a project and how accurate they want it to be, it is only self-explanatory. Especially having in mind how many thousands of T-34s were produced during WWII. Plus the fact that variations existed in abundance. And made in different plants too.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

T-34, together with their new tooled Panzer IV and some upcoming /hopefully/ aircraft kits this year, 2020 MiniArt made a great start for that new Decade. 2020 seems to be very promising for armor modelers thus far too. Two of the 3 most important subjects of the Second World War are already covered by MiniArt. New tool T-34 or "The Hero tank" as it is famous in the former Soviet block is one. The other is the Panzer IV, which is, alongside with StuG III,  the most popular German armored vehicles of that same period. Only the StuG III in production is missing from MiniArt's line thus far. But we can strongly hope that this will change rather soon. And as far as the Panzer IV and T-34, well, knowing MiniArt we can count on long-lasting and abundant line of new kits with superb quality!

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T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models boxart

T-55A mod.1981 – MiniArt #37020

Intro:

In 1981, T-55 was already an obsolete tank. It was replaced by more modern and advanced vehicles, already in mass production. Nevertheless, T-55 still had some potential, as a platform and as a concept. Some improvements were already implemented during decades of service life and some are about to be introduced.

The kit we’re looking at today is the 1981 version of T-55A. A tank that served in Soviet-Afghan war and a tank, that still serves many as of today. By saying that, I am not exactly sure, was that 1981 mod, or it was a late 70s thing, because once I stumbled upon a picture of similar tank and in the description there was the year 1980. In fact, it is very hard to tell when it comes down to Soviet military.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Anyway, this is one of the latest releases from MiniArt and a continuation of their T-55/55 line.

Boxart:

Of all the boxarts that MiniArt gave us so far, the Tirans and the T-55s were the best. At least in my opinion. And of all T-55s, this is the nicest one. The reason for that is the vividness of it all, which somehow adds to the box appearance. MiniArt’s boxes are with orange on their sides and this T-55A looks fantastic in the camouflage scheme presented.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models boxart

The camouflage itself is something that I haven’t seen before, but with so many produced, it is always a possibility. Besides, the Soviet green is not the best choice for all the boxarts anyhow. So I would give MiniArt 10 out of 10 for this picture and the choice they made.

Instructions:

The standard booklet for MiniArt is the case here, but instead of writing much about it like I usually do, I will substitute with pictures this time. What you see on those pictures is in general what you will find in the instruction sheet. They are very nicely arranged in understandable and professional manner. That doesn’t ease up much the building process though, because this is one very complex model to complete.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

There are a lot of sub-assemblies, mostly concerning the interior of the tank. Not only of course, but that is where the most challenging areas are. The stowage boxes and some of the external elements are too, quite tricky at some places. But in general, experienced modeler will be perfectly capable of completing this tank with time and some patience. For the beginners, this isn’t the best choice.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Plastic:

This T-55A mod.1981 features interior, thus the sprues are numerous and filled with many small parts. That it very scary on one hand, but on the other, it shows the quality of the material. This is a plastic that comes from Western Europe, something that MiniArt picked couple of years ago, mostly because of their demanding engineering. Such small parts and tiny elements require flexible and easy-to-work-with plastic.

That goes for all the elements included, but especially for the fuel lines, handles and similar items. The quality of the tracks too. Speaking of the latter, they are the best molded track links that I’ve ever seen. Too bad that most of the tiniest details will remain hidden beneath the dirt and the mud that will be applied on the track length.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

All the edges are sharp and clearly molded, same goes for corrugations and even the imitation of fabric materials. There is some flash here and there, but that was inevitable considering the amount of details included. It is nothing that you cannot cope with and if you think you will have troubles with the flash, think of the rest, this kit might be the wrong choice for you.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models tracksT55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models turretT55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Photo-Etch, Decals, Clear parts:

Let’s start with the clear parts. They are the most insignificant part of the kit in my opinion. Nobody associates a tank with clear parts, especially not a T-series one. Aside from that, a person who is specialized in T-55 and professional tanker, told me once that once he saw how Panzer IV prisms look and how they were designed, then he understood what a piece of garbage T-55 prisms were.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models

Decals are mostly numbers, with a flag and the anchor of the Soviet NAVY included, but besides the last two, there is nothing overly interesting with them. They are placed on a blue-ish decal sheet, 16cm x 4cm in size and with the typical quality for Ukrainian made decals. Some of those tanks lacked numbers in reality, others were hand painted and there is that third group, that featured a mix of partially visible numbers who were covered with newly painted, often different style numbers, sometimes even different font on both sides of the vehicle. So the possibilities are pretty much endless here.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models decals

Photo-Etch is most definitely the highlight of all those elements in that section. I know, for many it is annoying part of the building, but some love it. MiniArt obviously respect the photo-etch as a concept, considering that each of their high-end kit features decently large PE set in it. Last couple of years they even pack it separately, in small cardboard envelope, both – for additional protection and for marketing purposes. In my opinion, both goals achieved in very elegant manner too.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models photo etch

With this T-55A mod.1981 we have three PE sheets, all of them with different sizes and each and every one of them abundant in details. The intimidating thing here is that the only large sections of those PE sheets are the engine grill meshes. The rest is small and intricate and most definitely will be mind-blowing too if properly applied.

Variants:

The pictures here are the basic options presented by MiniArt, but as you might guess, that is only the surface of a very, very deep lake. We have winter camouflage, as well as the one depicted on the box and of course – standard Soviet Green which is dull, however perfect basis for shading and various weathering and chipping techniques.

Beneath that, and this is not even considering the numerous numbers on the decal sheet, we have unlimited options in terms of colors, damages and so on. Especially based on the detailing of the kit as a whole. In my opinion, it is useless to point out specific variant of such widely used vehicle, because day to day, with so many numbers, well, you get my point.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models variants

With all that said, MiniArt made their effort to gather additional information, but they showed some reservations, stating that this is “Recommended color” or scheme, which was very clever from their part. We all know modelers are very punctual and they are strict when it comes down to realism. That concerns the above written – with so many numbers, one cannot be sure, except if one wasn’t in direct contact with the specific vehicle. So good choice from MiniArt approaching such delicate subject.

T55A MiniArt 1981 review unboxing dn models masks for scale models winter camouflage

Conclusion:

T-55 and T-54s are legends by any means. And MiniArt shows their appreciation in very professional manner with this release. As with their previous ones, including Tiran versions and the Chinese Type 59, they managed to dominate the T-series line of any maker and in any scale. Saying that, I must add that this comes at a price. Truly, this is the best T-55 line of kits ever made. But it is also very challenging for the builder. This isn’t a kit that a beginner would want to mess with. With that said, this appears to be perfect release for experienced and professional modelers and will most likely bring a lot of joy for them.

MiniArt took a different road compared to the competition and are aimed at proving what a contemporary kit should look like through their eyes. With their upcoming release of Focke Wulf What If project, they are also declaring their intentions to step into the aircraft arena. Considering this T-55 and its bells and whistles here, that is both thrilling and intimidating. However, whatever the outcome might be, the modelers will be the winners, especially with the demonstrated level of detailing.

Highly recommended kit!

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Su-122-54 - Newest Member of the T-54/55 Family from MiniArt DN Models Masks For Scale Models

Su-122-54 – Newest Member of the T-54/55 Family from MiniArt

Introduction:

MiniArt projects are often oriented towards interesting and rare vehicles. Their latest – Su-122-54 – is just like that. A self-propelled howitzer that few have heard about. Don’t be fooled by the name: this isn’t the Su-122 from WWII that you all recognize. This is larger vehicle, with bigger gun and different platform.

Su-122-54 is based on T-54 tanks and is built on T-54 platform. If you find it hard to recognize, it is because the wheels spacing is altered and the gap that you see on T-54/55 series is moved backwards. The low silhouette and the big gun makes this Su-122-54 look intimidating and fierce war machine, however it never saw much action in its short career.

Boxart:

Boxart is typical for Interior kits from MiniArt – featuring beautiful artwork depicting a moving vehicle with what resembles to be some massive military exercise, typical for the Soviet Union armed forces during that period. S hare is crossing in front of the vehicle, just to spice up the picture and even though this isn’t an interior kit, the boxing is equal to one.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The difference, compared to other T-54/55 series from MiniArt is that it looks slightly thinner. And I mean interiored vehicles only here. I mention that because at first look you get a kit that seems like the interior series but it’s not. Not that this is a bad thing. If you ask me, just the contrary. It will speed up the build of this Su-122-54.

Instructions:

Despite the intimidating number of parts that MiniArt usually supply, the instructions are perfectly clear and understandable. They have outer pages that feature the color schemes and the sprue description and those are made from high quality glossy paper. The insides are not from glossy material nor feature colors, but the quality of everything else is kept.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Once you get through a step and complete a portion of the kit, on the next one it appears in darker shade in general, so to keep the focus on the new elements that are supposed to be installed. That might not sound like much, but it eases the job significantly. And it is also a nice touch.

Each step of the build is clearly understandable, without much text, but not oversimplified either. That doesn’t make the kit easier to build, but it add to the relief a bit. One must know that this is far from what beginners would want to mess with. But that is MiniArt’s way after all.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Sprues:

We have large number of parts, but considerably less than what we get with an interior kit. The suspension was given the proper attention, the exterior too, so everything is in order with the plastic. There is no compromises with anything and the sub-assemblies are as expected from MiniArt.

The box that I got came a bit smashed, but surprisingly, no parts were damaged on the inside. Everything is packed into one big envelope, so one might expect to see damages. But no. It was nice to see that everything was intact and in order. Nevermind that the envelope is crowded. It was OK.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

That speaks a lot about the new plastic material that MiniArt are using, which is flexible and doesn’t show the troubles that the companies were ill-famous about before. Even the thinnest parts can be bend /to a reasonable amount of course/ without cracking and working with it is now fun.

The abundance of sprues and elements is justified by the separate track links, sub-assemblies of the stowage boxes and suspension and exterior parts, which can satisfy even the most picky modelers in terms of kit quality. That makes the Ukrainian company very competitive and there is hardly any manufacturer as of this day, that can provide enough to compete in terms of detailing. Out of the box, the kit is brilliant.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsSU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Decals and Paint Options:

Decal sheet is relatively small. It features technical stencils in Russian and combination of numbers for the sides of the vehicle. Su-122-54 was used in 50s and 60s and lack of any specific insignia is self-explanatory. The carrier film is barely visible and the decals look thin. The sheet is product of Decograph, a company that MiniArt chose as a supplier for their decal range.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

There are three options included in this kit, which explains the decal size and its contents. All the vehicles are Soviet Army and from the same era – 50s-60s of the 20th century. Two of the vehicles are painted in single-tone camouflage scheme. Khaki green, slightly paler than what we are used to see on Soviet tanks.

The third option is winter camouflage and it represents the most interesting of the three, since a lot can be done over the painting and the weathering of the vehicle. It is unlikely that those vehicles were painted in other than green, so winter camouflage is one thing that can improve the options included and MiniArt wisely used it.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Of course, due to the lack of pictures and information about this vehicle, most of the realism cannot be confirmed and that gives the modeler a certain opportunity to alter the appearance to match one’s personal taste. After all, only 77 examples of the Su-122-54 were produced, thus playing with the final result is pretty much mandatory for any experience modeler. There is simply nothing else one can rely on building this piece.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Photo-Etch:

As expected, the photo-etch from MiniArt is extraordinary. It is flexible, thin and most importantly very nicely executed. Especially the meshes. They are fragile and one can hardly believe that the details can be so small. But somehow MiniArt managed to do it.

I would suggest to avoid sanding those, or at least if one insists, it should be done with care. I had my fair share of damaged meshes, mostly due to me being unprepared, so I am giving my two cents here to try and spare you the eventual trouble.

SU-122-54 MiniArt 37035 review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The rests are straps and some plates holding some of the plastic parts, which is nothing overly interesting, still spicing up the kit just about enough to satisfy the photo-etch fans out there. During the build, every once in a while you have to add PE parts here and there and in the end that adds to the fun of the process.

Conclusion:

This vehicle is a total mystery to me. Probably to many others as well. The only reason I know about it is MiniArt and when I started researching I found some information shared through War Thunder fans, which obviously used it in the gameplay.

Not surprisingly, MiniArt came up with something rare and interesting yet again. The kit is accurate most likely, considering where MiniArt are located and where those 122-54s were used. Researching about it might be a problem, but if you are not that into historical accuracy, one can turn this kit into a brilliant model, knowing what you get OOTB.

Ukrainian model maker widens the T-54 family and this seems to be a long-lasting process, since so many were build and transformed in one way or another. This member of the family is hardly recognizable, yet interesting and even without interior – demanding. It bears all the qualities of a MiniArt kit and it is a must have for any Soviet armor fan.

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miniart 37014 t-54-1 no interior dn models review unboxing

MiniArt 37014 – T-54-1 mod. 1947 – Plain and Simple

T-54-1 was the first production version of the T-54 and what was to become the one of the most recognizable and most produced tank ever - T-54/55. The dash 1 version was the first of the pre-production series. It was something like a prototype, but built in decent numbers. So pre-production or initial series is more appropriate to be said about that vehicle. Nowadays, turrets from T-54-1 can be found as a concrete bunkers /some at the Kuril Islands near Japan as well as some on Chinese border/ and probably some abandoned vehicles all around former Soviet Union. The bunkers, or so called "pillboxes" are the most popular, since many color photographs exists. The survivors can be found in the museums too. However, T-54-1 was rather unsuccessful attempt for creating a new medium tank, and it was quickly changed for the second prototype dash 2. Dash 1s were still in use though, although not much information is available. MiniArt already gave us the kit with the full interior of that tank and now they are giving us a more simplified and clean option - the one without. 37014 is for those, who wish to focus on the outside with weathering and exterior features, skipping the parts with the internals. The Sprues: They are made from the standard for MiniArt grey plastic material. It is flexible and pleasant to work with. This is the new plastic material that MiniArt are using for almost two years already. No troubles with the tiniest details and no cracks or defects. Interesting is the fact that even though the material is soft-ish, it is relatively sturdy and overall weight of the built kit is pretty decent. I have no clue what the consistency of the material is exactly, but it is enjoyable one.   The decals, clears and PE: Decals are not many and they look like Begemot. They are not the best out there but are with decent qualities and if you are careful working with them, no problem should be encountered. Photo-Etch sheet is very thin - as usual with MiniArt. If you are a fan of photo-etch, MiniArt is your game. They feature the thinnest PE parts on the market, which requires admiration. This sometimes is an issue for those who like to prep-sand the parts but I assure you no such thing is necessary, or at least not in most of the cases. So thin is good here. Very good! The Paint Options: We have one tri-tone camo, which was a demo version and two green ones. You cannot find many pictures of this tank of course, so three isn't bad at all. The summer camo scheme is great, although if you want to attach it to any actual vehicle, you fill find it hard to gather the proper proof of existence. On the other hand, the green ones are pretty much a standard for the Soviet forces from that era and this will float always. Winter option is also a possibility for those who like the techniques used. Tracks: As before, the tracks that MiniArt provides with their kits are purely awesome! They require some attention and devotion to make them look nice but its worth the effort. They are also workable. Not fully, but let's say adjustable - and this is for the skeptics. Even though they are not so workable as Friuls for example, they are way more nice in texture and I assume - accuracy. I like this part from the MiniArt T-series a lot. Conclusion: You've probably seen my reviews about T-series from MiniArt and you know my opinion. Recently, I gave you MiniArt 37012 - the other version without interior and I think for many this was the better option. Same goes for 37014. T-54-1 is great looking vehicle, but you can go more easy on the subject if you are not fan of the specific vehicle. Even if you decide to build the bunker station /pillbox/ with the turret of the vehicle only, you will still have enough from 37014 to do it and have a ton of spares from the kit. So in my opinion, for those subjects that are more obscure and not popular even among devoted fans - simple is better! Highly recommended!
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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.
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Tiran 4s on the Horizon!

2017 looks like it might be the year of the T-series and especially Tiran tanks. Tiran tanks were captured /by the Israelis/ T-54 and T-55s modified to their standards and used successfully in battle afterwords. I won't bore you with details, since I am pretty sure you are all familiar with those. What I want to share with you are two new upcoming kits - one from Takom and one from MiniArt.
Takom's boxart
Both companies compete in T-54/55 series recently, releasing wonderful kits with a lot of goodies and never before seen accuracy and detailing. T-54 and T-55 are still widely used and have been for many years. Of course, that means that it is most likely that they have a lot of fans and a lot of people related in the vehicle in some way or another. Once the first Pre-production Ts from MiniArt came out they made a huge Bang! in the modeling world. Full interior, workable suspension, perfect tracks. In the same time, more modern versions were released by Takom, who made their kits with finesse and accuracy, even though missing the complexity of MiniArt in some ways.
MiniArt #37029 Boxart
Nevertheless, both companies have fans and they do compete for their own market share without interfering with one another. Recently, Takom announced their Tiran 4 tank, upcoming for 2017. It gained a huge success as purely news and many IDF fans were pleasantly surprised. Just a couple of days ago, MiniArt also announced Tiran 4 version, showing the renders and the boxart of their upcoming kit. It will feature full interior, like the rest of their Interior Kit line. It will be very challenging, with moving parts, high level of details and very attractive.
MiniArt Turret - inside and out
Both kits will have their ups and downs eventually, but we still don't know what they're going to be. From what I've seen from Takom and MiniArt I can tell, that almost no flaws are evident with their recent releases and I doubt that Tiran 4s will show many. Just the contrary. Probably both companies will fill a gap in the market for Tiran 4, showing kits for interior lovers and ...the rest. I am joking of course! With what we are soon to witness, I believe that we will have two Tiran 4 tanks, both very accurate and both just a beginning for more Tiran tanks to come, replacing Tamiya and Trumpeter options as well as Legend resin conversions. Let's hope that we will see Tiran 4 on the shelves soon! I am sure most of you cannot wait for that to happen!
The render seen is the MiniArt kit.
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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
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T-62 – Syrian Rebels’ Spoil – Trumpeter’s 1/35 kit Part 1

This project in the way that you will find it once finished in this article /part II probably/, happened by pure accident. I bought it to make it a conversion of this particular T-62 into an M version, using MIG or Legend resin sets. However, while discussing it with one of the gurus of the modern armor modeling - Mike Rinaldi - I decided to follow his advice and get the BDD version of Trumpeter's well known line of T-62s. He advised that the kits they are releasing are very nicely done, and there is actually no need for serious improvements along the build. I actually can agree with that. They need mostly fuel lines addition, which is the Legend's offer actually. However, the price of Legend's set is 90% of the T-62BDD kit itself, and MIG is old and hard to be found resin set. Besides MIG had some complaints in the past for shrinkage of the cupola in time. That pretty much resolved the issue. T-62M project was put aside. Deciding what I want to do with that one though, was another story. Having watched many videos of the troubles in Syria last couple of years, I remembered about one with T-62 in it, beaten and worn like it was driven below the sand, not over it. That pretty much helped me decide - while having a kit that I actually wanted to convert, and didn't know what to do now, I was given the opportunity to make it very dirty, dusty and chipped, and still make it looks nice. Besides, I was kinda amazed of what rebels did, and for how long to beat the forces of Bashar Assad in Syria. They obviously burned down all the country - both sides I mean - but you gotta have guts to do that, having in mind that you gotta rebuild it shortly afterwards. So it was decided - rebels' spoil of war - old Syrian T-62. The box depicted that one as well. Well, not old and captured, but Syrian...
Onto the build. It is pretty straight forward. Trumpeter did their job nicely, although there is some "trouble areas" for rivet counters. Actually the only planned addition that I did was the fuel lines. Buying another kit of the same tank, I decided to spare money to invest in it, besides investing here, and only for new resin set which is pretty small - tanks and fuel lines. Aside of all that, there was no troubles with the tank at all. It has nice photo-etched parts - exhaust, engine deck meshes and so on. They can be covered /engine decks/ but I left them as seen on the pictures of captured ones. And the rear drum tanks which are placed behind the tank itself were removed too. Better realism, or just spare of time. Whatever you like it!
The hull itself does not present any challenge, besides finding the right place to drill for the fuel lines. I did used some telephone cable for that. A great advice from my dear friend and chief judge of the NOVA IPMS chapter in Virginia. The phone cable consist from two lines, which are insulated, and can be bent easily, giving you the option to recreate the short insulation with brackets used on the real tank. Which I didn't do. But still, the option is there!
Once I did that, I got onto the wheels. They are consisted of five parts per wheel, and two of those are the tires, which allows you to rough them up with a rotary tool, making them absolutely perfectly realistic and worn nicely. Once I did that, I put those aside, because my final decision was to complete the tank and the wheels and then decide do I use the kit tracks /which is most likely to happen/ or add Friuls for better realism.
Turret is kinda the same deal as the superstructure. Nice and easy to be dealt with. Only one short side to that: it doesn't have the locking pins and stays loose. That is not a common in scale models from any company and I am still in doubt why Trumpeter did that decision here. I glued it before painting. Usually don't do it that way, but as I told you: one T-62M is going to be build soon as well as Tiran 6, which is pretty much the same base, so why burn myself over here?!
Once everything build, I decided to spray the primer through my brand new single-action airbrush, because I was experiencing troubles with Vallejo primer from time to time. That was the first, but not last troubled area for that project. The airbrush appeared to be faulty. It started well, but after 10 seconds it started spraying unevenly and not all the time, which caused too much primer to be sprayed onto the model. However, thanx to the even finish that you get in a while with Vallejo primer, most of the troubles were hidden. Besides, only the end result counts! Then I added some rust colors - 4 of them actually - and neglected to note that one of them was matt the 2 others semi-gloss and the third was glossy. As you might expect, chipping over gloss is not the greatest deal you can get, so you need to cover everything with matt varnish for easier application of the technique with hairspray. And I forgot to do that. Thanx to the fact that my hairspray varnish was pretty hard, it went OK.
As I mentioned above, that was not the only mishap with that model though. At that time I didn't even knew what is going to hit me next, and before missing the varnish with Matt coat I was pretty excited and pleased with the result. Mostly because it hid some of the troubles that I did with the primer. We all know that there isn't a project that starts and ends as we planned. Many claim that they do it exactly like that, but that is a lie. If you don't trust me, write down all the steps, the primers, varnishes, colors and tools that you plan to use, and the final appearance that you are after, and start the job. At the end of it, you will see that I was right. But anyway..once rusted, I left it to stay couple of nights, just to be sure everything is cured and ready for the next stages.
So, that did it for the first part of this project for me. And decided it to make a short video instead of showing all the pictures below the article. So here it is, and see you in Part 2!
 
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Short trip to the museum

T-55 Russian Tank
I made a long time postponed visit to the Military Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria. It wasn't thorough, and the weather wasn't so nice, but still  I got the idea of the stuff exhibited there. I made couple of pictures just of the vehicles outside, since I wasn't well prepared for the trip, and as I mentioned just before - the weather wasn't promising. However, there is a lot more to be seen that I didn't photographed.
That trench-digger grabbed my attention
For some the exhibition would not be of such great interest, especially if before visited Yad La-Shiryon at Latrun or US Army Ordnance museum in USA, but still it have some nice things in it. The items are not so well maintained and some are painted in wrong colors /mostly russian green/, or, as you can see on the picture above, the windows are covered and painted.
Anyway, the expo has its highlights. Especially Nazi STUGs, which were in Bulgarian service. If you don't bother the fact that tracks on some of them are attached the wrong way you will like them a lot.
That should be the color they used on it while in service in Bulgarian Armed Forces
There are a lot of Cold war articles, as well as some old stuff. Few aircraft, in extremely bad shape. Especially coloring and markings are 100% "no comment" section. There were some repair works during winter 2013/2014 and maybe then some of the tanks were refurbished, but I cannot tell for sure.
One of my favorites out there
The museum is not so big, but you will find things to see and do, and easily can waste half a day for your time. Since some of the vehicles are rare items, and tanks in general are not to be seen often on the streets, I think it will be time well spent out there. To wrap it up - if you visit Sofia for whatever reason, it is located in the central area of the city, and since Taxi services are not so expensive and the museum ticket itself is cheap too, I recommend you to visit it.
I guess anybody can find something interesting there!
Old Skoda tank
Some military vehicles based on russian tank chassis /I believe T-55/
P.S. The most interesting pieces of Bulgarian history in terms of tracked vehicles was found near Bulgarian-Turkish border just couple of years ago. There were Nazi tanks buried in the ground to serve as bunkers and some of them are rare and valuable items. However for whatever reasons, they are not restored and exposed in the museum. Hopefully sometime in the future they will complete the exhibition.
Jagdpanzer IV in great condition
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