by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has a good name when it comes to figures, but there plastic sometimes comes in for criticism for being brittle and so causing parts to break. Due to this issue MiniArt has changed their supplier and despite being in Ukraine has continued to release models covering a broad spectrum. It should be remembered that due to the conflict in Ukraine they have up sticks and moved to another part of the country, and despite this they have not only managed to keep supplying models, but have also kept up a steady stream of new offerings. In this review I will be looking at their 76mm Gun Mod 1941with Limber and Crew.
This offering from MiniArt is packaged in a rigid cardboard tray with a card lid, the tray should manage the postage systems of the world, but the lid will need further protection. Inside of the box you will find;
14 grey plastic sprues
1 photo etch fret
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
This model offering from MiniArt can be thought of as a diorama in a box, just add the terrain and you have your diorama. A look over the contents leaves me happy with what is there, there is no flash of note or any other issues that jumped out at me. One thing I would consider that needs changing is the packing of all of the parts in a single plastic bag, there are no breakages that I detected but that could be the result of this packaging method.
The artillery gun is this offering is quite well detailed, but it needs to be said that it is not excessive; by this I mean they have not broken parts down to microscopic levels for the sake of doing so, and as such I feel that any reasonably skilled modeller will cope with it. There are of course some small parts in the model, with some of the photo etched parts being the most likely to make you swear.
The model has been offered with a number of features that I have picked out or that were pointed out in the instructions, these are;
A slide moulded barrel
Ability to elevate the gun
Ability to show recoil
Breach can be open or closed
The slot in the shield for sighting the gun can be open or closed
The gun can be assembled in action or in a towed state
The only aspect that is missing in terms of display that I can see is that the gun barrel cannot be shown traversed. Most artillery pieces have a limited traverse, and I believe that is the case with this gun, but the method of assembly means it is locked in a dead ahead setting; not a big issue I feel you will agree.
Construction wise other than some filler being needed around the joining seam of the rear of the barrel, breach and recuperator, it should be plain sailing as far as I can see at this point. As mentioned there are some small parts, mostly photo etched parts that will require care and a steady hand. The tyres for the wheels have been supplied in the slices style, and this has enabled good tread definition if care is taken during assembly.
With this offering there are six sprues of ammunition, these are from a previous set released by MiniArt. The moulds are holding up well judging by the looks of these sprues, as other than a light scrap where the two halves of the mould met, these are ready to go. In this offering you get;
12 armour piercing shells
12 high explosive shells
12 fragmentation shells
6 used cartridges for the HE and fragmentation
6 used cartridges for the AP shells
Also included are six ammunition crates on the shell sprues and another on the figure sprue, there are also two more unidentified shells on the figure sprue. The ammunition box on the figure sprue is ok, but nowhere near is detailed as the other boxes. The boxes on the shell sprues are very crisply moulded, and have excellent wood grain detail. The stays are also supplied with these boxes and so they can be shown open with shells in place and accurately secured if desired.
The limber supplied by MiniArt is in some ways more complex than the gun. The frame around the seating area is assembled from individual parts that will make this area taxing to assemble. If you are going to display your model as being towed you have two options open to you, MiniArt has supplied the parts for a horse drawn limber and gun, and that is what they indicate in the instructions; however the parts could also be assembled in a vehicle towed format if preferred. The tyres for the wheels have been supplied in the slices style, and this has enabled good tread definition if care is taken during assembly.
The five man gun crew supplied with this offering from MiniArt is one of their older figure sets. The moulds I believe have been cleaned up or they are in an exceptional condition. There is nothing in the way of seam lines to worry about beyond what is normal. The uniforms have good crease detail present and I even like the boot detail. A scrap with a sharp point around where the jackets covers the trousers and the trousers enter the boots should provide better definition in these areas and improve the look of separate uniform parts.
The faces of the figures look very good, and considering this is an older figure set I am very pleased and impressed with this aspect. The hands however are not up to the same standard and look a little blobby in some cases. The personal weapons supplied with these figures are acceptable, but not as crisp as I have come to expect from MiniArt and of course the barrels will need a little drilling to improve them. The personal equipment and ammunition pouches look quite good to me
The instructions supplied with this kit are reasonably clear, but what I really like are the finishing options suggested, it is nice to see Russian equipment that is not just green. There is also a considerable number of decals provided, most being for the ammunition and boxes.
This model offers what I believe will be a very nice diorama in a box, placed behind a hedge or in a dugout and you will have the possibility of a very hectic scene of a gun going into direct fire mode against an unseen enemy. The gun will need some filler as indicated previously, but it is a sound offering from MiniArt. The limber provided is a take it or leave it for later item in the model, but does look good. The supply of ammunition is plentiful and varied and a big boost to the modeller, especially the slide moulded spent cartridges. The gun crew can be brought up to a good standard with a little work on the part of the modeller; the hands being the only real area of concern I have. All told I rather like this offering from MiniArt.