by: Darren Baker [ ]
When it comes to figures being covered on Armorama there are two types that grab our members attention; one of these figure types is tank crews and the other is tank riders. The set of figures I will be looking at here are a set of Soviet World War Two infantry designed for display riding on a T34 tank. This offering is one of the most recent figure releases from MiniArt in 1/35th scale.
This offering from MiniArt features five soviet assault infantry in winter weather Clothing and also offers a good selection of weaponry. The figures are supplied on five separate sprues with each figure having its own place and so adding construction by making the parts easy to find. I will say that I am a little disappointed at the amount of flash present; I cannot say it excessive or particularly difficult to remedy, but I donít like finding it on a new product as it does not bode well for the future. In addition to the figure sprues you are provided with another four sprues containing weapons and equipment.
The breakdown of the figures is what you would expect for the most part; the exception to the norm is the heads which have the cover supplied in three separate parts plus the head itself. I like this approach in principle as it makes the painting of the faces easier than they might be, but if the three elements making up the hood donít fit together well I expect some groans.
The winter uniform cover is basically a loose two piece outfit that is worn over a quilted two piece underneath. This clothing does give the figures a tubby appearance, but I do feel this is the correct look. The outer layer can be considered a camouflage smock and trousers. These garments are usually very creased in appearance and MiniArt has done a very nice job of replicating this aspect. The creases present look right and will give these figures a nice look once weathered. These figures have all been depicted wearing the Valenki felt boots that are still produced today; I really like this feature as it is the first figure set which I have seen with them.
The facial features of this offering are not the best I have ever seen, but considering the use of three elements to make up the hoods I can understand the restrictions that MiniArt faced in this offering. The hands of the figures are all depicted wearing mittens with the thumb separate; I always believed that the trigger finger was also separate but that is not clear here.
I have assembled three of the figures and placed them on an old T-34 model I had laying around. Assembly of the figures is straight forward, but clean up of the elements will prove problematic due to the crumbled appearance of the clothing. The seam lines may best be tackled by softening with liquid polly and then smoothing out the seam with a brush rather than the usual scraping approach. The joints are not perfect on these figures that I have assembled, but the design of this uniform lends itself to filling and if done carefully will not require further clean up.
I am really pleased with the look of the two seated figures as they appeal greatly to me visually in all respects. The kneeling figure concerned me during construction due to the very thin waist appearance, but once added to the tank model I think you will agree that it looks good.
The weapons supplied with this offering from MiniArt is a very good selection, and a look at the images I have added show the selection well. The instructions dictate the use of specific weapons with each figure but I am sure some alterations could be made if desired.
Tank riders of any country and time period have a lot of appeal to me and I suspect all of the AFV fans out there reading this. We recently had Russians from ICM and Americans from Master Box, this set from MiniArt I see as a great addition to what is an increasing range of such figures. The amount of flash is disappointing to see on a new offering but once removed or hidden will no longer present an issue. This set will I suspect be one of those offering that goes out of stock in outlets very quickly and I urge you to get it when you can.