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MiniArt 1/35 Soviet Tank Crew at Work Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer MiniArt
Subject Soviet Tank Crew at Work Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35017 Primary Media 37 parts in grey styrene
Pros Nice, modern set of figures in casual poses "doing something" around a tank Cons "Not German"
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $9.00

First Look

For too many years the wealth of figures and figure sets produced have been too closely focused on only WWII German subjects, which has been very frustrating to the rest of the armor and figure community. When the stray American, Russian or (heaven forbid!) Commonwealth set came out, modelers would fall on it like a pack of hungry piranhas no matter how good – or bad – it was.

Happily many of the newer manufacturers have seen this and now the Chinese and Eastern European ones are filling the void, and with good, high quality figures too. MiniArt has begun with a pretty good track record on figures, and now Soviet WWII modelers have been able to get some decent figures to compliment the growing number of WWII Soviet armored vehicles offered.

This set provides five Soviet tankers performing maintenance. Three of the figures are posed as it operating a bore brush for the main armament (which was usually carried in sections inside the longest of the stowage bins – "ZIP" in Russian for spares, tools and accessories – on the fenders of nearly all combat vehicles. One bareheaded figure is posing with a rag in hand and the commander is standing in a relaxed position with his hands set to drape over an open hatch.

The one thing that I have noticed about the new MiniArt figures is that their facial sculpting yields to no one. The five heads in this set are the equal of many of the after-market resin ones offered and can be shown to have individual expressions and even ethnicity – one tanker hear looks to be a Tadzhik (central Asian) with a shaven head and it shows. The same goes for the other four.

Anyone with a good set of tank blueprints may want to have the man with the rag working on cleaning out the tank's air cleaners, which needed constant maintenance with a good cleaning by the crew every 3-4 hours (until 1951 when UVZ finally created a working design that solved that problem.)

Finishing is provided similar to DML boxing with an assembly diagram and color directions on the back of the box. Interior directions provide a handy sketch of where the parts for each figure are located on the sprue.

Overall, this is a great set and one that any diorama modeler would be able to find good use for with a T-34 or IS tank or other 1943 and later armored vehicle.