|MINIART - Italian Tank Crew|
A useful and well sculpted figure set from MiniArt!
Italian Tank Crew
Serial Number: 35093
Price: £8.09 (ModelHobbies)
MiniArt from the Ukraine, began making plastic kits in 2003, and has rapidly made a name for themselves, not only producing vehicle kits, but also for their figure sets, both historical and military in nature. Not so long ago they began producing a range of high quality modular dioramic bases, unusually in vac-form. After initial hesitation from some modellers, they've now gained a respectable following.
The kit contains just two medium-sized sprues, containing the parts for five figures, representing Italian WWII tank crew figures. The parts breakdown is conventional, i.e. separate upper torso, arms, legs and head. In addition, all of the figures have separate headgear too, and obviously personal kit items. Moulding is fairly sharp, although there is a small amount of fine flash that will be removed in the course of normal clean up.
Two of the figures are posed in a seated position, as if seated on the hull or on the edge of an open hatch though, not in for example a driver's position. Both of these figures are wearing the one-piece overalls, and both have pistol holsters and the Bandolier with two two-pouch ammunition pouches. There does seem to be some disagreement on that, in that the pistol version seem to have had three pouches, I await clarification of anybody knows? Their headgear is the padded leather tankers helmet, provided in several parts. The complicated earstraps are actually moulded on to the figures head, with the helmet itself being provided as a separate part, and then another piece to represent the leather flaps plus neck cover. I haven't actually tried assembling these yet, but I am a little concerned that it may end up looking like the box art, and to be honest, after looking at the real thing I can't see how the ear flaps would be positioned like they are on the illustration? Unless a particularly strong wind was blowing.
Of the three standing figures, one is again depicted wearing overalls, although they're illustrated in a different colour on the box art, they can be the same colour although blue was I believe, more common depending on where exactly the figure is placed. He is also depicted wearing a sidecap, and again the two pouch bandolier. Separate parts are supplied for the goggles he has pushed up on to his cap, plus pistol, and gloves peeking out of his left leg pocket.
The other two figures are both sculpted wearing leathers, although of two different types, the bottom portions of which, below the belt, are provided as separate parts to better represent the undercut. The first is standing, wearing a leather three-quarter double-breasted coat, again a bandolier with pistol, boots with leather leggings and leather tankers helmet. Although he is shown with goggles around his neck there are none provided in the set. The fifth figure is an officer, and wears a leather double-breasted jacket, shorter than the other coat, boots, leather leggings, pistol, mapcase, and has binoculars around his neck. The strap fro the hanging binoculars are moulded into the torso, and he's wearing a sidecap, provided as a separate part.
The moulding of all the parts, as briefly mentioned earlier, is pretty good once the fine flash has been dealt with and as also said, is part of the normal clean up anyway. Four of the five faces are moulded with facial hair, which is usually not a good idea on injection moulded figures, as it usually doesn't look good. Surprisingly in this case, it does. Even the officer's Clark Gable like effort can actually be seen on the bare plastic, but doesn't look overdone. It will be interesting to paint these.
A really useful set of figures, although obviously only if you're modelling an Italian vehicle. Having said that, they're handy to have in your stash just in case, and paired with the dedicated Lifecolor Italian Tankers Uniform set, you'll never be caught short! Recommended!
My thanks to MiniArt for the review sample!