by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
Repairing on the road from MiniArt is one of those diorama central things in one box that they release every so often. This features one of their soft skinned personnel cars that has broken down and is in the process of trying to be repaired by the driver and his comrade, while two officers look on one with mirth and one who is less than happy.
This offering from MiniArt arrives in the standard cardboard tray, with a separate card lid featuring the artwork for the model. Inside there is a single plastic bag, containing the sprues for the model, the decals and the photo etch in a card sleeve. Loose in the box, is the instruction booklet and a small card box containing the body of the car. An examination of the contents of the model reveals some very nice mouldings for the vehicle, but the figures do have a lot of excess flash on them.
The soft skinned vehicle is the Mercedes L70. Anyone who is familiar with any of the delivery vehicles that MiniArt has released will know the delights that await them. MiniArt has included a very nicely replicated engine and gearbox, which I am pleased to see has not been overly complicated with looks of photo etch. There are however, some aspects that have been supplied in photo etch which increases the difficulty of the model as a whole. The result however, does warrant the effort. The chassis is made of one main piece, but again there are some photo etch elements that have been included that I feel takes this kit up a level as regards finish, but requires that the modeller has a modicum of experience utilising photo etch parts. The modeller will need to supply some wire for the engine as nothing is provided and so this allows for the modellers own persona to be added. I am particularly pleased that MiniArt has provided guides to bend in 0.2mm pieces of wire into the correct shapes to replicate the brake cable.
The axels of the model have been well replicated especially with regards to the suspension. The springs at the rear are springs, which while not workable could be shown at different levels of compression, by reducing the arms that go through them. The front axle of the model disappoints in one respect, in that surgery will need to be carried out in order to show the wheels turned. Once all of the oily elements have been brought together you will have a very realistic looking chassis with engine, gearbox, axels and drive shafts and exhaust that will allow a realistic exposure of any element on the model. Moving on to the floor of the model, and you are provided with a very good moulding on both the lower and upper surface. The fire wall between the engine and passenger compartment is especially nice in this model, as separate tools are provided for storage on top of it, a separate fuel tank is included for installation, and the foot pedals are attached to it before addition to the floor, which makes access easy.
The nicely upholstered seats have a very new look to them, but with this being a staff car, that is not really an issue. I personally would like to add a little wear and tear to them, and a modeller has shown me how to achieve this using tissue paper and PVA glue. The dashboard of the vehicle has decals provided for the instruments, plus clear glazed pieces to over the top of them. While I feel this is a good effort on the part of MiniArt, the only way I can think to secure them is via a product like clear floor polish, as most glue’s would haze the clear parts. The body work of the vehicle is a particularly fine moulding, and that is why it is protected in its own box. The curves of the vehicle are very nicely provided, good clear glazing is included, and I particularly like the photo etch provided for the grille at the front of the vehicle. The hood/bonnet had been very well moulded and is correctly replicated to allow you to shoe it open or closed; with particular attention paid to the securing latches using plastic and photo etch parts. This is only a two door vehicle and MiniArt has provided door cards for these doors, with separate door furniture on both the inside and outside of the doors. A nice inclusion from MiniArt is that the soft canvas roof, can be shown open or closed and there is also a luggage storage frame for the rear of the cars.
MiniArt has provided six finishing options – These are as follows:
III,/JG52,Luftwaffe,Eastern Front, Ukraine, Summer 1943
272nd Infantry Division, Wehrmacht, Normandy, France, Summer 1944
Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, 1944
German Police, 1942
Wehrmacht, Eastern Front, Winter 1942/43
Luftwaffe, Italy 1943
I like having a good selection of finishing options, but I prefer clearly indentified vehicles as opposed to vague ones.
The four figures provided in the box, while disappointing with regards to the amount of flash present, they do have good detail. The officers have early war style uniforms, due to the detail of the pockets flaps on the officer’s jacket. This could of course, be due to them having them tailored themselves, which was not uncommon. The person turning the starter handles of the car also has these detailed pockets, and due to most of the options being late war, I would alter the flaps on this individual. The other figure is shown wearing a shirt and no jacket, and so this issue does not exist, but it would have been nice if his removed jacket had been included in the set. Jack boots are worn by all four figures, which is another indicator of early rather than late war attire.
I am a big fan of these dioramas in a box that MiniArt provides, as it brings all your elements together, just requiring you to set the scene. The vehicle is especially nicely detailed, and beyond the need to add the wires in the engine bay, and my gripe about not being able to show the wheels turned easily. I can’t see any aspect to complain about. The figures I am disappointed about the amount of flash present, but once cleaned up have potential to be very good. I do think this set requires the discarded jacket to make it a complete set.