1/35– Kit no 36026
Lets look in depth at the Russian Street diorama that landed on our desks this very day - hopefully it lives up to the pictures on the boxart!
Kit no: 36026
Subject: Russian Street
Kit Type: Plastic injection moulded - (176 parts)
Product Link: MiniArt
Those prolific diorama, figure and military modelling people at MiniArt have sent another kit of interest us this month. From their military diorama series in 1/35 they send us the kit no 36026 “Russian Street” – it looks pretty simple – but in the simplicity lies the appeal, lets investigate more…
The usual attractive looking box artwork supplies six sprues of building accessories and three sheets of plastic, much like Vac-form, and a black and white instruction sheet of four sheets and sixteen process steps (some multiplied to make duplicates) to complete the kit. This looks to be a fast construction process. The thing that strikes me straight away is that the perspectives are covered here – you have a high rear to fill out the diorama with a smaller foreground. I will go through the parts to show you about the construction
This kit has a large base part “slab” of plastic on which everything rests with a clear track for the walls of the building to sit on snugly. This foundation is strewn with rubble and the cobblestones in the street can be easily painted to make a great representation of the real thing. You may want to add rubble and distressed brickwork but this is suitable if you do not.
Here is the base to show the scale with a smal schwimmwagen on it
Roughly half of the base section is cobbled road and the other half is the base behind the building, a compromise has been made between the foreground and the background. I like a large base and this to me is too little footprint. It is a little “tight” in front where you may have room for nothing larger than a small AFV to sit on. This size diorama is however perfect for soldiers or cars though. Everyone has their personal preference and most people will be perfectly happy for this space. Having some room on the rear allows you to show the diorama from the rear which is better than most kits in other mediums which only have one “show” side
The walls are the sandwich together type where you are to trim around the edges of the plastic and glue the walls together.
Rear wall section
The sheets of plastic need to be trimmed to make the shapes of the walls that sit on the large bas slab of plastic. This can be tricky but the key is to have lots of hot glue on hand to joining the two halves of the buildings together. A regular brick wall for instance has lots of joins horizontally but with this method of construction you must eliminate the vertical seam that is the join of the two pieces together. This is easy with a bunch of “hot” glue which will melt the two halves together almost. Having Superglue on hand is also handy because it can fill in any gaps you may make if you “over-carve” or cut off too much of the kit. There are positives and negatives to this approach – but once you get a method that works it’s a lot easier to construct these kits.
When building this kit you could not do too badly by looking at this link at which there is an excellent painting and construction guide that shows you a great bunch of techniques to help in construction of the diorama. It certainly is a revelation and shows you with a bit of technique this can be made up pretty well.
nicely detailed brickwork to pick out the detail
The bricks and the fascia of the building are of the smaller brick variety which looks great even unpainted. You can see the patterns of the brickwork alternate and certain areas inside the building where the damage to the building have taken the rendering from the building away exposing bare brick. Bullet holes and damage to the brick work is replicated here for you so you do not have to go digging into the plastic and fill it in yourself. This is one of the minuses of plastic buildings in dioramas MiniArt have circumvented and made into easy work for us builders. Well done to them for such a good surface on the walls.
Two examples of the instructions…
The instructions would have you build the building and street accessories first – I would do it in the other order – if you had an irregularity in the fit or wanted to change something minor in the walls construction you have the option to “cheat” the fit of the accessories then.
There are on offer here:
There are on offer here:
Window and door “furniture” and frames in two times two sprues
Streetlamps and electrical tram poles in two sprues
…And a fence and outside wooden seat pair of sprues
Usually from these sprues you get some spares as well which is a good little gift for another diorama you are making. These sprues carry some flash and the fence especially takes some clean up but comes out beautifully in the end. The wood grain in this fence looks great with a black, then a lighter base and then a highlight colour in a dry brush – here is a fence I painted recently – nice stuff – you can see why it’s an easy inclusion in their other diorama kits.
Unconstructed unpainted fence – the potential is there for great depth - just a quick clean up and....
The excellent end result - Here’s one I painted earlier – it is the same sprue as above
The street tram electric poles are a great addition to this kit – with some thin wires you could use these poles to depict a broken down tram system above the tracks in the base section near the curb, (or footpath for the Aussies) this draped so it is hanging unevenly on the ground looks great and fully portrays a broken down system – all we need now is a busted tram!!
The window frames and the door section again is a transfer from other kits in MiniArt’s modular fashion which I think is pretty smart. The windows and door frames fit inside the joined pieces of the wall and disguise the cracks you may have in the totally flat holes. A great way to mask mistakes and a cost saving no doubt to MiniArt. This is a good solution for modellers as well so I think everyone wins here.
Lovely window furniture
Street lights and pole bases
The tram lines - nice and robust will look lovely painted and weathered a little or a lot
The only thing this kit is missing is maybe some signage identifying it as a Russian street or a poster or two for the walls – this however is a stylistic idea and I know every building in Russian history did not have a sign or a slogan on it. It’s just a little thing to break up the colours and give some interest. If you have any other MiniArt kits though you could probably get them from those as they commonly include these in their dioramas.
All in all a simple diorama with good dimensions and a lot of “high” coverage at the back of the scene to make a better picture. MiniArt understands the rules of a good diorama and now they have the formula they are making kits still different from each other but similar in basic plot. Hats off to them for making the little differences to make this a winner and quite a convincing diorama when built up.
Some pictures of the kit made up from the MiniArt Site - thanks to them for the kit – it’s a beauty!