Well if you were to look at this box art you wouldn’t be upset at the Sarn’t Major for calling this lot a bunch of “lollygagging Layabouts” – but the REAL story is they are riding on a tank and that is the reason for their sitting down poses – let’s look at this new set from MiniArt now to see whether they are truly ready for battle!
MiniArt 35118 “British Tank Riders (NW Europe)”
Kit No: 35118
Kit type: Styrene injection moulded
Sprues: 2 in grey 71 (parts)
Available from: MiniArt Distributors
MiniArt bring us a bunch of new figures, tanks and buildings every month and never fail to impress with their new and innovative ideas. This month the model company from the Ukraine bring us five figures of the British Army called “British Tank Riders (NW Europe)” to top up our collection of English troops in our stash.
Along with the front artwork there is a duplicate on the rear of these figures – looking at it I see that there is a paint call out on the back of the box in all of the majorly favoured model paints as well as a small paper sheet inside the box showing the parts layout with little key numbers on each part. These parts correspond with the letters on the illustration on the back of the box – so this is the instruction sheet – of sorts. I initially thought there were no instructions in the kit – but you would have to be in the wrong game altogether to need them as this is the most basic of constructions really. MiniArt has helped by grouping the same figure on each branch of the sprue to keep everything neat and easy to follow.
Box contents with little sprue map on the left
This kit comes in a white cardboard box with simple artwork portraying just the troops in each of their positions and not showing what they would be sitting on, which is good as there can be no false advertising there. If you look at the poses the figures are striking they need not even be on a tank at all – they could be equally at home in a pile of crates or a farmhouse or on another type of vehicle – the sky is the limit really.
There are two small sprues of grey styrene in the box which seems big in comparison to its contents – the figures are moulded sharply with a lot of attention to detail in the torso area especially and the faces are really impressive! Facial figures are easily picked out and the soldiers all look different from one another in the face. I especially love the NCO’ big ‘tash (moustache) it’s a real old school handlebar job and totally appropriate for an older soldier to have. A great contrast to the younger troops as well for a diorama.
Not a big deal at all but it must be mentioned - there is flash on the figures – a little around the thinner edges like the entrenching tools but like the ever present seams on the torsos ( I haven’t spotted one maker of injected moulded kits that cannot get away from this) the clean-up is not at all excessive and won’t take long.
The soldiers are all wearing standard British battle dress and webbing and regulation “tommy” style helmets. The helmets shown on the box art have webbing but the ones on the kit do not which I s a shame. What is not a shame however is the finesse with which the pouches and equipment the soldiers are carrying especially the cloth. The folds of cloth on the torso and the legs and the bags the riders are carrying sits really pretty lifelike on the soldier’s bodies – these will be a cinch to paint and fun to detail - let’s go through them in turn starting with figure A on the back of the box and working through.
Figure A –
This soldier is seen leaning to the right with his right arm resting higher on his right leg which is slightly perched up. His left leg is straight down as is his arm which is holding his rifle. He has the standard webbing on with two pouches on his front torso which come separate on the sprue. He carries an entrenching tool and a large forage pack and a water bottle. A bayonet is included with all of these soldiers but I wouldn’t want to be jumping around on a tank with one drawn!
Figure B –
This soldier is sitting down with his legs out in front of him with his Lee Enfield drawn to his port. Again this soldier has a bare helmet and his equipment is the same as the first solder. He has webbing with two pouches on his front torso, an entrenching tool and a large forage pack and a water bottle plus trusty tin opener (his bayonet).
Figure C –
The third figure is sitting on the deck a little like figure B but is leaning a bit to the left with his left arm on the deck, his right arm holding his .303 rifle and his right leg up a little. You may have to modify his straps a little as the forage pack he is carrying will be hanging to the side like the box art artist has drawn it and the straps are moulded here to the body, not hanging off it. Hanging off his webbing he has the two pouches on his front torso, an entrenching tool, the forage pack and a water bottle and bayonet.
Figure D –
Figure D is leaning to his right with his right palm resting flat on the ground. He is seen here sitting on his hip cradling his rifle with his left arm which is holding it upright resting on its but. Speaking of buts he is sitting on his with his left leg arched up a little.
He has the same equipment as his “chums” Lee Enfield .303 with separate bayonet, Ammo Pouches and forage pack with entrenching tool and water bottle for his hip.
Figure E - The sergeant is shown here in a pose sitting down with his pelvis to the left hand side, left hand down resting it (on the tank) and right arm cradling his sten gun. On the same arm you can clearly make out the Sargent’s stripes near his cuff though you cannot work out which unit he is from.( – like all of his comrades.)
The guys at MiniArt have a good sense for bringing the people what they want and I think British tankers from this period are in some demand – The figure themselves are above industry standard in their sculpting of the torsos equipment and faces for an injection moulded kit. Well done MiniArt!
Many thanks to MiniArt for the kit we reviewed
Here are some of the figures made up at the MiniArt site