Monday, January 6

Build review: MiniArt 35109 Soviet Soldiers At Rest

MiniArt are vamping up their figure range – new figures include extra weapons and equipment with more detailed instructions and painting guides – it all spells for a better experience for modellers – but is it merely window-dressing? Let’s have a look when we build MiniArt’s 1/35th scale 35109 Soviet Soldiers at Rest kit.

Soviet Soldiers at Rest
Kit: 35109
1/35th scale
BOX: 260x162x35 mm
This kit contains 134 parts making 5 soldiers and equipment from 6 grey sprues.
MiniArt’s distributors can be found on their website.

MiniArt has had a little of the “Gen 2” treatment to their latest set of figures. They are releasing their new ranges with all the suitable weapons they could carry and utilising slide moulds to do it – well they are releasing several sets with these extra weapons sprues but not all, and these are often as good as spare parts kits as they are for the figures…
….But I should wash my mouth out with soap and water – as these figures of some Soviet soldiers having a knees up camping do not look too bad. With injection moulded figures it is always good to put them together though – so today ill take a look at the sprues and put the figures together – also a look at each of the weapons & personal effects that can be swapped in and out as you please.

Now onto the box contents…

In the box we have some nice artwork of these Red Army soldiers at the campfire– five of them in winter outfits, cooking it up - and on the weapons included in this special release highlighted on the front box art.
The rear of the box shows each of the soldiers in isolation from each other with a parts instruction in arrow form and colours for each part of the figures and the weapons they carry using the same method. There are colours on the bottom of the instructions in most of the model colours you would want to use with these figures.
Also a nice part of the rear of the box is a diagram of each of the weapons and equipment showing what the name of each of these items are. Often in the past I have had trouble tracking down what weapons actually come in the box – MiniArt tell you in this special release boxings exactly what each of these are called – this is really a nice thing to know as sometimes you really cannot  tell! It really helps with painting and detailing them as well.

The picture below shows you exactly what comes in the box as the “extras” go.
There is also a paper instruction / sprue layout included in the box that you probably will not need. The plastic inside the box is in medium grey and surprisingly seam free and flash free. It will need a little cleaning up but it is pretty good looking on the sprue.

The "Accessories”
Part of why this is a special release is the bundled in updated weapons and personal effects.
These soviets have a full sprue of equipment to keep them occupied. Not only their weapons like the Moisin Nagant rifles, TT38 pistols and PPsh-41 sub machine guns. They also have packs, binocular cases, and water flasks, ammo of all kinds, grenades and even a spoon and cup in 35th scale!
MiniArt have used slide moulds to create some real three dimensional shapes in some of the parts you can see from some of the pictures here that the parts are moulded top and bottom and have holes in the barrels like the PPsh-41 machine guns. This is a quality not seen in any but “Dragon’s Gen 2” weapons. That is a good thing as the accessories of these soldiers draw the eye as much as the figures themselves. I am glad to see companies making the effort.
The helmets and headgear are full of choices - from the padded thick “Ushanka” hats to the typical soviet soldier’s helmet to the early pre-Barbarossa helmet with a bump on top of it – all three add their own look to the soldiers and they can be swapped at will.
I really like these large sheets and weapons that this kit boasts – they add a lot to this boxing.

Here are some of the articles cleaned off the sprue

The figures
Now I am not going to beat around the bush here – these figures are part of a special edition boxing – I see however not much of anything special about them. Please do not get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with them but I think the special is more concerned with the added extras than the five soldiers here in plastic.
These figures all have quite good faces – their body language is well laid out and their poses are very handy to have for a diorama. But there remain a few fit problems and this is why they loose that “special edition” feeling for me. I may well be spoiled by the finesse of a lot of figures out there on the market – but I am not an ocean and everyone else has access to the same figures. People expect a flush fit and smart engineering. Some of these parts really do not want to go together so easily without "a choppin'"  so measure twice – but cut and glue once after you have test fitted them.
The holes left in the torsos especially, can be easily fixed with some filler so this is no real drama. I must make you aware that you will need some TLC when putting these together.

I will go thru them now one by one – starting at “Figure A”

Figure A is seen sitting down eating from his metal tin with a spoon
With full “telegroica” padded pants and jacket and high boots this soldier’s clothing is fairly wrinkly and thick. The soldier’s arms meet at a natural place in the middle of his front so he can eat from his mess tin with a spoon.
He will have a small gap in his rear to fill as well at his waist at the front. Otherwise he is gap free. You will have to open the gap on his right hand so you can slip his spoon he is eating with.

Figure B looks to me to be the officer of the group – he is seen wearing a thick overcoat which ere preferential pieces of clothing as well as high boots. He has a strap around his torso which could well house a map pack or any of the various extras supplied by the kit. You can see the officer ranks on his overcoat collar.
This is a little complicated – but well thought out figure with legs and arms that meet normally in four arts at the waist and then the coat flaps what sit loose with gravity and is split down the back and front. He will need you to flatten out his upper and body joints where these parts all meet otherwise there will be a gap on him. He is eating with spoon and mess tin as well and his leg is up while he watches the men/ scene in front of him.

Figure C: is looking like he is doing the Russian folk dance doesn’t he? – He is seen wiping his mouth while offering his cup forward for another cup of …coffee obviously.
I chose to put the old fashioned red army helmet on this one – it is pretty big but this and the other helmet  (which are both lined inside like the real thing) can sit on any of these figures but there is a good angle they look correct on. His padded telegroica and high boots look good and his five parts of this arms and torso meet ok with only a small gap in the rear to fill.

Figure D: Is seen tending the fire and cooking - with creativity he could be used for any number of manual working whilst hunched over there like this. He wears again his warm ushanka fur hat and padded telegroica pants and jacket with high leather boots.
There is a small gap on his rear but with a little trimming and creative glue and maybe even some filler he is a pretty good figure with a good face.

Figure E: is the last in the box – he is seen sitting down with a cup in one hand passing a flask to his comrade. Wearing padded pants and jacket and high boots, I put him in the more familiar Russian steel helmet.
He meets up well on the rear of the torso but on the front waist section there is a small gap. Whilst his arm sockets all fit ok his head looks just a little bit small – maybe it is his helmet being so big!

There is also some rations for the dinner and the cooking stand to hang your pot or tin off. It looks like a variable little feast they are having here and adds to the scene – it is a dio in one if you want to use them but it might look even better with the addition of some extra soldiers to make a large group.
This is a very good set that – after a bit of gap closing fulfills its potential a little more than straight out of the box. The extras in the weaponry and equipment are a little goldmine but the figures will need some modelling to get the very best from them - Just that extra bit is needed and they will look very good.

Adam Norenberg

This and the rest of MiniArt’s kits can be found on their website.