Friday, August 12

Construction Review: MiniArt's 35th scale Tram Crew w/Passengers

To match the very good pair of trams (and several other civilian dio pieces) that MiniArt have developed we have the new crew & passenger set that matches these trams very well – well that is the pitch – let’s put the figures together to see how they look…

Construction Review:
Tram Crew w/Passengers
From Miniart Models
Kit No #38007
BOX: 260x162x35 m
This kit contains 45 parts - models of five figures.

The latest set of figures from MiniArt is promised as a ready replacement to fit into either one of their two trams in 35th scale that they have released last year. These trams are great – and desperately need passengers to add to the scene so the premise is good – what about the figures?
But first- the setting – Berlin and many other German – and indeed European countries used and still do use trams in their transport networks. These are cheap and easy – often hop on and hop off services that usually employ one or two staff. A driver and the conductor who clears the doors and collects fares. Often Women were employed – especially in wartime to be conductors.

Female train dispatcher at Nollendorfplatz subway station in Berlin, 1940
Actress playing a streetcar conductor in the conservatory in Berlin which appeared BVZ program (what about those teeth?)
The male tram driver here from the side- it’s a little harder to track down his uniform… (not as photogenic as the ladies)
The usual white box with red writing and lovely figure art is the typical style from Miniart – very nice looking, but maybe a bit large for the five figures on the one sprue. These figures are captured in a plastic bag for safe travel before their trip on your tram.
On the back of the box, you have the typical painting / painting instruction guide to put these simple figures together. These are pictures isolated of the front box art with colours in Vallejo, Mr Color, Tamiya, Revell and Lifecolor as well as the general colours these figures are shaded in real life. Handy, but not that necessary to stick to these, considering they are civilian passengers, but the two railway workers this will be very helpful. It’s good to have a variety of paint colours included here for all modeller’s tastes.
The plastic:
The plastic on these sculpts is a little better than the ones we saw last week of the German Tankers with a pig. The faces suffer less in the way of mould seems to be removed, and the figures go together pretty easily. Only the handbag on the woman seemed a bit difficult to place at first. The heads and bodies seem to fit each other ok. You will have a gap or two that needs to be filled, but this is the case with most injection figures.

Let’s look at each of the figures now in order – and how they go together and look like. Each of the figures is called out on the back of the box in A-E letters so we will look at them like that also.

Construction Review:
Figure A: This man is made up of eleven parts in total – the plastic also included the parts for his well-sculpted suitcase
The depth of this figure once put together is impressive, the pants and the vest underneath the thick jacket with pockets, buttons and thick creases all around the body all pinch and move in a way that looks natural – even under all this is his tie and collared shirt.
The face, with a flat cap on top is very European, and he can be used anywhere in the continent or even east in the Soviet Union for that matter and does not necessarily he does not have to be tied to a tram diorama.

Figure B: This next figure looks a little bit like Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees -To me, he does anyway -  His face is different to the other passenger and the rest of his parts are made up from eight pieces of injection moulded plastic.
The man is seen boarding the tram (bus, step or whatever.) Seen here looking like a dapper gent, with his double-breasted suit over his shirt and tie while he carries a coat over his left hand as well as a dress hat in the same hand.  All of the details of the folds of his jacket and the coat over his arm look very good. The face is well sculpted and the fact that he is moving will be appreciated by modellers looking for something more than a pose in a figure.

Figure C: We get swanky next - with a lovely looking lady made from ten parts of grey plastic. This figure is made with bare legs underneath a hollow skirt which wraps around the figure’s waist. A little hard to place – it is none the less satisfying to see this open slightly to reveal the body of a figure, and not a solid mass of plastic lie on some offerings.
The lay’s coat is thick and puffy as in the style of the time – worn over her other clothes and tapered at the waist with the belt on the coat. Her handbag was tricky to place at first – but after I found that it wrapped around the arm it made a lot of sense to place it like that and it fit well. Her face is not so pretty – but her hair looks great!

Figure D: This lady fare collector/ conductor is next – made from eight parts of plastic. She is seen in a work trouser and jacket (typical for the female tram workers of the time.)
She is seen here with her coin collection case and fare bag on her waist over her uniform. This uniform is seen with several badges I am not 100% able to place here, more research could help you to better detail them. She has a book open – either looking at a timetable or writing something. Again she is a fairly robust looking woman - but her face is sculpted well and she does not look like anyone else here.

Figure E: Looking quite correct here- this man could well be driving the tram – or talking to a passenger – he is much needed in these trams as they don’t drive themselves do they?
Made from seven parts of grey plastic – this tram driver is seen in a detailed tram driver’s uniform with a whistle in his pocket connected to his jacket by a strand. His uniform is weighty, and wrinkles around his arms which are up I would think in the action of steering his tram. The way the pants fold down around the feet are impressive. He looks like and older man to me…
Here they are – all together – they are all in the same scale in the hands, feet and heads. Pretty nice looking bunch after just a little bit of work.
This set is much needed – and although it is not MiniArt’s best figure set (and they can do GREAT work) it is adequate and it will fill that need of people who bought the tram but with no passengers.  I would add some soldiers to his mix or children to flesh out a wartime scene.

They need some work but there is a lot of potential in this set

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to MiniArt for sending this set to us to build and review.
Here is the set painted up on the Miniart site to show you a little of how they can look when finished.