Sunday, January 12

Build review: MiniArt's #35094 "Soviet Naval Troops"

MiniArt continue with their new range of “Special Edition” releases with this new set 35094 Soviet Naval Troops in 1/35th scale. We have seen the figures from this kit already in our preview and they look impressive – but let’s see for ourselves when we put them together how the fit and finished articles look like when we put ‘em together.

"Soviet Naval Troops"
Kit: 35094
1/35th scale
7 sprues in grey plastic making 5 figures & equipment
BOX: 260x162x35 mm
MiniArt’s kits can be found on their website.

MiniArt has raised my hopes… After their excellent new kits of some of their softskin vehicles like the AEC armoured car and the GAZ and  L1500 trucks they are forging ahead with their vehicles – their figures though needed a little bit of sprucing up.

Often similar faces and so-so weapons choices with a gappy fit were the achilles heel for MiniArt figures. They have addressed this with their new “special Edition” releases of new figure sets. Packed with more weapons than you might need for two or maybe three sets these new figures want to take on companies like Dragon with their “Gen 2” brand of upgraded mini soldiers. We reviewed one of their new special edition figures last week – “Soviet Soldiers at Rest” and although we did like it we found it not quite “special” enough.

Let’s look at this set to see if there is some change – some light at the end of the tunnel.

Box & instructions:
The usual MiniArt figure box with five bad-ass marines walking down the road “Reservoir Dogs” style with packs and belts heaving with equipment and armed to the teeth, These soldiers are very well illustrated on the box front and the box rear.
The rear of the box shows each of these soldiers in isolation. It is a mini Instruction and painting guide – with little arrows pointing to the soldiers showing where the parts go and the blue numbers showing the colours needed. They are illustrated almost the same as the figures themselves are in real life once constructed. The only thing we are missing is the ribbons on the back of their sailor’s hats.
There are colours on the bottom of the instructions in most of the popular model colours you would want to use with these figures – pretty much most of the big brands are mentioned in numbers here.These instructions show the optional weapon and headgear choices as well.
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 a small instruction sheet to help you with construction as well
Now onto the box contents, first of all the soldier’s equipment..

“The Accessories”

Part of why this is a special release is the “extra” sprues of some updated weapons and personal effects these soldiers carry.
These Soviets have five full sprues 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 supplied sailor’s hat 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.

The insides of the helmets show the good work done in the moulding/design process.
Here is proof of how far MiniArt have gone towards getting a better result – a very well respected resin manufacturer’s PPsh-41 here (bottom) with the MiniArt article on the top – this is great stuff from injection moulding.

Miniart showing slide moulding paying off
MiniArt (top) Resin (bottom)  - pretty nice rendition in plastic!

Here are some of the articles cleaned off the sprue – this is pretty much showing one of each of what is on offer – there is a STACK of left over weapons and equipment here.
I really like these large sheets and weapons that this kit boasts – they add a lot to this boxing.

The figures
The figures in this box are of a fit and detail unlike the last kit from MiniArt of figures I reviewed. They all fit together without a gap in the lap or rear of their backs, the arms and engineering of how they squeezed as much as they could in the way of equipment onto each of these soldiers is excellent. This is common to each of the figures so I will not spend all day saying how much I like them (which I do – they are great) The only thing some of them are missing is that ribbon on the back of their sailor’s hats and sometimes a rifle or MG gun strap.

Let’s look at each of them in numerical order following the box art on the rear.

Figure A is seen strollin’ with his right hand holding the invisible strap of his DP-7.62mm machine gun (or anything else you want to give him – just like all of these troopers. His naval outfit (which again they are all wearing the same outfits) is belted up with a easily visible soviet star on the buckle of his belt.
He carries a long pouch for grenades on his right hip front, a field bag on his left front, whilst on his back he carries the typical sack which housed all their food and a magazine pouch for the DP machine gun. I placed an older style Soviet helmet on his rear to change things around a bit.

Figure B looks around as he walks forward; he is seen almost nervously adjusting his strap for the PPsh-41 he has strapped over his shoulder. As the strap is moulded to his tunic you are best to apply a lot of glue to his hand, and then squash it tight to his torso. Making it look a little more like he is holding something.

Again he carries the grenade pouch on his right, the field bag on his front right with a PPsh magazine in the pouch attached to his front on his belt. You will notice his red star on the cuff of his sleeve as he raises his arm. His excellent looking PPsh-41 is facing down strapped around his right shoulder.

Figure C: The dutiful looking Soviet Officer wears a flat peaked officer’s visor cap as he strides forward purposefully. He has a real strut to his stride as the arms go out and the binoculars on his front chest sort of sway to one side on the moulded on straps. His pocket flaps and square buckled belt are visible here on his torso.
You have a choice of pistols here to give him in holsters and he also carries a field bag over his shoulder as well. You can see clearly his star and rank bar on his arms as he struts it out.

Figure D: probably my favorite figure of the lot as he looks so clean – almost TOO clean, as his fit and load out. He again is only missing the ribbons on his sailor’s hat. His PPsh-41 around his chest he wears the Soviet Marines tunic and pants tucked into his high leather boots with a spare mag in a bag on his right front hip.
Over his right shoulder he carries his field bag on his left hip, his back bears his older style sack that all his food and belonging go into and on his right hip his canteen sits. I gave him the regular style Soviet helmet as well.

Figure E: is the last in the line wears the regular (or older style if you like) Soviet steel helmet with the standard soviet marine tunic and long pants over shoes.
He carries a SVT-40 soviet rifle over his left shoulder with spare ammo in pouches on his front belt, a field bag over his right shoulder and a flask on his rear right hip. He looks every inch the soviet simple soldier and hero of a propaganda photo. His face – as are all the others – is very well sculpted. Like his comrades all he needs is a rifle strap to complete. This is easily made out of foiled paper.
Well that is all that comes in the box – a lot for a figure set!

This is a step in the right direction. There is a far superior fit to these figures than the other “Special Edition” kit we reviewed last week – almost as if done by a different sculptor the engineering and finish is just that much better.
The weapons are excellent for Injection moulded part and the equipment is plentiful. This is indeed a “Special” kit that answers my high hopes for this company. A great set you should get if it falls into your interest bracket. One of the better figure sets I have seen in plastic in a while. Well done to MiniArt on this one.

Adam Norenberg

This and the rest of MiniArt’s kits can be found on their website.
Here they all are – looking every part the propaganda poster all painted up!