Tuesday, January 28

Build review: MiniArt's new #35108 "Soviet Infantry" set.

Miniart’s news sets of “Special Edition” figures steadily impress me more and more as we get a chance to make them – we have reviewed two of these sets already  this month – one set needed work and the other was really very good – what would this release – very similar in concept to their last kit of Soviet Naval troops be like? Only one way to see as we review and build them up to see how they really go together..

Kit: 35108
1/35th scale
6 sprues in grey plastic making 5 figures & equipment
BOX: 260x162x35 mm
MiniArt’s kits can be found on their website.

It is nice to have choice. The toy soldiers you had when you were young all stabbing and killing and shooting seem so appealing at the time – but I know personally that as I am (a little) older now I seem to like the soldiers doing every day type of stuff. This is what this box of new figures contains – just five soviet soldiers walking down the road.
This is a box containing five figures of Soviet Infantry from WWII. There are four infantrymen and their officer depicted here – doing nothing more dramatic than walking down the road. They look like a few of the propaganda shots of soviet soldiers strolling on parade. It is nice to see a non-dramatic kit along with some of their “action” kits as large dioramas often in the rear areas need lots of often unrelated groups of figures going about their business. You could even include these in other sets of marching groups.
This kit – like it’s special edition brothers is packed with more weapons than you might need for two or maybe three sets. Miniart is - with these new figures taking on companies like Dragon with their updated “Gen 2” brand of figures – and they have a right to challenge them by the look of the skill shown here. We reviewed two of their new special edition figures recently and found them to be top quality – “Soviet Soldiers at Rest” and “Soviet Naval Troops”
Made up of SIX sprues in grey injection moulded plastic  – two featuring the soldiers and the other four representing their equipment. This is choice like we have not had it before. Only companies like MasterBox (also from the Ukraine) offer this variety of weapons in a kit with five figures. This gives you a choice of all this weaponry!!

On the rear of the box illustrated colour drawings show each of these by himself. 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.
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 of paint are mentioned in colour numbers here. These instructions show the optional weapon and headgear choices as well.

The picture below shows you what comes in the box weapons and pack wise
There is a small instruction sheet to help you with construction as well
You can see by these pictures the slide moulds in action and the added detail which is being applied to MiniArt’s new generation of kits...

“The Accessories – weapons and stores”

A Major part of why this is labeled as a special release is the “extra” sprues of some updated weapons and personal effects these soldiers carry.You can see the slide moulding technology here in good detail and how it is used
These Soviets have four sprues of equipment to keep them occupied. Not only their weapons like the Moisin Nagant rifles - with and without bayonets or sniper scopes including ammo pouches – you may also notice that his rifle can be threaded with thin paper for a rifle strap as well?
Photos of the sprues of the personal equipment - if you wish to use the older – pre-Barossa style helmet there are actually 10 helmets included in this set as well as their flat forage caps
There are also revolvers, Binoculars, a colt .45, flare pistols,TT38 pistols and PPsh-41 sub machine guns with spare ammo. They also have packs, binocular cases, and water flasks, grenade bags, entrenching tools, ammo of all kinds, grenades and even spoons and cups in 35th scale!
 Here are most of the guns and equipment - one of each all cleaned up

The Plastic:
The plastic is relatively flash free and only a few parts like the tiny spoons and bayonets are delicate to remove from the sprue. The rest is simply a pleasure to put together without too much of a hassle

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.

Let’s look at each of the figures as they appear in numerical order following the box art on the rear.

Figure A: is the officer of the bunch – seen here walking down the road at the head of his men – he is adorned in the peaked officer’s cap and uniform of the proletariat

With high boots and carrying both a pistol in it’s holster, binoculars that meet at a moulded on strap on his chest and a map pack on the figure’s left hip. He joins together reasonably well, with only a little gap on the waist to fill – or to push down on a bit harder when you are gluing him.

Figure B: looks like a typical Russian soldier – wearing a flat forage cap on his head
We found that he looked completely different to the instruction picture of this figure –I checked the painted up figures from MiniArt I found (at the bottom of this article) and saw that they built him the way I did as well – we thought we were going mad at first!
He is a good looking figure with ammo pouches for his Mosin–Nagant rifle which is slung over his back – see that his rifle can be threaded with thin paper/foil strap for a rifle strap as well?

Figure C: Another very nicely sculpted and typical looking “Ivan” – this soldier has his forage bag hanging at his left hip and he carries a PPsH-41 over his right shoulder. It is sitting so the soldier has his strap attached to hit and his slightly raised hand. You will have to add this out of some lead foiled paper or your preferred medium.
The round drum pocket for his magazine is on his forward right hip and it is an option depending if you want this drum mg or the banana shaped mag on the other variant of this smg. Additional bits like his bread bag and water bottle add to the depth of this figure and highlight the luxury of having heaps of gear to give these guys in this set.

Figure D: – we used the option of a steel helmet on him to add something to the mix – there are earlier helmets included in this set if you wish to use the older – pre-Barossa style helmet. (there are actually 10 helmets included in this set)
He looks purposeful as he is walking with rile (or whatever you chose really) strapped to his back.  Wrapped galosh style leggings with thick knew pads are used on this soldier like a few others here – as is the choice of ammo which I suppose goes with the gun you choose to put on him. This one has heaps of ammo pouches for his Mosin Nagant Rifle as well as a forage bag off his hip and a water flask.

Figure E: is my favorite of this set – and it is all because of physics..
The figure is seen walking with his stamped metal and wooden PPsh-41 machine gun strapped around his chest. His left arm is resting on the gun barrel which for me is just a very natural pose for this man – soldiers were close to their weapons at all times and this guy had his close to him. It is a bit of body language I would think I would do in the same pose so that is why I like this figure. He – like all of his comrades has high cheekbones and his forage bag on his left hip (wasn't anyone left handed in Soviet Russia?) he also carries a water flask and I think I should have added a round drum mag to his forward hip as well…
Well here they all are - pretty nice and very customizable.
This is the third set of “Special Edition” figure sets we have looked at this month. They are in the top two as the campfire set we looked at had a few fit issues. Although this is very similar in composition to the “Soviet Naval Troops” set we looked at I cannot split these two kits – they are both easy to assemble, fit well without too much surgery and scraping and look great once completed. The excess of weapons puts this kit over the top. They are well made and detailed and often as good as their resin counterparts.

Again this kit does deserve to have “special edition” next to it’s name as it is more than your typical soldier figure set.

Adam Norenberg

This set is available from MiniArt’s Distributors worldwide

Photos of the figures made and painted – very nice