Wednesday, January 8

In-Boxed: 35th scale B-type Military Omnibus from MiniArt Models

Lukas is always up or a challenge - especially one that involves making machines that are over one hundred years old and are filled with wood and ornate metal. Queue MiniArt's new 35th scale B-type Military Omnibus with it's WWI heritage and intriguing history. See a bit of that, the sprues. etch, decals & colour choices in his review...

In-Boxed: B-type Military Omnibus
From MiniArt Models
Kit No #39001
1/35th scale
Product Link on the MiniArt Website
Miniart’s Omnibus B-type
There I was, sitting at home and feeling like starting something new (as you do) to review while I am still waiting for replacement decal for my P-51. Decals were promptly sent are on the way but in this time post connections between the Czech Republic and Australia aren’t the fastest. So after a short hesitation, I asked the man behind The modelling news what’s the agenda. And as you will see below this new Miniart’s kit just landed. 

A little bit of history of this type of bus...

B-type buses were built in Walthamstow and replaced the X-type bus. It had a 34 seat capacity and is often considered to be the first mass-produced bus. The first bus began carrying passengers in 1911. By 1913 around 2500 had entered service.

The reference images below are all supplied of the bus and can be found on the MiniArt Website
The B-type was designed by Frank Searle, who was chief engineer of the LGOC. It had a wooden frame, steel wheels, a worm drive and chain gearbox. Its top speed was 16 miles per hour (26 km/h), which was above the legal speed limit at that time of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h). However, the vehicle could reach 30–35 miles per hour (48–56 km/h) under the right conditions.
B-types carried 16 passengers inside and had seats for 18 on the uncovered top deck. These outside seats were fitted with wet-weather canvas covers. Electric lighting was introduced from 1912, and headlights in 1913. Before this, it was thought that interior lighting would render the bus sufficiently visible at night.
A total of 900 of the buses were used to move troops behind the lines during World War I. After initially serving without any modifications and in their red-and-white livery, they were painted khaki. It was soon found that the glass windows on the lower deck were prone to breakage, mostly from contact with the men's rifles and packs. The glass was therefore removed and replaced by planks nailed to the sides of the vehicle. Some broken windows are something that I hope to render on my model to add extra interest alongside with other weathering techniques.
The B-Type could carry 24 fully equipped infantrymen and their kit. Some were converted into mobile pigeon lofts to house the pigeons used for communication along the front. They served until the end of the war when they were used to bring troops home.
The Kit:
Not very big and not too small. That would be my first impression of this new release. Somewhat I expected part count to be a lot higher but Miniart managed to squeeze this Omnibus into 17 grey plastic sprues(some doubles and one sprue replicated four times). There are three clear sprues, one fret of Photo-etch and a decal sheet for 5 schemes for three versions. One with glass windows, one with the wooden board over windows and one with horizontal plank wood. 
The packaging seemed in-tacked but despite all the soft foam cushioning I had some small parts snapped (particularly long controlling wires). Having said that these could be due to long-distance travelling and to me, these will be extremely easy to fix.

Sprue A 
Main parts for the assembly of chassis, engine, suspension and transmission 
Sprue Ba+Bc 
Additional sprue of small parts for chassis 
Sprue C
Biggest pieces of plastic hanging on this sprue as these make for passengers ground floor parts and staircase.
Sprue D
Remaining parts for the ground floor and rear platform can be found. Also, my favourite part of the entire kit is here - drivers' seat cushion
Sprue Ec
Rear mudguards and interior handrails are rendered here. 2 pieces are included ...
Sprue Ed
Front mudguards, parts for the front and rear wheels and few other small pieces 
Sprue Ga
Lenses from headlights and sidelights 
Sprue Gb
Clear parts for the large main windows for passenger compartment nice and clean
Sprue Gd
Interior seating parts and wooden planks for window coverage
Sprue Ge
Parts that are needed for radiator and its attachment to chassis
Sprue Ha
Boxes and tools are included on this sprue
As seen lower you get 5 different schemes with some basic decals which from my previous experience should go down rather well
Photo- Etched Parts
Some fasteners, serial numbers for 5 versions, radiator side attachments and few other small brackets to enhance small details here and there
I find these quite straight forward with only a few minor issues such as parts missing paint description and one part which is showing paint 17(for part Ec1) which can’t be found on colour chart but I think that’s just a typo. On plus side, you get some posters which I will definitely use and colour chart for 8 manufacturers
Markings (x 5 Choices)
This first version is the one I will be tackling...
Lastly, in the instruction booklet are signs for inside the bus -  all that could be seen at the time of the busses in operation during WWI 
I think this is a great subject to choose despite the complexity of building it. It is the usual Miniart’s plastic (which I still find a bit too soft to my liking) with only a few very small flashes of plastic(which could be just found on mine since that might be early box) and need for very good nippers to not damage sometimes quite fragile parts. Despite these minor and easy to fix/clean up “issues” the level of detail is great and beautifully rendered. 

I will be bringing this build in two parts. First will be chassis and second will be crew compartment. 
Here is a taste of what you can expect next…chassis, extremely fragile but worth the effort.
Considering that Miniart just announced transport lorry that uses the same chassis and other civilian boxing I am hoping for other releases - one with pigeons loft maybe? (the Pidgeons are just announced from MiniArt today!)
Lukas Kasuba

Thanks to MiniArt Models for sending this kit to Lukas to review & build. Keep tuned as the build starts here very soon on TMN.