by: Mark R. Smith [ ]
Introduction:In this inbox review we take a closer look at MiniArt Ltd.’s 1/35 scale figure set 35002 "Soviet Infantry on the March", from the "WWII Military Miniatures" Series. MiniArt Limited first starting producing plastic model kits in 2001, and this set is one of their original releases. Recently, however, MiniArt have started improving the detail, accuracy, and overall quality of these early releases with considerable re-working of the original molds, while keeping true to the original subject matter.
This is quite a unique figure set in itself. The four figures can be built into 14 different poses, each one unique in uniform, pose, action and gear/weaponry, just by adjusting a few of the kit’s parts in the assembly process. This is a great option, as the modeler can actually combine a few of these kits together to build an awesome looking infantry diorama, and each figure would look different from the others, making a very realistic scene, and quite accurate also.
A little closer:This kit comes to the modeler in a medium weight, sturdy cardboard box, open end style, in which is covered with very colorful box art. The box-art depicts a suggested battle scene including the four Infantry figures, and on the rear, the 14 separate optional configurations, represented in full color detail.
Inside the box, you’ll find a sealed plastic bag, containing one large sprue of plastic kit parts, 73 pieces total, enough to build four complete Soviet figures, with complete field gear and weapons, in any of the fourteen combinations possible. The parts are molded in a medium gray plastic color, with very good detail, and well defined lines.
One of the complaints of this kit of past was poor detail, and with the re-issue this problem has been eradicated. The sprue in this kit had very little flash apparent, just on a few smaller pieces. Some parts have minimal mold lines that will need a bit of cleanup before assembly, but overall, a good looking sprue of parts. Included is an instruction sheet in the box with very detailed drawings of each of the figure combinations shown with corresponding assembly numbers, and suggested paint color numbers.
Uniform Style and Field Gear:This set of Soviet Infantrymen are ready for two things: one, the weather (possibly Eastern Front given the uniform style); and two, a serious fight as the amount and variety of weaponry is quite extensive with this squad! Since there are so many building options in this set, describing each one would become quite exhaustive for both the reader and myself, so I will just list what the figure set offers for the choices involved.
Represented in this set we have two separate styles of uniforms, firstly we have two infantrymen wearing the Soviet early war “Telogreika“, or padded winter jacket, and standard issue khaki trousers (the very bottom of the soldiers tunics are shown from beneath their jackets). The other two soldiers are molded wearing their wool “Shinel” greatcoats, to guard against the unforgiving Russian cold.
This is where the options begin to come into play with the assembly. You must decide which type of head/head gear and weaponry/pose that each of your figure will be sporting. Each soldier can carry a different weapon, and the corresponding field gear for the different weapons will need to be included with the figure for greater looks and accuracy. Studying the photo of the box rear will demonstrate my point.
For head gear, you have the choices of: the M35 field cap, or “Pilotka”; the SSCH 39/1 standard issue steel helmet; or the MP40 winter hat, or “Shapka Ushanka”. There is a great selection of weapons choices included with this kit, including the following: the standard issue Manlicher rifle; Mosin-Nagent M91/30 rifle; the PPSH 41 burp gun; the PPS43 LMG; the 7.62mm Ruchnoy Pelemyot DP (one of my favorites!); and the bipod style, belt fed RP-46 Machine Gun, carried by two men.
Thinking about it, there are many more combinations of choice here than are shown on the box. As long as you pair up the weapons being carried with the proper field gear of the infantrymen, accuracy will be right on the button! Appropriate ammo pouches, and magazine pouches are included in the field gear options for each of the weapons involved.
Also included for field gear and added realism are the following: folding trench shovels; standard issue water flasks (canteens); and plenty of “Sidr’s” (Russian Army slang for the backpack/sack) to go around. All men are outfitted with standard issue brown leather belts, and high top black leather boots.
Test Build:By this point in the examination, I really couldn’t wait to try a test build with this kit! All figures are equally posed, so I just basically made a simple choice, and got busy. The figure that I had chosen was figure C-1, as shown on the rear of the kit box - a basic soldier dressed in a padded “Telogreika” jacket, a warm m40 winter hat, or “Ushanka“, and the PPSH 41 machine gun. Field gear for this soldier includes the “Sidr”, or backpack/sack, a canteen, and one drum magazine pouch on his belt.
The figure consists of 11 pieces total. All parts separated cleanly and easily from the sprues, with minimal lug cleanup. Examining the pictures of the finished test build, you will see I have left some flash, and molding lines still on the pieces so you can see just what you may expect as far as a cleanup on this kit - not much at all! All kit parts are molded good, good detail, and crisp lines.
All pieces of this figure fit quite well, although the figures’ right arm piece could have used a touch of a trim job where it meets the torso for a tighter fit, but really not too bad, right from the sprue! The figure went together quite easily and quickly, with minimal cleaning up required - which will not delay assembly by much.
Final Words:I wish that I had an earlier example of this kit in my possession, so that I could make a comparison review between then and now, as I would really like to note the improvements made. Overall, this figure kit is very good, excellent subject matter and accuracy, with many variables and possible combinations. The capability to build an entire platoon of Soviet soldiers, each with a different pose, action and weapon, is possible with a few of these kits used in unison. Add good details, clean lines and an easy assembly to makes this kit a definite thumbs up! Highly recommended from this modelers’ point of view.
Many thanks to Svetlana Dubchak, Commercial Director of MiniArt Ltd., for providing this and every review sample to date.