by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has taken an interesting look at the hobby of late and considered what we as modellers want and need, but they have also considered how we are going to find what we seek quickly and easily. What MiniArt has done is to split their products up into WW2 offerings and more modern items listed separately. Into this new listing method MiniArt has inserted a modern Bundeswehr tank crew, this offers five figures and includes a female crew figure that is a nice inclusion considering that female soldiers are now seen in front line duties rather than held at the rear in support roles.
This offering from MiniArt is supplied in their usual card box. This presents the product in a nice way with the high quality printing that clearly shows what is included. A downside is that the carton is fairly weak and will easily crush if in storage or poorly handled by the postal service. On the rear of the carton is the directions for assembly and painting; the instructions for assembly are a little weak due to showing images of the figures and numbers with lines pointing at areas of the figure, in some cases this could do with being more clearly presented especially for newer modellers. On the plus side the painting directions cover both wooded and desert pattern camouflage and so expanding the use of this figure set.
An examination of the mouldings leaves me with a fairly positive opinion of the contents. The figure parts themselves all have crisp moulding present and are moulded in specific areas making finding parts easy and the locations labelled as A through E so that you know which figure you are looking at. Two of the figures in this offering are wearing body armour, but I was unable to find the images I needed to confirm or deny the accuracy of this aspect, what I can say is that from the images I found (mostly from the front) indicate that the detail is correct. The coverall portion of the uniform all seems to be accurate from what I can see, but then again this item seems to be very generic in nature. There are two helmet styles portrayed and these also appear correct.
All four of the male soldiers are in various standing positions; two of these are relaxed poses with the other two looking to have a purpose as in alert. The female soldier is in a seated position as if on the side of a hatch and is involved in radio communications I believe. The female figure does have a bust and is supplied with a ponytail and while I cannot say the face is obviously female as a figure it does a good job; I am especially pleased that this looks female rather than being a super model and so a great addition to this offering from MiniArt.
Looking at the parts you will find a small amount of flash present that will be easy to deal with, but it must be said that the flash is in most cases related to the nipples that allow the liquid plastic to fill the mould completely and so avoiding voids. The hands of the figures all have gloves on and so are on the bulky side, but MiniArt have done a great job of replicating the fingers in scale. The faces of the male soldiers are very good and I am especially pleased to see the beard as shown on the box top replicated on a figure; I didnít know German soldiers were allowed to grow beards due to the issue of a gas mask not being able to create a positive seal. A look at the female soldiers face leaves me thinking itís on the long side and so a little odd, but regardless I am really pleased to see this figure in the box.
MiniArt has endeavoured to include parts for the radio communications system; these are very small and will be difficult t work with, but I again commend MiniArt for including the detail. I have to add that I would likely go down the route of wire.
I am really impressed with this figure set from MiniArt as it replicates what is happening in the worlds armies, showing woman taking up all the roles previously reserved for male soldiers only. I am also very pleased that the female looks female without being depicted as a catwalk model. So if you have a modern German army vehicle that you want to crew on a budget this is a very worthy contender. With the exception of the two figures in body armour I believe that if the heads are replaced these could represent crews of most modern armies.