by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has released a very nice set of Panzerfaust weapons, Panzerfaust translated means literally Tank Fist. The Panzerfaust was produced in very high numbers listed at over 8 million units with a 5% rejection rate. The development of the Panzerfaust started in 1942 and distribution started in 1943. The Panzerfaust was a short range weapon that used a shaped charge to burn through the armour of the enemy vehicle and so incinerating the vehicle. Due to this being a short range weapon with a large back blast it required that the user had skill in getting close to his target and if he wished to see tomorrow good at getting away; both of these are skills that can be learnt, but come the end of the war when these were equipping old men and young boys it was a case of sending people to die.
This offering from MiniArt is provided in one of their end opening card boxes with a nice artwork on one side and finishing guide on the other. Inside there is a single plastic bag containing 10 identical sprues, a decal sheet and a card sleeve containing a photo etched fret. Also in the box is a small instruction sheet on the use of the product.
During the war five variants of the Panzerfaust were produced, but the last variant the Panzerfaust 150 is not believed to have gone beyond testing. The five types were the:
Faustpatrone 30 – Fist Bullet
Panzerfaust 60 – Tank Fist
Of these five types the Panzerfaust 60 is said to be the most common type and all were referred to as Panzerfaust due to the 30, 60 and 100 being very similar. This offering from MiniArt covers the Panzerfaust 30 and 60, but with a little skill the 30 could be altered to a Faustpatrone and the 60 could be altered to a 150 if wished. While covering these details it is worth pointing out that the number following the name refers to the effective range of that weapon. The Panzerfaust 60 measured 1045mm or 3.43ft, I measured these with a digital calliper and the result was 1040.5mm; I can forgive a 4.5mm discrepancy on a full sized offering.
This offering from MiniArt provides the modeller with 10 wooden ammunition boxes that each hold up to four Panzerfausts. Twenty of both the Panzerfaust 30 and 60 are provided and so enough to fill all of the boxes. The Panzerfausts look very good having been moulded in a single piece and so only some very fine seam lines to tackle, they will benefit from the rear end of the tube being drilled out a little to produce a shallow hollow. The firing mechanisms for these two Panzerfaust variants is different and MiniArt has done a good job of replicating this detail on each. MiniArt has opted to supply photo etched parts to represent the locking pins, aiming point and triggering mechanism and this has been done to a very high degree with the best scale representation possible with current techniques. The decals provided with this offering just finish the detail to perfection being well printed and suitably thin. The result is very accurate and good looking representation of the Panzerfaust in 1/35th scale.
The boxes provided have some nice rough wood texture to them and will assemble easily, but there is an issue here that I am at a loss to explain. Near the end of the bottom and the lid of the ammunition boxes there are depressions clearly visible and replicated in the instruction sheet, a best guess suggestion is that MiniArt has looked at a box where the charge of the Panzerfaust has made an indent and replicated it in this model offering, if I am correct in this assumption then it is technically a really nice touch, but I have no other possible explanation. MiniArt has taken the time to provide photo etched catch detail with this model and so another excellent detail that would normally be overlooked.
This offering from MiniArt in some ways impresses me more than anything they have previously released. This is due to the effort they have put into what is a simple product that most of us would recognise and lifted it to a very high level of detail worthy of a model in its own right. The instructions provided are clear and easy to follow. The decals are good and appear to me at least to cover all the required signage and all I can really add now is pick up an example to see just how good this set is up close.