by: Mark R. Smith [ ]
Originally published on:
“Panzerjager”-Marder, Nashorn, Jadgpanther, Hetzer, etc., all part of the Elite Panzertruppen, men trained specifically for their job at hand, to do his service in the self propelled gun crew.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure examining a great many of MiniArt Models’ products, and this review is second in a series on them; if you’re not familiar with this company, MiniArt Models is a fairly young model manufacturing company, in operation since 2001, based in the Ukraine. MiniArt is producing a wide selection of figures and sets, single figures and diorama buildings and accessories, all in various scales. This set is from their “WWII Military Miniature Series,” in 1/35 scale.
The box, and it’s contents…This kit is presented to the modeler in an open-ended style, medium weight cardboard box. On the front of the box in a large color format is an artist’s rendition of the finished figures, all in action poses. On the rear of the box, the assembly diagram and paint scheme are clearly illustrated. The sides of the box display other available MiniArt figure kits.
Inside the box, one sealed plastic bag containing two sprues of kit parts, one small and one large, respectively. The large sprue, molded in medium-gray plastic, holds 40 parts which make all five figures. Nice, clean definition, clear lines and a good mold with little flash apparent. This is a very appealing set, with a nice variety of poses. We’ll cover each figure separately, one through five, for a better understanding of each uniform represented.
After much research on the uniform of the self-propelled gun crew, I’ve found a lot of confusion and controversy on the subject. There appeared to be a lot of customization of the uniforms by the individual Division, Brigade, or crew, all forbidden against regulation but nonetheless done anyway; bottom line though, as an Elite unit the self propelled gun crews were issued a special uniform all of their own.
This basic uniform was based upon the M42 Panzerjacke, and the M34 Panzerhosen, keeping the full baggy cut for the hot and cramped environment of the armored vehicle. The short style jacket for comfort in a seated position, trousers and jacket were Feldgrau in color, often worn in conjunction with the M43 Army shirt and the M43 Einheitsfeld mutze. The Germans felt that the field gray color was much better camouflage for men in the field than the original classic black Panzertruppen uniform.
So with this in mind, back to the figures! Figure #1, obviously an officer and commander by his uniform and stature, is in a standing position and appears to be giving an order as his right hand/arm is modeled in a pointing position, while his left hand holds his binoculars which are strapped around his neck. Dressed in the classic black M34 trousers and M42 jacket, along with the peaked officers cap, piped with pink Waffenfarbe. Black leather gloves and laced up leather boots complete his uniform.
The officer is shown with black shoulder bands piped pink, black collar patches, rectangular and piped in pink also, with totenkopf emblazoned, silver Tank Battle Badge and buttonhole ribbon. The buttoned across lapel of his jacket obviously obscures the area where the M1934 aluminum breast eagle would appear. A brown panther officer belt, possibly the M1934, and leather holster for his sidearm is also present.
Figure #2 also molded in a standing position, arms down at his side, appears to be looking in the general direction that figure #1 is directing attention to…possibly his gaze is fixed upon an approaching enemy tank battalion? This figure is dressed in the special Feldgrau M1940 version of the black Panzer field uniform, consisting of the M1940 Feldgrau Field Jacket cut like the M1936 black jacket, without branch collar piping and with Field tunic breast eagle, standard M1935 officers collar patches, and black shoulder boards piped in pink. Left arm rank Chevron, silver Tank Battle Badge, and buttonhole ribbon complete his decorations.
The M1940 Feldgrau trousers were cut like the M1934 black trousers, but with the addition of a large left thigh pocket. A Panzergrau shirt, black leather pull-on boots, and M1943 peaked field cap completes his uniform.
The remaining three figures are molded in three different positions representing the loading of ammo into their weapons cache; One standing and reaching downward with open hands, one handing up a shell, and one carrying a shell to be hoisted up into the machine.
All three men are obviously hard at work, as all three have removed their tunics and are working in their Panzergrau shirts with sleeves rolled up to the elbows, M1940 Feldgrau trousers, and black pull-on leather boots. Only one of these men carries a sidearm which is in a black holster on his black belt with the standard aluminum belt buckle. The other two have only the belt and buckle present.
The second sprue to this set only contains eleven parts, molded gray in color like the first, which consists of eight pieces to build a wooden ammo box, and three live 75mm rounds for use by the loader/gunner figures.
Sample Build…I put together a figure to test the fit and look, and I’ll be totally honest; the fit was really good! No trimming or sanding was done to the majority of parts on this figure. Only the head/neck piece requires a little trimming for a better result as the fit is just a tad off here.
Final Answer…This is the second figure set from MiniArt Models’ that I’ve had the pleasure of examining. This set, like the first, will make a great addition to your next German dio or vignette. Good lines, clean molding, positive fit and a good price makes this a set that deserves close consideration for your next figure build. Definitely recommended from this modelers point of view. Get yourself one today!
Many thanks to Svetlana Dubchek, Commercial Director of MiniArt Models, Ukraine, for providing this review sample.