On a recent thread in the diorama section of Missing Links, I read about new vacuum-formed building kits from MiniArt from the Ukraine. I was curious enough to go to HobbyTerra’s site
and check them out. I was quite impressed with the box art shown, and their ”Ukrainian city building” was something that suited an ongoing diorama of mine. Priced at €11.95, surely it was worth the risk! According to recommendations on the ML site, HobbyTerra are excellent to deal with and shipping is quite fast as they deliver by airmail only.
I made the order on 6th October and it arrived on the 12th. I also ordered “Soviet infantry at rest (1943-45)” by MiniArt for the same diorama. Total cost, including postage was €27.28. Considering that the average price for Dragon/Tamiya figures in Sweden costs approx. €12, I was quite happy with the deal. Online shopping from HobbyTerra is handled by U.S. company “CCNow, Secure Online Trader”, and the purchasing contract is with them, so using credit cards should be well protected.
The packaging method is a little unusual, but makes sense. All kit boxes are flat and all kits are packed together in their plastic bags, surrounded by scraps of foam. I suppose this keeps volume down, so the customer benefits in the long run. No damage detected on inspection.
Each wall section has two vacuum-formed sides, with details on both. When the two halves are placed together, wall thickness is approx. 2cm thick. A third interior wall is slightly thinner. On the inside of the front wall, plugholes are molded in where ceiling and floor joists should be placed. I thought this was an excellent touch, as some scraps of balsa will add a lot to the interior of this ruin. Corner joints are angled instead of the usual badly fitting squared ends. With a little filler these should be possible to give a perfect corner. The plastic is approx 1mm thick so a sharp knife will be needed to cut away the excess plastic. A good tip by Bob Potter on ML was to glue scrap plastic around the inside of window and door openings, so an easier line-up can be achieved.
A big bonus with these kits, compared to their resin and plaster counterparts, is that an injection molded, generic detail set is supplied. This useful set is included in all their buildings kits and can be bought separately if desired. Two sprues are included with windows, doors, lampposts, hanging lanterns, balcony railings, etc. A little flash present should be easily cleared and probably a bit chunky for the perfectionist, but in my opinion is a great addition. And to top it all off, a set of scale propaganda posters and some suitable street names are included for finishing touches. At €12 this is definitely value for money. Recommended.
Over the next month or so I hope to have this building complete, and will write a short build feature. The detail looks to be on par with other resin and plaster kits I have built. Hopefully the fit of the kit is up to the same standard. Watch this space …..
Note: There are a number of distributors of Miniart products, a simple search in a search engine such as google.com will give them to you. Here are a couple more examples.:
Miniart - Ellemmeshop
Miniart - Internethobbies
Miniart - Armybook
Approximate USD price was $13.00 (depending on source).