MiniArt 1/35 British Staff Car with Crew
|NOTES:||Pink on a jeep? Sign me up !|
Mini Art is really starting to stand for “detailed” in the darkside modeler’s realm, and this kit is no exception. There are details all over, most of which cannot be seen after the kit is together. Some flash is present, but nothing that a #11 and some sanding can’t take care of, and psr is virtually not needed on the Bantam/Jeep. (I will let others argue the merits of either vehicle) The moldings are crisp and clean, and the glossy instructions are very easy to follow. Even I followed them !
Unfortunately, the same can not be said of the crew figures. The pose of two officers arguing whilst the corporal looks off into the distance (“would these two bloody idiots shut up so I can drive?) is very dynamic, I’ll agree. But…more on this issue later.
The decals are perfectly in register and very fine in detail. Hey, didn’t I already say this kit was a darkside detailer’s dream ? Who doesn’t like triple D’s ?
The undercarriage is where we start on our Bantam, errr, Jeep. While the engine is simple (five parts), it looks good, and unless you are going to have the hood open you won’t see it anyway. There are no colour numbers for the undercarriage , so you are left with whatever you think is appropriate. Be very careful to put on the leaf springs and shocks once at a time, there are subtle differences between them. I used a/c glue and hemostats/tweezers to fiddle the little microscopic pieces into place. Hold your breath while you are doing this.
The body of the B/J (whoops) goes together very, very, very nicely. Minimal trimming was needed to get the pieces to just about fall together. I recommend leaving off the small doo-dads until you are just ready to paint, though, especially that pesky side mirror. Do not glue the passenger seat in yet. Another item to definitely leave off is the steering wheel for right now, because, if you build the figures…
The Figures: I like the non-static posing, that is for sure. I really do. But while the Jeep went together fast, these took forever, and still don’t look right to me. I know that jeeps are tough to sit in, but these guys look like they are about chewing on their knees in order to fit into the car. Don’t be taken in by the casual look that you see on the illustration !
The joints for each part require a fair amount of filler, so break out your dvd’s, cd’s, and drink of choice. Due to the poses, it would be best to assemble them inside of the jeep, but you can’t because there would be no way to fill the gaps at the joints. Quite the dilemma. I found that I had to glue the passenger side officer to his seat before installation, as there is no way to fit his legs underneath the dashboard if you don’t.
While the instructions show marvelous detail in the painting schematic for the figures, the kit figures themselves are rather blobby.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I am reasonably certain I was sent this kit due to the colour scheme for basic reason that the 1st Armored in North Africa bantam had pink on it. You can also paint it just in plain sand if you want to do the Australian version (they can’t tolerate pink, I guess).
Since I wanted the jeep as well as the passengers to look hot and dirty, I started off by painting the whole thing ,while still on the sprues, with Krylon aluminum enamel. This was then spritzed with water, and lightly salted. Once dry, I oversprayed with Testor’s “sand”, and then rinsed the salt off after it had time to set up overnight.
I airbrushed the pink and blue on freehand, using a Badger Hybrid double action brush. The green was hand brushed on using Testor’s MM bottle paint, almost a dry brush, really. A spray clear coat set the field for applying the decals, which went on without a fuss at all, and another matte coat sealed the deal. The Jeep was done !
Painting the figures was a bit more complex, though basically Khaki/Sand is the basis for the uniforms. One splash of colour is the rear officer’s red beret, I guess they use them as targets? While the colour callout is very specific, the detail on the figures makes it somewhat difficult to tell exactly where those little painting details should occur. Adapt, Improvise, Overcome. I did not put in the map case, as mine was short-shot and too fat for the scale.
Everything was given a wash of Payne’s Gray for that “rode hard and left wet” sort of feel, and then dusted with pastel powder.
Once the figures are dry, I placed the driver in his seat, and attached the steering wheel to the column and his hand. It took some finagling to get the passenger seat and figure in, but after a lot of swearing, managed to do so. The rear figure is the only one that just seems to fit into the seat.
With the figures in place, I attached all of the breakable bits , the mirror and what not. The clear pieces for the windshield are too thick for the scale, you might want to replace them with some clear acetate.
This is a very nice kit of a small support vehicle, recommended if you are really into Bantams….errr, Jeeps. The only drawback to the kit are the figures, if you want to spend a lot of time sanding and dry-fitting, they could be workable. I’d give this three stars. Total time spent: Jeep/6 hours Figures/10+ hours
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