Miniart Wall With Base - 36055


Introduction:


Miniart is a Ukrainian company producing an ever growing range of model vehicles and tanks, figure sets and buildings. The latter range has now grown to include ‘diorama’s in a box’, with bases and walls/buildings.  These sometimes contain tanks/figures/anti tank guns etc.

Diorama’s are a three-dimensional representation of a scene in which objects or models are arranged in a natural setting, sometimes against a realistic background.  In our case a little slice of history recreated in plastic and/or other mediums.

First look:


36035 WALL WITH BASE comes in a robust box and consists of a base which is a 173mmx x207mm rendition of a cobblestone ( or rather of ‘paved setts’) rd with a rendered stone wall and gate...just the right size for a small AFV (i.e. SdKfz250) or jeep and figures.  The road side of the wall is finished with grass/earth borders and on the other side of the wall is a grassed area with a worn path.

Being made from vacuum formed plastic the kit comes on sheets; there are two in the box and consist of…
a.    Sheet 1; two wall sections, front and reverse.
b.    Sheet 2; paved road section, with separate coping stone and pile of rubble.

There is also a gate and hinges supplied for the opening in the wall, made from injection moulded plastic.



Background:


The road; is of a type often referred to as cobblestone (usually made from large round beach/stream/river pebbles). Cobblestones are typically either set in sand or similar material, or are bound together with mortar. Paving with cobblestones allows a road to be heavily used all year long. It prevents the buildup of ruts often found in dirt roads. It has the additional beneficial advantage of not getting muddy in wet weather or dusty in dry weather. A disadvantage is that carriage wheels, horse hooves and even modern automobiles make a lot of noise when rolling over cobblestone paving. Cobblestones were largely replaced by quarried granite setts in the nineteenth century. Cobblestone is often wrongly used to describe such treatment. Setts were relatively even and roughly rectangular stones that were laid in regular patterns. They gave a smoother ride for carts than cobbles, and are also found inside large towns/cities especially from the turn of the last century.

Paved roads like this can be traced back to the Romans over 2000 years ago, and in Britain for example there are historic roads like this that have been in use for many hundreds of years.

The wall; walls like this are often found in rural areas surrounding gardens or farm land near buildings.  Constructed of stone or brick, rendered traditionally with a lime, sand and water mix (know as stucco in some countries), and capped with coping stones to keep out the elements.

Construction:


The best advice I can give is to take in the construction guide at Miniart http://www.miniart-models.com  (the site also includes an excellent painting guide), it contains all the best advice which I chose to ignore... I got away with it because the kit I did is small but larger, more involved kits, will be more difficult, due to the size of the buildings etc.  A few tips I can give are…

1. ensure you sand the edges flat so the parts marry up ( keep the sandpaper flat i.e. pin to a pin to a piece of wood or flat surface.
2. the vac formed plastic is especially thin on corners and if you use too much liquid poly it will burn through leaving a hole...easily solved though by a bit of filler.
3. concentrate on good joins on the flat surfaces rather than broken walls...broken brick is very uneven so you can worry about this later and is easily solved with a bit of filler/sanding stick.
4. i used waste plastic from the carrier sheet to line one wall side to help line up the two parts which is the most difficult job (SEE PICTURE); this seemed to help and also makes the completed part more rigid.
5. be prepared to use a bit of filler...I used Plasto which went on well and sanded very smooth so you can't even see a join.
6. the flat edges are easy to score and snap but be careful on the broken brick/stone edges.  For scoring I used a steel ruler and the back of a Xacto blade.
7. be careful if clamping parts together the plastic being thin may bend which you need to avoid if you are to keep the wall true.
8. good old fashioned tube glue was needed to fix the wall to the base, liquid poly just didn’t manage this.  And you need to prop the wall up while drying as mine tended to lean over a little.

My base took an hour to construct and compared to resin/ceramic was very cost effective. It took to the undercoat very well and shouldn't be hard to paint even with my limited skills. Once undercoated the ground texture came into its own leaving little to do apart from applying static grass etc.



Detailing:


Like all kits of this nature it will benefit from extra rubble, grass, etc to dress it up.  This can be done very cost effectively and is limited only by your imagination.  The kit can also be extended sideways using ready mixed filler to create a larger base.  I will be using some roadside sweepings and static grass (that I bought in 1998 and is still going strong) at almost no extra cost.

Uses:


Walls and roads like can be found worldwide; I did a quick online search and found examples from Western Europe to South America. Although I am no expert on the subject I would surmise that roads of this construction can be found in almost every country for the past few hundred years making this kit very versatile.

I think it’s useful for anyone wanting to display a single small vehicle, with or without figures.  Also useable for 1 /32 (54mm) scale figures from other eras for example Historex’s Napoleonic’s range.

If you want to save money and only need a two dimensional display this could be in effect three kits, two separate walls and a road.  All you would need is filler for the road section where the wall should be fixed; you could use the walls for any scratch built diorama base (just like Italeri’s old wall kits) as a background.



Conclusion:


Price wise these are a lot cheaper than resin/plaster alternatives (as much as 50-60% cheaper) so I don’t thinks its fair to compare it to these.  The lighter material used can also mean cheaper shipping costs if you buy products online as I do.  It’s perfect if you want to display that vehicle you have spent ages making only to place it on a plain wooden base, being perfectly adequate with very little work.

•    Good points; low price, versatility, ease/speed of construction, nicely detailed.
•    Bad points; the top seam runs straight through the coping stones which are cast in one piece in real life.   It may have been better if they were made as a run of stones separate to the wall.  Difficulty in lining up parts/no location points.

Don’t be put off by the material and extra work; I made some simple mistakes because I had never worked with this medium before.  Like everything modelling is a learning process and I am looking forward to making more of these, and while at times it may look complex it can’t be any harder than adding resin aftermarket items, PE and white metal to your favourite panzer now can it?


Website Miniart

Marks: 90%


Review by Martyn Smith