This latest kit from MiniArt is not just an interesting choice of building, it also introduces a whole new set of assorted windows, doors, lights, etc. These make a welcome (and needed) change from the standard windows etc. which where part of the earlier building kits. MiniArt being MiniArt however, they have kept the dimensions the same, which means that these windows etc. will fit any building, giving you more choice and variety to work with.The choice of a typical Italian flavoured building is a very welcome one, as this theatre of WW II is not only largely ignored in history, it is also terribly under-represented in the modelling world. Which, considering the fact that the Allies invaded Europe first via Italy, is remarkable.
whatís in the box?
The medium sized box has a top opening lid, with an artist's rendition of the finished kit, in MiniArtís familiar concept. The quality of the box has much improved from earlier ones, now being constructed of stronger, corrugated cardboard. The box contains a single plastic bag which holds the plastic parts, both injection moulded and vacuum-formed. There are seven vacuum-formed sheets which contain the wall and floor parts, and six injection moulded plastic sprues which hold all the details and accessories. The instructions come to four pages of simple exploded view drawings, and should not present any difficulties. A small sheet of beautiful printed posters is as usual included, with the usual mix of propaganda and commercial posters. A welcome new inclusion is the small piece of clear acetate, which can be used to add (broken) glass to the light armatures and windows.
a closer look
When I first saw the drawing of this kit on MiniArt's website, the design, with the large balcony over the front of the house, immediately conjured up images of a vine draped country house, but it will be equally at home in an urban diorama setting. The first thing to notice when opening the plastic bag inside the box are the new injection moulded plastic sprues. These are now made of better plastic than before, and more importantly, they contain new design doors, windows, railings, shutters, streetlights, and gutters with a drainpipe. The later is one of those details that really finish a house, but are almost always missed, both by manufacturers and builders. The plastic sprues are much improved from the previous brittle white plastic ones, with almost no flash to clean up, but the door and large wooden shutters do have some very prominent knock-out marks present. Luckily these are prone, and easy enough to remove without the need for filler, but on the shutters great care is needed to avoid removing the very fine nail detail.
The vacuum-formed parts are on the whole very well formed, with crisp detail and fine surface detail, but there are a number of 'soft spots', where the plastic is stretched to thin. These are inevitable small corners, in the case of this kit the beams under the balcony have very thin corners, as do the small railing pillars. The beams under the balcony are not a big problem, as the are hardly noticeable when the building is finished, but the small pillars need careful handling to avoid damaging the corners. The only other mis-formed part is one of the two loose rubble pieces. Whilst one of these is fine, and will be nice addition to the rubble that should surround this building, the second piece is very badly formed, with one corner far to soft and rounded, and useless. The wall parts will need quite a bit of sanding down, to reduce the thickness of the walls when finished. Whilst sanding these large pieces can be a tedious job, the results are inevitably worth the effort, and this building with it's large balcony style front has a lot of potential for any type of diorama scene.
One of MiniArt's building series features are the posters which are always included. These are themed to the subject of the kit, and include such gems as movie posters and adverts. These are the kind of posters which would have been seen as well as the usual propaganda posters, and the really bring a diorama to life. They are beautifully printed on gloss paper, and it will be quite a job to choose which ones to use. I may have to scratch build an advertising board as an excuse to use them all.
This is another typical MiniArt vacuum-formed kit. A different subject, well executed, constantly improving, with a few minor problems, but overall a good kit that will build up into an interesting centre-piece of any Italian flavour diorama. The Vacuum-formed nature of the kit does not really make it suitable for those with limited experience, but for those who have worked with Vacuum-formed kits before, this should be a rewarding project.
My thanks to MiniArt for providing this review sample
MiniArt seems to create better buildings with every new release. Rather than just re-inventing the corner house, MiniArt either introduce new features (such as the gutters etc.) or original architectural subjects. This Italian City Building is no exception, and the diorama possibilities with it are countless.