ARM: Review - Miniart 1/35 scale Norman Street

Kit Review: Miniart 1/35 scale Kit No. 36045; Norman Street; 132 parts (110=
in grey styrene, 22 vacuformed plastic); retail price US$72.00
Advantages: provides generic northern European buildings and brick street b=
ase for a diorama or display; provision of French wall posters a nice touch
Disadvantages: base will require stiffening; some skill with vacuform assem=
bly essential
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all diorama and vignette builders looking to northern E=
urope
Several years ago Chris Mrosko described a base he was working on as a =93=
wedgie=94. Since then this term has come to define a diorama or display bas=
e which takes a section of the real world (e.g. buildings, bridges, terrain=
, vehicles, etc.) and cuts them at sharp angles to present a specific area =
of focus. Miniart has taken this to heart and is now producing some excelle=
nt generic bases for dioramas and vignettes.=20
This particular kit consists of a section of nominal French street =96 arc=
hitecturally it could be anywhere in northern France, Belgium or Holland =
=96 and provides two three-story buildings and a section of brick street fo=
r use as a base. The base is large enough to hold a vehicle up to and inclu=
ding the size of a Panther but will look better with something like a Panze=
r IV or Sherman on it.=20
Each of the buildings (as a =93wedgie=94) comes with sections of flooring =
behind the windows on each floor, and the floors have both top and bottom s=
ections. The buildings are essentially undamaged so the floors and the ceil=
ings below them are intact. The same goes for the roofs, and as a result th=
ere are no exposed beams or shattered tiles on their outsides. They do pres=
ent the =93lived-in=94 look with cracked or missing sections of plaster on =
their outer sides exposing the brickwork underneath.
A large selection of windows, =93Dutch doors=94, two styles of front doors=
, shutters and other accessories are provided for detailing the structures,=
and a sidewalk is molded into the base in front of the houses.=20
No painting or finishing instructions are included other than some general=
hints on where the large posters (included on the back of the directions) =
should be placed, offering a choice between a store and a caf=E9. A single =
German =93einbahnstrasse=94 (one way street) sign is included for the post-=
June 1940 era. Also, no glazing is provided so the modeler will need to fin=
d either fine glass (microscope slide plates) or clear styrene to represent=
this feature.=20
There are some general hints on assembling this type of kit. First off, as=
the main parts are vacuformed, they are studded with small pips that come =
from ensuring sufficient vacuum pressure was used to get all of the details=
to show. All of these must be removed using a chisel-bladed hobby knife, a=
nd some may leave small holes behind which need filling. Also, because they=
are vacuformed, all of the edges are not at a 90 degree angle and may requ=
ire some forethought prior to assembly. This may mean removing them and rep=
lacing them with heavy styrene strip or reinforcing them with strip on thei=
r insides so when sanded down they still provide sufficient strength for re=
taining assembly.=20
I suggest cutting a section of 1/4" plywood and using either contact cemen=
t or epoxy to attach it to the underside of the base for stability and suff=
icient counterweight to prevent the assembled model from flipping over. Alt=
ernatively, the entire base can be cemented to a section of wood, metal or =
plastic and then finished.=20
Some modelers report the vacuformed plastic does not work well with common=
styrene cement so you may need to use something stronger such as Weld-On o=
r Ambroid multipurpose liquid cement (the kind which will join plexiglass, =
ABS or styrene to each other).=20
Overall this is an excellent idea and while seemingly expensive is probabl=
y cheaper, lighter and easier to finish than comparable plaster (hydrocal) =
or resin offerings, and in the case of resin is less likely to suffer from =
warpage.=20
Note: for those who wish to do French buildings, Emmanuel Nouailier has be=
en providing an excellent series to =93Military Modelling=94 this year on h=
ow he finishes HO scale buildings to get that =93gritty=94 effect; while he=
concentrates on small scale, the techniques he covers are very useful for =
this type of building as well.=20
Thanks to MRC for the review sample.=20
Cookie Sewell
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