MiniArt as a company is probably best known for their injection moulded plastic figures, and the diorama element sets that they have released. These have been joined by an impressive array of vehicles which cover, military, civilian and industrial. The industrial vehicles are joined here by a rural element in the form of a 1938 D8506 tractor and on this occasion joined by a large trailer that provides more choices when it comes to display. At this time it was still common for horses to be used on farms for work, and of course steam power had been utilised. As such, I suspect that the piston engine tractor, were few and far between and as such this offering from MiniArt will make an interesting model in its own right; that would also add a very interesting element to a diorama.
This release from MiniArt is provided in a cardboard tray with a separate card lid featuring the artwork. Upon opening the box, you will find a loose instruction booklet and a single sealed plastic bag containing all of the parts of the model. An examination of the parts reveals only one potential issue, and that is restricted to flow lines on some elements but these do not look or feel to have caused issues in the finish. The clear parts provided in this release are restricted to light lenses, windscreen and a small photo etch fret contained in a card sleeve.
Tractors by their very nature are not really designed for comfort, but are designed to spend hours and hours going up and down the same field performing various tasks under load. Due to this, the look of most tractors has an industrial machine appearance to it, and that has been captured very well in this release from MiniArt. The body of the tractor consists of four main pieces to which you add smaller pieces to for detail, and this covers the cast nature of the real parts very well. There is no engine detail present to be exposed as the cowlings are not designed to be opened, and so beyond the drive sections that make up the chassis nothing else is seen.
The driver’s portion of the tractor has a nice diamond patterned floor with a seat that is supported by a spring and arm. Being an exposed area of the model that stands out, it is good to see that MiniArt have put some effort into the seat and the controls the operator had been provided with. The front axle of the tractor is assembled with the wheels in the forward position only. It would however, take very little effort to show the wheels in a turned orientation. The wheels of the tractor are the type we are used to seeing today and MiniArt has captured the detail well, the side walls of the rear wheels being separate pieces from the main tread area. The wheels are surprisingly fine as regards detail, and so care will be required when removing and cleaning the parts. Looking over the assembly of this model, I was very pleased to see that photo etch has not been excessively used, and where it has been used it adds to the finish of the model.
The trailer provided in this release has a multi part chassis rail system, and as such I would suggest that the wooden bed of the trailer is prepared and ready to go in order that you can locate the chassis and ensure its orientation is correct. This particular trailer is unusual as it is provided with leaf spring suspension, and that adds a visual interest to the underside of the vehicle. The wheels for the trailer are metal rims with solid rubber tyres, with the detail well represented. The front axle sits on a swivel plate, and so being articulated will add some visual interest if you were to show the vehicle in the process of turning. The sides of the trailer are all in the upright position, but the tailgate can be shown folded down or up. A nice touch here is a seat on the front of the trailer, and I do wonder whether someone will show it being pulled by horses as some point. The detail overall is very pleasing.
A female figure is provided for this release and is shown partially turned looking over her left shoulder. Detail here is very pleasing as the figures face does have a feminine look to it, something that is not always the case. Clothing is applicable for the period and a woman working the fields in the form of shirt and trousers with the feet getting serviceable boots and puttees. The figure is provided wearing a scarf which was very common all the way into the 1970/80’s in the UK with woman of a certain age. The head is a flat top and so if a different finish is wanted as regards the scarf then alternate heads or a scratched hairdo will be the order of the day. Looking at elements of the face and all seems good with the ears hidden under the hair; there is a nasty seam line on each side of the neck that will need carefully cleaning up. The lower arms and hands look good to me, but the fingers would benefit from having a scriber run between them to refine the detail further. This figure is wearing a watch and I did find myself questioning if this would be appropriate in a rural setting of this period.
MiniArt has gone the whole hog on this release, and included a good mix of stowage for use on the trailer. These include two sizes of wooden barrels with supports and having seen the set is a pleasing inclusion. Two sizes of milk/butter churns are also here and again are a great addition for this setting. Finally you are provided with 3 different styles of hessian sacks; i suspect we are being provided with potatoes and flour in two of the cases, but I am beaten by the third one.
MiniArt has included a mix of finishing options for the tractor and the trailer, and I am very pleased to see both pre and post war service covered here; two of the options cover vehicles working the fields in the British occupation zone into the 1950’s. While colours are indicated that I believe are period specific a search online will open up many more options and you are free to finish either item, in a suitable colour of the period.
This release from MiniArt in 1/35th scale, would make a great addition to the diorama base they produced featuring farm buildings and yard. Looking over the model, nothing really strikes me as being amiss. My only concern being, the risk of damage to some of the very finely moulded parts that make up the model. Something that I do appreciate, is the effort put into the seat as while a small aspect of the model I find it visually appealing. The model is part of a great new direction from MiniArt and gives me a number of display ideas which would include military elements. I do hope that MiniArt is considering adding a few items to be towed by the tractors at some point in the future.