This MiniArt 1/35 Lanz Bulldog ‘traffic tractor’ is my 2nd MiniArt build, and the first one to make it to my display case while not be angrily tossed into my shop waste basket. Not only were the results better, but I felt much more positive about the build. Why the big difference? I’ll explain.
MiniArt kits are aimed at the experienced builder. They are very detailed, and you can learn a lot about your subject by building the kit. But if you’re used to other manufacturers, like Tamiya or Meng, you’ll be in for a surprise.
My first point it that to successfully build a MiniArt kit, you need a very high quality sprue nipper. I don’t mean Xuron, I mean God Hand or similar. For this kit, I used my Vulkand nippers for larger parts, and my God Hands for the more delicate parts. By that I mean, for example, a lever or rod less than an inch long and less than 1mm in diameter with four or more sprue attachment points. That was my biggest issue with my ‘trashed’ kit; it not only had those parts, I didn’t have the good nippers; plus the sprues were large and they flexed, taking and breaking parts with them. The tractor sprues were much smaller; the longest being 10” long, and I also think that they’ve switched to a less brittle plastic. Once you get the parts off the tree, you’re past 50% of being home free.
Given this being a new kit, I was disappointed with the amount of flash on the parts. The worst parts were the rear tire centres; those required about 15 minutes of clean up to get rid of the flash and mold lines. I was surprised at how many parts did have flash.
The photoetched parts are small in number but are crucial to the build, and do not have plastic options. However, if care is taken with them, they work perfectly; I had extremely good results with the brackets and plates provided.
That being said, once your parts are ready for action, study the instructions closely. In a way, they are intuitive, but they’re not as clear as, say, Tamiya or Airfix instructions. Many parts are layered, and will only work with one assembly sequence. That being said, I found the fit of the kit to be excellent; everything worked and the PE parts when used as hangers or brackets fit perfectly and provide strength. MiniArt provides instructions for adding some hydraulic lines but they were just too tiny for me, and I don’t feel the model suffered for leaving them off.
Before I started the build I did some internet research with my friend who owns an antique tractor and has me interested in them as well. We found a number of photos and videos of restored Bulldogs, and you could tell their owners have tremendous pride in their tractors. In fact, we found more photos of pristine tractors than weather beaten ones. I was so impressed that I chose to make my build to resemble a restored ‘show’ tractor rather than a weather beaten post-war survivor. I painted my Bulldog with AK Realcolor lacquers (plain blue and plain red), and after detail painting I sprayed a couple of coats of Model Master clear gloss lacquer, and I was very happy with the slightly-more-than-satin end result. I used various shades of oil paints on the seat to get a leather finish.
One thing that made me nervous was the Lanz Bulldog nameplate on the grill. I got a great result by using a fresh #5 Xacto blade to scrape the paint down to the bare brass. Take your time with this and you’ll get a good result; I did mine without any touch up painting!
As a finishing touch I added some pigment to the tractor tires to make it appear it had driven through the fields at the tractor show. I was happy with the results.
In closing, this build ‘salvaged’ MiniArt kits for my world, and I will be trying others in the future. But again, if you are not an experienced modeler, this kit isn’t for you. But if you want a great model of a very interesting subject, this is a great place to start.