|MINIART - Type 170V Cabriolet B Staff Car|
A look through the latest incarnation of this vehicle from MiniArt!
German Staff Car Type 170V Cabriolet B
Material: Styrene & Photo-etch
Serial Number: 35107
MiniArt from the Ukraine, began making plastic kits in 2003, and has rapidly made a name for themselves, not only producing vehicle kits, but also diorama bases and a wide range of figure sets, both historical and military in nature. This kit is of the Mercedes-Benz Type 170V (W136) Cabriolet B, of the type that was built between 1935 and 1942.
The contents of the kit are almost identical to that of the earlier released MiniArt kit 35095, with two new sprues to provide the parts necessary to produce the Cabriolet version, and of course a new body shell without the roof and rear doors. The only other difference is that there are of course, no figures included with this one, and the figures with 35095 were rather nice after all!
With that in mind, it's more or less the same review, except for the small differences mentioned above.
Inside the box are a large number of light grey sprues and one transparent one. There's also a photo-etched brass fret and small decal sheet. There actually aren't a huge number of parts to the kit, mostly because it's a model of what is essentially a civilian car. What's important is the amount of detail supplied in the kit, and here I wasn't disappointed again, as the car sports an interior absolutely jam-packed with detail....and that still includes the engine compartment.
That's where construction of the kit begins...with the engine and gearbox. Two well moulded halves joined and then lots of detail added. If you were going to show the engine off then the addition of various wires etc., could increase the level of detail, but it's already superbly detailed as it is. The chassis of the car is tubular and moulded in one piece. There are a few smaller photo-etched brackets to be fitted to the chassis before the fixing of the completed engine assembly, and there are also brake lines to construct from the material of your choice, although I would suggest lead wire. The instructions even have a small template for making them, although the necessary wire is not included in the kit. The real surprise comes in the form of the two rear suspension springs. They're slide-moulded in styrene...and are unbelievable. I don't think I've seen springs done this way before, but I hope I see many more done like this...take a look at the picture of them below. I'm still trying to work out how it's done even with slide-moulding.
The front of the vehicle is leaf-sprung, the suspension consisting of two transverse leaf springs atop and beneath the chassis frame. The engine, drive shaft and exhaust are also fixed at this point. At each stage of the assembly there are at least a couple of parts that are...surprising. Sometimes it's because you've never seen them moulded quite that way...as in those springs, sometimes it's because they're incredibly well detailed. The front and rear bumpers fall into the same category...there's just something about the way they're moulded! The bumpers are each fitted to the completed chassis, before the chassis itself is fitted to the floor pan, itself largely moulded in one piece, with those great sweeping fenders and long running boards.
The firewall that fits behind the engine, and therefore acts as the front of the cab, is quite a convoluted moulding, and has further detail added to it in the form of tools. And a large cylindrical fuel tank that fits into a recess on it. I do know that many of these vehicles were converted to run on gas and wood, but in this case, it seems that this is the normal location for a normal fuel tank, although as I can find few references to these vehicles I could well be wrong. All that lovely detail gets covered up again by the engine bonnet, once it's fitted. Before that, it's time to fit out the passenger compartment of the car. This area is fully detailed too, of course this is something you'd expect, especially with the driver's area, dashboard etc. Speaking of which...the dashboard is one of the best I've seen...apart from the dials. The dials are moulded onto the dash, complete with dial faces, which will require a deft bit of paintwork to make them look good; even though we're supplied with small clear plastic faces to fit over each of them. I would have preferred smooth dials and the option of supplying my own decals. The driver's foot pedals are simply small rectangular blocks that fit into recesses on the floor, and for how much will be seen once the model is complete, they're adequate. The steering wheel is supplied with an inner horn ring made from photo-etch. Each of the two front seats is made from separate seat and back, and each has supplementary parts to represent the adjusting mechanisms. The back seat is also made from two parts. There are parts to be fitted to the body shell, which is nicely moulded in one piece, and the glazing is supplied on the transparent sprue, windscreen, rear window and door glazing. The wheels are supplied as 'slices' in order to reproduce the absolute best tread pattern, and each is reproduced with manufacturer's logo and information on the tyre wall, along with a tiny Mercedes-Benz logo on each hub cap.
Moving to the front of the vehicle again, it's time to construct the radiator and housing. The radiator itself is fully detailed on both sides, and is fitted with a water tank and cap above it, which then fits into the radiator housing. For the front grill we're given a superb photo-etched grill that really finishes this area off beautifully along with the Mercedes-Benz mascot, also supplied as photo-etch. Once the body shell is fitted, the bonnet can be assembled and fitted. The body of the bonnet is constructed from four main parts, two sides and two top pieces. Each of the side pieces has open vents moulded into them...and they are moulded open too thankfully! Each of the side panels has two catches made from a mixture of plastic and photo-etched parts for the greatest detail, and of course the instructions show which way to pose the bonnet lid to display it either closed, or open to show off that wonderful engine! Moving to the front doors, each of these is provided with an inner skin, detailed with map pocket, handle and winder. The glass is provided on the transparent sprue as mentioned, and each window has small locating holes to fix it between the door and its inner panel. It's an easy job to snip the pins from the inner panel and model the window partially or fully open. This being the cabriolet version of course, there are no back doors, but we're supplied with new panels for the inside of the body that replicate this area, complete with winders, pockets, etc.
We're still offered a large locker to construct and fit over the rear boot. This is fitted on raised brackets over the spare wheel and consist of two large drawers held in a moulded frame, which has the Mercedes-Benz logo in place and photo-etched straps around it. It actually looks quite good, but would probably only be found on the civilian version of the car, but still isn't shown on any of the included colour schemes, so it's a matter of personal choice whether or not you wish to include it.
The five marking schemes shown on the instructions are in full colour and consist of a two-tone cream and black civilian version from Germany, and four military versions, three of which are in dark grey, whilst the other is in a camouflage scheme over dark yellow as seen on the boxart. See below for full details.
This is a superbly engineered kit of an unusual and much anticipated subject. It's an absolute pleasure to build, and will no doubt be appearing in dioramas everywhere over the next 12 months! Recommended.
My thanks to MiniArt for the review sample!