MINI-ART 1/35 BUDAPEST 1945 SU-76, BUILDINGS AND FIGURES
A ready made 1/35 scale building to use in dioramas if you haven’t yet encountered Miniart then you can now stop looking. Miniart do an extensive range of full, partial, and destroyed buildings in vacuum formed plastic mouldings as well as a number of diorama bases that accomodate one or two of said buildings. This kit is one of their bigger offerings ( though not their biggest ) and portrays a heavily damage two storey blockwork building, ostensibly set in Budapest in the closing stages of the war, though it could be used in many European settings. This particular one also comes with Miniart’s SU-76M Russian Self Porpelled gun and four figures.
The building kit consists of twenty five vacuum formed parts for the building plus one more vacuum formed part for the base ( measuring 22cm x 29cm ). There are also two matching spures of injection moulded accessories such as the doors and doorframes, window frames, window shutters, a wall mounted lantern style light, downpipes, and sections of fence. The sprue parts are all very nicely moulded and require minimal clean-up, with the scrolled ironwork panels requiring the most attention.
Assembly of the building is very straight forward with the instructions being clear and easy to follow. This kit goes together well and looks very impressive once complete, being bigger in the end than it seems before you start. There is a degree of skill required in assembling the building parts as the pieces need to be removed by scribing and snapping, rather than cutting, to get clean edges, and once they are glued together they require a bit of filler and clean up to eliminate all sign of the joint line. Experience working with vacu-formed kits would definitely be an advantage.
The SU-76M comes on a total of nine light grey sprues, of which five contain the individual track link parts. The mould quality is excellent with just the very faintest of mould seams and some very good detail, including a number of very dilcate parts which have been cleanly moulded. The level of detail is also very impressive, including a fine cast texture on the main surfaces and some very nicely moulded track links. The only point to watch out for is some injector pin marks, some of them in areas which will be seen when finished if not removed during the construction.
The suspension uses individual swing arms attached to the large hull tub, which allows the running gear to be articulated easily if desired. The return roller mounts, return rollers, roadwheels, final drive, sprockets and idlers ( which are just roadwheels mounted on their own rear mount further up the body ) are all separate parts and all very well moulded.
The tracks are all individual links but there is only the one part per link so no major dramas with the assembly. There is the faintest of injector pin marks on each side of the inside surface of each link which will require removing as the paint once applied will pick these out. One of the pitfalls of most individual link tracks there I’m affriad.
The hull and superstructure are made up of multiple separate panels with some beautiful detailing, including foliage tie down loops on the outer faces and wiring for radios etc on the inner faces. There are two largish injector pin marks to remove from each inner surface but these are very shallow and are easily dealt with using a little Mr. Surfacer. The transmission access hatch and driver’s hatch are separate and could be posed open if wanted though there is no interior to be seen through them if you do.
The interior of the fighting compartment comes well stocked, with a total of twenty eight individual 76mm shells plus their stowage racks, crew seats, and a variety of stowage and storage mounted to the interior walls. This includes two PPsH 41 sub machine guns plus racks of drum mags for them, radio set and periscopes. Once again all of this is very well produced with some of the parts being very fine and delicate but still showing sharp detail and no flashing or excessive mould seams.
The 76mm gun has the barrel moulded as two halves with the separate muzzle brake also moulded as two halves. Real care is needed when assembling these to keep everything straight and to minimise the join seam. I personally feel that this kit is good enough to be worth the added expense of an aftermarket aluminium barrel and brass muzzle brake. The gun’s breech and mount are superbly done with close to fifty parts going into the whole assembly which results in a beautifully detailed gun and mount.
The figures are Miniart’s older “Soviet Self Propelled Gun Crew” set containing five figures intended to be used with the SU-76M. They aren’t as sharp as some of Miniart’s newer sets, requiring a little more cleanup than usual and being a little dull detailwise in areas like the faces, which while well done are much of a muchness and could use sharpening up.
All five are wearing the padded tanker helmet, two in overcoats and the other three wearing the telogreika padded jacket andvatnei sharovari trousers. The overcoat skirts are moulded as two halves so that you get full undercut detail and four of the five come with the hands as separate parts. The side flaps for the helmets are also separate parts providing a more natural look than moulded on ones when assembled. Despite the need for a little more cleanup than the rest these are still quite a good set of figures and do work well with the SU-76M.
The only personal gear included for the figures is a mapcase and a holstered pistol, though there is also the two PPsH 41 sub-machine guns that are included with the SU-76M kit. Eight 76mm shells are also included on the figure sprue, which together with the twenty eight included on the SU-76M sprues means there will be no shortage of ammo for filling out whatever scene you decide to place this in.
A large sheet of decals is included that provides a selection of Hungarian Commercial signage for use on the building. Oddly however there are no decals for the SU-76, with just the simple painting instructions to paint it Russian Green.
This is a terrific little diorama in a box. It builds up into quite a large and impressive building that dwarfs the SPG positioned inside it. The SU-76M is a very good kit and the figures, while needing a little extra work, are still good and go together well with the SU-76M. Either build exactly as intended, or incorporated into another diorama together or apart, this is definitely a very good value for money package.
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