MiniArt
1/35 Ruined Village House
Kit Number: 35520
Reviewed by  Tom Jett, IPMS# 46082

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MSRP:$17.95
Imported by Dragon Models USA: Website: www.dragonmodelsusa.com

This is my first experience with Mini Art buildings. The kit is very simple consisting of two large three small vac-u-form sheets that make up the structure of the building itself. Also included are two sprues of white styrene parts that make up the doors, shutters (two styles), window frames, wrought iron fence section, gutters and downspout. Despite its vac-u-form castings the detail on the walls are very convincing and well executed. Detail is included on both inner and outer walls. No roof joists, floors or floor joists are included but could be easily made from bass or balsa wood.

Observations:

[review image] First impressions are very good and rival other plaster/resin cast buildings, however some proportions do not scale out well for a 1/35th structure. Although I don't have anything to tell me how tall doors were on old village houses to me the doorway just seemed too big, especially when I put a 1/35 scale figure in the doorway. It actually scales out to a little over 8.5 ft tall! The windows are ok, but tall as well, measuring about 5 ft tall in scale.


The widow frames and sashes are very basic and could be improved by substituting bass and/or balsa wood as mentioned earlier. The doors and shutters however have nice surface details and are fine as is. You have the choice of the farm style shutters or more fancy louvered shutters.

Assembly:

Careful trimming of the vac-u-form parts is crucial to everything fitting together nicely. A new #11 blade and good cutting surface is all you'll need to remove the part for the surrounding "flash". I added strip styrene to the inner surfaces of the inside walls to offer a great surface area and a stronger bond between the parts. Be prepared, there will be seams, so keep the Bondo or your filler of choice handy, you'll need it, but once sanded, most of the seams were eliminated, however the inner window and door openings are a little tougher to eliminate the seams. The good news is some will be disguised when you add the door, and window frames. Note: the more careful you are when trimming off the "flash" earlier on, the fewer problems you'll have with respect to the seams. Again, in my opinion, the window and door frames could be easily and more convincingly replaced with strips of wood.

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Painting:

I used the box art as my painting guide and mixed my own shades using the TLAR Method ("That Looks About Right"). I began with a primer coat of Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1000. I followed this up with a base coat of Vallejo "Hemp". I used a hair dryer to speed up the painting process. With the "Hemp" dry, I sprayed Tamiya Desert Yellow #XF-59, onto the stone blocks. Wishing to keep things as random as possible, I picked out some of the bricks and concentrated more paint on them. This added dimension to the otherwise two-dimensional appearance the Help coat left behind. After a blast from the dryer it was time to pick out a few highlights. I added a little Tamiya Dark Yellow to the mix and again picked out a few blocks for added dimension. Once dry, I applied MIG Filter "Brown for Dark Yellow" to the entire structure. Once this was dry I applied MIG "Brown Wash" to the mortar joints between the blocks, and around the windows and doorway. I used my fingertip to blend the wash into the blocks to avoid any "tidemarks" of the surface of the stone blocks. Last, I laid down a random application of MIG Neutral wash to the lower stone blocks around the outside of the building foundation to break up and show a hint of dirt and grime that would have accumulated from traffic passing by the front of the structure.

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For the shutters and window frames, I began by priming them again in Gunze Mr Surfacer. The windows and sashes got a coat of flat black paint, while the doors and shutters got a splash of color, with some LifeColor Verde green and Medium green.

Final thoughts:

That's about it. Overall impressions are good, the detail of the vac-u-form is great, but assembly was made more difficult by the filling required to hide the seams. The scale issues with the doors make it problematic for a 1/35th scale diorama. The painting potential is boundless with many period photographs available to serve as inspiration. With a little more work and a few strips of balsa wood this kit can be really shine.

Recommended.

Many thanks to Dragon and Mini-Art for their review sample.

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