by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has produced a large number of GAZ Manufactured vehicles over the last few years and the latest to join the list is the GAZ-05-193 Staff Bus. I will show my ignorance as I thought this was another bus version and I was delighted to discover it is a mobile planning/command vehicle.
A look over the mouldings of this model picked up no major issues. There are of course seam lines that will need to be addressed and some of the ejector pin marks will also need to be cleaned. There is not however any flash to concern yourself with and I also like that MiniArt has provided some printed posters and maps in the instruction sheet for Russian and German areas of service, the only negative I have about this aspect is that they are printed on the instruction booklet cover and the paper is on the heavy side for this purpose.
The model has been provided with a full engine and gearbox. MiniArt has done a very nice job in this area as there are some very nice details present. The fan belt and fan being especially well represented despite being supplied as plastic rather than photo etched parts. The modeller can still lift this area of the model by adding some wiring detail and that will add the sort of touch that people notice.
The chassis is a multi-part assembly, and this is something that I like. By approaching the chassis as a multi-part offering, it makes it easier for the manufacturer to provide greater levels of detail, detail that the modellers are demanding are of a good standard. As with most things this does come with a compromise in the form of difficulty. The chassis consists of the two main runs and the various cross members, and it is this aspect that adds the difficulty level due to having to make sure that the assembly is square. If you fail to take your time to keep everything true, the model will be a pig from that point on as everything connects to and relies on the chassis.
The axles and suspension have also been tackled to a high standard. The rear axle assembly is especially well detailed despite being an area that only the modeller will know what is there. The details that MiniArt has provided some particularly nice brackets for the leaf springs to attach to. The front suspension and steering has also been well detailed; however I cannot make my mind up as to how difficult it will be to depict the wheels turned. MiniArt only provides information for assembling the wheels in a dead ahead position.
The wheels are nicely detailed and letís be honest MiniArt has had a lot of practice in refining the wheels for the GAZ vehicles. The tyres have been supplied in thin slices, this approach does allow for very realistic looking tread patterns to be achieved. There is a down side to the slices approach and that is that the modeller must do a good clean up job on them to insure that the slices close up fully.
The interior of the vehicle has been well catered for by MiniArt. The driverís compartment is realistically bare, but what is there is well done for the most part. On the down side the instrument dials are present, but no decals are supplied, and so careful painting or after-market is the route needed. The big plus for me in this area are the seats, one thing I really dislike like seeing in upholstered seats is featureless seating that at best looks like it has never been sat on. MiniArt has provided seats that look used and so adds some life to the model.
Moving to the rear of the vehicle we are presented with a well laid out mobile command station. MiniArt has provided a plethora of nice details in this area from radios through to a radiator for crew comfort. The radio is provided with a headset and mic, but the modeller will have to provide their own cables for these items. The windows are supplied with open blinds, but I would have liked the option to show some of the blinds in the closed position, still it will be easy enough to do that yourself if wished. The seating down both sides is covered and a very well done table with draws is supplied for the centre. The only thing missing here are some figures and I hope that MiniArt release a dedicated set soon for this offering.
Moving on to the exterior of the vehicle; the details are accurate from what I can see. The sweeping lines of the front mudguards are well represented and this is a line on the vehicle that I like. The doors of the vehicle can be opened or closed and so all of that detail within can be easily displayed. The hood/bonnet can also be accurately depicted in an open position and so displaying the effort you put into the engine is easily seen.
One area where I am not best pleased is the painting details of the model. Ammo of Mig has supplied the finishing details for the model and so no other paint brand options are provided. Now donít get me wrong, I have nothing against Ammo of Mig paints or their products generally, but their products are not readily available at stores; at least that seems the case in the UK and they also do not currently have the range to be a one stop paint provider. I accept that it is a shrewd move on the part of Ammo by Mig to go out and cover the painting finishes for a good number of manufacturers, but it could also backfire on them if it rattles modellers by restricting their options as regards painting.
This is a really nice model offering from MiniArt that has really grabbed my modelling attention due to the interior details. Every aspect of the model has been well addressed by MiniArt and could easily be turned into a great stand-alone model or as a centre piece in a diorama. I have some issues with the paint option, but I am very happy in every other regard.