In-Box Review
German Machine-guns
German Machine guns
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by: Andras [ SPONGYA ]


MiniArt in the last decade or so established itself out as a “plastic aftermarket company” as well as developing plastic models of higher and higher quality. Alongside “proper” scale models, they are producing plastic buildings, figures and accessories for dioramas that we would normally expect smaller companies to produce using resin in a much smaller production run.


In this set MiniArt has issued five German machine guns; two of each of the iconic MG34 and MG42, and one of the lesser known ZB-53 -in German service known as MG37(t).

The MG34 and its successor the MG42 both were very widely used recoil-operated air-cooled general purpose machine guns, both with incredible rate of fire (900 round per minute and 1200 round per minute respectively), and both were reliable, simple constructions. It’s probably unnecessary to introduce the MG34 and MG42 in much detail- these were the quintessential German machine guns which can be seen on almost all contemporary photos. They have been used as an area-denial weapons due to their incredible rate of fire by the infantry, but they were mounted on armoured vehicles, and some variants on airplanes as well. (There’s an interesting discussion by a youtube member on the differences between the Bren gun and the German machine guns MG32/42 which is worth watching:

The ZB-53 was a gas-operated, belt-fed, air-cooled Czech design which was used similarly varied roles as infantry weapon as well as vehicle mounted machine gun, using the same 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge as the MG34/42. It was licence built by the UK as the Besa machine gun, and was captured and put into service in high numbers by the Germans after the Munich Agreement. The vehicle variants were slightly different (different barrel) which might limit their use.

The MG34/42 were used on the Lafette 34 tripod as well as bipods, but MiniArt has only provided the bipod option. The MG37, however, is supplied with a tripod.

What you get in this set:
MG34 (2x)
MG42 (2x)
ZB-53 (vz.37)


The set comes in the typical envelop-style MiniArt box with a very nice cover art showing the contents of the model lined up next to each other. The instructions are on the back. The parts are in a small bag, with the PE in a small paper envelope with the MiniArt logo. Lately all new MiniArt kits seem to come with these envelopes; not sure how prominent the damage was to the PE frets during transit before, but additional protection of the delicate brass sheets is welcome.

The guns are made up by a surprisingly large number of parts, especially the tripod for the ZB-53 (relative to their sizes, of course). The detail is impressive, but that comes with a price: tiny plastic and even tinier PE parts (the buckles for the gun straps are given as individual PE parts which need to be cut accurately- a very delicate process with a high chance of the part flying away into the great blue yonder if you are not careful. (Use the sticky side of some masking tape to hold the small parts in place.) The plus side is that you can show the guns in the process of reloading.

All guns come with some extras: ammo holders, ammo belts, extra barrel holders.


Overall the detail is impressive, but so is the complexity for such small items. These guns are certainly not for the beginner. If you decide you want to put the time and effort into these guns, the results will talk for themselves, but in general, I think their main appeal is for the maximalists among us.

Highs: Great detail.
Lows: Complex sets.
Verdict: Recommended with reservation.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35250
  PUBLISHED: Aug 25, 2017

About Andras (spongya)

I am a biologist by trade, and as a hobby I've been building scale models for the last twenty years. Recently I started to write reviews of the models I bought. These reviews are written from the point of view of an average model builder; hence the focus is on quality of the model, how easy it is to...

Copyright ©2021 text by Andras [ SPONGYA ]. All rights reserved.


It is a really good set. But, I wish they had included a good Lafette tripod for the 34 and 42.
AUG 25, 2017 - 01:15 AM
The detail looks impressive. The addition of the etch slings help. There looks to be some flash around the weapon sights and could be challenging to try and remove when getting rid of the seams lines. I could not tell if the barrels need drilling out not that it's a major issue. Overall looks like a good set to fill a diorama. Michael
AUG 25, 2017 - 05:24 AM
Wasn't this already reviewed recently? Seem to remember comments about the MG34. Hmmm.
AUG 25, 2017 - 07:20 AM

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