by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt as a company is probably best known for their injection moulded plastic figures., and the diorama element sets that they have released. These have been joined by an impressive array of vehicles which cover, military, civilian and industrial. The industrial vehicles are joined here by a rural element in the form of a 1938 D8500 tractor. At this time it was still common for horses to be used on farms for work, and of course steam power had been utilised. As such, I suspect that the piston engine tractor, were few and far between, and as such this offering from MiniArt will make an interesting model in its own right. That would also add a very interesting element to a diorama.
This release from MiniArt, is provided in a cardboard tray with a separate card lid featuring the artwork. Upon opening the box, you will find a loose instruction booklet and a single sealed plastic bag containing all of the parts of the model. An examination of the parts reveals only one potential issue, and that is restricted to flow lines on some elements but these do not look or feel to have caused issues in the finish. There are no clear parts provided in this offering, and a small photo etch fret contained in a card sleeve.
Tractors by their very nature are not really designed for comfort, but are designed to spend hours and hours going up and down the same field performing various tasks under load. Due to this, the look of most tractors has an industrial machine appearance to it, and that has been captured very well in this release from MiniArt. The body of the tractor consists of four main pieces to which you add smaller pieces to for detail, and this covers the cast nature of the real parts very well. There is no engine detail present to be exposed as the cowlings are not designed to be opened, and so beyond the drive sections that make up the chassis.
The drive portion of the tractor has a nice diamond patterned floor with a seat that is supported by a spring and arm. Being an exposed area of the model, it is good to see that MiniArt have put some effort into the seat and the controls the operator had been provided with. The front axel of the tractor is assembled with the wheels in the forward position only. It would however, take very little effort to show the wheels in a turned orientation. The wheels themselves are a clever design for the period, in that there are thin raised areas that would come into contact with a hard surface and drive on it without causing damage to the surface. However, when on the soil, these hard surfaces would sink into the soil and bring a much wider area into contact with the ground, with teeth mounted on them for added traction. The wheels are surprisingly fine in some respects, and so care will be required when removing and cleaning the parts. Looking over the assembly of this model, I was very pleased to see that photo etch has not been excessively used, and where it has been used it adds to the finish of the model.
MiniArt has only covered only one finishing option with this vehicle, which is basically German grey bodywork, and oxide red wheels. I am sure that searches on line will alternative options for the modellers who want something a little more colourful, but obviously that is up to you.
This offering form MiniArt, in 1/35th scale industrial tractor, provides the modeller with an appealing looking vehicle, due to all the bumps and bulges on it. The biggest appeal of this model will be the weathering. Because you can do something that is fairly new and so relatively clean, to a vehicle that has spent a season in the field, and to a great palette for someone adding the weathering.