In MiniArt’s increasing line-up of vacuum-formed building kits, this latest is another example of MiniArt’s original approach to diorama buildings. It would be all to easy to just re-invent the two wall ‘corner building’ and be done with it. This is however not MiniArt’s philosophy, who have produced rather unique, individual buildings, which at the same time can fit into almost any diorama scenario. This ‘Lithuanian City Building’ is no exception, as the name really disguises a building that can be used to depict a substantial, business building anywhere in Europe.
what’s in the box
A large cardboard box holds the individual sheets of vacuum-formed wall parts, and four plastic-injected sprues with the windows, lampposts, doors etc. The instructions consist of four pages of basic exploded view pictures, and also included is a small sheet with 18 period propaganda posters, and three notice posters.
A closer look
My first impression upon opening the box was very positive. The vacuum-formed wall parts are very well formed, and large. The brick detail, where appropriately exposed, has been rendered very well, and the recesses for the floor/ceiling joists have not been forgotten. No floors are included in this set, which is not a bad thing, as a damaged floor is much more realistic if it’s build from scratch with real wood.This building has a total of 7 windows, three of which are skylights on the top floor, although the ceiling height of the top floor leaves no more than crawling space. The windows follow MiniArt’s usual pattern, in that all the windows are build around one set of window frames, which are used in different configurations to create different shape windows. Like wise for the two doors, which have the same basic size, but you do get a choice between a solid panelled double doors or a part glazed double door. The main entrance door has a semi circular fanlight, a feature replicated with both ground floor windows.The balcony over the main entrance is a nice feature, which adds some interest to an otherwise quite bland exterior. The balcony uses four of the generic wrought iron railings from the plastic windows set.The box-art and instructions show the building with a crenulated roof line, using another three wrought iron railings. This is certainly an attractive and different look, and will set off this style of architecture very well. This will however limit you to a flat roof, if you are going to add one from scratch. It is possible to leave the crenulated parts off, which will leave you with a straight edged roof line, which can be detailed with a pitched roof.The generic accessory sprues contain as always a number of street lighting options, eight in total, which can be either free standing or mounted on the building’s walls. The sprues suffer from a lot of flash, and as the amount and position of flash varies between the four sprues it seems to indicate a production fault rather than a bad mould. All the parts on the sprues are moulded completely though, and all of the flash cleans away with a sharp hobby knife without a problem. Perhaps Quality Control needs another coffee?The posters are high quality, perfectly reproduced copies of period propaganda posters. There are German and Russian posters, as well as three small notice posters. Printed on firm, semi-gloss paper, they are the perfect finishing touch to this building.
Once again MiniArt have created a building with a difference. The angled front entrance, the set back extension of the front wall, the crenulated roof line, it all combines to created a building that will be the centrepiece of any diorama. It will be a large diorama, as you will need a minimum of 16cm by 30cm just for the building.This is not a kit for the beginner, as there are a lot of vacuum-formed parts to work with, and some parts need to be trimmed for fit, something which the instructions point out, but not to clearly. Anyone with some vacuum-form or scratch building experience should have no problems however.One of the things I like about the MiniArt buildings is that they are realistically proportioned. Too many buildings on the market are far to small, usually to narrow. This building is no exception, and it’s imposing size make it an ideal choice for a bank or substantial office building anywhere in Europe. I can’t wait to get started on this one, and highly recommend it.