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MiniArt - French Village Street

Kit Number:
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Retail Price:
17.95 USD
Reviewed By:
Frank the Tank Blanton


                   Miniart Models have produced a series of vacu-formed styrene buildings and other architectural structures in 1/35 scale for a few years now and has presented the modeler with an alternative to the heavy plaster castings prevalent in the hobby for decades. Miniart has released a number of building ruin facades with a base to create an "instant" diorama or vignette for the modeler and expanded the display opportunity to those who do not wish to create their own buildings or use traditional plaster or expensive resin cast structures.

In the box there are 39 parts, some are injection molded and others are vacu-formed. Three sprue's of injection molded parts include the gutters and downspouts along with two types of utility line supports with delicate insulators, door hinges and a light fixture. A nine step instruction sheet and a very nice selection of period French language commercial signs and posters. The base is a vacu-formed affair as is the main building ruin and stone wall. Detail is generally nice with several molding 'bubbles' or as the Miniart web site refers to as 'technical ledges'. I did wash the entire model in a warm soapy water using Dawn dish washing liquid.


After the parts were dry I went about removing the offending technical ledges or pimples on the main building walls and the stone wall gate. I used a combination of no. 11 xacto blade and a no. 15 rounded scalpel blade to perform this task. I then filled the smaller holes with Mr. Dissolved Putty and some of the larger areas had to be backed with a piece of sheet stock. I cut out the four wall sections from the styrene sheet they were formed from and placed them on a sheet of 800 sand paper sheet tapped down to my bench. Using a circular motion I gently sanded the bottom edges of each vacu-formed part until they were even. These will be the "gluing edges"


A word about glue and Miniart styrene. I have found after building four other Miniart building kits that Plastruct Plastic Weld seems to work the best on this type of plastic. The vapors are strong so adequate ventilation should be observed.


Once I had the four main wall parts glued together I primed each with medium gray Tamiya flat paint and set aside to dry. Looking over the handsome base I noted a number of those pesky "pimples" to be removed as well as some light sanding work using 1200 grit sandpaper for the sides of the base. Once completed I primed with Tamiya flat med. gray.

The stone wall gate has a tiled 'roof' section that must be glued on the top. Dry fitting revealed a tight fit as well as a large gap at the rear. I covered the gap with a piece of evergreen strip stock then drilled in some holes to place some Tichy Train Group bolts with washers to simulate a fascia from iron strip.

Painting of the stone wall gate was begun by spraying a coat of Polyscale clear gloss ov
er the stone sections. I let the clear gloss dry and set up for a day  and turned my attention to the main two story wall section. This part is stucco over stone and I applied some Vallejo grey pumice to the sides of the main building to enhance the rough texture of the stucco. The  grey pumice also gave a rough texture to the broken side of the wall and I further added some debris I made up using sand and some cat litter bits. I then sprayed the areas of exposed stone with the Polyscale clear gloss as well. For the interior of the main building I sprayed the stucco walls with Vallejo 70918 Ivory thinned with 60% thinner to 40% paint. For the exterior I used a mix of Vallejo 70915 yellow and 70918 Ivory.

To depict the mortar for the stone wall sections I used Vallejo Ivory thinned with distilled water and using a Model Master flat 1/2" #8861 brush and "washedthe thinned ivory paint into the crevices and let stand for a few minutes.. While the ivory wash was still damp I gently wiped away any large puddles that formed on the stone faces with a lint free shop towel. Spraying the clear gloss aids in the flow of the thinned ivory paint as well as aiding in the ability to mop up some of the excess material.

The thinned Vallejo ivory will stain the stones a lighter color and that is fine as a dry-brush with a med. grey oil paint will follow. The same procedure was followed on the exposed stone for the building ruin. Some thinned Vallejo black was mixed with Vallejo 70941 burnt umber to color the wood supports on the stone wall gate and window of the ruin. A mix of Tail light red and 982 cavalry brown was used to color the roof tiles.

I did add a floor to the ruin using some balsa stock and planks cut from a wafer thin piece of scale plywood sourced from my local model train shop.
I cleaned up the wood door for the stone wall gate as well as the second story window shutter,added the hinges to each and a handle for the door and finished these in Vallejo 70922 USA uniform green. I did distress the gate door by scraping the panel lines with an xacto knife as well as removing some of the lower portion of the door for that aged effect.


Base basics: I primed the base with Tamiya medium grey. I then painted the brick portion of the street with a mix of Vallejo red and cavalry brown. The earth areas of the base I painted with burnt umber and some heavily thinned 70890 reflective green. I then sprayed on a coat of clear gloss over the side walk tiles and brick portions and let dry. Once the clear was dry I washed the brick and tile walkway with the ivory mixture to detail the mortar between the brick and the tile walkway and curbing. A dry brushing of the walkway and curb was performed using some grey oil paint and the brick areas were dry brushed with a reddish brown mix.


I glued the building and gate wall components to the based and along the edges of these I sprinkled on some Model Makerz pigments dry and fixed it using Tamiya X-20 thinner in an eye dropper. Finally the gutter and down spouting were added and the light fixture and utility line support were added. The electrical lines are .010 lead wire sourced from a fishing store used for tying flies. These were secured to the insulators by a simple knot as the insulators are too delicate to try and drill a hole through for the wire. Finally a poster was selected from the generous sheet supplied in the kit and using paste mat medium it was placed on the wall.

Several streaks and post shades using Tamiya smoke were created with an airbrush and some moss was added along the lower edge of the stones using a med green shade of Vallejo paint. A coat of Vallejo mat varnish was sprayed over the entire piece and allowed to set and dry before a final highlight dry brush was given using Grumbacher unbleached titanium oil paint.



In closing I have been pleased with the building offerings from Miniart. Visits to Miniart's web site reveal a very nice tutorial on putting together their structures and I highly recommend viewing the tutorial if you are doing one for the first time. The French Village Street is a nice kit and goes together well with some patience and test fitting/trimming.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to MRC for the review sample.