We recently got a box of Panzer I Ausf. A tanks from Minairons Miniatures for review. It seems that the revolution in plastic miniatures is here to stay, with old and new manufacturers constantly pushing out more Flames of War plastic product. I had a mind to add these little guys to my Early War Germans, but I have decided to give them away at Historicon 2014 - make sure you are there! Let's take a look!
Quick Editor's note: Minairons primarily focuses on the Spanish Civil War, and have a respectable range to support that. At WWPD, because we are focused on WWII, we have not had Minairons grace our pages until they began producing components that work across the eras. If you are interested in Spanish Civil War, please give the rest of the Minairons range a peruse! -S
The box comes with five sprues, each with one tank. The sprue contains an option for a "big gun", which was a rare upgrade to this platform during the Spanish Civil War. The grade of plastic feels a bit smooth and slightly rubbery, but certainly harder that some other manufacturers (Zvezda).
Each tank consists of nine parts, one of which is a turret choice. The sprue is well-organized and does a good job of putting attachment points and mold lines in hidden places. The models have a very good amount of detail on them and are on par with some of the higher-end plastic producers (PSC). I found the one-piece tracks to be particularly detailed and were easy to mount on the model.
The kit comes with a really nice decal sheet with a ton of options for German, Chinese and Spanish variations. It is really great that you can actually make what is shown on the box with the kit! This, sadly, is not true of all of all the kits we have seen. The decals are also pre-cut, meaning that you do not have to trim out individual decals.
These are not snap-fit models, so you will need your plastic glue for these guys. Make sure that you glue the posts and the edges when assembling the models. One thing I did not like was the very loose fit of the turret. It is clear to me that the turret was meant to be glued on, which is a shame. I guess it could be converted to a magnetized system, but it was not obvious to me how to do that. The underside of the turret (not shown) is just a simple post.
I found the fit of the models to be very, very good. I had no problems with assembly, and only had to look up a few pictures on the web to figure it all out. There was minimal flashing, and assembly -- which I hate -- was a breeze. Although I forgot to take a picture, the size of these models is comparable to my other Early War Germans, where I have Battlefront, Zvezda and Plastic Soldier Company tanks.
Overall, I liked these models quite a bit. They were easy to build and paint, for sure. To me, these fit right in between Zvezda and PSC from a quality standpoint - I use both of those manufacturers. I did have some trouble finding these for sale, but it does look like Will at PSC will be carrying these. The going price seemed to be around $30USD (available here), and that seemed a little high. The decals are included, so that helps. Still, $6/tank is not terrible, and perhaps the final price from retailers will be less.
If you are looking for some Spanish Civil War or EW Germans, I recommend you give these a try.
Models provided by Minairons Miniatures