MiniArt US Armoured Bulldozer
The D4 bulldozer was first produced in 1936. In updated forms it was in production until 1996. This kit is not of the fully armoured D7A 1T1001 series. This kit is the standard D4 with an armoured cab. There’s a very nice photograph of the bulldozer this model is designed from in Panzerwrecks 15, page 45.
This is MiniArt’s 3rd bulldozer. We started with 35174, a D7 with a towing winch, then 35184 with an angled dozer blade. A later kit is 35195 with a regular dozer blade, very similar to this kit but without the armour.
The kit arrives in a sturdy top opening box with all the various parts sealed inside one large bag. There’s not much space inside the bag so everything is held securely in place. Inside this bag, the decals, small PE fret and two small clear frets are inside their own plastic bag to protect them.
The kit consists of 759 parts on 23 sprues of various sizes. There’s also a small photo etch fret of 8 parts, two small clear parts and a small decal sheet. There are about three extra parts on the sprues that are not used.
The instructions are in an 18-page booklet and cover 80 steps. Colour call outs are to one manufacturer only – Ammo by Mig Jiminez. The colour profiles and info are supplied by AMMO, so I assume that is the reason theirs are the only colours referenced. Having just AMMO references is fine for me but if you’re not familiar with their range, it might be a bit of a problem although AMMO do seem to be becoming more well known and popular. The colour profiles are clear and well covered and show subtle weathering, which is no surprise since AMMO made them. There is only one decal option, 237th Engineer Battalion, 1st US Army, Germany, April 1945. The bulldozer is almost all olive drab, but you might have to look very carefully and do some research to see where the non-olive drab parts are as it isn’t totally clear from the colour call outs and I can’t see any colours called out in the build instructions.
The build instructions are black and white line drawings, and are very clear and detailed. In places you will have to look closely though to see exactly where some parts attach. There’s a lot of detail inside the armoured cab so it would seem a shame to build it all closed up.The first 18 steps cover building the engine and transmission with over 100 parts. The kit includes a lot of the pipes and hydraulics that you find on bulldozers. After that the chassis is added, and then the cab interior. There are a lot of small parts in this kit and a lot of detail. You will need to supply some thread for the winch. The armoured cab can be fitted with both doors and all vision slots open of closed, but even with them all open I doubt you will see too much of the detail inside. Steps 49 to 74 deal with the suspension and fully moveable tracks with their individual track links. Steps 75 to 80 add on the blade. Adding some colour call outs for the non-olive drab parts in the building instructions would have been nice. The level of detail in the parts is very good.
This kit should cost you about $45 plus shipping, depending where you live and who you buy from.
Overall this is a highly detailed kit that will look very nice on the shelf, especially in a diorama. It is a perfect kit to show off your weathering skills as bulldozers never stay clean and even after a wash will still show signs of wear and tear.
Many thanks to MiniArt for the review sample.
Look for the build of this kit in a future article.