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In-Box Review
135
Valentine Mk IV w crew
Valentine Mk IV Red Army c/w Crew
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by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction


The Valentine tank has an interesting history: it was a private venture designed by Vickers-Armstrong and originally offered to the War Department in 1938. Production started in 1939 with an initial order of 250 tanks, and over the course of the war, it was produced in a wide variety of Marks: the Mk I-VII, VIIA, IX, X and XI. It saw service in North Africa, Italy, Northwest Europe and the Far East, and was also exported for use by the Russians.

As well as being produced as a gun tank, the chassis was used for transport/carriage of other hardware, such as the Archer 17pdr anti tank gun and Bishop 25pdr Field Gun. I have even seen pictures of a bridge-laying version.

This is a long-awaited kit, and for recommended reading, I would point you towards Dick Taylorís book from Armor PhotoHistory British Infantry Tank Mk III Valentine, which is an excellent reference for modellers. I reviewed Dickís book here on Armorama a short time ago.

There was not a great deal of difference between the early versions of the Valentine, with the main changes being the power plant. The Mk IV is effectively a Mk II except that the Mk IV had the General Motors 6-71 Diesel engine and tended to come with the No 19 Radio. It also had the rear lookout added to the left-hand side of the turret. Many of the Mk IVs were manufactured in Canada and exported directly to Russia. Vickers Armstrong also produced around 500 plus, and Metropolitan Cammell were involved in the production.

Another useful link I came across was WW2 Vehicles.

The Kit

The kit comes presented in a nice sturdy box with a good picture on the front. The parts are cast in light grey styrene, and come sealed in one plastic bag with the frame parts in additional separate bags inside. Over all the quality of the moulding looks good, with no major flash to clean up. The set also comes with a five-figure Red Army crew which is a nice bonus for the price. There are ejection marks that will need to be filled on the underside of some parts, but overall the casting and presentation of the kit look very good.

To go with the build, you get an 8-page set of instructions of the expanded diagram-kind, an A4 colour paint chart for 6 different vehicles, a small set of decals and a small set of PE.

So letís have a look at the parts.

Frame A
This contains the upper hull and associated fittings for the driverís interior. Yes, you get a basic driverís interior which is another nice addition to the kit. The upper hull matches well to the photographs and references I have; I canít see anything glaringly obviously wrong with it; the details look good, and with the driverís hatches on either side of the hull open, the partial interior will be very welcome. Frame A also contains some associated fittings for the completion of the hull.

Frame B x 2
The road and drive wheels and the suspension units come on 2 frames. The detail on the parts looks sharp. The rear drive wheels appear to have the correct bolt detail, and the drive teeth look to be correctly-spaced, although I didnít have a full picture to count them. A nice presentation there as far as I can tell. The detail on the road wheels looks good and seems fairly accurate. The wheels all have backing parts, so no empty spaces there. The large drive wheels come in 3 parts: the front and rear hubs and then the tyre surround. The detail looks accurate against the reference pictures I have seen.

Some information on the wheels: The large road wheels came in 5 different types in a diameter of 24 inches. The small road wheels were 19.5 inches in diameter (normally referred to as 20 inch) and also came in 5 different styles. The kit has the 20 inch diameter large road and idler wheels, which accounts for the odd look some have already commented on. The diameter of the road wheels matched the diameter of the idler wheel. There were five types of wheels produced (in production order ):

1. Segmented type, with alternate raised and lowered quadrants
2. Initial production (could be aluminium or steel)
3. Riveted Type with kidney depressions
4. Plain Flat Steel wheel with dome centre
5. With hub cap in the centre

All five types/styles were found in both 19.5 (20) inch and 24 inch diameter. You could mix and match type providing the diameter was the same. My grateful thanks to John Pearson for this additional data.

All the remaining parts on the frame seem very well-done with good, sharp detail.

Frame C
This contains some of the side bins and additional fittings required for the upper hull. Again, these parts are very well-presented, and there should be no excess clean-up necessary. Also on frame C are the parts for the side fuel tank (not required for this build, but check your references). The tools look to be perfectly acceptable and over-all a very excellent set of parts

Frame D
Frame D contains the turret parts, and you get a gun breach and radio to help fill out the space. The turret is of the 2-man kind, and has the correct vision ports for this version. It comes at two parts and has the correct bolt detail in-place. I can see no discernable difference between the front bolts on the turret and the side bolts, which is as it should be. Also included on this sprue are the Bren gun and fittings for the Lakeman AA MG mount. These are nice parts, some quite thin and therefore fragile, so take care when removing them from the sprue. The barrel of the 2pdr comes moulded as one part and looks straight and true with the business end pre-drilled. There is a lot of fine detail overall on these parts.

Frame D2
This contains the mud guards for the front and rear of the tank. No side skirts are provided in this version and would not be necessary for the build in any case.

Frame E x 5
The links are small but not too small, and should build-up into excellent track, although you might need a little patience. The details looks good.

Part G
Part G is the lower hull, a long boat-like shaped part, and again the detail here look good and accurate.

Photo Etch
You get a small fret of photo etch to add some fine detail to the kit. This comes sealed in a plastic cover, so take care when removing.

Decals
You get a small sheet of decals to match up with the examples given in the colour painting guide. My knowledge of Russian Army markings is nil, so I cannot comment there, but you get markings for 6 vehicles:

Educational Tank regiment, Gorki City, November 1941
Moscow Battle, December 1941 Ė (unknown Regiment)
Unknown Tank Regiment, 1941
South front Kharkov region, June 1942 (Unknown Regiment)
Vilnius Lithuania, July 1944 (Unknown Regiment)
Voronezh front, 201st Red Army Tank Brigade, January 1943

A wider choice of identified vehicles would have been preferred.

Tank Crew

The tank crew consist of a five-figure set, and were issued as a separate set (reviewed by Jim Rea here on Armorama. What is worth commenting on thought is the fact that MiniArt have set a precedent by providing crews for all their vehicle kit issues so far, and that is an excellent development for model makers.

Conclusion

This is a well-engineered and produced kit. I can see nothing wrong with the parts, and you get some cool additions to the kit with the partial driverís compartment, full breach for the gun, the radio and the five crew figures. The individual links should build-up well to give you the correct track shape, and also offer additional presentation possibilities for diorama builders. I am not an expert on the Valentine, but everything Iíve looked at tells me this is a very good kit. Iíve yet to see a 100% perfect kit, so if something does need fixing, then isnít that part of the fun? This is a very creditable effort, and Iíll look forward to the further development of this range. MiniArt are to be congratulated for bringing this one along.

There should be plenty of potential with the kit as it stands, and with its five crew figures provided, for display, either as a stand-alone vehicle or as part of a larger scene. And since externally the Valentine Mk IV and Mk II were the same, there is ample opportunity to finish this one as a British/Commonwealth vehicle. The partial turret and driverís interior allows for adding a bit more detail there, too.

There is an issue with the size of the Large Road/Idler Wheels, something I have just had clarification on as they measure in at 20 inches instead of 24 inches, so there is either an AM opportunity there or a fix needed from MiniArt. My apologies for any confusion, but that's what happened in emails. I have altered the rating on this review accordingly.

If anyone would like the set of Russian Crew figures just PM me and Iíll put them in the post.

I have included pictures of the MiniArt build for further reference at the end of the article.

References:


British Infantry Tank Mk III Ė Valentine by Dick Taylor

Special Thanks to: John Pearson

A Build Log has been started in the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.


Post Script

Following on from the build of this kit, (see Blog link above), I have changed my opinion back to my original thoughts. My main concern was the incorrect spacing between the small and large road wheels, which had the potential to give the finished kit an odd look. This still exists but an easy fix came to light during the build and as a result of this I have changed the rating from Recommended to Highly Recommended as this is a dapper little kit to build, good fit and highly detailed. The fix is an easy one and as such I feel a change of rating is appropriate.


SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent detail, well thought-out. and with some nice extra bits to add to your enjoyment.
Lows: Size of road wheels and spacing.
Verdict: Highly Recommended, in view of the build experience.
Percentage Rating
86%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35092
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 16, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 85.89%

Our Thanks to MiniArt!
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About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)
FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...

Copyright ©2017 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Looks a lovely detailed kit - shame about the individual track links though! Look forward to the British boxings (and of course the Archer & Bishop )
AUG 18, 2010 - 01:07 PM
[quote]So this kit, with the exception of the crew figures and decals, is identical to the upcoming release of the Valentine ll in British colors? And if I didn't want to wait could I buy this Russian version and build it as British (providing I supply my own decals and alternate crew)?[/quote No Not identical as the Mk II British Version comes with the sand shields and this version doesn't. Are there any other differences well obviously the crew but as I haven't seen inside the box of the British version I really can't say. My advice would be to check your reference pictuers, decide what you want to build and buy accordingly. Chris, Thanks. Yes, possibilities here Neil, Indies are great Al
AUG 18, 2010 - 01:46 PM
BTW the British Version has now been released. I saw it available on line this evening. Al
AUG 18, 2010 - 02:19 PM
Hi folks, I have had to alter the information in the review based on some further clarification I have had on the wheel size. The diameter of the Large Road Wheels/Idler wheels was 24 inches. The diameter of the Small Road Wheels was 19.5 inches (these are referred to as 20 inch wheels which is where the confusion came in) Both styles of wheels came in 5 types as reported in the review and these could be mixed and matched providing the diameters matched. The kit large road wheels and idler are therefore undersized as they measure in at 20 inches in diameter, so there is an AM opportunity there or a fix from MiniArt. needed. Apologies for any confusion. Al
AUG 21, 2010 - 01:17 PM
I'm looking forward to the future British releases of this series. It seems like it's been a long time in coming.
AUG 21, 2010 - 11:58 PM
Reguarding the wheels....they look OK on the built up kit ( # 35902 ) on the MiniArt site. Checking their layout of the kit sprues I noticed that the smaller " 20" inch road wheels come as one piece And the larger 24 inch wheels come as two pieces , looks to me like a 20 inch disc ( part # 1 ) and a seperate rim to represent the rubber tire ( part # & ) Part # 2 is the idler wheel , if you zoom in you can see the grease nipple .. Could this be the reason we are getting confused as to wheel sizes . Once you put the 2 parts together the larger wheel should look right .
AUG 22, 2010 - 12:31 PM
Hi Jim, The small road weels were 19.5 inch in diameter (referred to as 20 inch wheels) these are parts 4 & 5 on the kit and are fine. The larger road wheel should be 24 inches in diameter these are parts 1, 2 and 7. The diameter of these is 20 inches that is edge of tyre to edge of tyre and that is why the gap between the small and larger wheels looks odd. It is these that are wrong. I've sent off for a set of ther Accurate Armour ones to compare them against and hopefully to fix the problem. A fix is being discussed on ML to lessen the gap but I don't think it will cure the size issue although it will make for a better looking finish. You could of course just build OOB and not worry about it. Al
AUG 22, 2010 - 01:26 PM
Hi guys, Following on form the build blog I have added a Post Script to the end of the review. I felt this was only fair given the easy fix for the road wheel spacing that came to light during the build. Al
SEP 19, 2010 - 01:00 PM
Thanks for the update Al. Great review and build as well, looking forward to the blistered paint effect
SEP 19, 2010 - 01:51 PM
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