MiniArt 1/35 Valentine Mk IV "Red Army"
Kit includes individual track links
Vickers Valentine tank was
During the war, the British supplied 2,394 of the British Valentine models via
Lend Lease to the
The Valentine first served in Operation Crusader in the North African desert, when it began to replace the Matilda Tank. The British Army extensively used the Valentine in the North African Campaign, where it earned a reputation as a reliable and well-protected vehicle.
The Valentine shared the common weakness of the British tanks of the period: its 2-pounder gun lacked high-explosive (anti-personnel) capability, and the gun soon became outdated as an anti-tank weapon. The small turret and turret ring made mounting larger guns a very difficult task. Although the British developed versions with a 6-pounder gun and then with a 75 mm gun, by the time tanks mounting these guns were available in significant numbers better tanks had reached the battlefield. Another weakness was the small crew compartment and the turret for only two men. A larger turret added room for a loader position in some of the 2-pounder versions, but use of larger guns required removal of the position.
1944 the Valentine had been almost completely replaced in front-line European
Theater units by the Churchill tank and the US-made
Next, I moved to the well-rendered suspension system, which, for most armor kit assemblies, is the most tedious process. The various components (i.e., road wheels, idlers, suspension rigs, etc.) are repetitious and one just needs to plow thru these.
Once the suspension and running gear were done, I proceeded with assembly of the driver’s compartment. Here, I found a minor error in the instructions: parts B10 and B9 in the instructions are really A10 and A9.
Steps 31-36 involve assembly of the lower hull and attaching all of the road wheels and idlers. Step 38 is assembly of the individual track links – which I have grown to hate – and I also put this off until I could muster the fortitude to attack them (there are 98 links per side). So, to divert myself, I moved to the hull top. Again, I found a minor instructional error: parts C40 (four of them) are mislabeled, and should really be B40. Again, exercise caution in handling of the small pieces, especially the various grab handles located on the hull top. The kit includes a nice set of tools, which I glued to the hull (I always opt to paint these by hand after spray painting the tank). The final upper hull assembly involves attaching the turret ring.
I painted the lower hull (see below for colors) and, when dry, proceeded to assemble the much-dreaded tracks. Call it fate or pre-ordained, but I had a ton of trouble with getting the links together and making them appear somewhat “natural.” I don’t know if this is due to my own stubbornness or whether the small size of the links contributed to the process, but it was a “pain.” I hate to plug other companies’ products in the middle of a build review, but for my modeling abilities, Dragon has come up with the best track solution in its “Dragon Styrene 100” (DS) one-piece tracks. But for those who are into individual link tracks, I will say that Miniart’s are very nicely done!
As a final touch, I cut a length of steel guitar string and glued it with Crazy Glue to the turret to replicate the radio antenna.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I opted to paint the entire tank with Testors Model Master (MM) Russian Armor green. I chose to model a MK IV seen at Vilnius, Lithuania, in July 1944. The markings are simple: a number on each side of the turret. Accordingly, I set the single decal on each side with a puddle of Future (this works very well for “spot-setting” decals when one does not want to gloss the entire model). I painted the road wheel rims with a black Sharpie and the tracks with MM Steel. Once these components were dry, I proceeded to the weathering stage.
First, I applied to washes to the entire tank: the first, using a black acrylic wash; and the second, using a burnt sienna wash (for both, I use inexpensive acrylics that I purchase from local craft stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby). Once the washes dried, I dry brushed the burnt sienna acrylic onto the model to simulate heavy rusting.
For a final weathering step, I took a No. 2 pencil and rubbed it on numerous high spots to simulate fresh paint wear and to give the appearance of bare metal. This can also be simulated using a silver pencil such as Prismacolor Metallic Silver (also available at local craft stores).
For the figure, I used the tank commander figure from the enclosed MiniArt crew set (a great bonus, I might add). I painted the figure using a variety of MM paints, and then highlighted with a black acrylic wash.
Thanks to your editor and www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. You should be able to find this at your local hobby shop. If not, have them order one for you.
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