MiniArt 1/35 Valentine Mk. IV (Red Army)

KIT #: 35092
PRICE: $58.00 MSRP
DECALS: Six Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold kit with individual track links.


Based on the A10 Cruiser tank, the Valentine was privately designed by Vickers-Armstrongs (hence its lack of a General Staff "A" designation) and was submitted to the War Office on 10 February 1938. The development team tried to combine the weight of a cruiser tank (so that suspension and transmission parts of the A10 could be used) with the greater armour of an infantry tank, which resulted in a very small vehicle with a cramped interior and two-man turret. Though its armour was still weaker than the Infantry Tank II Matilda and, due to a weaker engine, it shared the same top speed, the new design was easier to produce and much less expensive.

The War Office was initially deterred by the size of the turret and the crew compartment. Concerned by the situation in Europe, however, it finally approved the design in April, 1939. The vehicle reached trials in May, 1940, which coincided with the loss of nearly all of Britain's equipment during the evacuation at Dunkirk. The trials were successful and the vehicle was rushed into production as Infantry Tank III Valentine. The Valentine remained in production until April 1944, becoming Britain's most produced tank during the war with 6,855 units manufactured in the UK (by Vickers, Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon and Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon), and a further 1,420 in Canada. They were the Commonwealth's main export to the Soviet Union under the Lend-lease Act, with 2,394 of the British models being sent and 1,388 of the Canadian Pacific built models, and the remaining 30 being kept for training.


The kit comes very tightly packaged inside a polybag, which itself has several polybags full of sprues. There are nearly 600 parts in this one so it is by no means a quick, weekend build. The running gear and tracks are on mulitple sprues with five of them needed for the individual links. Molding is very good indeed with the parts being crisply formed. These early war British tanks were rivet monsters and that aspect has been very well done by MiniArt.

A small fret of photo etch is included for some straps, a storage bin, radio screen and other bits and pieces. It is not extensive and seems to be appropriate for the kit. A complete gun breech assembly is part of the kit as is a full driver's compartment but that is about it for interior bits. The rather complex suspension is also well detailed with the rubber part of the road wheels separate. This will make for easier painting. Many of the hatches can be posed open or closed if one wishes, which probably accounts for the full driver's position. This is topped off with a nicely done Lewis machine gun. The kit also comes with five figures. Three of them are posed in the process of cleaning out the gun barrel while one supervises and one is posed as if standing in the tank's open hatch.

Instructions are well drawn though they can seem rather busy at times with 53 construction steps. Once again, no color information is provided during the build of the kit, leaving it up to box art and references for that sort of information. There is a full color exterior and figure painting guide provided that offers a wide range of paint manufacturers. The decals are well done and are basically tactical numbers. Markings are for fsix vehicles, all in a basic overall British armor green. They differ only in the tactical number used or the serial number. Two are in a winter scheme. Apparently the Soviets used these for a long time as schemes range from 1941 all the way to 1944


To my knowledge, this is a brand new kit, having been done before as one of  Alan's earliest releases. Armor experts can correct me on this. Regardless, it looks to be a superb kit and one that will provide the builder with hours of modeling pleasure.


July 2010

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