MiniArt 1/35 Valentine Mk. II
|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.
Instructions are well drawn though they can seem rather busy at times with 55 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 seven vehicles, all which are basically desert tan or with additional areas in armor green. With the exception of a captured German tank, all are from the 23rd Armoured Brigade in 1941/1942. It appears that the tan was painted over the original green as many of the tank names are against green backgrounds. That being the case, the rubber on the road wheels should have overspray on them. Decals are by Begemont, which have a reputation for being quite good.
I fully expect MiniArt to do the full gamut of Valentine variants so expect more in the near future.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine_tank September 2010
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