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Alanger 1/35 scale Valentine X British infantry tank Mk.III

Kit: No. 35030
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Alanger, from Alanger International, 905-849-4503,
Price: $35
Comments: Injection-molded, 477 parts, decals
Pros: Unique subject; good surface detail
Cons: Inconsistent molding; sink holes; fit issues
Issue Published: April 2008
More infantry tank Mk.IIIs, known as Valentines, were built than any other British-designed tank during World War II. They served in Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific as well as the Soviet Union, which acquired them through the Lend-Lease program. So, it's appropriate that Russian manufacturer Alanger brings the Valentine to modelers now. The boxtop is labeled "Valentine IX," but the kit is a X with options for an XI.

Despite its production numbers, there have been few models of the Valentine. Alan produced an early version reboxed by Dragon and others. This kit traces its origin to the earlier kit, sharing hull, suspension, and individual-link track parts, but adding a new turret, wheels, and other items to update it to the X. Alternate parts allow for either the X's British 6-pounder main gun or the 75mm weapon carried by the XI. Decals provide markings for two Red Army Valentine Xs and the British XI shown on the boxtop.

The castings are inconsistent. There is nice surface detail on most parts, particularly the hull, but lots of sink marks. Most noteworthy, and the hardest to fill, are two large divots on each of the road-wheel arms; the surface detail is affected by the blemishes, and the tight location makes sanding difficult.

Using the early-version parts presents a couple of minor inaccuracies not mentioned in the instructions. The front and rear fenders have a zig-zag panel line characteristic of early Valentines, but by the time of the X and XI models this had become a straight line. It's simple to fill the line and scribe a straight replacement. The kit's bolted glacis plate is correct for the X, but references indicate the XI had a welded glacis - easily corrected by cutting away the bolts and forming weld seams with stretched sprue or epoxy putty.

Construction was straightforward, hampered only by the need to fill sink holes and ejector-pin marks. Dry-fitting helped refine several fits.

I built the suspension units and attached them to the hull, leaving the wheels off until after painting and filling large gaps at the top of each unit's locating slots with scrap styrene and putty. Leaving the units loose on parts C46 made it easier to align the wheels later.

I had to file and fit several oversize parts on the upper hull, including the front plate (Part A11) and the fender brackets (C56 and C57). I left the muffler cover (C55 and G4) off until after painting. Parts G15 and G16 were ill-formed; I replaced the cylindrical structure on the side with styrene rod.

The turret went together well but needed filler around the rear seam and the sight insert. The gun barrel is molded as a single piece with a separate muzzle. The turret's rear storage bin is odd; the instructions indicate folding a single part to form three sides. I found it easier to cut it apart along the fold lines and glue it together. The box mounts to the turret with a distinctive forward angle; check the painting diagram when positioning it.

After painting the model dark olive drab and applying the thin decals for one of the Red Army tanks, I attached the wheels. The alignment of the main bogies is difficult, and my Valentine ended up with a toed-out stance. The tracks' individual links needed cleaning up to fit together well. The clearance between the drive sprockets and the fenders is tight. There is no room between the idlers and the fenders, which forced me to leave a gap there. Fortunately, short side skirts hide the gap.

I spent about 25 hours building this kit, with much of that time spent cleaning up parts and filling sink holes. But I'm happy with the results: It looks like a Valentine. Fans of British armor who are willing to do the work can overcome the kit's shortcomings.

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