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MiniArt 1/35 scale Red Army Valentine Mk.IV

MiniArt convincingly captured the Valentine’s complex suspension including the unique three-wheel bogies. There is a little play in the fit, so pay attention during assembly.

Kit:No. 35092 // Scale:1/35 // Price:MiniArt, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322
Nicely detailed running gear; separate hatches; five figures
Occasionally fiddly construction; some play in suspension components; silvering decals
Injection-molded, 600 parts (45 photoetched-metal), decals
Valentine was one of three “infantry” tanks fielded by the British army during World War II. While not as famous as the Churchill or Matilda, it was produced in large numbers and served both the British Commonwealth and Soviet forces until the end of the war.

The kit features include photoetched-metal details, individual track links, driver-compartment and turret detail, and five figures. All hatches are separate parts, too.

Following the instructions, I started construction with the turret. It’s built from four main components: the sides, top, and mantlet. Interior detail is included for the gun breech, sights, periscopes, coaxial machine gun, and radio. Though complex, the turret went together with no problems.

The kit also features the exterior .303 Bren gun attached to the unique Lakeman mount. MiniArt did a nice job of representing this weapon.

The Valentine tank had an interesting suspension, with coil-sprung three-wheel bogies. The kit nicely captures these details. I did notice the suspension parts have less-than-positive attachment points, which allows for a fair amount of wiggle room. This applies to all the wheels as well. Make a special effort to line up all these parts precisely – otherwise, you will have problems attaching the tracks to the suspension.

The instructions said to use 98 track links per side. I found 99 links were needed, and even then it was a pretty tight fit. The tracks themselves are neatly molded and have no ejector-pin marks to repair. And talk about detail – if you look closely, you’ll see they even have casting numbers!

The upper hull on the real Valentine has lots of angles, shapes, and bolts, and the kit molding captures these features very well. The various engine-hatch louvered covers were all separate pieces that installed easily. The large muffler and exhaust is built from 12 parts, but then is placed under a shield where the detail can’t be seen! Go figure.

Decals are included for six Soviet-marked Valentines. Silvering was a problem, even when I prepped the surface with gloss before applying the decals and applied decal solution after.

Still, the completed model looks convincing and the assembled model’s dimensions seem to match my references. In this regard, the only area I would question is the road wheels; they look as if they are either too far apart or too small.

My primary references were Museum Ordnance Special Number 10: Valentine Infantry Tank (by Paul Roberts, Darlington) and Militaria 331: Valentine; Tank Power Vol. XC (Janusz Ledwoch, Wydawnictwo Militaria, ISBN 978-83-7219-331-5). I also found information about Soviet Valentines on a website called “Engines of the Red Army in WW2.”

I completed my Valentine in 20 hours and enjoyed the project, though at times the fiddly construction was a bit annoying. Yet the kit will pose no major problems to most builders, and I highly recommend this new Valentine to any armor modeler who’s built a tank or two.
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