This Mk 1 Valentine is just one of ten possible Valentines from MiniArt
when they finally release their full range. With each successive Valentine release MiniArt adds that little something extra and overall detail seems to improve. It should be mentioned here that while the kit is sold as “with Crew” they are in fact a set of four tank riders and a commander figure which has also has just been released as set “35071 British Soldiers Tank Riders”.
The sprues are individually wrapped in plastic with the exception of the figure sprue, the two wheel sprues, and the turret sprue, the decals and photo etch fret are also loose, however the whole kit and caboodle is then packaged in a single plastic bag which prevents movement and thus damage.
• 15 light grey plastic sprues, 5 of which are the individual track links.
• A small photo etch fret.
• A decal sheet.
• An A4 instruction booklet.
I will start this review by covering the instructions; the instructions are supplied in a book format which is an approach I like from a tidiness side more than anything. The cover is a good quality high gloss paper with painting instructions for seven different vehicles;
• Two training tanks within the UK from unknown units 1941 time period.
• 4th Royal Tank Regiment, 22nd Armoured Brigade, 10th Armoured Division, Rouweisat, Egypt, September 1942.
• “Manchester” T16065 C Company, 40th Royal Tank Regiment, 23rd Armoured Brigade, July 1942. A note on this version is that this very tank is in Bovington Tank Museum and is listed as Infantry Tank Mk III Valentine Mk II and this is a Valentine Mk I.
• 8th Royal Tank Regiment, 23rd Armoured Brigade, 30th Corps, Cyrenaique (Bardia), Libya, December 1942.
• 8th Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Armoured Brigade, Libya, June 1941.
• 1st(65th) Royal Tank Regiment, 16th Armoured Brigade, Perthshire, Scotland, August 1941.
The cover also has a colour print of the five included figures in assembled form and listing the parts and their location. As this is a colour print it also serves as a figure painting guide. There are two colour guides, one for the figures and one for the tank, and lists paint manufacturers;
• Mr. Color.
The colours are also listed by name should you wish to use a brand not covered in the guide.
The instructions consist of sixteen pages with the model itself complete in 61 stages, this high number of stages does mean that the instructions are very clear as to what happens next.
The decals look to be of a good standard and are manufactured by Begemot. A surprising aspect of these decals is that they do not have the protective film over the sheet for protection, I don’t know if this is an exception or the rule.
The small photo etch fret is again nicely detailed and consists of 54 parts which should add that little something to the model. The photo etch fret is protected front and rear by clear plastic film.
covers, for the most part, the upper hull. The detail is good overall with minimal connection points and no flash. There are some flow marks in the plastic but that does not appear to have made imperfections on the surface. The upper hull moulding will need some work on the underside of the sponsons, as there are push out marks which will be seen depending on the final vehicle you intend to depict.
(x 2) covers the suspension of the vehicle and these two sprues also have good crisp detail, with no obvious issues or imperfections. A point to consider with these two sprues is that the model does not use the wheels on them, the ground wheels are 13.8mm where as the wheels the kit tells you to use are 13.7mm. The two sets of wheels are different patterns which does mean you have the option of mixing the wheel patterns up and I suspect that as more of this range of Valentines continues to become available this option will only increase.
is a mix of parts with, for the most part, tools with no moulded on clamps on this sprue. Detail is again crisp and cleanly moulded parts are endearing this model to me thus far. It is worth mentioning here that the exhaust exit is two parts, which has made for a very fine slot to be accurately moulded where the exhaust fumes vent.
covers the turret and skirts for the model with very nicely moulded turret roof and radio for inside the assembled turret. Yet again very well moulded with a high level of finesse to the mouldings, there is one possible problem with the side skirts as one of the flow marks looks as if it may need touching with filler. At the rear of the turret there is a vent that the purest may wish to open up as it is moulded solid on the model
has the parts for the interior hull detail mostly. The detail is crisp with all mouldings of a good quality. The fan blades moulded on the radiator housing are particularly finely moulded with good surface detail.
(x 5) provides you with the individual track links for the model. There are 44 track links on each sprue giving you 220 in total, which from memory will give you a few spares. Track link detail is fair, but not perfect, as these links have only the centre slot where as the real track link has three slots, they are also connected at four points to the sprue which will result in a lot of clean up.
is the hull tub with some very good detail on the underside of this part and no obvious issues.
contains the figures included with the model and also now available separately as set “35071 British Soldiers Tank Riders”. These figures have a few low points in what should build into a good set of figures with a minimum of work. The figures do have mould seams that will need cleaning, and the hands are in need of work but I have seen far worse. The heads are not the best effort I have seen from MiniArt, however it is not the faces that let the figures down, but the moulded on chin straps.
The biggest problem with these figures is that as they are wearing long shorts and with the limitations of the injection moulding process the legs should have been moulded separately from the shorts in order to allow undercuts to be present. Weapons and equipment is of a reasonable quality, with the weapons being 3 smle and a bren gun, all in all a nice inclusion with this product and one I can see turning up a lot from now on.
(x 2) contains the new wheel mouldings which are of an excellent standard, being both cleanly moulded and a very high level of detail.
is the other half of the turret for this version of the Valentine and is well moulded and detailed with no obvious problems, the vent at the rear of it should be opened up as stated earlier.
MiniArt has come a very long way since their products started to appear on the market, and long may these advancements continue. The moulding are of a very good quality overall with only one possible problem in this example. Their inclusion of figures in their vehicle kits should be applauded, and adds interest to the model. What more is there to say...go out and buy one of these Valentine models, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Here is a link to a walk around on Armorama of one of the Valentines this model displays in its options: