|MINIART - Valentine Mk.VI Canadian Built Early Production|
Another great looking Valentine from MiniArt..this time with a Russian crew!
Valentine Mk.VI Canadian Built Early Production
Material: Styrene & Photo-etch
Serial Number: 35123
Price: £26.99 (ModelHobbies)
MiniArt from the Ukraine, began making plastic kits in 2003, and has rapidly made a name for themselves, not only producing vehicle kits, but also for their figure sets, both historical and military in nature. This kit is another of the Valentine series, this one being a Mk.VI Canadian built early production variant.
As anybody who has any of the previous Valentine kits will already know, the box arrives fairly full of grey styrene sprues and photo-etched brass parts. The box says there are 605 parts, but that includes a full set of individual tracklinks on five separate, identical sprues. In addition there is a separate lower hull, two brass, photo-etched frets, and a decal sheet. We're also supplied with a crew of five Russian tankers posed in the act of re-loading. The instructions are in the form of a 12-pages A4-sized booklet, the outer cover of which is glossy and in colour.
Those of you familiar with this version will no doubt be in a much better position than I am to know whether or not the parts supplied accurately represent what they purport to. Anyhoo....I can at least (along with showing some great pics below) describe what you get and how it differs from you used to get....if you know what I mean!
It builds the same way as previous Valentine releases. By that I mean you begin with installing the drivers' controls etc., into the appropriate area...and they're very nicely detailed and comprehensive by the way...before moving onto installing the various parts that make up the running gear and suspension. Here's where it all comes unstuck. Well not really...although it is different from previous releases in that we're given a completely different set of roadwheels to use. They're all supplied on new sprues, and the old ones are also still supplied in the box. As mentioned, the individual tracklinks are all supplied on five identical sprues, and although this means three sprue attachment points per link, to actually clean up, it means you end up with a beautifully detailed tracklink, including a perfectly formed tiny casting number on each and every link.
Moving on to the main deck of the vehicle, the same moulding is supplied but has different fixtures and fittings supplied for detailing it, including different lights, stowage boxes, tool arrangement etc. In addition the front and rear portions of the fenders are different, and supplied on a new small sprue, along with the exhaust shields which are now supplied as fine photo-etched mesh.
Moving on to the turret, it's supplied with a new moulding to represent the left half from which the spent shell hatch has now been deleted. The inside of the turret is fairly well appointed detail-wise, with breech for the 40mm 2 pounder gun, plus full No.19 radio set-up including a brass photo-etched guard.
The MiniArt five men Russian tank crew (loading) are also supplied in the kit, which is a nice addition, the detail on these being on a par with the best from other injection moulded figure manufacturers. Poses can be seen on the box art of instructions. Although there are also shells supplied on the figure sprue, these can be usefully added to the spares box for future builds as they were originally intended for a different kit and should be marked as 'not for use'.
Marking's wise, there are three green vehicles depicted and catered for on the instructions sheet, one of a Canadian vehicle at a training ground in Ontario, Canada during 1942, the other two being Russian vehicles of the 5th Guard Tank Brigade, 20th Army in the North Caucasus from the summer of 1942. See below for further details.
Another Valentine that definitely fills a gap in many modellers' wanted list. There have been a few gripes whispered about whether a couple of smaller details are incorrect or appropriate, but to the vast majority of modellers it is what it says on the box....and it will be a pleasure to build! Recommended.
My thanks to MiniArt for the review sample!