Samstag, 7. April 2012

“Finally a Valentine Mk.V”

Some time ago the ukraine manufacturer MINIART launched a first kit of the Infantry Tank “Valentine”. It was surprising for me then this type was up to now ignore by other manufacturers. These days are over now and if you visit the official homepage of MINIART you will realise there is a whole string of Versions released resp. announced. My first encounter with one of these kits was the kit no. 35106 represented the “Valentine Mk.V” variant. Following I invite you to take a closer look into this kit.
The kit comes in a big box with a nice box art of a Valentine with “stone-wall camouflage scheme”. Inside the box we find 8 sprues, 5 sprues with individual track links, 2 PE-Sets, 2 figures, a colourful decalsheet printed by Begamont and finally a meaningful instruction. The instruction shows altogether 6 possible variants in nice colour profiles.
The parts are all in grey styrene and very well moulded with sharp details. I was enthusiastic about this kit from the first look inside. The parts have only little flash, very fine seam lines and no visible sink marks. Also the individual track links are convincing, but it will be a lot of work to cut them from the sprues. As said before I was really curious and so I started the assembling following the instruction.


Assembling & Painting

I began with the lower hull and the minimal interior, actual there is only the drivers compartment consisting of seat, gear level, pedals, steering levers. If you built a “hatch closed” version I would resume the interior is absolutely sufficient. The lower hull comes in one piece; you have only adding the front and rear glacis plate.
From Step 7 onward until Step 16 the instruction shows the building of idler wheels, road wheels and suspension. The road wheels are made of 4 parts with separate tyres. I glued the parts right after assembling and treated the tyres with rough sandpaper to simulate a worn rubber effect. Each idler wheel consists of 6 parts with fine details. The suspension features the coil spring bogies extremely well; I only added a light coat of Mr.Surfacer 500 to enhance the textures. Compared with scale-drawings the wheels are a little bit undersized but the difference is so minimal that you should no worry about that. It’s more important that the wheels are superb detailed. The bogies and wheels I didn’t glued at this stage at the lower hull in view of the later paintjob. Btw, the suspension and wheels are exactly the same as used by the Bronco kit of the “Archer” self propelled gun.
The individual tracks were didn’t used by me, but that was a very personal decision because I use as possible always the metal tracks from Friul. Fortunately Friul offers a set of suitable tracks (ATL 32). Maybe also recommendable are the workable tracks from Bronco AB3536. In any case the tracks from the box are looking very fine, with subtle casting texture and no ejection pin marks.
From Step 20 onward the upper hull is on the turn. Again the upper hull is moulded in one piece with track guards. The upper hull was a little bit warping at the rear and it seems it is a known incident, because I heard the same from other Colleges which have build other Valentine kits. But don’t panic – with a little bent up you should solve the problem and then upper and lower hulls fits perfectly together.
Detailing the upper hull appropriate instruction was simple. It was really noticeable that all parts are fit perfectly and the instruction doesn’t let me failed – except step 27. Here you should make a decision about the front and rear guar flaps therefore you should know before which version you want build.
With that the assembling of the hull is essentially finished. The only improvements additionally made were adding some subtle cast textures with Mr.Surfacer 500 at the front and rear glacis plates, adding rivets and some weld seams at the engine deck.

Now it was time for the turret. First I have to say, that I didn’t used the parts for the turret interior because I decided to build the tank with closed hatches. But MiniArts offer the Valentine with a lot of interior, for example with radio system, nicely detailed gun breech and vision ports. I found that MiniArt reproduced the turret and details excellent, but they forgotten that the turret had a light cast texture. To simulate this texture I removed all the rivets and added again Mr.Surfacer 500. After sanding down I replaced the lost rivets with 0,60 mm hexagonal rivets by Miniarm. Compared with original pictures I was now happy with the result. Btw, the only aftermarket stuff I used was the 7,92mm BESA MG from RB Models (No.RB35B064). Not even the L/52 2pounder QF gun barrel must be replaced; the single moulded kit part is very well succeeded.

The most colourful version offered by MiniArt is the option No.6. This vehicle shows prominent red-white-red ribbons (polish used?) and that’s the reason why I decided me for this colorprofile. Instructions say this was a vehicle from the 27th Armoured Brigade, based in England between 1943 and 1944 for training purposes.
Several (thin) layers of Tamiya XF-1 black with some drops of X-22 clear were the first “real” base for next steps. The black basecote acts as a first contrast. After drying I filled my Airbrush with XF-62 olive drab. This colour was also sprayed in thin layers, mainly in the centrally located areas. The colour should be sprayed careful and the black basecote should be shine trough at the random for getting a nice contrast effects. The green tone was in the next step highlighted by adding some drops of XF-21 sky. This lighter ton was sprayed on the upper areas. If you do this, you will get a first lifelike effect and your model looks not boring uniform. Finally I mixed some drops of XF-49 Khaki beside until I was for the present happy with the result. Then I look at again some pictures of restored vehicles and I had the feeling “my green tone” was not really convincing. I experimented with Tamiya X-25 clear green, which was heavy diluted und carefully sprayed in thin layers. The achieved result had now much more similarity with the pictures I saw. The decals from the box were used. I fixed them with the help of MicroSet. The decals are so fine and thin, placing was absolutely trouble free and there is no silvering effect.
For raise up the fine details I used Vallejo Colours. The details, in particular the rivets were painted with a fine brush. Some yellow colored filters were applied to homogenous the harsh effects. Then I sprayed a mixture of XF-52 flat earth and XF-57 buff carefully onto the lower areas, mud guards and wheels to simulate layers of dust. For further weathering I used oils, mainly the lower hull was treated with different burnt umber, buff and ochre colors.
Further details were emphasized with a detailwash. For this I used again oils – this time heavy diluted with white spirit. After this step the model looked very contrastry and more interesting. In view of intention that I would build a trainings vehicle I was very reserved with adding chips. Chips were only placed around the hatches and the boxes. Much more important was adding the impression of dust. For the first time I experimented with acrylics, again by Vallejo. I used varied mixtures of 821 German beige and 871 Leather Brown. This mixture was highly diluted, like a milky consistence. The respective areas were moisted with water and then the dusty mixture was carefully applied. Because of the short drying time it was necessary to work considered, errors are only hard to remove. After some exiting hours I was happy with the result, because the achieved dusty impression looked quite convincing.
For a colourful “Eyecatcher” I decided to paint the auxiliary fuel tank with sandyellow. In my mind I had an idea of a worn fuel tank, maybe from another tank, with a lot of scratches. Maybe quite unrealistic, but even an Eyecatcher. The fuel tank was sprayed first also in a green tone and over sprayed with some strong hairspray layers. After some minutes I sprayed a yellow acryl, thinned with water, over the tank. Then I let the whole thing drying for round about 15 minutes before I removed the yellow with a moisted brush.
Finally I added some run out oil effects, added the Friul tracks and treated some handles with graphite powder and now you can see the result.

Thanks for reading..and finally the finished result.

This model was published in Tamiya Model Magazine Int. - Issue 194.

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