MiniArt 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.Mk.III 749(e) Valentine Mk.III w/Crew Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2011||Manufacturer||MiniArt|
|Subject||Pz.Kpfw.Mk.III 749(e) Valentine Mk.III w/Crew||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35100||Primary Media||771 parts (693 in grey styrene, 78 etched brass)|
|Pros||Beautifully done model of this widely used Commonwealth vehicle; redesigned turret as per its prototype; interior parts for turret and driver's compartment; layout makes upgrading with aftermarket kits relatively easy||Cons||Single link tracks will be tedious to assemble; extremely expensive|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$85.00|
MiniArt has now provided another in its impressive line of Valentine tanks, in this case a Mark III with a completely new turret. This turret has a commander’s cupola with unique three-section hatch at the rear of the turret roof vice the two flaps of the Marks I and II. All of the rest of the earlier kits is still here, as well as the radiator and transmission bay detail set from the Mark I kit.
The kit still provides a very complete and complex 2-pdr gun with slide-molded barrrel and a very detailed Besa and breech assembly for the interior of the turret. Note that while the gun and a complete No. 19 Wireless Set (with etched brass “cage” parts) are provided no seats are provided. However, there is some level of detail now present in the Mark III turret as well as optional position pistol port covers.
The driver’s position is relatively complete with controls, panels, and seat, and both hatches may be posed open to show it. However, none of the crew members are posed to fit it.
The suspension does a nice representation of the variant of the “Slo-Mo-Shun” suspension used on Vickers designs. The small road wheels come with separate fronts and backs, and the large ones are in two parts with a separate tire. This is neater than some other options. Each driver consists of six parts to get the proper look. Even the springs – molded parts - are nearly flash and seam free.
However, each side takes 98 track links and these are small and come from sprues; cleanup and assembly will be tedious so prepare in advance for an evening or two on those. The good news is that the tracks fit well once the “nubs” are cleaned up, so at least none of them require the even worse filing and fiddling to assemble. Based on my experiences with them it would be a good idea to make a jig from a section of scrap plastic and a thick section of strip; this permits accurate horizontal and vertical alignment and making sections of 10 at a time for easier final assembly. The main thing here is to use a slow-setting plastic cement that provides flexibility for final adjustment during fitting to the model. (Note that the Canadian built ones used a high level of manganese in the tracks; they do not rust but acquire a brown patina through oxidation, so bright red rust finishing is not correct).
The rest of the model is pretty straightforward. One word of warning: this kit is closer to the Tristar efforts in that it requires precise fit and trimming to get the parts in place; “that’s close” will not work and cause a lot of frustration. I failed to get a clean assembly job on the turret hatch covers by not paying attention (another reason I was glad to get a second kit!).
All of the covers and shrouds on the engine deck are separate parts and will give a great deal of depth to the finished model. However, etched brass parts are integral to the kit and thus require mandatory use; sorry DML fans, no options. This time another 24 etched brass parts have been added to the previous 54. The photo etched parts are not backed by card as many other companies provide to ensure flat shipping, but are coated with adhesive film on both sides which seems to work well in protecting the parts.
The tank provides the “Heath Robinson” spring loaded antiaircraft mount for the Bren antiaircraft light machine gun, which consists of six parts. But for this kit, the directions show the Bren gun (which comes with a drum magazine and bipod) attached to the turret roof; it now has a rest and the spring arm is shown as attaching to the Bren gun. There is also a nice six part turret antenna mount.
The figures provide an Afrika Korps officer and two other ranks with the officer in side cap and binoculars, one NCO standing with side cap and one enlisted man with Pith helmet. But as these figures are basically generic, there are no places or locations given for them with the vehicle. All are standing and the case can be made the officer should be leaning out of the commander’s hatch.
A color booklet with finishing directions is provided for six different vehicles: 7. Panzer Regiment, 10th Panzer Division, Libya 1942 (sand with white and black crosses, and a white buffalo on the turret side); Unidentified Brigade, 3rd Ukranian Front, winter 1943 (whitewash over green); A Company, 50th RTR, 23rd Armoured Brigade, Libya 1942 (sand and green, yellow triangle, unit code 67); Unknown brigade, Baranovichi, Belolrussia, summer 1944 (green with Russian shipping directions, T121991); VENGEANCE, 6th Armoured Division, Tunis spring 1943 (green, red/white/red flash, Red 1, T22152); 19th RTR, 4th (NZ) Armoured Brigade, Tunis spring 1943 (sand and green, white 21 with brigade flash).
Overall this kit continues to advance the family of Valentines and should be appreciated by Commonwealth modelers. But the high price and “German” press may put many people off, even though it is three counts Commonwealth, two counts Soviet, and only a single count “captured”.
Thanks to MRC for the review sample.
- A 34 Upper hull, radiator shrouds, turret race, hull sections
- B 70x2 Running gear, road wheels, drivers, idlers
- C 74 Bins, fuel tank, exhaust, hull details
- D 54 2 pdr, Bren gun, radio, details
- D1 12 Skirts, mudguards, brackets
- E 72 Radiators, fans, transmission section, details
- E 44x5 Track links
- F 29 Three figures
- G 1 Lower hull
- Ja 57 Valentine III turret
- PEa 54 Etched brass
- PEb 24 Etched brass