Tamiya 1/35 British Infantry Tank Mk.III Valentine Mk.II/IV Build Review
|Date of Review||December 2017||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||British Infantry Tank Mk.III Valentine Mk.II/IV||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35352||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice exterior detailing, distinctive subject||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$51.95|
The Valentine was a British infantry tank which accounted for nearly a quarter of British tank production in WWII. Based on the running gear of the Cruiser A9 and A10, the Valentine was pushed into production without any pilot vehicles needing to be produced. In many respects, the Valentine was something of a hybrid design between the cruiser and infantry tank concept. It had the armor protection and low profile of an infantry tank yet maintained a high speed like a cruiser. The tank's primary weakness was the small two-man turret and light 2-pounder gun armament. Later variants attempted to mount larger, more effective guns but the small turret made this a difficult task and by the time solutions were found, better designs were in the field. Still, the Valentine was one of Britain's better tanks, especially in terms of mechanical reliability.
Tamiya recently released a new kit of this important British tank. As can be expected of Tamiya, this kit is jewel. Engineering and fit was everything you would expect from Tamiya. The only details I added were the headlight wires. I also thought the turret sight was a little thick. I sanded it thinner and hollowed out the underside of it to give it a more scale appearance.
For me, the biggest challenge was how to go about painting the model. Most tanks I have built were simply built in their entirety and then painted. I often even had the tracks on before paint. But with the contrast between the stone color and the hard rubber of the wheels I wanted a very clean demarcation line between the colors. I had recently purchased Shadow Hobby's new circle cutting tool and decided to use it to cut masks for the wheels. The other problem with painting this model after construction was the side skirts. It would be very difficult to get up under them to paint. I decided to basically paint the lower hull and tracks first, then mask them off and paint the top of the tank separately. It actually worked out very well.
The lower hull and wheels were painted with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black. The rubber part of the wheels were then masked off and the lower hull was painted with a home-made mixture of Tamiya colors for the Stone (basically XF-59 Desert Yellow lighted with XF-2 Flat White plus a drop of XF-3 Flat Yellow. I did not lighten the XF-59 as much as the formula called for as I intended to highlight it). After removing the masks I did a little post shading on the stone with a lighter mixture of the Stone color. I then clear coated the painted areas with Future so I could do some dot filtering using MIG Oilbrushers. I followed the dot filtering with a wash on the wheels and suspension components using Tamiya enamel black and dark brown panel line washes.
The track was next. These were easily the nicest tank track I have personally worked with. They fit perfectly. The top section that rests on the return rollers has a perfect amount of sag molded in. Tamiya also supplied an actual sized diagram along with an alignment pin on the middle return roller to ensure a perfect placement so that the individual links end up exactly where they need to be. Simply put, it was actually a pleasure to assemble the track on this kit! I painted them on the sprues and touched up where they were trimmed after assembly. For painting the track the kit suggested a newer Tamiya color, XF-84 Dark Iron. I used this and then applied a black wash with thinned Model Color Flat Black. This was followed up with a dry brushing of Vallejo Dark Aluminum.
I then painted the inside of the side skirts and fenders and attached them. I finished assembling the upper hull and turret, added the lighting wires and pioneer stools then masked off the lower hull, track and wheels. The upper hull was painted in the same sequence as the lower hull. Base black, Stone, then masking the camouflage with poster putty and Tamiya tape. The camouflage color is Tamiya XF-69 Nato Black. The base colors were then highlighted. After clear coating with Future, I applied the decals. The decals were from the Model Art kit as I built this for a group project on the Second Battle of El Alamein and needed markings that did not come with the kit. After the decals I finished the same process as the lower hull; dot filtering, flat coat and a final dry brushing. As a final touch I used MIG pigment 3003 North Africa Dust to areas where dirt and dust would accumulate.
The kit supplied figures were fantastic. All I added to these were the headphone and mic wiring. A also added a few bags and rolls from the spares box. the antennas are fine steel wire and the red pennant is .005 card stock cut and shaped then painted. The only thing I would have liked to do (but time did not allow as I had a deadline) would have been thinning down and dinging up the fenders a bit. All in all, this was one of the most enjoyable builds I have done in a while. I would highly recommend this kit to anyone interested in WWII armor.