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Oh my darling ... Valentine

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  • Member since
    November 2020
Oh my darling ... Valentine
Posted by Also known as Rob on Sunday, November 22, 2020 1:32 PM

My current build is a Miniart Valentine. I've taken up model making again after a break of 20-30 years as something to do in lockdown. I wanted to support the Tank Museum who had been putting so many intesting talks on Youtube, that were helping me get through the long hours. So bought a 1:35 Churchill from their online shop ... and haven't looked back. I'm trying to restrict myself to WWII British tanks, as there are so many models to choose, having a theme helps me break down the choices a lot.

After a run of Tamiya tanks I thought it time to try my hand with a model from one of the newer manufacturers. The Miniart Valentine looked just the ticket

Miniart Valentine cover art

I have to admit to my choice of which Miniart Valentine to choose was based on price. The Mark 6 Canadian one was the cheapest.

The start of the build was fairly straightforward, but even from the start it has been clear that the detail level is high. I was in two minds not to build the driver's seat and controls as I am not planning to have the drivers hatches open ... but it seemed churlish to start skipping steps so early in the build.

Valentine build - first stage

Spending an evening cutting track links off sprues and trimming them was .... interesting.

Valentine track links

Using a chisel knife blade made the process a lot easier.

Chisel knife blade

I've ordered some VMS slow setting cement to assemble the tracks, but this is taking a while to arrive, so assembling the tracks is on hold at the moment.

Which means I've moved onto the upper hull. And that's meant getting to grips with Photo-Etch for the first time. So far so good, but I've struggled with some of the very small parts. Old eyes and hands aren't great with them. Using PVA with the very small parts has been my salvation.

Valentine build - upper hull 1

Valentine - uppper hull build 2

I'm really glad I did some research before starting and invested in a couple of tools such as a bendng machine, as they've made the process a lot easier.

Photo etch bending machine

I've gone as far as I can with the upper hull without the tracks being assembled, so will move onto the turret next.

Tags: MiniArt , Valenine
  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Sunday, November 22, 2020 2:59 PM

Looking good so far, Rob, and good on you for tackling PE - I haven't done that yet, but it's pretty inevitable, sooner or later, I upposeSmile

And good luck with the track-bashing!  Unfashionable though it might be, I prefer the vinyl tracks, they make life so much easier.  I am also building British tanks, my aim is to cover their history, but only with the most significant types, and not in any particular order.

How are you finding the build process with MiniArt, compared to Tamiya (other than the PE, of course)?

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Sunday, November 22, 2020 3:09 PM

Nice work on that so far, and the PE work looks nice. look forward to seeing more. I have not built a miniart armour kit yet, but they are coming out with some nice subjects and they make great figure set.

I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so

On the bench: Italeri 1/72nd Bell 212/MPM 1/72nd Bf 109G-12

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Sunday, November 22, 2020 5:51 PM

Hutch6390
Unfashionable though it might be, I prefer the vinyl tracks, they make life so much easier.

I understand what you mean. I made the Tamiya Matilda a couple of models ago. It comes with both links and vinyl tracks. I started with the links and made a complete balls up of it. I ended up using the vinyl tracks.

With the Matilda, I don't think it makes a lot of difference as the top run of the tracks is hidden. But I also made a Centaur and that could have done with a solution that sagged realistically. I tried cementing the tracks to the top of the wheels but that didn't work too well.

I watched the VMS youtube piece on making tracks and if that works it looks like a really good way of doing it. So I'm giving it a try ... when the slow cement arrives.

If it doesn't work, I think the next thing to try is metal tracks for tanks where the upper run is visible - which they will be for this Valentine.

Hutch6390
I am also building British tanks, my aim is to cover their history, but only with the most significant types, and not in any particular order.

Yes - that's pretty much what I'm doing too. Big Smile With one exception - My wife bought me a Centurion for my birthday. I think the Centurion is the ultimate British tank of World War II. It's the end point for the development of British tanks through the war. I was tempted to get a Mark 1 which would have made most sense, but there is a group of figures that I really like the look of, to go with an Israeli version, so I asked my wie to get me that one. That's going to be my next kit. It's my sequence of tanks - so I think I can bend the rules if I want to.

I've built: Churchill, Centaur, Matilda, Crusader IIII so far. So once the Valentine and Centurian are built things get interesting. A Comet would be good. After that I'll probably go for one of the early Cruiser - probabaly an A9 or A10. Alternatively I may go for tank used by the British - with a Sherman being top of the list.

Hutch6390
How are you finding the build process with MiniArt, compared to Tamiya (other than the PE, of course)?

The MiniArt is more difficult I think than the Tamiyas I've built so far - but not necesarily in a bad way. It's mainly the extra detail - the very small parts that are less common in a Tamiya kit. There have been a couple of instances were it wasn't clear where the small details go exactly - a couple of rivets on the front glacis for example. But generally everything is really well molded and fits together nicely.

It's difficult, as I'm in two minds as to why I'm finding this kit harder. The more I think about it, the more I think it's the photo-etch. I'm just not used to it - so out of my comfort zone. But the more I do it, the more comfortable I feel with it. I hope after this one my next photo-etch tank will compare more easily with non-photo-etch models.

I'd also state that there's some variance between Tamiya kits. The Crusader III definitely didn't go together as well as the other Tamiya kits I've made recently - though I'm pleased with the end results.

So I'd definitely recommend giving Miniart kits a go - but be prepared for them taking a little longer to build - and do a bit of research on tools, glues and techniques needed for photo-etch.

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Sunday, November 22, 2020 5:55 PM
Thank you Bish
  • Member since
    April 2015
Posted by Mopar Madness on Sunday, November 22, 2020 8:05 PM

The PE bender is a great investment.  I think I would've seen all those links on the sprues then slowly close the lid and slid the box back in the stash. Big Smile

Chad

God, Family, Models...

At the plate: 1/72 Revell He177 & 1/35 Tamiya Sdkfz 251

On deck: 1/35 Bronco LWS

In the hole: 1/144 Revell S-100

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Monday, November 23, 2020 6:38 AM

I'm guessing that the cenrurion is an AFV club kit (glad they are finally expanding the range of British versions) in which case if your mainly used to tamiya kit, you might want to brace your self. AFV club kits are almost at the same level as Dragon when it comes to detail, though they are better engineered. The only thing i don't like about them is the rubber band tracks.

I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so

On the bench: Italeri 1/72nd Bell 212/MPM 1/72nd Bf 109G-12

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Monday, November 23, 2020 7:34 AM

Thanks for the gen, whilst I don't have any MiniArt in the stash, I do have the AFV club Centurion Mk 3 (I'll be taking my time with that one!) and a Bronco Comet, which seems fairly straightforward except for the indy-link tracks...

So far I've built the Chieftain Mk 5 (or, possibly, 2?), Challenger 1, Churchill Mk VII, and Valentine - all Tamiya. I've got the aforementioned tanks in the stash, along with another Tamiya job - Challenger 2.  maybe after the Cent I'll get a bit more adventurous!

Keep us posted on your Valentine, and how you get on with the VMS glue.

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Monday, November 23, 2020 8:05 AM

Yes. It's an AFV Club Centurian. The IDF Shot version.

AFV Club Centurian Model

And this is the set of figures I've bought to go with it:

The Casualty IDF Centurion 73

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Monday, November 23, 2020 8:09 AM

Hutch6390
Bronco Comet, which seems fairly straightforward except for the indy-link tracks...

Yes - the Bronco Comet is high on my wishlist.

 

Hutch6390
Keep us posted on your Valentine, and how you get on with the VMS glue.

Will do!

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Monday, November 23, 2020 8:12 AM

Bish
I'm guessing that the cenrurion is an AFV club kit (glad they are finally expanding the range of British versions) in which case if your mainly used to tamiya kit, you might want to brace your self.

I can see me wanting to get back to Tamiya after the Centurian - for a bit of relaxation Smile

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, November 23, 2020 11:42 AM

Oh cool, nice work!!! 

And the PE bending tool makes thing MUCH easier. 

 

If you want another 1/35th British tank I'd recommend the Tamiya Cromwell. Fits like a dream. Only real downside is the rubber band tracks. I built the Bronco Comet recently and the Tamiya Cromwell fits MUCH better together. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Monday, November 23, 2020 1:23 PM

Gamera
Oh cool, nice work!!!

Thank you.

Gamera
If you want another 1/35th British tank I'd recommend the Tamiya Cromwell. Fits like a dream.

I have the built the Tamiya Centaur, which I think is the Cromwell kit with some alternative parts - the different gun being an obvious one.

Tamiya Centaur

Thoroughly agree that it was a nice kit to build.

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Monday, November 23, 2020 2:12 PM

Very nice Centaur - I really like the colour variation.  

Also known as Rob
Gamera If you want another 1/35th British tank I'd recommend the Tamiya Cromwell. Fits like a dream.

I was sorely tempted by this one, but held off awaiting the new-tool Airfix release (presently on pre-order) of the Cromwell Mk IV.  They're also bringing out the Mk VI (95mm howitzer) CS variant.

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Monday, November 23, 2020 3:50 PM

Thank you Hutch. 

The Centaur was brush painted with Humbrol enamels. That's where I started as it was what I was used to doing in my youth. I've now moved on to acrylics and have an airbrush.

Where I to do it again, I'd take a very different approach with the decals. Not helped by me getting them on the wrong edge of the turret on first attempt. Oops

Decals on wrong edge of turret

Decals is something I've yet to get right.

In prep for the Valentine I've got some gloss varnish and decal application fluid. So hopefully I can do a better job this time round.

It's a learning curve.

  • Member since
    June 2011
  • From: Detroit
Posted by garylee on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 11:28 AM

For decals you might want to take a look at the microsol and microset system. I've been using it for many years and it makes such a huge difference you won't believe it. Using the Microsol and microset I don't even have to clear gloss coat flat paint before I put the decals down. I usually do anyway just out of habit, but it's not absolutely necessary. With this system, followed by a decent flat clear coat, the decals end up looking like they were painted on, and that's the point, right?

 

Great work so far, Rob, and your PE work is just great. I can't wait to see the rest.

Detroit, where the weak are killed and eaten. Bwahahaha

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 12:48 PM

garylee

For decals you might want to take a look at the microsol and microset system. I've been using it for many years and it makes such a huge difference you won't believe it. Using the Microsol and microset I don't even have to clear gloss coat flat paint before I put the decals down. I usually do anyway just out of habit, but it's not absolutely necessary. With this system, followed by a decent flat clear coat, the decals end up looking like they were painted on, and that's the point, right?

Thanks for the recommendation garylee. I've got myself some decal solutions but will try the Microsol and Microset if I don't get on with them.

 

 

garylee

Great work so far, Rob, and your PE work is just great. I can't wait to see the rest.

Thank you again

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 4:47 AM

I've just found a great resource showing details of the Valentine.

  https://hmvf.co.uk/topic/32534-restoration-of-a-valentine-mk5-tank-started/

It's a restoration so perhaps so will contain colour choice made by the restorer, but the details of the photos is superb,

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 11:50 AM

Rob: The Centaur looks really sharp! Sorry to hear about the decal issue there. 

Gary is right, Micro Set and Sol are fantastic setting solutions for decals. 

Hutch, thanks for the head's up- the 95mm Centaur sounds really cool.

 

And thanks for the website, lots of great photos there. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 2:10 PM

Gamera
the 95mm Centaur sounds really cool

Hi Gamera - you're welcome.  As a point of interest, the Centaur has those gradations marked around the turret because, for some reason, the original plan was to have them provide fire support by firing from on board a landing craft - they weren't really intended to be used as tanks!  The idea seems pointless - why not just fit some 4" gun turrets to a landing craft?  Still, they're a very interesting subject - I must get one!

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 4:08 PM

Hutch6390
As a point of interest, the Centaur has those gradations marked around the turret because, for some reason, the original plan was to have them provide fire support by firing from on board a landing craft - they weren't really intended to be used as tanks!  The idea seems pointless - why not just fit some 4" gun turrets to a landing craft?  Still, they're a very interesting subject - I must get one!

I thought the same - The Centaur seemed the most interesting version of the Comet line because of this use. I believe the tanks were spare and originally were not going to have engines on D-Day. Just be in the landing ships providing fire support. I've even read that it was Churchill who insisted that they had engines fitted, so that they could be used beyond the initial landings.

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Thursday, November 26, 2020 1:57 PM

I didn't know that about the engines, but it makes a lot of sense - squabbles over which engine to use were a major part of the Cromwell/Cavalier tanks' problems.

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Thursday, November 26, 2020 3:46 PM

Until the Meteor engine was developed from the Merlin, I think engines were a constant headache for british tanks in WWII.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Friday, November 27, 2020 11:32 AM

That's interesting, I hadn't heard about the Centaurs lacking engines though it makes sense in the context. 

I kinda liked the US idea of just putting a pile of rockets on the landing craft and then unloading after pounding the living Censored out of the enemy with a massive barrage of them. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, November 27, 2020 1:21 PM

Gamera

That's interesting, I hadn't heard about the Centaurs lacking engines though it makes sense in the context. 

I kinda liked the US idea of just putting a pile of rockets on the landing craft and then unloading after pounding the living Censored out of the enemy with a massive barrage of them. 

 

Acctually the LCT(R) was a British idea, the idea being to create lots of holes on the beach for the troops to use as cover.

I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so

On the bench: Italeri 1/72nd Bell 212/MPM 1/72nd Bf 109G-12

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Friday, November 27, 2020 6:08 PM

Thanks Bish, I didn't know that either. Always awesome to get an education here.

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 10:36 AM

After a little delay, while I did some basic interior painting (I've built the tank with the turret hatches open) and faffed about on other things, I've completed the initial build.

The slow setting cement I ordered to ease the track construction still hasn't arrived. So I've ordered an alternative which should arrive in a couple of days. So I'm still to gird my loins for the track assembly.

The top and bottom halves of the main body are still separate so that I can get some of the painting done with the tracks off.

The only real issue I've had with the kit so far is the turret fit above the gun mantel. It looks like the cross member didn't come out of the mold correctly and is a little thin. It didn't line up with the other half until I persuaded it, and I've had to do some inexpert filling and filing to try to correct the problem. The fit around the back of the turret wasn't brilliant either, but that was corrected very easily with filler. Also I'm not really happy with the fit of the turret top plate. I think I may have another go at tidying that up. It's a shame as everything else has gone together fine.

I managed to lose a handle on one of the rear covers. It pinged off into room somewhere as I was trying to trim it, and I'm buggered if I can find it. So I've made up a replacement with brass wire, and I'm pleased with the result - at least for a first attempt at that sort of thing.

Tags: Valentine
  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 10:55 AM
Coming along very nicely, really like how the PE turned out.     

 
  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by Also known as Rob on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 12:18 PM

GreySnake
Coming along very nicely, really like how the PE turned out. 

Thank you.

I think I've actually enjoyed the PR work most. The intake on the roof of the turret was probably the most awkward as it had to bend two ways, but it went into place nicely.

Again, I'm so pleased I got myself a bending jig and good quality glue.

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 12:25 PM

Great job so far! The Valentine is an attractive tank!

Bill

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