AFV ClubMiniart
British Infantry Tank Valentine Mk.II
1:35 kit comparison
AFV Club kit #AF 35185 - Miniart kit #35116

Chapter 2: Upper Hull
Chapter 2: Upper Hull:
I will cover the major hull assembly in this section and the smaller detail parts such as headlights, tools and other fittings in a separate section for a bit more clarity.

The AFV Club kit has separate parts for the glacis, driver’s front and upper plates, central turret ring plate, engine deck doors and rear louvered access doors as well as separate fenders while the Miniart upper hull is moulded in one large part that includes the fenders with just the top turret ring plate and rear louvered access doors as separate parts. This simplistic approach from Miniart makes assembly a lot quicker and easier but also incorporates quite a few detail/accuracy issues, some small and some more serious depending on your viewpoint towards accuracy?

Starting at the front the angles of the two side glacis panels on the Miniart kit are way too shallow, this alters the shape of the front plate and driver’s plate and also means the sides of the driver’s plate are two narrow with the small outer details “squashed” up. Again this is clearly verified by the plans and actual images of the Valentine hull front and glacis and the AFV Club kit has this profile correctly depicted.

Images showing the kit glacis plate angles and side front plate height as per text.
The overlaid white lines are the same angles on each image.

AFV ClubMiniart
Reference image showing the actual glacis plate angles
AFV Club

Another issue with the Miniart glacis is it is about 3mm too deep (give or take a fraction), this is confirmed by the majority of plans and results in the other hull features such as the driver’s compartment, superstructure and engine deck all being compromised on the hull. This has follow on effects for the angle and size of the rear louvered access doors as mentioned above and which will cover in more detail below.

Detail on the glacis sees the bullet splash guards on the Miniart glacis a little oversized and missing the retaining rivets, also the fit at the front of the glacis to the hull front plate is not that good at all with the ‘step’ between the plates not pronounced enough and potential gaps at the corner joins. The bullet splash guards on the AFV Club glacis are a little undersized but include the rivers with the fit of the plates to the hull being very precise without any gaps or other issues.

Image showing the various detail issues with the glacis and front Driver's plate.
The depth of the Miniart glacis is too deep by and 3mm, the red line is not an exact measure just and indication of the discrepancy in panel depth.
Note the rivet detail on the AFV Club bullet splash guards and the oversized Miniart guards.
The correctly rendered flush screws on the side of the AFV Club superstructure and the electrical duct on the right side
of the AFV Club hull front not present on the Miniart hull.
The front glacis join is rather poor on the Miniart kit and it also lacks the indent at the bottom the Driver's plate/glacis join.
The squashed up side Driver's plate detail as a consequence of the Miniart glacis shape issues.
AFV ClubMiniart

Moving to the Driver’s compartment the front top armour join on the Miniart kit is depicted incorrectly with the row of round dome screws located right on the edge of the top plate when in fact they should be back further with the front armour plate thickness distinguished by a join line.

To explain further the front driver’s plate and hull armour of the Valentine had channels into which sat the top plates which were then fixed with dome screws or hexagonal bolts from above, this gave the visual effect of the armour thickness of the plates visible with the row of screws/bolts holding the top plates inside of the outer armour.

Image of the Driver's compartment front armour join which is incorrect on the Miniart hull as per the text.
Also note the slightly under sized Miniart periscopes and lack of rivets along the outer edges of the top panel.

AFV ClubMiniart
Reference image showing the actual hull plate join
AFV Club

The driver’s front plate on the AFV Club kit is in two parts, the outer armour plate and the smaller inner plate producing the channel for the top plate to sit into just like the real thing, this results in the correct depiction of the panel joins on the AFV Club parts.

Images showing the two part Driver's plate and the separate roof armour giving the correct joins
AFV ClubAFV Club
Inside periscopes with the full AFV Club scope housing and the basic Miniart periscopes.
AFV ClubMiniart

The two periscope guards on the Miniart kit are also slightly too small in diameter and the inner periscope body very basic compared to the real thing and the AFV Club periscopes which have the correct sized outer guards.

The front driver’s armoured visor can be positioned open or closed on both kits but there are a couple of small details missing from the Miniart front driver’s plate due to the one piece moulding. The other detail missing from the Miniart kit for the same reason is the small indented channel at the lower glacis/driver’s plate join, this is quite subtle but can be seen in reference photos and the AFV Club kit includes this channel due to the separate glacis/driver’s plate panels.

The crew entry doors on both kits are separate parts and can be fitted open of closed as required with detail on both sides including separate grab handles, the detail on the AFV Club doors is more defined but there are also a couple of shallow pin marks on the inside of the AFV Club doors if shown open. Note the width of the doors is slightly different on each kit due to the Miniart hull dimension issues mentioned but not enough to get excited about.

Crew entry door inner detail, note the better defined bolts on the AFV Club doors but also the two pin marks to be removed.
AFV ClubMiniart

Both kits have the top superstructure plate separate but again the Miniart kit has the plate joins incorrect with the edges of the top plate and hull sides bevelled to give a flush join but in fact the top plate should like the driver’s plate sit in a channel inside the outer hull plates with a distinct join line the thickness of the side armour with the bolts inside of this when looking from above.

The AFV Club kit again has this feature depicted correctly and quite a bit of work would be needed to correct the Miniart plate join, also the rear corners of the superstructure is devoid of detail and perfectly square on the Miniart kit when in fact the corners should have a small angled bevel and rivet detail on the outside corner panel and again both these features are included correctly on the AFV Club superstructure correctly. Granted this area of the superstructure is mostly hidden by the muffler cover on the left side and partially covered by the storage boxes on the right side but it would be nice to have the detail if the covers and storage boxes were missing.

Images showing the correct AFV Club top plate join inside the side armour and not flush as depicted on the Miniart kit.
Also note the absence of any rear corner detail on the Miniart superstructure.

AFV ClubMiniart
Reference image showing the actual hull plate join and rear corner detail.
AFV Club

On both kits you have to be careful when fitting the top plate as the bolt pattern is different on the front and rear edges so take careful note of this in the instruction illustrations to fit the plates the right way around, both plates also have the outer perforated turret ring included as well as the rotation teeth but these are hidden when the turrets are attached so are of no consequence.

The engine deck is included with the main hull moulding on the Miniart kit with just the six louver cover strips and lower side hinge panels as separate parts; this again makes the assembly very quick and easy without any hassles.

The deck on the AFV Club kit on the other hand is made up of multiple parts that takes a bit of assembly.

You first need to fit the central T spine with additional louver sections ensuring it is correctly aligned to the superstructure and on the top of the inner engine bulkhead. The rear hull top panel is then added but the instructions tell you to fit part B52 which doesn’t have the central filler cap, I have not seen any photos of the Valentine deck without the filler cap so you should instead use the parts B2, B16 which are still lurking on the sprues from the earlier Mk.I kit thankfully.

You should then fit the real hull plate with separate inspection hatch, the plate also has the inner radiator faces included if you want to show the louvered access doors open as well as the two triangular side panels, the fit of these parts was spot on without any trimming or filler needed. Once these are in place the lower side hinged panels can be attached as well as the upper side engine deck louvered access doors with separate grab handles, the fit of the top hinges is not that snug and small gaps remain in between the hinges that may need some attention?

Engine deck parts.
AFV Club
Central T panel added to hull with inner bulkhead and top panel with filler cap
AFV Club
Rear plate and radiator facings plus the hinded side panels added
AFV Club
Top louvered doors added
AFV Club

On to the rear louvered access doors and this is by far the biggest issue with the Miniart kits, due to the varying dimensions of the hull areas resulting from the glacis size issue mentioned above as well as the Miniart overall hull length consistently shown as about 1.5mm short on all plans the actual louvered doors are 3.5mm too short in height and set at too high an angle on the hull. This can be verified by referring to actual photos of the doors with the biggest indicator being the distance between the grab handles which is way too narrow on the Miniart doors. The AFV Club doors on the other hand match the data and photos far more accurately; this variation also alters the angle of the Miniart rear hull/door profile on the kits and again the AFV Club kits matches the available data more accurately in this regard. Unfortunately from any angle the Miniart doors are clearly too short being almost square in profile while the actual doors are clearly more rectangular in profile.

Comparison on louvered doors and overlay on actual doors showing the undersized Miniart doors.
AFV Club
AFV Club

There is little that can be done with either of these issues apart from major rebuilds to accurately depict the correct dimensions/profiles of these areas on the Miniart kits or just go with it as is? The width of the doors on both kits match the plans, it is only the height where there is the issues, it should also be noted that the kit instructions in this Miniart kit only show the double hinged doors and don’t mention the option of the single hinged door as on early Mk.Is.

Apart from the size issue both kit doors are designed in similar manner with the basic door to which is added the three separate side frames and four separate louver covers plus the grab handles and support arm clip on the AFV Club doors. As mentioned they both feature the double hinged doors applicable to Mk.II and subsequent Valentine models although for some reason the right AFV Club door doesn’t have the lower hinge included, this is missing from part B26 and should be similar to the left side part B45.  The doors can be positioned open or closed as you wish to show off the interior and full radiators of the Miniart kit or the radiator faces of the AFV Club kit, both kits also include the support arm mounted on the fender used to prop the doors open.

AFV Club rear hull view showing the radiator facing and the louvered doors fitted.
AFV Club
Miniart rear hull view showing the radiators and the louvered doors fitted illustrating the size issue as above.
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Page created July 12, 2011

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