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  1. Was the „Infantry Tank Mk.III” Valentine really funny? Well - being an infantry (i.e. sluggish due to the heavy armour) tank that evolved straight from the ill-fated Mk.I and Mk.II Cruisers (crewed by 5 or even 6 men) it should be neither fish nor fowl. But despite this weird ancestry, it has become the most numerous British tank in history, surpassing not only the WW1 landships and the cold war era Centurion, but also all such-well-known WW2 designs like Crusader, Cromwell and Churchill. It was the 3rd incarnation (after the A9 and A10 cruisers, 300 built) of the same vehicle lower part (including the engine, transmission, drivetrain, steering, tracks, and roadwheels). Of the 8,275 Valentines built (6,855 in Britain and 1,420 in Canada), almost half (~3,800) were delivered on Lend-Lease terms to Soviet Russia. The most popular variant (1,500+) was the Mk.II. Crewed by 3 men, it was powered by a 130hp AEC inline six-cylinder diesel engine. Armed with a 40 mm gun and a 7.9 mm Besa MG, this variant weighed about 16 tons. The ancient (1976) ESCI kit, facelifted with link-and-lenght tracks by Italeri in 2003, is still the best Braille scale Valentine on the market. Containing 118 styrene parts, it's the early variant with a 2-pdr gun and a turret crew of two, making it suitable for the build of the Mk.I, II, IV, VI and VII. The biggest challenge was to find the 1943-style painting scheme for it, as my MTO tank collection still lacked the Desert Pink vehicle. Anyway, thanks to @Mike Starmer, I have a confirmed example of the Desert Pink/Dark Olive Green Valentine from A Squadron, 50th Royal Tank Regiment, 23rd Armoured Brigade that fought at Mareth Line, Tunisia in March 1943. Thus, after the SCC2 Churchill, Portland Stone/Dark Slate Matilda, Light Stone/Silver Grey Grant and Light Stone/Charcoal Crusader, now I have a full set of British desert colours in my Braille scale AFV cabinet. Fortunately, there was no PE fret to fight. Here, the biggest problem was the decals that had to be assembled from scratch. From the "6" of 86 and "7" of 71 (Mirage Grant sheet) the Arm of Service "67" red plates were made on the front and rear apron offsides. Then came the WD serial number on the turret, composed of numbers from the WGB-DEC-28 sheet by Warlord Games. Each digit is 1 mm high and 0.5 mm wide. The distance between them (as printed) is 0.1mm and - of course - the T27666 was not ready for use. Massacre... The blue triangles (50th RTR was a junior regiment) on the turret are also from Mirage Grant. The individual tank number "1" in the center of the triangle is simply one side of the companion diamond. The REDOUBTABLE name was created using… single letters from the "name shield" of the Tamiya P-47D kit. Later, hand-painting a cormorant of the 23rd Brigade (fortunately the 50th RTR in Tunisia used a simplified, almost pictographic form) on white square shields attached to the front and rear apron nearsides turned out to be as easy as walking through the park. The Italeri Matilda sheet contained 8 such white squares of the appropriate size. You just had to paint 8 black birds and choose the best two of them. The antenna made of 0.3 mm Aber steel wire appears thick in the photo, but be aware that the picture on the 15" screen is about twice the size of an actual 1/72 model. The photos are taken with an LG smartphone. More photos can be found in the WIP thread within the 2020 "WW2 MTO Part 3" Group Build Comments are welcome Cheers Michael
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