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Valentine IIICS, 3rd New Zealand Division Tank Squadron, Solomon Islands, 1944 ++Finished++


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I probably shouldn't be entering any more GBs just now given my crash-and-burn rate in the last couple and I won't be starting this for a while but this is a project that  has been on my mind for some time, prompted by the announcement of Rubicon's new Valentine kits. One has duly arrived from the good people at Rubicon Models UK:

 

Valentine1

 

It not only has parts for a MkIII CS but also comes with the NZ Divisional markings. 

 

Hopefully I'll get a start some time before the GB ends...🙄

 

John

 

 

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Day off today so I've had the chance to open the box and have a fondle of the parts, if nothing else 😃

 

I've developed a real fondness for these Rubicon kits over the last few years. This one is their latest release, and it's a beauty.  There are 4 sprues of well moulded ABS plastic with many alternative parts for various early marks of Valentine:

 

Valentine3

 

Valentine4

 

Valentine5

 

Valentine6

 

The instruction booklet is in the usual house style:

 

Valentine2

 

The first class decal sheet has the Kiwi and Dragon markings for the NZ Squadron, so that's a head start:

 

Valentine7

 

John

 

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Nice subject,..... I have a Kiwi Valentine on my `to do' list,...... and never heard of this kit before. The separate track links on 1/35th Valentine kits that include the parts available for a suitable Valentine with the larger turret have always put me off building it,..... despite having one in the stash! 

 

I do like the scheme used  by Kiwi tanks during the Island campaign,.... I also bought this book by Jeffrey Plowman when it was first published and wondered whether the newer book that you have, has much more info in it to justify buying it too;

https://www.mcleodsbooks.co.nz/p/non-fiction-new-zealand-armour-in-the-pacific-1939-45

 

Cheers

           Tony

Edited by tonyot
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The book arrived this afternoon and I've left it on my desk so I can have a leaf through it tomorrow. Initial impression is of a very comprehensive collection of photos but since I haven't seen the older book I can't really compare them. 

More than good enough for this project though. 

John 

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  • 4 weeks later...

In terms of the tank, no time so far but I did buy some 28mm Chindits which I'm painting up as New Zealand troops to support the armour:

 

Valentine8

 

John

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  • 4 weeks later...

Very nice. I'll check out the thread.

 

I've finally found the time to make a start:

 

Valentine11

 

More soon, hopefully.

 

John

 

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  • John changed the title to Valentine IIICS, 3rd New Zealand Division Tank Squadron, Solomon Islands, 1944

The turret is a complex little assembly that repays care in putting all the bits together. The kit has options for the earlier or later pattern turrets:

 

Valentine12

 

I didn't notice that the tanks used in the Pacific campaign had their headlights removed - ah well...🙄

 

The complex Vickers suspension system assembles simply but looks effective:

 

Valentine13

 

John

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I've done a bit of rebuiding of the front plate, having removed the headlights and filled the mounting slots:

 

Valentine14

 

Close examination of photos suggests that the marker lights on the track guards were removed from the NZ tanks in the jungle, so they were removed and the resultant holes filled with a sliver of Microstrip, glued in place and trimmed. This work also removed the raised detail on the track guards, so this was carefully reinstated with short sections of Microrod. Finally, I had managed to leave a small gap behind the front plate, where it butts up against the main hull. The gap was filled with fine Microstrip, sanded down when it had cured.

 

The base colour of the NZ Valentines was Khaki Green G3, with Dark Green upper surfaces and Lime Green spots. Khaki Green is one of these colours I have a bit of trouble getting a handle on. Using Mike Starmer's mix I concocted a sample of his suggested full-size colour, then went hunting through the paint store for something suitable for a smaller scale kit. I came across an old standby - Humbrol MC21 French Artillery Green:

 

Valentine15

 

The turret and upper hull are Humbrol 163.

 

John

 

 

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Valentine16

 

The  jungle scheme is one of the more unusual camouflage patterns carried by Commonwealth armour. Photos show the scheme to be low contrast, so patterns are difficult to make out. Similarly, published drawings aren't particularly clear so there's a bit of guesswork in this.

 

Spots are 80 Grass Green. You can see that this would have been quite an effective scheme under the jungle canopy.

 

John

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Photographs of the Valentines being offloaded from US LSTs show them fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks, which seem to have been removed before they went in to action.

 

They also had towing hitches, as they were photographed pulling American 90mm anti-aircraft guns onto the island so a search through the spare parts box will be needed to try to locate something suitable.

 

I've also fitted the exhaust and the exhaust shroud and painted the tools. Metal parts are matt dark grey then rubbed over with pencil lead for a metallic finish. Photos show a storage box outboard of the exhaust so I'll have to look carve off the moulded on pickaxe head to make room.

 

Valentine18

 

John

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The main structure of the vehicle is pretty much complete, time for decals, detail and stowage:

 

Valentine19

 

Valentine20

 

John

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Very nice indeed,..... I hadn`t realised that the lower hull was a lighter colour to the rest of the tank,..... and the colours look great,...... agreed,...  a very effective looking scheme.

Cheers

          Tony

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On 5/3/2021 at 12:59 AM, John said:

You can see that this would have been quite an effective scheme under the jungle canopy.

 

Hi John,

 

Sorry hadn't caught up with you on your build before now.

 

My Grandfather (Maternal) fought in the Solomon's with the New Zealand Army

during the WWII Pacific Campaign, so most likely would have seen tanks like yours

during that very bitter campaign. I don't doubt that He would have been very thankful

for such armour to help in the fighting.

My Grandmother/Mother told me about some of  the horrific things that happened..... :fraidnot:

 

Unfortunately never got to meet my Grandfather, as he passed long before I was born,

buried in the Soldiers Cemetery in Waikumite Cemetery here in Auckland.

 

Thanks for sharing your build with us

 

Regards

 

Alan

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I've been studying the available photos of these vehicles in the field and as a result I've made a change to the camouflage scheme. Photos seem to show that the lightest spots are a higher contrast against the dark green than the scheme I've applied, so I repainted some of the spots in 78 Cockpit Green, making some of them bigger in the process and painting out others. Then I gave the whole lot a thinned coat of dark green overall to pull it together:

 

Valentine22

 

I think, by the time I get a varnish coat and some weathering on it, it will look a bit closer to the effect you see in photos.

 

John

 

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Valentine23

 

Time to start sticking on the transfers. The supplied decal sheet has the Kiwi and the 3rd Division Tank Squadron Dragon markings but not the divisional identifier of a white 26 on a yellow square. Front and rear were they were created from Xtradecal sheets. I also found a towing cleat in the spares box which has been attached to the rear plate.

 

Next job is to decide on a specific vehicle.

 

John

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Photos show the Valentines getting very muddy, so a start on weathering is made with Humbrol Dark Brown Enamel Wash. I like these washes, they are very well pigmented and can take a lot of thinning:

 

Valentine25

 

John

 

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Interesting kit, it took me a double take to realise the scale, it didn't look like any 1/72nd Valentine kit I've seen :doh:.

 

Rubicon are really spoiling you with the decal options. Is that a Cromwell I spy in the background too?

 

Nice camo scheme.

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14 hours ago, sardaukar said:

Interesting kit, it took me a double take to realise the scale, it didn't look like any 1/72nd Valentine kit I've seen :doh:.

 

Rubicon are really spoiling you with the decal options. Is that a Cromwell I spy in the background too?

 

Nice camo scheme.

 Thanks.

 

It's a Comet:

 

vanentinecomet

 

Needs a bit of finishing off, but it provides an interesting illustration of British tank evolution.

 

John

 

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  • John changed the title to Valentine IIICS, 3rd New Zealand Division Tank Squadron, Solomon Islands, 1944 ++Finished++

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