Bronco 1/35 Valentine Mk.XI (OP)

KIT #: CB35146
PRICE: $68.00 SRP
DECALS: Fouroptions
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Tank, Infantry, Mk III, Valentine was an infantry tank produced in the United Kingdom during the Second World War. More than 8,000 of the type were produced in 11 marks plus various purpose-built variants, accounting for approximately a quarter of wartime British tank production.

The many variants included riveted and welded construction, petrol and diesel powerplants and a progressive increase in armament. It was supplied in large numbers to the USSR and built under licence in Canada. Developed by Vickers, it proved to be both strong and reliable.

The Valentine XI was an upgraded mk.X with the OQF 75 mm gun and 210 hp version of the GMC 6004 diesel. Welded construction. The Canadian cast nose introduced into British production. The OP version was the observation post command tank and was devoid of the main gun, though a dummy was installed in its place. 


When Bronco decides to mold a kit, they generally go all out and that is very much the case with this Valentine. First of all, it is not a curbside as the kit comes with a relatively nicely done interior. In the front we have a full driver's compartment while in the back is a nicely done engin compartment athat includes the rear mounted transmission and drive along with some huge radiators and fans. These large radiators are designed to swivel to the vertical with the kit making allowances for that.

On the outer hull are a number of well detailed suspension pieces. In fact, one builds up the three-bogie assemblies prior to attaching them to the hull. This assembly also includes the return rollers. This will make painting the rubber on the road wheels and return rollers a bit difficult, but if one paints these assemblies and the hull area to which they attach beforehand, it will make things a lot easier.

As you'd expect in a modern armor kit, you have separate track links as these do offer the best in the way of detail. The fenders come with sand shields and are built up prior to attaching to the hull assembly.

The rather complex 'lobster back' engine armor assembly consists of separate bits and pieces and is a mini-model in itself. Same goes for the armored covers for the radiators. The kit comes with a nicely done jerry can rack and exhaust system. Some of the largest of the p.e. bits are for the exhaust shrouds. The rest of the photo etch is used for handles, brackets, light shields, intakes and a variety of other small bits.

Obviously this is not the unarmed OP variant as the main gun is nicely detailed as well with a separate breech that one can see inside the turret. The various hatches are shown closed, but I see no reason why you could not model them open. As with all WWII armor, there are the usual batch of tools and chests and other 'stuff' to attach to the outside of this one.

Instructions are very nicely done and even with quite a few parts, is not as congested as some other instructions. Modifications are needed from time to time and this information is clearly shown. Markings are for four vehicles, all of them in bronze green. Three of them have a large white star on the top of the turret. Two of them are with the 51st infantry division in 1945, one is with the with the Royal Armament Corps Gunnery School, and the fourth is with XXX Corps during the Rhine Crossing in 1945. The large (for a tank kit) decal sheet is very nicely done and adds some color to what are otherwise drab vehicles.


To my count, this is the second Valentine to have been produced by Bronco, though I've probably missed one or two in the process. By all accounts this was the best British tank to have seen service in large numbers and with some patience and skill, will make into a superlative replica.


January 2014

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