PSC Valentine (15mm) — a first look

Twenty quid, roughly, gets you five sprues of 15mm (1/100) Valentines from The Plastic Soldier Company. Each sprue contains parts to build one of either a Valentine Mk.II, Mk.III, or Mk.IX, with or without desert sand-skirts.

For my test model, I've built a Mk.II without sand-skirts.

It's an easy enough model to build (though see below for my comments on the instructions) and it seems to have been pretty well engineered. The turret is the fiddliest component, being comprised of six parts, but everything locates quite well and I didn't really have any trouble with it.

I haven't checked the model's dimensions, and to be honest I probably won't bother. It looks right to me, next to other models in the same scale, and that's all that I need for wargaming purposes.

There are some things to be aware of though, before you start building these kits. If there's one area where PSC consistently fall down with their plastic kits, it's in their instructions.

The parts are numbered on the tooling layout, next to the illustrated instructions, but they're not numbered on the sprue itself — something that may take people coming from other manufacturers by surprise.

Version colour-coding sheet —
doesn't match actual sprue.

Tooling layout and
assembly instructions


The assembly illustrations are quite small, low-contrast, and indistinct, and since parts aren't numbered, it requires a bit of checking back and forth to make sure that you have the right parts for the version of the Valentine that you want to build. The vagueness of the illustrations means that it could be quite easy to get parts attached upside-down if a modicum of care isn't taken, as it's impossible to distinguish orientation from the pictures.

Most irritating to me is the fact that the colour-coded sprue layout shown on the reverse of the instruction sheet, designed to show you which bits go with which version, doesn't match the layout of the actual sprues in the box. That's a pretty glaring flaw, in my view.

In summary: good little model, terrible instructions.



Valentine Mk.III

Valentine Mk.IX (-ish)

Later...

Something I failed to mention, and should have, is that although there are parts on the sprue to build only one tank, it is possible to build separate turrets for all three versions of the Valentine.

It would be possible, with some work and care, to make the hull-tops (with or without sand-guards) swappable by means of magnets. However, it would be a bit of a faff, and for my money I'd probably just as soon buy another box of models.

Note that the running gear for the Mk.IX has a slightly different pattern of bogies, and separate track pieces are provided for it. However, the visual difference is really quite minimal, if you prefer to have the flexibility of swapping the three turrets around between a common hull.

There are three commander figures provided on the sprue, but one of them is a Soviet, wearing their distinctive ribbed tanker's helmet. It would probably be possible, if you really want to, to convert its head to a beret-wearing Brit, but it's more work than I care to do.

Runestones

Skulls galore  For a bit of primeval mystic hoo-ha, I made a couple of primitive runestones. They stand about 70mm tall, and one has a...