Model Centrum Publishing
is a company that have been in the news a lot these last few years releasing a series of books in the Armour ColourGallery
and Armour PhotoHistory
category. This latest release is very timely given the announcements by MiniArt of a continued development in the Valentine range of plastic 1/35 scale models, and Broncoís recently released Archer.
This is the second release from Dick Taylor featuring the Valentine British Infantry Tank Mk III. I previously reviewed Part 1 here on site and it has become a well thumbed and handy reference.
Part 2 will no doubt prove equally useful.
The Valentine was the most massed produced British Tank of World War 2, some 7,420 plus being built and used by both British and Commonwealth Forces as well as the Russian Army. It was adaptable and continued on in service up to the 1950ís.
The book contains 102 archive photographs, 15 full colour plates and a selection of 1/35 scale drawings and stowage diagrams. It is a soft back book of high quality in line with earlier releases. The publication is very much as it says, a Photo History and follows the format previous established in other publications.
The Book opens with a brief, but very informative, text about the later Mks of Valentine, and itís adaptability to fit in with war time development requirements, the Mk IX being the first Valentine 6pdr gun tank. There is useful information about the standardization of features in the Mk IX - XI. The text then goes on to describe the new, rather ugly turret of the Mk IX and the odd lack of coax machine gun in this version, and the U-turn to retro fit same resulting in the Mk X.
The text then moves on to look at the final gun tank the up-gunned 75mm version which became known as the Mk XI There is also useful data about the riveted, bolted and welded hull types. The Gun Tanks are covered in pages 3, 4, 5.
The text then moves on to look at Specialized Variants, focusing on the key players; the Duplex Drive Valentine, the Bishop Self Propelled Gun, the Scissors Bridge-layer and the Archer Self Propelled Gun. Good informative stuff here that will be of interest and help to modellers. These vehicles are covered starting on page 5 through to page 10.
The Photogallery naturally takes up the bulk of the book, pages 11 to 48, providing a wide variety of archive photos for both British and Commonwealth use, and also Russian Army usage. The Gun Tanks get good coverage on pages 11 to 23, the DD Valentine makes a brief but useful appearance on page 24, whilst pages 25 to 31 give excellent references for the Bishop. There is good coverage of the Bridge-layer on pages 32 to 37 and what will be of particular interest is the coverage of the Archer on pages 38 to 47. Making a brief but interesting appearance on page 47 are the Scorpion Flail and a Valentine Flame Thrower. The final page of the PhotoGallery has some interesting pictures of a prototype 6pdr Anti Tank version. All the photographs are of very good quality, and should make excellent references.
1/35 scale drawing are provided between pages 49 and 55 for the Mk IX, Bishop, and Archer. Pages 56 to 65 contain internal and external Stowage diagrams for the Mk IX, Valentine 25pdr, Valentine IX DD and XI DD, Valentine Bridge Layer and the Self Propelled 17 Pdr Valentine I or Archer to you and me, a very useful resource for any builder.
Colour Plates occupy pages 67 to 72 and cover the Mk IX, Bishop and Archer.
Another cracking reference book from Dick Taylor covering the late Valentine Gun Tanks and the key players in the specialized variants of the Valentine. Easy to read with clear and useful data, excellent reference pictures and supporting internal and external stowage diagrams, coupled with some useful colour plates make this another excellent reference for military enthusiasts and model makers alike.
Coupled with Part 1 these two volumes provide the modeller with an excellent set of references and data for the Valentine Series of Gun Tanks and Specialized Vehicles. I was looking forward to Part 2 and Iím not disappointed with the result.
The Valentine is a much under rated British Tank but it soldiered on in several forms until the 1950s and with the comprehensive range of 1/35 scale options coming along from MiniArt, Broncoís Archer and even AFV Clubís proposed Mk I these volumes are well worth the purchase. To accompany the book we can only hope that one of the above companies decide to add a new Bishop, Scissors Bridge-layer and maybe even a DD to their range.