Valentine for Operation Lightfoot

One of the final pieces to add to my 8th army motor pool is a Valentine infantry tank. As the army is themed around Operation Lightfoot, a mid-war tank and mark would a great fit. As I've stocked the british themed army mostly with Rubicon vehicles, I wanted to keep on doing so. It is just ridiculously difficult to receive stock. The Valentine is part of the second wave 2020 novelties and it took until this week to get my hands on a boxed set.

Tabletopper NL Drop

I kept looking for it on my usual suppliers, like Fantasy-In, got in touch with them, but due to Brexit and the incredibly bad preparations by Rubicon UK, there was just no info on when it would be deliverable. Earlier this week posted an update on their stock, covering the Valentine as well, and I gave it a go. As they "only" charged 7,90 EUR for shipping from the Netherlands to Germany, and even had some other items on stock that I was looking for for a while now (for example Empress' WW2 range, which I ordered through a german store in November and Empress didn't manage to supply them with stock pre-brexit nor afterwards), so I had an order with a total beyond 100 EUR it was free of shipping costs. But what amazed me the most, I ordered it on Wednesday morning and within an hour my order was picked and packed, and I received my tracking number just 75 minutes later. DPD did a great job as well, bringing the package within 48 hours to me. So chapeau to, will keep an eye on you from now on.

For manufacturers who don't sell directly to their customers, or even if they do - with the brexit this is more important than ever, having a proper distribution network is key. Some larger companies like Games Workshop sell directly to your FLGS, others have wholesale dealers for certain areas, that your go-to store buys from. And this multi-level distribution is often the reason why stock is not distributed equally. For example if your local store buys from a distributor, they often can not simply order a single box, but have a minimum order (depending on the wholesale trader often between 150 to 500 EUR), and the wholesale trader as well can't buy a single box at the manufacturer, as they have agreed to buy larger stock / bulk to gain access to the role of distributor and therefore bigger margins (usually 5.000 - 10.000 EUR upwards). But merchants don't want to bind financial capital in slow or non moving stock, and wargaming is niche, so for many distributors / wholesalers it is not easy to keep stock of non-fast turning products. A way to cope with that is for many distributors to not only carry one range, but multiple ranges that are interesting for their customers (not the consumer but the reseller), for example offering paints or other ranges, so that when your local store wants to order your single box, they can fill up the minimum order with some paint pots, tools or items from other ranges that are required. Making it noticeably easier for them to order from them and provide requested items for the local buyers. In some cases dealers and wholesalers write down your order and have to wait until they filled up the minimum order value, sometimes taking weeks or even months. With Rubicon there was an additional problem for wargamers, before they decided to be their own distributor (not that long before brexit so, a not that clever move anyhow), they went for a model kit company as a distributor for Germany, a large disadvantage for wargaming stores. Where they can fill up their minimum order with other products like Army Painter, Warlord or Mantic at their regular tabletop wholetraders, having to buy larger amounts of Rubicon or having to fill up with products that don't fit their store makes it less attractive for them to carry / offer Rubicon at all.

Other scenarios like Mantic adapting to the European/German market in the early 2010s were difficult as well, as they went with to many wholetraders, having a surplus on stock that didn't move. Some of the wholetraders wanted to cut their losses or at least bound capital short and dumped the prices heavily, damaging the potential sale prices for other wholetraders and resellers as well. But aren't low prices a good thing for the customer? Yes and no. In this case it meant that some of the wholetraders wouldn't restock the next releases, so creating a cheap supply for the initial wave but scarce availability for the ones after that, as the wholetraders would have to consolidate and regenerate from the losses of the initial stock.

But let's get back to the Valentine. There were quite a lot of different marks of this tank and it was provided to the USSR as well, so it saw action with the British, the Commonwealth and Russians. One of the pictures I found on Wikimedia is a Mk III Valentine from Operation Lightfoot, so the perfect fit for me to orientate my build upon (but the picture is discussed as the turret seems to be a 2-man turret, so making this is a Mk II).

Valentine Mk III

Rubicon covers the Valentine with two kits, one for early (II / III / IIICS / IV / V) and one for the late war (IX / X / XI), with my focus on 1942 the early war was the better fit. As often, it shares sprues with the other variant, and with a total of four sprues the box is properly filled, along with a multipage instructions and decal sheet for different forces. Remember, Rubicon uses ABS plastic, so you need a glue that bonds that material.

Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank Pattex - Special Modellbaukleber

The hull is quite detailled, and a lot of items are seperate bits added to the model, creating a much more plastic results with less compromises for undercuts. Unfortunately some of the steps are rather cramped, so you don't get a proper look where the pieces go. But fit is well done and there are a few options regarding the Marks. But unlike with earlier kits, they don't go into detail what parts would fit which theatre of war and the information is rather generic.

Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank

I left off the skirts until painting, but I want to wear them down, similar to the picture. Maybe give it a treatment with a plyers and add some stowage or so. You are left with quite a few spare parts, especially the wheels, and there is even a bit of stowage included, which fits my purpose of a campaign driven vehicle in Africa very well. And to give you an idea of the size, here the Valentine is in between a Rubicon Crusader and a Warlords Matilda.

Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank Rubicon Models - Valentine Tank

So far the motor pool is near completion, maybe a Vickers or Rolls Royce Armoured Car, but that's it. Paint would be what's next.

Bolt Action - British Motorpool

Posted by Dennis B.

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