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Tamiya KV-1 Model 1941

Build review of the 1/35 scale armor kit with great detail
Arguably the most advanced tank in the world in 1939-41, the Soviet KV-1 featured extremely heavy armor, wide tracks, a diesel engine, and a large gun that left it unmatched. Overshadowed by the more-numerous T-34, the KV proved adaptable, and the design led to development of the Stalin heavy tanks.

Before proceeding, let me clarify that this all-new kit shares nothing with Tamiya’s 1972 KV-1.

This one features cleanly molded olive drab plastic parts, link-and-length tracks, and a commander figure.

Despite the fact that the upper and lower hulls build from numerous flat parts, they fit together precisely. Separate fenders aid track assembly. Fender stowage boxes can be built with the lids open or closed thanks to optional parts. The instructions show two boxes being fitted, one on each side, but period photos show three on some KV-1s. The good news is that the kit provides four, so you have the option.

All of the hatches, including engine access panels, are separate, and hinges and internal hatch detail enhance their appearance if they are posed open. No interior detail is provided.

The suspension arms installed easily with tiny pins aligning them in a level position.

Each of the road wheels and return rollers build from three parts. The road wheels replicate the initial pattern and the return rollers represent the all-steel version — earlier variants had a rubber rim.

The link-and-length tracks have good detail on both sides and look great painted. Be aware that there are faint ejector-pin marks on the inside surfaces. Take note when building the tracks as the runs are slightly different. The instructions provide clear directions about the total number of track parts and the assembly sequence.

The turret is composed of many parts, but I was again impressed with the precise fits. Separate parts are included for the pistol ports.
String is provided for the tow cable, and this is the first time I have seen Tamiya use metal-colored thread.

Interestingly, the kit provides a 1/35 scale printed version of the 1/20 scale paper model German troops used as an instructional aid. Just cut it out and fold it together!

I painted my KV with AK Color Russian green (AK1026) spray paint and weathered it with Ammo by Mig Jimenez pigments.
Decals provided markings for two vehicles. The small tactical symbols I used went on without a problem.

Based on my references — New Vanguard No. 17: KV-1 & 2 Heavy Tanks 1939-45 by Steven Zaloga and Jim Kinnear (Osprey, ISBN 978-1-85532-496-1) and KV: Technical History & Variants by Neil Stokes (Airconnection, ISBN 978-0-9781091-2-7) — Tamiya has done a good job of producing a representative KV-1 given the vehicle was built in at several different plants and underwent many improvements and changes during the production runs.

I completed my KV-1 in 20 hours. It was fun and I am pleased with the finished model. It can be managed by novice modelers, while experienced hands can use it as a great base for superdetailing.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2020 issue.
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