ARM: Review - Zvezda 1/35 scale KV-1 Model 1940

Kit Review: Zvezda 1/35 scale Kit No. 3624; KV-1 Soviet Heavy Tank
mod. 1940 with L-11 Gun; 391 parts (368 in olive drab plastic, 22 in
silver vinyl, 1 clear styrene); retail price about US$30
Advantages: first styrene kit of a KV-1 Model 1940; offers some
interior details; choice of vinyl or =93link and length=94 tracks
Disadvantages: about 3mm too short, some errors in specific features
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet armor fans, especially early war
Having written extensively on the history of the KV heavy tanks (see
Military Modeling issues Volume 34, Nos. 9-12) I will not recap the
life history of this big clunker other than to say it is an
interesting tank to model due to the size and bulk of the beast. This
particular version was in production from April to December 1940 and
changed out when the F-32 gun was adopted in late 1940 and entered
production in January 1941. The underslung L-11 gun used in the first
year=92s production of KV heavy tanks cannot be mistaken for anything
else, and as such I for one have always had a soft spot for this most
ungainly of KV =93small turret=94 tanks.
Roughly 131 KV heavy tanks were built with this gun. The tank was
armed with a coaxial 7.62mm DT machine gun and a second DT firing
through a mount at the rear of the turret. There were also pistol
ports on the sides of the turret and in the bow next to the driver-
mechanic. In October 1940 a rotating ring was fitted to the
commander=92s hatch which could be rigged with a P-40 or later mounting
for a DT machine gun to be used as an antiaircraft machine gun as
well. Also, a bow DT machine gun was added at the time, but tanks were
issued with only three machine guns so the crew had to decide which
ones would be fitted to any of the four mounts.
Zvezda is not the most adept company at producing kits, but they have
continually improved and are getting better and better as they
progress. This kit is one of their nicer ones and has some really good
touches, such as a partial interior and a choice between vinyl and
=93link and length=94 styrene tracks. The vinyl tracks in Zvezda kits,
however, tend to be tauter than bowstrings so this latter feature is
most welcome.
The kit is based on their early Model 1941 kit so it is virtually the
same with the exception of the L-11 gun and its truly bizarre mantlet
(it=92s cut flat on the bottom =96 Zvezda got this feature dead right.)
The kit also provides a new breech as while the F-32 and F-34 guns
used nearly identical breech sections this gun was quite different. 10
short 76mm rounds and 8 DT ammunition drums are also provided. The kit
does provide the ball-mounted hull and turret machine guns, as well as
the AA mount and a DT gun for that mount as well.
The interior of the hull provides an engine block top and air
cleaner, but the radiator grilles (C9) are solid and installed from
the inside of the hull. The good news is that Zvezda did provide the
curved frame on the outside, so if you have a set of etched grilles
the openings are cleaned out and ready to install. Note that you will
have to come up with the armored radiator guard covers if you use
etched grilles, however. The same goes with the radiator air exhaust
grille at the rear of the hull (A14) which is a separate part so it
too can be replaced.
Assembly is typical of an eastern European kit =96 flat hull sides
which attach to a belly plate, bow and stern plates, and the upper
hull. It does come with separate road wheel arms, and all wheels use
vinyl =93keepers=94 so they are easily removed for painting.
The kit also provides three early-style =93ZIP=94 bins for tools and
equipment as well as one of the curious 40 liter auxiliary fuel
The model, however, is not without quirks and one major issue =96
according to checks with dimensions and plans published by some of the
better Russian authors (Kolomiyets being the best =93single source=94)_the
model is about 3mm too short. Width, height and all major components
scale out right, but then there are some =93please don=92t look too close=
The model is clearly a Model 1940 =96 built between October 1940 and
December 1940 by the features provided which match, or about one of
about 85 tanks with the AA and bow guns. But it comes with the
reinforced cast internally buffered road wheels, which were only used
after mid 1941. (There is a small =93web=94 inside the rim of the wheel
which extends from the second =93ring=94 inside to the inside lip of the
outer rim; Model 1940s had a smooth face to their cast wheels.) This
is nearly impossible to get a clean =93fix=94 due to the number of ribs
and their petite size and location, so it is unfortunate that Zvezda
did not do a second set of wheels. Even the finishing directions show
the vehicles with the correct wheels.
Finishing is simple =96 4BO green overall =96 and two decal options are
provided: 1st Red Banner Tank Division, Luga area August 1941, with
the =93BEY FASHISTOV!=94 (Fight the Fascists!) logo on the turret, and
turret number 209 which is listed as =93Eastern Front Fall 1941".
Overall, if you can live with the slightly short hull and the not-
quite-correct wheels, this is a nice kit and the result will certainly
look the part. If not, you may wish to =93cross kit=94 with an early model
KV-1 or the KV Big Turret kits from Trumpeter.
Cookie Sewell
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