Soviet KV-85 Heavy Tank

Published: January 3rd, 2013     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Tim Wilding - IPMS# 47420
Scale: 1/35
Company: Trumpeter
Price: $52.99
Product / Stock #: 01569
Product provided by: Squadron

The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet Red Army heavy tanks, named after the Soviet defense commissar. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armor protection during the early part of World War II, especially during the first year of the invasion of the Soviet Union. Later in the war, the KV series became a base of development for the Joseph Stalin (Iosif Stalin, or IS) series of tanks. The KV-85 was a KV-1S with the 85mm D-5T cannon in a new turret, and with the ball mounted hull machine gun removed and the hole welded shut. 148 of these tanks were produced from the second half of 1943 until the spring of 1944 as a stopgap until the IS tank series entered production. This tank had its original turret, but later models were equipped with IS-1 turret.

Trumpeter has a long line of KV series tank kits, but this one is all new tooling. The kit consists of 447 parts on 23 sprues, 14 photo etched parts, two clear parts, one metal barrel, and brass wire for the tow cable. There is an eight-page, ten-step instruction sheet with a very nice two-page color painting insert. The two photo etched sheets have a clear film on them so the parts will not fly off while cutting. That is a brilliant idea. The turret and delicate hand rails are packed with foam wrapping around them to protect them from damage. The box is also compartmentalized to keep damage to a bare minimum. All parts are totally free of flash and ejector pin marks.

We start building the hull first and then the running gear; usually, it is the other way around. I had no fit problems at all with the hull and got it built in just a couple hours. The tracks are on 12 sprues with 14 track links on each sprue. Cutting them off and cleaning up the attachment points took me about four hours and one sore back - should have taken some breaks. But the links fit together very well and look great. I decided to install the tracks before painting, something I never do. The main reason is that the sprocket is locked onto the hull by part WC6, some kind of track guide or de-mudder, and there is not much clearance under the fenders.

The turret has a very detailed casing appearance. The turret top and bottom took some adjusting to get them to line up properly. This creates a seam that is shown in the painting scheme as being there, but the box art shows a rough casing seam. I checked some references on the internet and this looks like a slight casing seam, so I used some putty to try blending these casing textures together. The turret hand rails were another fit problem. I glued one end on and then worked my way towards the rear, gluing one attachment at a time. Their contour just does not match the turret quite correctly. There's an option to use the metal barrel or a plastic one, but I see no reason to waste time of cleaning up the plastic one. The metal fit perfectly with a little super glue.

The brass wire for the tow cables is awesome, so much easier then the wire from other manufactures, or even using string. The headlight looks great with its very fine defusing cuts and the rear light is easy to paint on the inside because of raised edges.

All four painting and decaling options are Soviet Armor Green. I chose the options with the patriotic slogan "Alexander Nevsky," a Russian prince who defeated the Swedes in 1240 and later the Teutonic knights. I really like the wreathed star with banner decal. It adds a splash of color to a basic green vehicle. The decals are very thin and lay down great with just a little setting solvent, even on the textured turret.

The kit was extremely enjoyable to build and I got to review Master Box's Soviet Tank Crew #MB3568 along with it, so you will see two of those figures in the photos. My thanks go out to Trumpeter and Squadron, who supplied the kit, and to IPMS-USA, who supplied the review opportunity.

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