Eastern Express 1/35 KV-85

KIT #: 35102
PRICE: $30.00
DECALS: Several options
REVIEWER: Kaidick Cheung


The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov and used by the Red Army during World War II. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armour protection during the early part of the war, especially during the first year of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

They were practically immune to the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and howitzer-like, short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 guns mounted, respectively, on the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks fielded by the invading German forces. Until more effective guns were developed by the Germans, the KV-1 was invulnerable to almost any German weapon except the famous 88 mm gun. Even then, its "armor causes hits from the 8.8 cm Flak gun to ricochet." This prompted the Germans to drop development of the VK 20 series and adopt, in great haste, the 7.5 cm KwK 42 gun on a new medium tank design that would become the Panther tank.

Prior to Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the USSR), about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks then in Soviet service were of the KV-1 type. When the KV-1 appeared, it outclassed the French Char B1, the only other heavy tank in operational service in the world at that time. Yet, in the end, it turned out that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally well) in all practical respects. Later in the war, the KV series became a base for the development of the IS (IS - Josif Stalin) series of tanks.

The KV-85 was a KV-1S with the 85mm D-5T cannon in a new turret, with the ball mounted hull machine gun removed and the hole welded shut, 148 of these tanks were produced in the second half of 1943 until the spring of 1944; they were a stopgap until the IS tank series entered production.


 Just like the real thing, this kit is based off the KV-1.  The turret is specific to this kit, and it looks like a JS-2 turret.  It is fairly well moulded with very prominent weld marks.  The hull & suspension bits are lifted directly from a KV-1 kit. There are four sprues for the suspension bits and about half of them arenít used. The moulds for these sprues are noticeably misaligned so be prepared for quite a bit of sanding & cutting before assembly. 


 Construction begins with the lower hull.  The hull itself comes in 3 separate pieces, however they line up well so it went quickly.   Next are the road wheels, which unfortunately needed a lot of work.   A lot of flash has to be trimmed off first. The road wheels are not intended to spin so they can just be glued in place.  Next I tackled the vinyl tracks.  Thereís a fair bit of flash to them, but it was too much work to trim it all so I left it alone.  It comes in four pieces, two per side.  Lit up some candles and melted the stubs.  Now another problem, the attachment points are so flimsy that the tracks donít curve properly, they bend at the attachment points.  Like the flashing, I just accepted it.  I wanted some track sag so I drilled some holes in the side of the hull.  Then I used metal wire handles from Chinese take-out boxes and placed them across the tracks to get the proper sag. 

 With the hard part over, the upper hull and turret are much easier to build.  The new turret has a larger turret ring so the kit includes some circular parts that are glued to the side of the hull.  The instructions are very vague about exact placement, so I used the turret as a guide.  The instructions are also vague about the sponson supports.  The enlarged turret ring means one set of supports is shorter, but the instructions donít tell you how much to cut.  Itís a lot of trial and error. 

The turret doesnít have any clips that hold onto the upper hull, itís just placed on.  I added some from scrap plastic so now the turret wonít fall off.  The gun is designed to elevate, but thereís no provision for counterweight so it just droops.  I chose to glue it in place.  The welds are too pronounced so they were cut back a bit.  However, the turret front is also supposed to have weld marks but are absent in the kit.  I used a thin bead of putty. 

The instructions didnít include the tow cables, although the kit does have the parts for it.  I skipped it. 


First I preshaded concave areas black.   Then onto the main color. Itís green.  Iíve seen pictures where tanks from the same unit were different shades of green, so I didnít put too much effort to getting the correct shade.  I used Testors Dark Green.   Afterwards, I added a few drops of white and sprayed selected areas to get more tonal variation. 

The tracks were a kind of ďmuckĒ color.  I usually start with a brown, then mix some aluminum, and then varying amounts of yellow, black, and red.  The metal wires holding down the track got the same color. 

The decals had markings for Alexander Nevsky the prince of Kiev, but they arenít very good.  I chose some generic markings instead.  After a flat coat & a final coat of light brown as ďdustĒ it was done. 


Tis kit clearly shows the transition between the KV and JS designs.  I was quite happy with the kit after completion, but itís not something I want to build again.  Trumpeter also makes this subject, and considering the price is only a few dollars more that would be my choice.  It has better instructions, clean moulding, and likely a better parts fit.  But also has individual track links, so itís always a tradeoff. 

Trumpeter also makes a KV-1/85 (sometimes called KV-85G), which used a smaller turret so there was no need for an enlarged turret ring on the hull.  This version was only a prototype.



Kaidick Cheung

May 2015 

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