Hobby Boss 1/48 KV-1 Model 1941
KIT #: 84810
PRICE: $27.99 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Jonathan Prestidge
NOTES:  

HISTORY

The KV-1 was the original Russian monster tank. It was designed in 1939 and was very advanced for the time. The motor in the KV-1 was a 550 hp V-12 diesel called the V-2. The KV-1 housed the same 76.2mm main gun as the T-34. Its armor was designed to withstand anti-tank weapons up to 76mm. In action, the KV-1 had difficulty keeping up with the T-34s they were supposed to support. Often, their tremendous weight prevented KV-1s from using the same bridges that the T-34ís easily crossed. They were cumbersome and had frequent breakdowns of their gearbox and transmission. Lack of radio equipment meant that it was almost impossible to coordinate action once the battle had been joined. Like all other Russian tanks, KV-1s suffered from poor tactics and uncoordinated utilization by the Soviet Command.

 When it first entered combat in Finland, the KV-1sí heavy armor and potent armament performed as designed but the mismanagement of the campaign limited the KV-1sí effectiveness. On the Eastern Front, the KV-1 came as a shock to the Germans. It was impervious to current anti-tank weapons and even single KV-1s could cause serious delays to German advances. Though piecemeal usage by the Russian Army minimized the effect of the KV-1, it and the T-34 inspired the German High Command to push for larger, better-armed and armored tanks like the Tiger and Panther.

THE KIT

The Hobby Boss 1/48th KV-1 Model 1941 was released in 2006. The instructions were well printed and easy to follow, though I deviated from the sequence of assembly in some areas. The overall engineering of the kit was very good, resulting in nice detail without difficult construction or an excessive parts count. The KV-1 was molded in light gray plastic and there was minor flash on most of the kit parts. No figure was included. The kit decals were thin, in register, and provided markings for three tanks. There was also a color painting guide. While it had five views of the all green tank, it only had a single side view of the two camouflaged tanks. There were nice link and length tracks with the longer portions pre-formed, which minimized assembly time. A heavy copper tow cable and photo-etched fender braces were included as well.

CONSTRUCTION

Differing somewhat from the kit instructionsí assembly sequence, I built the kit in two major sub-assemblies: the hull and the turret. When assembling the hull, I glued all the hatches and other detail parts to the top decking before attaching it to the chassis. This allowed me to use liquid glue (applied from the underside of the decking) which resulted in clean joins for the detail bits. I left the tracks off until after painting for ease of weathering. The photo-etched fender braces required the use of Super Glue. I had to do a bit of dry-fitting and cleanup on each part. Once assembly was complete, there were a few minor gaps here and there that required filling and sanding. After about ten hours of enjoyable building, I had the two main components (hull and turret) ready for paint.   

COLORS & MARKINGS

I chose the first of the kit markings - a KV-1 of the 51st Independent Tank Battalion, Leningrad Front, Spring 1942. First, everything was airbrushed PolyScale acrylic Dark Green FS34079 (a good match for Soviet Armor Green) thinned with Future. Thinning with Future helped the paints spray better and the satin finish was better suited to washes/filters. Once the entire model had been sprayed, I added some PolyScale Israel Khaki to the Dark Green and sprayed various panels on the upper surfaces of the upper hull and turret. I did this to give some tonal variation to the Dark Green. The tracks were painted dark gray next. They were dry-brushed with Testors oil-based silver prior to installation and weathering.

 I started the weathering process by applying a thin, black, soapy water filter/wash. I went section by section, using a Q-tip to remove some of the wash and to streak it unevenly. I then dry-brushed some thinned Dark Green to accent detail and further vary tone. I brush-painted several coats of Future to the turret sides in preparation for decals. The kit markings went on without any problems and settled nicely with an application of Micro Sol.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

 Once the tracks were installed, the tracks and chassis were strategically dry-brushed with my special mix of Mud Brown paint. Good pictures of actual KV-1s proved invaluable during the weathering process.

I added the tow cables (using rope from a Tamiya kit instead of the thick copper tow cable that came standard), extra bits of track (also from a Tamiya kit), and the machine guns at this time. I then air-brushed Poly Scale Flat Clear mixed with a few drops of Hazel Tan over the entire tank. I used pastels to further dirty the KV-1. Final detailing was then completed.

CONCLUSIONS

 I really enjoyed this kit. It was not overly difficult and it resulted in a nice looking KV-1. From start to finish it took me about 25 hours over the course of two weeks. Construction of the KV-1 was straightforward with no real problem spots to speak of. The Hobby Boss KV-I did require a bit more clean-up and careful fitting than my Tamiya JS-2. On the plus side, there was a finesse to the detail parts that was sometimes lacking on the Tamiya. This kit was priced right, fun to build, and captured the big, boxy look of the KV-1. Highly recommended!  

Jonathan Prestidge

April 2014

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