KIT: Hobby Boss 1/48 KV-1, model 1942
KIT #: 84813
PRICE: $18.00 from
DECALS: three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 'Heavy Cast Turret' boxing


After disappointing results with the multi-turreted T-35 heavy tank, Soviet tank designers started drawing up replacements. The T-35 conformed to the 1920s notion of a 'breakthrough tank' with very heavy firepower, but poor mobility and armor protection. The Spanish Civil War demonstrated the need for much heavier armor on tanks, and was the main influence on Soviet tank design just prior to World War II.

Several competing designs were offered, and even more were drawn up prior to reaching prototype stage. All had heavy armor, torsion-bar suspension, wide tracks, and were of welded and cast construction. One of the main competing designs was the SMK, which lowered the number of turrets from the T-35's five to two, mounting the same combination of 76.2 mm and 45 mm weapons. When two prototypes were ordered though, it was decided to create one with only a single turret, but more armour. This new single-turret tank was the KV. The smaller hull size and single turret enabled the designer to add more armor while keeping the weight within manageable limits.

When the Soviets entered the Winter War, the SMK, KV and a third design, the T-100, were sent to be tested in combat conditions. The heavy armour of the KV proved highly resilient to Finnish anti-tank weapons, making it more effective than the other designs. It was soon put into production, both as the original 76-mm-armed KV-1 Heavy Tank and the 152 mm howitzer-mounting assault gun, the KV-2 Heavy Artillery Tank.

The 45-ton KV outweighed most other tanks of the era, being about twice as heavy as the heaviest contemporary German tanks. The KV's strengths included armor that was impenetrable by any tank-mounted weapon then in service except at pointblank range, good firepower, and good floatation on soft ground. Along with these strengths, its flaws were quite serious. It was very slow and difficult to steer. The transmission was unreliable. The ergonomics were poor, with limited visibility and no turret basket. Its weight tended to strain smaller bridges.


For those of you who read the KV-2 preview and theKV-2 build article, you'll find much that is similar between these two because both tanks used the same chassis. That means that the hull and running gear are going to be the same, though the KV-1 used slightly different road wheels.

What is really different are the two sprues for the upper bodywork and the turret. I've shown those two sprues, the rest you can see at the KV-2 preview link above. The detailing of the parts on this kit are just as good as those on the KV-2, which is to say, they are very good indeed. A difference between this and the other kit are that the interior of the hatches are provided as separate pieces. The option to have these in the open position are still there in case you have some crewmen you'd like to use as no figures are supplied with the kit. The same etched fret is provided for fender supports and a section of copper wire for the tow cable. You also have the same excellent piece and run track system with plastic guides provided to help assemble the end pieces. Thisworked out well in the last build, though I ended up using more individual links than shown in the instructions.

Speaking of instructions, these are just as good as before, with their clear construction steps. Markings are provided for three tanks in Russian Armor Green and varying levels of winter whitewash. The decals on the KV-2 tended towards silvering, though it may have been my fault. However, caution needs to be taken when applying these as they are quite thin. Thanks to the steel road wheels and return rollers, painting should be a snap.


I had a great time with the KV-2. It was a trouble-free build and I'm sure this one will be just as much fun to do. There are at least three other KV-1 variants boxed by Hobby Boss so if you are into Soviet WWII armor then this is the one to get.



Thanks to for the review kit.

March 2007

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