Russian Heavy Tank KV-1
1:48 Scale - Kit No.32535
Review by Terry Ashley

Tamiya have followed their T-34 kits with this model of the Russian KV-1 Heavy Tank with the kit representing a KV-1 Model 1940 LKZ early series production armed with the F-32 76.2mm main gun in a welded turret and featuring the initial rubber lined resilient road wheels and curved rear hull profile.

The kit is basically the equivalent of the 1:35 Trumpeter KV-1 “Small Turret” Tank (kit #00356) but also included on the sprues are parts applicable to the KV-1 Model 1941 not used with this kit and so like Trumpeter we may see Tamiya release further kits in the KV series (other than the KV-2 already announced).

The kit has 180 parts in the usual olive drab plastic plus the large cast metal lower hull tub, the decal sheet, a few poly caps, a length of twine for the tow cables and the screws to hold the hull sections together.

Standard of moulding is again very good overall with nice detail in some areas while others are quite sterile with a distinct lack of details such as the drive sprockets, hull weld seams (not there) and numerous bolt heads and rivets that could quite easily have been included in this scale.

Dimensionally there are few minor discrepancies when scaling down the 1:35 plans in the Tankograd KV-1 books with the turret just under 1mm too short and about 1mm too narrow at the top and bottom with the gun being 2mm longer than the plans but easily fixed by trimming a little off the back of the barrel so it sits further into the mantlet. The main hull width is also about 1mm too narrow but the length measures out okay as does the fender widths.

The wheels, drive sprockets and idler wheels match the plan dimensions well as does the track width so all the above discrepancies are probably not a big deal and doesn’t distract from the overall appearance of the kit.

Lower Hull:
The metal hull tub like previous kits is devoid of underside details but does have more detail on the suspension components with bolts heads around the main axle mountings and bump stop mountings but strangely none on the return roller or final drive mountings. The idler tensioning arm in included as is a separate mud scrapper for the rear drive sprockets with the front and rear curved hull panels being separate plastic parts that fit well to the hull.


The drive sprockets have the correct number of bolt heads for this version but these are only on the outside sprocket face with no detail at all on the reverse side or on the inner sprocket which makes for a very plain looking assembly. The sprockets halves trap poly caps between them for easy fitting to the final drive axles which as mentioned are also devoid of any detail but this isn’t that easy to see on the final kit anyway.

The detail on the resilient road wheels is quite well done and again has the correct number of small holes and bolts for this version and the large idler wheels also have nice details included on both the outer and inner wheel unlike the drive sprockets. Both the road wheels and idlers are designed to be glued in place on their respective axles.

The two part return rollers also have nice hub details but are a little on the shallow side if you wanted to real picky.

Assembly of the suspension is very straightforward but you have to fit the drive sprockets in place before fitting the mud scrappers as the sprockets won’t fit afterwards but other than that there were no problems here.

These are in link and length with the top run having track sag included between the return rollers which makes lining up the tracks very easy. The shorter lengths of track are fitted around the idlers and drive sprockets with the sections fitting snugly together which again helps in fitting.

The tracks themselves have good cast details included but there are some small pin marks on the inside of the links but these are mostly hidden by the road wheels and sprockets and are not that noticeable on the assembled tracks.

Assembly was quite straightforward with the sections around the idler and drive sprockets added and allowed to dry completely before adding the shorter joining sections and long top and bottom runs.


Upper Hull:
The upper hull is in one large part that includes the fenders but has the full engine deck as a separate part to allow the details here to be done very well with nice bolt head details and separate rear hatches but the two side intake mesh panels are moulded solid but will no doubt be included in the inevitable etched details set to come. The two small exhaust pipes are also separate parts with the fit of the engine deck to the hull quite good but there was a little movement so be sure it is located evenly as you glue in place, but off course you have to the screw the upper and lower hulls together before hand as the screw hole is under the engine decking.

The hull as mentioned is quite sterile with no weld seams or surface texturing and if you take the time to add the weld seams it will improve the overall appearance on the large hull.

There are a few locating holes that need to be opened up from the inside further indicating other versions will follow and the fender supports are all separate parts as is the hull nose cap which neatly covers the lower/upper hull join line but obviously you have the screw the two together before fitting this.

At the front is a separate driver’s visor, a two part head light with solid plastic lens, a small siren for which you may want to add the wiring and a three part machine gun and mounting plus the upper periscope cover at the front of the hull. The rim to the driver’s hatch is a separate part and the hatch has inside latch detail if you wish to show this open.

Added to the fenders are the three large storage boxes moulded in one piece plus other small fittings and the tow cables form the twine provided.

The turret shell is in two halves with separate front rear and top panels which means there are no join seams to worry about at all with the fit of the parts being very good with the edges of the front and rear panels having subtle weld texturing included.

The gun mounting is held together with two poly caps allowing gun elevation with the one piece mantlet glued to the front of the mounting but again there are no weld seams on the mantlet and this would benefit in having these added. The one piece gun barrel only has a minor moulding seam to be sanded off and has the muzzle hollowed out with this slipping neatly into the mantlet locating hole. The extra length mentioned above is really not that apparent after assembling the turret and many will not bother with this but there will probably be metal barrels made for this kit as there have been for the T-34 kits.

The fit of the gun mounting to the front of the turret is very good but there is no cast texture on the gun mounting bulges which could be added for a better appearance.

The top panel has the main hatch as a separate part as are the four periscope covers and the two dome sights as well as the side grab handles with the central front ventilator included with the panel moulding as is the gun mounting cover. The periscope covers don’t have any rivet detail which is quite noticeable but the fit of the roof to the turret is exceptionally good without the need for any trimming or filler.

The decal sheet is again typical Tamiya with nicely printed markings but with thickish carrier film with the three markings provided all in white on overall Russian green paint finish.

Two are from the battle of Khar’kov in May 1942 and one unidentified unit in 1942.

Decal sheet
The Sprues
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Another sound kit from Tamiya with the main features of the model 1940 KV-1 captured well and the fit of parts back to what we expect from Tamiya but there are some areas that could do with extra detailed as they are quite plain. The minor dimensional discrepancies are not really of great concern given there could also be variations in the plans due to printing etc.

The kit should be welcomed to partner the previous T-34/SU-122 kits and will build into a nice looking KV-1 as it comes.

KV-1 Soviet Heavy Tank of WWII - Early Variants
Tankograd Soviet Special
No. 2002
KV-1 & 2 Heavy Tanks

Osprey New Vanguard 17
ISBN 1-85532-496-2
Ground Power Magazine
#75 - 8/2000
Published by GALILEO
Publishing Co.,Ltd.
Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945
Schiffer Publishing
ISBN: 0-7643-0913-7
Stalin's Heavy Tanks

Concord Armor at War
Series #7012
Stalin's Giants KV-1 & KV-II
Schiffer Publishing
ISBN: 0-8874-0404-9
Wydawnictwo Militaria #34
KW Vol.I
Wydawnictwo Militaria #163
Wydawnictwo Militaria #168

Kit courtesy of my Credit Card and the excellent service from Rainbow Ten.

Page created August 16, 2006

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