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KV-1 Model 1941

Trumpeter 1/35 KV-1 Model 1941

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review January 2006 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject KV-1 Model 1941 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0356 Primary Media 240 parts (235 in grey styrene, 2 vinyl track runs, 2 clear styrene, 1 twisted copper wire)
Pros Offers another interesting KV-1 variant to the line-up Cons Some ejection pin marks on the "hard" plastic tracks will be annoying to remove
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $24.95

The Project

I will refer readers here for the history of this vehicle. You will find in the in-box review there.

I started building this kit by assembling the hull. This is done by adding two side walls and the rear hull plate to the hull tub part. No problems were encountered.

In the next step the upper hull parts, return roller axles, road wheel arm dampers and tow ring mounts were assembled. I found that there were six locating holes in the side panels to locate the return roller axles to. However, only 2 of those holes are used by the pins on the axles that are at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. I also found quite a bit of flash on the very ends of these axles. Needle files quickly took care of this.

The hardest thing to do in this step was to assemble the teeny lift hooks that mount on top of the rear upper hull plate. I found the best way to handle these very, very small parts was to cut them off into a cello bag so that they would not fly away into the shag rug for the styrene eating monster to eat. I later picked them out of the bag with a reverse jaws pointy tweezers and glued the 8 of them into place.

The next step had me assemble the turret ring, road wheel axles, idler wheel axles, the second set of return roller axles, 3 parts that make up a rear screened section (air intake?) and 2 more tow ring mounts. I found that there was flash on most of these parts to clean up. The instructions wanted me to add the rear stoplight lens at this point, however I left it off until final painting.


The next step had me assemble the remaining road wheel axles, idler wheel axles, the driver’s armored vision flap, a bolted nose piece, engine air intake screens (there are 2 versions of these that have different framing), engine access hatch lids (that can be posed open or shut.  I shut mine as there is no interior there), the driver’s hatch lid and a ring that goes around this hatch (I mounted the ring and left the hatch for later). You are supposed to attach the horn and its wire now, if you don’t opt for the appliqué armor alternate shown in step 16. I left mine off until I added this armor.

The road wheel assembly was next, along with the assembly of the drive sprockets and return rollers. The return roller halves are a butt joint, with no location pins. I lined up the holes in them…for the axles to go into later…by shoving a round tooth pick into the holes while gluing them. One of the 2 flexible machine guns is assembled now into it’s ball mount.

The next step is where I went terribly wrong. I should have assembled the tracks like this step showed, but thought that I could get the tracks on later after the fenders were on and most of the tank painted the obligatory usual overall Russian green. I found that they would not go without breaking off the return rollers…sigh.

There are two options for the tracks: continuous vinyl rubber-band type and link and length type ones that even feature the correct sag to the upper run. However, there are mold pin cups to remove on every link.

This was a long and tedious job with needle files, but well worth the effort for the final appearance.

The next step was attaching all the wheels and the mud scraping device that fits between the two halves of the drive sprockets. Only the return rollers were rubber tired by the way, this was done with a dark gray paint…rather than flat black…which would have looked too harsh. The bow machine gun and front periscope cover are added now, as well as a domed hatch that goes on the rear deck. There is a hex nut affair that goes on the top of this dome, as an option. I added it to my kit. There is no locating hole in the hatch or a pin on the hex nut…so be careful to get it centered on the dome. The instructions want you to add the headlight at this time. You should only do this if you don’t want to add the appliqué armor to the front.

The short, stubby exhaust pipes were added next and the rear tow rings were snapped into place. Do not glue them if you want to add the tow cables later.

The next step was adding the tracks. This was followed by adding the fenders and their triangular supports. A two man saw in it’s container is added to the left fender now also.

Assembly of the turret comes next. The body of the turret is molded in a top and bottom piece. The gun trunion and its mounts then go into the face of the turret. Do not use glue on the turnion (part D17) or it will not elevate and depress. Periscope armored covers, crew handles, the rear turret machine gun, mantle pieces, main gun barrel, upper mantle shield plate, 2 domed periscopes, and the turret hatch are to be added now. I left the hatch off till later.

Although it is not made clear in the instructions, there is an alternate assembly to the turret at the bottom of step 12. This is for a flame-thrower version I found out later.

The very-most front fender supports are next added along with a gun barrel cleaning rod tube and 3 storage lockers to be put on the fenders.

Brass wire, supplied in the kit, and the plastic looped cable ends are assembled with CA super-glue. The cable ends are then threaded over the front tow rings (that I left loose earlier) and the other end loop is fitted over the adjustment mechanisms on the sides of the tank.

The final step is full of options. It is step no 16. You can add front appliqué armor and some side appliqué armor parts. I found that the front one needed to be cut out and modified to fit around things there.

I then added the siren and headlight parts with their wiring.

Now came the fun part…painting. I sprayed the whole tank with Testor’s acrylic Russian armor green and then used a black wash. When this had dried I used progressively lighter shades of green as a dry brush. The tracks were done in German armor red-brown with a black wash and then Rub-N-Buff silver paste was gently applied with my finger-tips to the high points of the treads. I used railroad modeling metal blackener on the brass tow cables and painted the plastic ends in the Russian green.

A gentle application of the Rub-N-Buff was done to these cable assemblies.

I painted the driver’s hatch interior with white paint and the locking mechanism (inside it) with steel. The turret hatch was treated the same.

I painted up two of the figures from the Tri-star Soviet tank crew set and added them to the driver’s hatch and the turret hatch. I intend to have the guy in the turret reading a map later…once I find a map to scale. Maybe I can ding something up on my computer?

The decals in the kit provide 2 different turret slogans. However, you are never told what the heck these slogans say. It didn’t matter, in the end, as these decals were found to be very brittle and they shattered all over the place on me…so I left my model without them.

KV-1I may get some Archer dry transfers for slogans later.

The last thing I did was to paint the inside of the headlight with Rub-N-Buff silver and glued the clear lens in place with a bit of Future acrylic liquid. The tail light was painted a bright red and it’s clear lens added the same way.

I found this kit enjoyable to build. The only snags were my struggle to get the tracks on because I left them off until after the fenders were on. Also, the disaster with the decals.

I recommend this kit to all armor modelers that want to add one of the Soviet WWII heavy tanks to their shelf.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!