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#35372 KV-1 Model 1941 Early Production


Box Art

Built from the box, Tamiya's 2020 release represents a KV-1 Model 1941 manufactured in November or December 1941, with a 90mm armored, short-bustle, welded turret and ZIS-5 gun. The box art depicts a vehicle from 1st Battalion, 116th Tank Regiment in the winter of 1941/42 as shown in the photo below. This unit was formed in February 15, 1942 in the city of Mokshany in the Volga Military District.

35372 Original Subject

The vehicle has some notable features, such as a cross-cut saw mounted on the number 3 fender station rather than the more usual number 5 station, and cylindrical external fuel/oil tanks, one of which can be glimpsed on the number 7 station at the far right of the picture. The vehicle in the background carries a similar tank on the number 5 station. These cylindrical tanks are not included the kit, though they are available from several after-market manufacturers.

The kit is comprised of 300 pieces on 10 sprues molded in dark green styrene, plus a further 2 pieces in clear styrene, a length of black twine for the tow cables and 8 poly caps to secure the gun trunnions, sprockets and idlers. 22 parts are unused, but useful as we shall see.

Unlike Tamiya's earlier generation of KV kits, the hull is comprised of multiple pieces which you assemble to create the 'hull tub'. The sprocket mounts, return roller mounts and the bases for the suspension swing arms are molded integrally with the hull sides.

The bump stops are molded individually, though the eccentric arms and idler adjustment cranks are molded integrally. The use of slide molds allows reasonable detail where the eccentric arm pivots on the end of the crank.

The suspension swing arms are the early machined variant with six retaining bolts for the torsion bar end caps. This variant continued in production at least until October 1941, and is therefore plausible for a November/Decemver production vehicle.

The sprockets feature 16 retaining bolts for the hub. This variant continued in production until October/November 1941, and is therefore appropriate for a vehicle manufactured in November/December.

The road wheels are of the two-part resilient type with cast outer discs and reinforcing ribs around the outer rim. This type was introduced in the summer of 1941, and continued in production until November. Each wheel is comprised of three parts - an inner and outer section with a separate outer hub.

The return rollers are the all-steel type, and feature separate hubs for good detail definition.

The idlers are slightly undersized. The original KV idler was 680mm in diameter, which translates to 19.43mm in 1/35 scale. The kit idlers are 18mm in diameter.

The driver's vision port is molded as a separate piece but can only be positioned closed. There are no mounting arms or interior vision block. This is not a criitcism, simply an observation.

The mud scrapers for the sprockets are molded in two pieces each. The first part (parts A27) can be mounted before you attach the sprockets, but the second part (parts B6 and B7) must be added after the sprockets are in place.

The tracks are link-and-length, and represent the Omsh tracks fitted from mid-1941 onwards. The parts feature a number of ejector pin marks on their inner surfaces which will require removing.

You are directed to open up holes in the hull sides for the applique armor, and shave off the molded-on weld seams for the brackets that secure the tow cables. This suggests that Tamiya has more variants in store for us in the future.

The applique armor for the lower front hull is molded as a separate piece. The mounting plates for the front towing eyes are molded integrally with the applique armor. Like the mounting plates for the rear towing eyes, they are the diamond-shaped variant and feature filled bolt holes, which is correct for a late 1941 hull.

The nose plate features 11 filled bolt holes on its upper and lower surfaces, which is correct for a 1941 production hull.

The driver's front plate and glacis plate are molded in one piece. The applique armor for the driver's front plate is molded separately and the instructions have you open up holes to mount it, again hinting at earlier variants to come. The applique armor is the 'short' variety manufactured at LKZ and by UZTM for ChTZ/ChKZ.

The hull machine gun is a three-part assembly and can move within its mount.

The headlamp is a two-part assembly with a separate clear lens. The siren is molded separately, as is the armored power conduit for the headlamp and siren.

The driver's periscope includes a flange with filled bolt holes, which is again correct for a summer 1941 production hull.

The entire roof from the hull hatch and turret ring, aft to the engine compartment and transmission compartment roof plates, is molded in one piece. The hull features the regular curved overhang, appropriate for a Model 1941 hull. The overhang is molded separately. Again, you are directed to open up holes for the armor fillets in front of and behind the turret.

The engine access hatch is the domed variant, without the water filler cap in the center of the dome, appropriate for a 1941 production example.

The radiator intake screens are molded solid, and are of the later type with flattened front ends, correct for a hull manufactured during or after the late spring/early summer of 1941.

The exhausts are molded in two parts each, which allows them to be hollow but creates a seam on each that must filled.

The transmission compartment roof plate features 11 bolts along its front and rear edges, which was the original configuration introduced in 1940. By late 1941, it was more common to see 8 paired bolts. If you wish to depict this configuration, it's an easy modification to remove the 3rd, 6th and 9th bolts.

The crew hatch in the hull roof and the transmission access hatches are the raised type with rounded lips, which were fitted to hulls manufactured through the end of 1941. The hatches feature separately molded locking bars on their inner faces, though the crew hatch lacks the operating handle.

The kit provides mounting arms for the crew hatch in the forward hull roof, and the transmission compartment access hatches. These arms are not workable. If you want to depict the hatches in the open position, use the arms. If you decided to model them in the closed position, omit the arms.

The screen that covers the exhaust air outlet under the overhang is molded solid. The exhaust air deflector plate beneath the overhang is molded integrally with its support ribs.

The tail light is a solid (not clear) piece and lacks any cover, which is appropriate for a late 1941 vehicle.

The fenders are each molded as one length with a separate piece for the inner vertical section alongside the glacis plate. They lack rivets along the inner and outer edges. Photographs of surviving KV-1s do show fenders without these rivets however.

The kit includes open fender brackets for all positions, which was the most common type until the end of 1941. The lower flanges of the brackets are molded integrally with the fenders and feature six attachment bolts for each bracket. By late 1941, the number of bolts had been reduced to four so you may wish to cut off and reposition the bolts for accuracy. The upper, vertical flanges of the brackets are molded integrally with the hull sides and feature the correct three bolt heads.

You must open up holes in the fenders for the cross-cut saw and its bracket as well as the large rectangular stowage boxes. The kit instructions direct you to use only two stowage boxes on the number 9 and 10 stations. This corresponds to the configuration fitted to vehicles manufactured at ChTZ from August 1941 onward. LKZ vehicles continued to carry three such boxes on the numbers 7, 8 and 10 stations. The kit fenders include holes in these positions and the kit includes four stowage boxes, even though you are only instructed to use two, so you can depict either configuration if you wish.

The stowage boxes are comprised of five parts each with separate lids, and can be assembled open if you wish.

Note also that the vehicle depicted by the box art and shown in the photo above carried its saw and bracket on the number 3 station rather than the number 5 station. If you wish to model this vehicle accurately, you will need to source at least one cylindrical fuel/oil tank for the number 5 station, and possibly additional tanks for the number 6, 7 and 8 stations, since these tanks were usually carried in groups. ChTZ was fitting five such tanks on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 positions by August 1941.

The tow cables feature cast ends, which appeared during the summer of 1941. The kit provides a length of twine for the cables themselves, with styrene ends. The ends are each molded in two pieces. The turnbuckles that secure the rear ends of the cables when stowed, are each molded integrally with their mounting brackets.

The turret is a variant that I missed when I wrote KV - Technical History and Variants. It is a 90mm welded turret that features anti-splash bars welded to the turret sides below the side-facing periscopes, but lacks the cutouts in the upper edges of the turret side armor. This matches the photo shown above however, as well as a number of other photos showing late 1941 production examples with welded turrets. The cutouts and anti-splash bars were introduced at LKZ in August 1941, but not necessarily at the same time, and several turrets from ChTZ manufactured later in 1941, show anti-splash bars but no cutouts as shown in the photo below.


Neither of the photos above shows the rear face of the turret. However, the only photos I have found showing the anti-splash bars but without the cutouts in the upper edges of the turret sides, are of the limited run of turrets manufactured for ChKZ in November 1941 (not July 1941 as I believed when I wrote KV - Technical History & Variants) with the thickened collar surrounding the rear-facing machine gun mount. There is no conclusive proof that the vehicle shown above had that turret variant. However, if you wish to add the collar around the rear-facing machine gun, it is available as a 3D-printed part from Shapeways, here.

Note the raised circular feature at the lower forward corner of the turret side, similar in size and shape to the pistol port. There is a smaller 'bump' on the side of the trunnion cheek. I have not been able to find this feature on any other vehicle.

Like the hull, the turret is assembled from individual pieces for the front, sides, rear, roof and underside. The turret front, sides, rear and roof feature a rolled armor plate texture, though this is not present on any of the hull components. The pistol ports are molded separately.

The turret roof features filled bolt holes along the front, sides and rear, though the configuration is not one I had previously seen. While the side pattern is similar to welded turrets manufactured UZTM and Factory 200 for ChTZ in the latter half of 1941, the front and rear patterns feature 8 bolts and 9 bolts respectively. It is possible that there were variations between factories and batches.

The turret roof ventilator is molded integrally and is of the flanged variety without filled bolt holes. This is appropriate for a late 1941 turret.

The commanders and gunner's periscopes appear a little 'squat' compared to many photos, but there were variations in the height of the covers and there is photographic evidence showing the same shape as the Tamiya parts. Due to molding limitations, they lack the hole in the top center, but this is easy to add with a fine drill bit.

The turret hatch coaming is molded separately from the turret roof, and includes a decent rendition of the base plate for the P40 anti-aircraft machine gun mount. The 'pocket' to hold the butt end of the machine gun is solid due to molding limitations - not even a slide mold can handle such a fine hole at that angle, but careful painting should give a good result.

The hatch cover is molded separately and features a separate mounting arm allowing it to be depicted in the open position. The locking bars for the interior face are also molded as a separate part, though they lack the operating handle.

The rear-facing periscopes are inset from the rear edge of the hull roof, which appears to match the photo above. The upper sections of the periscopes themselves are molded integrally with the roof, but the periscope covers are molded separately. The covers are flanged, correct for a late 1941 example, and feature filled bolt holes on the flanges, though they are depicted as slightly raised circles.

The mantlet features a nicely rendered cast texture, as do the trunnion cheeks, which are molded as a single piece that attaches to the turret front plate.

The gun mount incorporates poly caps allowing the gun to elevate.

The main gun barrel is molded as a single piece with a hollowed out muzzle.

The rear-facing machine gun mount is comprised of three pieces like the hull machine gun, and is movable within its mount.

The kit includes a partial figure that can be posed in the turret hatch. The figure is assembled from four pieces, with separate 'flaps' for his leather helmet and separate goggles molded in clear styrene.

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