Sunday, February 7, 2010

Project: 1/48 KV-1 w/Applique Armor

When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, despite the massive successes and battles-of-encirclement that occurred, there were nonetheless a few nasty surprises for them. One of which was the KV-1, a tank (along with the T-34) the Germans had no knowledge of before Operation Barbarossa.

A heavy tank, the KV-1 featured very heavy armor and a 76.2mm cannon in a fully rotating turret. Initial versions, like the T-34, mounted the 76.2mm L/35 L-11 cannon, with poor performance, but was later fitted with the 76.2mm L/40 F-34 cannon of much better performance.

This model depicts the latter, also with the addition of "Applique" supplemental armor around the turret and hull sides. A brutal weapon system, engage-able only through air-power or heavy anti-tank guns (such as the dual-role 88mm FlaK-18 or FlaK-36), this tank as well as its stablemate were ineffectively employed by a Soviet Army that had been gutted by Stalin's purges of the 1930's. Through superior tactics, the Germans managed to cope with this weapon.

Tamiya continues with it's 1/48 line, and like many of the other kits in this range, the KV-1 continues to feature a die-cast hull. This time, it is a bit better than many of the others, with decent detail. However, it still suffers from fixed torsion bars, limiting detail and modeler choices. As usual the tracks are of the "link-n-length" style, and are well molded.

I don't have a lot of Soviet tanks, and this is the first KV-1 in my collection. Nonetheless, it should look suitably impressive next to its German contemporaries, such as the early Panzer IIIs or IVs, or the Panzer 38(t)!

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