is my first time handling a Kora kit, and I must say I’m quite
pleased. This kit of the highly unusual “Mendeleyev tank”
is the only one I know of in any scale, and I’m not surprised
given the obscurity of the subject.
What we see on the bottom side of the box, Kora’s other WW1
super heavy tank offerings.
This is what we see on both left and right sides of the box.
What we see on the topmost side of the box.
A bit of history:
The tank was designed by Vasiliy Mendeleyev, son of the famous chemist
Dimitri Mendeleyev, from 1911 to 1915. It mounted a 127mm gun in a
limited traverse mounting (16 degrees to each side) at the front of
a large rectangular hull. The vehicle also featured a turret mounting
a single machine gun for defensive purposes. The vehicle itself was
quite large and box like, and had a unique design feature that would
later be revisited by the Germans about 30 years later in their E-10
design: a suspension that could lower the hull to ground level. While
in the E-10 this was used primarily for the purpose of hiding the
vehicle in preparation for ambushes, the Mendeleyev tank used it primarily
for protection and stability when firing.
onto the review, which I divided into three sections: instructions,
hull and suspension.
Here you can see just how tightly packed this box is! No room for
parts to shake around.
Here you can see the parts of the kit laid out: all 60 of them.
One page B&W, with print on front and back, folded in half to
fit in the surprisingly small box. The front shows Kora’s logo
in big black lettering and their contact information and address.
Below that is a simple but nice profile drawing of the tank, and below
that a note in three different languages about how to best handle
the resin. On the top of the back of the sheet is a painting guide
using the same image as on the front, but pointing out to paint the
vehicle “light grey” and the tracks “gun metal”.
Below that is the parts breakdown, showing each type of part in the
kit and assigning a number to it, but not showing how many should
be there of each type. For example, the kit contains 12 roadwheels,
but the parts breakdown only shows one wheel, with a part number next
to it. This may be confusing, because the modeler could receive a
kit with a missing part but not know until they try and build it.
The actual instructions take up the bottom half of the sheet and they
appear hand drawn unlike the other illustrations on this sheet. The
drawing is a little crude, but they show what goes where well enough.
One thing that may be confusing is the suspension and lower hull plate
layout; the plate can only correctly go on one way and the only indication
of what way is correct is a faint arrow on the inside part of the
plate that could easily be missed. The wheels could also be troublesome
the way the instructions shows them being attached to the hull, but
the markings on the hull plate itself should alleviate any confusion.
Overall, these aren’t bad instructions at all and it’s
nice to see a resin kit with them, which isn’t always the case.
So good on Kora for doing that.
Not a whole lot to say here, given the simplicity of the vehicle.
The hull is molded as one large hollow rectangular prism, with the
bottom as a separate piece that is glued in place. There’s minor
cleaning to do on the sides of the bottom piece before this can be
accomplished. Kora did a good job representing the strange ‘floorboard’
appearance of the armor on the vehicle, although I feel the rivets
are a little poorly defined. Most of them were well molded, although
a few have small bubbles or are bizarrely molded concave instead of
convex! I suppose that’s caused by air being trapped in the
rivet dimples of the mold while casting. The engine exhaust on the
left side of the tank is composed of two grilles, and while I feel
the left one is well made, the right one has some molding issues.
Two lumps of resin accumulated on the bottom of the panels, and one
of the lines in the grill is broken, with two sections absent. Judging
by the texture of the area it seems this is a problem with the master
and not just my kit. The rear left side of the hull also has a small
lump of resin blemishing its otherwise smooth appearance. This will
be hard to sand down without ruining the surrounding rivet detail.
The hull bottom has small markings to show where the wheels go, which
makes the task easier than it would have otherwise been. The 127mm
main gun is straight and well molded, although I think I’ll
drill the existing hole at the tip a little deeper, because it is
only about 1.5mm deep as is. I’m not sure how I feel about the
large mantlet. This piece is completely bare, with no exterior detail.
Given that this is only a paper tank I can’t say this is incorrect,
however it looks strange to see such a large piece that’s completely
smooth on a kit. The gun sight is well defined with a slight bevel,
and the gun hole is filled with a very thin film of flash that will
be easily cut out. Note: the inside of the mantlet has a teardrop
shaped indentation connecting the sight to the gun’s hole. I’m
not sure if this is correct and it will likely be invisible on the
completed model, so it doesn’t really make a difference. I’m
a little worried about gluing the gun and mantlet in place, because
there is no guide hole or anything; the front hull is flat. I’ll
heave to measure and carefully put the gun in place, or perhaps make
my own guide hole and pin, or I risk putting it in off center.
As can be seen here, the front of the hull is plain, with no markings
for the gun placement. That could prove problematic.
The rear hull is nicely detailed, with a crew hatch molded shut. Some
modelers may not like that.
The roof is very simple, with just panels of armor and a ring that
the turret sits in.
A full view of the left side of the hull, showing the paneled armor,
crew view ports, and engine exhaust.
The right side is similar to the left, although without the exhaust.
Here we see the bottom of the tank, which is nicely detailed, a rare
treat on a resin kit.
The top of the plate is plain save for an arrow that points to the
front of the tank, telling the modeler how to put the plate in correctly.
These grooves show where the wheels go. These combined with the instructions
should remove any confusion regarding their placement.
Here you can see the problems I mentioned regarding the exhausts.
The left grill is fine, but the right one has a damaged line and has
two lumps of resin at the bottom.
Here is the hull compared to a Dragon Panther D early I had nearby.
While there is a pre-drilled hole in the tip of the gun, in my opinion
it is too shallow. I’ll drill it deeper when I build the kit.
The diameter of the hole also seems to be greater than 127mm in scale,
but I’m not too concerned about that.
The back of the mantlet, that will be all but invisible when the model
The face of the mantlet seems too plain for me, but you can be the
judge of that, since it’s only a paper tank.
to the Turret:
The turret is molded as one piece. My example had a handful of bubbles,
but they look easily filled. The machine gun fits into or perhaps
onto a small O shaped marker, which doesn’t quite match the
box art. The box shows the machine gun poking out of a pill shaped
hole, not unlike those found on the sponsons of the British Mark series
heavy tanks. Given that every illustration I have seen of this tank
shows the pill shaped hole, I think this is the correct version. That
would make this the only accuracy flaw in this kit. The machine gun
itself is okay, but simple. It’s just a cylindrical water jacket
with a barrel sticking out the front.
Here you can see the one piece turret and its gun. The gun is good,
although I’m suspicious of its mounting to the turret. As I
said I’m afraid it’s incorrect.
As can be see here, the MG turret is surprisingly big for housing
only an MG.
This is the most complicated part of the kit, with 6 roadwheels per
side, each composed of three pieces, as well as two piece idlers and
sprockets. The roadwheels themselves aren’t bad. There are some
casting issues on them, such as a bubble here or there or an unwanted
protrusion of resin. However, the latter are easy to the remove and
the former easily filled. The biggest problem with the roadwheels
is the flash between the spokes. Not a single wheel was spared. This
isn’t an awful problem, although it is tedious to remove flash
from twelve roadwheels, each with six spokes to clean. The wheels
themselves are all molded on their own small carrots, and the carrot
meets the wheel in a place that makes it difficult if not impossible
to make the wheel completely round. I assume this is intentional,
because the instructions show the wheels as having a flat top. The
flat part is glued in place to the hull bottom, were it isn’t
easily seen. The roadwheel arms come on twelve carrots, two arms a
piece, with two arms going to each wheel. Not much I can say about
these; they seem well detailed and look like they’ll go on trouble-free,
with pins that fit into the wheels. The idler and sprocket of this
vehicle are identical, and they’re a very interesting part of
both the vehicle and kit. The vehicle itself was odd in that its sprockets
and idlers didn’t have teeth. Rather, they were pentagonal in
shape, with troughs that the track links fit into. The kit represents
these unique parts in two pieces each: spokes and outer trough. Honestly
when I first saw these parts out of the bag I had no idea what they
were, although consulting the instructions quickly brought me to the
realization of what they are. One thing I’m concerned about
is that the outer pieces may be difficult to remove from their carrots
without ruining the edges. However, they can be easily replaced with
thin styrene sheet if that happens. Lastly there are the tracks. I
like them. They come in a total of 10 parts: two runs for under the
vehicle, and two to go around each sprocket and idler. They feature
four rivets on both the inside and out, with acceptable but not great
detail. What I like most about these tracks is the ease of construction.
I feel that tracks are the usual downfall of resin kits, but not here.
These are well done, if not a little simple, and look like they’ll
be hassle free.
This photo shows roughly what the sprockets and idlers will look like
when completed. I didn’t bother to remove the carrots yet.
This photo shows the strange method the sprocket (and idler) uses
to ‘grab’ the tracks. No teeth, just a geometric shape
that fits the incoming track. The sides are raised to prevent track
throwing and create a sort of trough that the track fits into.
Here you can see the spokes of the sprocket and idler, still on the
carrots. An interesting and clever way to produce the complex shape
of these wheels if I do say so myself!
detail on the links isn’t bad, although it’s not very
sharp. Nonetheless it’s there, and perhaps some scribing with
a sharp blade can improve it.
Here you can see the front and back of the suspension arms. There
are twelve identical carrots each with two arms. Each wheel should
have two arms attached to it.
The runs of tracks that go on the bottom of the tank show the same
detail that the individual links do. This is also where the only warping
on my kit can be found. Should be easy to correct in hot water.
Here you can see three of the 12 total wheels in this kit. The two
outer ones are as they came from the box, while I cleaned the middle
one of flash to show what they ‘should’ look like.
I recommend this kit if you’re willing to spend the money for
it. Problem is, it’s an expensive kit. With a retail price of
about $50 USD, it was a tough decision to buy it. But now that I did,
I’m quite happy with my purchase. A detailed build will be published
item purchased by author.