PST's Series of KV Heavy Tanks
With the KV-1C, we see a major change to the basic KV-1 configuration. This vehicle is also known as the "KV-1 Model 1942, Uparmored, Cast Turret". The "Uparmored" portion of the name refers to the inclusion of thicker armor on both the hull and the turret. There were two styles of uparmored turret: cast and welded. The welded version was known as the Model 1941, and at this time, is not yet available from PST in kit form, although it is on their list of future releases.
|Note that this KV-1C is not the same as the ESCI KV-1c kit. The ESCI KV-1c refers to the KV-1 Model 1941 w/Cast Turret, which was essentially the same as the PST KV-1B (i.e., not uparmored), but with a cast, instead of a welded, turret. As far as I know, PST has no plans to release that version, since the ESCI kit is already quite acceptable (although long out of production). The cast turret included with the ESCI kit also is not the same as the cast turret included in this PST KV-1C kit, because this one is uparmored, but the ESCI turret is not. While the thicker armor may not be very noticeable in this scale, there would need to be some re-working around the rear turret machinegun mount in order to replicate the 1941 style. But I suppose it is possible, in case someone wants to kitbash a PST KV-1B hull with a KV-1C turret to make the Model 1941 Cast Turret version.|
Much of this kit is the same as the earlier KV-1 kits. It includes the same track and miscellaneous details sprues, and the wheels sprue which includes the lower hull is mostly the same. Specifically, the lower hull and chassis are the same, but the road wheels and return rollers have changed to the later variety, pictured below.
Note that the road wheels share the same rim deformity as the earlier wheels, but perhaps not to the same extent. Aside from that, both the road wheels and return rollers are very well detailed.
The upper hull is new:
In overall apprearance, it is similar to the earlier hull, but some of the minor details have changed, as has the rear portion of the engine deck. Unfortunately, the crew and engine access hatches are still molded closed.
The turret is also new. The commander's hatch is molded open, an AA machinegun is included, as are many parts for the later version that was captured and modified by the Germans. Notice that some other miscellaneous parts are included, such as several jerry cans.
The decals are fairly comprehensive, including markings for a captured German KV-1C (unmodified).
The KV-9 was a prototype of a fire support version that never entered production. It was armed with a 122mm howitzer, and apparently a handful (10?) prototypes were made, and may have seen action in 1942-43.
This kit is identical to the KV-1C, but with no decals.
The primary problem with the KV-1 was that the drivetrain was overloaded by the excessive weight of the tank's heavy armor. During the middle part of the war, an effort was made to improve the situation, with the solution being a redesign of the entire vehicle, reducing the amount of armor, and therefore the overall weight. This new vehicle was called the KV-1S.
The kit shares many of the same parts as the earlier KV series. The lower hull and chassis are the same, but with new road wheels:
The top hull is new:
As is the turret:
These new parts share the same high quality of molding and detail as the earlier kits.
The decal sheet is impressive, with numerous options. Again, realize that the red markings look much better in hand, than in this scan.
As with the KV-1, the KV-1S also had a flamethrower version created, called the KV-8S. This kit is the same as the KV-1S, but with a new decal sheet.
The KV-1 went obsolete very quickly. The successor to the KV-1 heavy tank was the IS-2 (also marketed by PST). There were several prototype turrets and hulls made, and one that actually saw action was called the KV-85. This is essentially the IS-1 turret, with an 85mm gun, mounted on the KV-1S hull.
Even though based on the KV-1S, this kit comes with a completely different hull than the KV-1S kit. This is because there were some changes made to the turret mounting, in order to accomodate the larger diameter turret ring (as well as some smaller hull detail differences).
The turret is the same one that is included with the IS-1/2 series of models that PST marketed before these KV's. It includes options for both the 85mm (IS-1) and 122mm (IS-2) guns. But there are a few smaller turret details that are not on this sprue, so that PST had to include an additional sprue of parts from the IS kits, which gives the modeler a lot of spare parts for later projects.
The decals are very inclusive, with eight marking options (but some are for the KV-122).
And finally we have the KV-122, which was simply the same modified KV-1S hull as included with the KV-85 kit, but with the IS-2 turret, which mounted the 122mm gun. This kit is identical to the KV-85, including the decals.
Captured KV's in German Use
The Germans captured a large number of operable Soviet tanks, and put a number of them into service, sometimes after modifying them with German hardware, such as new guns, commander's cupolas and radios. The following kits represent some of the modified captured vehicles. I don't own any of these kits, but I make guesses at what are the base kits.
This kit is identical to the KV-1 kit, but with new decals.
This kit is identical to the KV-2 kit, but with new decals. This kit also contains the turret sprue from the KV-1C kit, so that the German cupola may be used (thanks to David Byrden for this info).
Pz.Kpfw. 753(r) with 7.5 KwK 40
This kit is identical to the KV-1C kit, but with new decals.
Some Final Thoughts
I had a devil of a time researching the scale of these models, because of the scarcity of reference material published in English, as well as conflicting measurement data in almost every data source I could find. The two most comprehensive references I have are the Osprey New Vanguard title on the KV-1/KV-2 by S. Zaloga, and the Wydawnictwo Militaria title on the KV by V. Panow and J. Ledwoch. Most other sources, including several internet sites, seem to take their measurements from these, although there was still great variation among the general interest armor references I have. So ... taking the most prevalent measurements, I find that these kits scale out almost perfectly to 1/72nd. There is a certain amount of guesswork involved, since the kit measurements are best taken after construction, but my best estimate is that they are very accurate in shape and size.
The overall molding of these kits is really top-notch. The only flaw that is consistently recurring is the off-center wheel rims. Some of the very small parts may have some thin flash associated with them, but nothing that detracts from the building experience. Overall detail is very good, with several options (open turret hatches, separate pioneer tools, etc.), and the accuracy of everything is precise. There is some room for more detail however, such as along the fenders (compare to the ESCI KV kit to see what I mean), but we have been provided several etched brass detail sets from both PART and Extratech to address this deficiency. In the final analysis, I think this is an outstanding series of models, with excellent subject material, and I am actually quite surprised that I haven't seen more of these built in shows and at other websites. But then again, I haven't gotten around to building mine yet either ...
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