1/35 Tamiya KV-1E
by Steve Kasza


Tamiya’s 1/35 scale KV-I kit originally dates from 1972. It was originally released as a motorized tank. This release, what Tamiya calls a KV-IB, is actually designated KV-IE. It is a KV-1 model 1940, which was fitted with 35mm appliqué armor plates on the turret and parts of the hull. The kit contains 136 injected molded dark green parts, and 2 vinyl tracks, along with a sprue of vinyl “keepers” for the road wheels.

Since just about every other tank model I have built I start with the hull, I decided to break tradition and start with the turret on this one. The turret in this kit is a newer molding that the hull, dating from around 1980-something. It is possible to leave off the added armor plates, and with just a little modification to the turret rear plate make a standard model 1940 turret with the F32 76mm gun.

I started on the turret by drilling / cutting out the vision slits on the turret sides. The only things that I added to the turret were strips of plastic glued to represent the periscope glass, some black painted plastic under the ventilator to prevent seeing in to the turret, and drilling out the end of the machine gun barrel. The assembly of the turret parts presented no problems.

On the hull the first thing I did was sand the Tamiya logo off the bottom, and cover over the motor holes with a sheet of .020 plastic. On the hull top, the engine grills were cut away, and these were replaced with cut pieces of nylon mesh. The molded engine cover lock and fender braces were removed. All of the holes in the fenders were filled, and the fenders themselves were sanded to about half of their original thickness. Before joining the hull halves and rear plate I glued some plastic into the drivers periscope. Several pieces were used for this – one piece to bring the front armor to the correct thickness, another to represent the glass, and a third to make the correct shape to the periscope cover. The shape should be the same as the ones on the turret top.

Starting at the front of the hull, I detailed the hull parts. The front armor plates, towing shackles, machine gun mount, headlight (after I drilled out the front of it), and speaker were glued in place. The molded on electrical lead for the light and speaker were removed and replaced with wire. The driver’s hatch and hull side armor plates were attached also.

New fender braces were cut from .010 sheets plastic. There were 2 pieces each – a bottom strip and then the brace itself. They are basically a triangle with the center cut out. The rivet heads on the braces were added from drops of white glue.

The ends of the exhausts were opened using a panel scriber. The fender stowage boxes had new handles made from bent pieces of wire, and the engine deck latches were removed and replaced.

The road wheels and tracks are the least detailed parts of this kit. The outer road wheels are ok, but the inner ones lack any detail. I drilled the holes in the inner road wheels by using a jig I made from the outer wheels. 144 holes later, I was finished! The kit tracks have decent detail on the outside, but are smooth on the inside. I replaced them with injected molded single link tracks from Military Wheels. These were tedious to clean up, but fit well and looked good when done (also the price was great at only $9). I painted the tank overall Model Master Russian Armor Green. While I liked the color of this paint, it is annoyingly a semi-gloss. When dry, a coat of Glosscoat was sprayed on. Next I applying a wash made from Pro-Modeler acrylic gloss black, thinned with window cleaner. Dry brushing with the original green, followed by to lighter dry brushings with lighter green shades, followed this.

None of the KV-IE tanks I have pictures of (42 pictures) show any marking on these tanks, so none were applied. Dullcoat was sprayed on when all was dry.

The edges of the wheels were dry brushed with steel, and then they were attached to the tank. The tracks were painted black, then dry brushed with dark brown, followed by steel, and these were glued in place (they had already been fitted and assembled into 4 pieces for each side of the tank). As a final touch I added a headlight lens that was cut, shaped, and polished from a piece of clear sprue.

Overall this turned into a good-looking model (in my opinion at least) with a little work and the added tracks.