Review Italeri 1/56 KV-1/KV-2

There’s been plenty said about the KV-1 and the KV-2 Russian heavy tanks. Here’s a good link to information on Wikipedia about these two tanks that came as nasty surprises to the German forces in 1941.

This kit allows you to build either a KV-1 or KV-2, not both. It’s also in what might seem at first an unusual scale of 1/56 or 28 mm. However if you’re in the wargaming world then this makes perfect sense and there’s also a clue on the front of the box with a link to Warlord Games. This kit is designed for use by wargamers not necessarily kit builders who are striving for a complicated build with high levels of accuracy. That being said this kit is rather nice. Read below and you’ll see what I mean.

The kit comes in an end opening box with an illustration on top of the choice of two build choices that you have. The back of the box shows two photographs of built models, a drawing of a single decal option for the KV-2 and 2 drawings of different decal options for the KV-1. Paints are indicated on the back of the box with Italeri reference numbers. However the instructions list seven paints. The two plastic sprues are both inside a single sealed plastic bag.

The box contains:

  • 62 plastic parts on 2 sprues
  • 1 decal sheet
  • instructions¬†booklet

The sprue attachment points are small and any ejector pin marks are either out of the way or on the sprue and not a concern.

The level of detail on the kit is quite nice and I don’t see any flash on the parts. In order to keep the parts count low some parts have been simplified and some assemblies are moulded as a single part. This will make for either a really quick build or it will allow youngsters access to the hobby without having to struggle with small parts.

The instructions are a single piece of paper folded to give eight pages. The build is covered in seven steps. The images are quite clear enough to easily build the model with no problems and colours are called out on each step. There are seven paints indicated in the instructions and they are named in English, given federal standard reference numbers and also Italeri paint numbers. Two pages of the instructions give the five decal options for each of the two versions you can build, so that’s 10 possible options in total.

The small decal sheet, as mentioned, contains five different choices for each of the two types of tank that can be built along with some common red stars. However, I can’t quite see where the red stars indicated in the decal options. I guess you could actually use these common parts to create yet more decal options. All the decal options will be quite bright as they all include large white Cyrillic lettering. The decals themselves look to be quite nice and the backing film conforms quite closely to the text with links in between the letters to make sure everything lines up.

As mentioned the kit is built in several steps. The first three steps are common to both options and steps four and five for the KV-1 version and steps six and seven for the KV-2 version. Therefore there is only really five steps to the build.

  • Step 1 puts together the running year. The whole side complete with most of the wheels has the idler and the drive gear fitted. Then the track is fitted with a large top and bottom part and a small front and back part.
  • Step 2 is fitting the running gear to the main hull along with the back of the hull.
  • Step 3 is fitting smaller parts to the hull top. The drivers hatch can be modelled open or closed although there is no interior or driver.
  • Steps 4 and 5 build the KV-1 turret and there is a three-quarter figure to fit in a recess in the turret top should you wish.
  • Step 6 and 7 are basically the same, as steps 4 and 5, building the turret for the KV-2 version and again there is a recess in the turret top to fit a three-quarter figure.

This kit is an interesting direction for Italeri to go in. The scale of it means it is bigger than 1/72 scale models and not too far off 1/48 scale. This kit would be ideal for youngsters who don’t have the skills or patience to build finely detailed kits. It would make an ideal gift and could easily be built in an afternoon if someone wasn’t too bothered about accurate painting.

I’m thinking this kit should do well in both the wargaming market and the part of the market that is aimed at newcomers to the hobby.

I found this kit available at LuckyModel for $16.99 plus shipping.

Many thanks to Italeri for the review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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