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Built Review
KV1 1939 L11 Conversion Set

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Originally published on:

A Brief History of The KV1 (Model 1939)
This was not exactly the first version of the KV1, the prototype was a twin-gunned version with turret-mounted 76mm and 45mm guns. By the time the vehicle was sent to take part in the (disastrous) 'Winter War' with Finland, it had taken on a more conventional appearance, being armed at this time with only one gun (a 76mm, L/11). By 1940, after intensive field trials, it was becoming obvious that there were serious shortcomings in the design of the model 1939. The L/11 gun was replaced with the higher velocity F-32 and the 600 H.P. V-2K engine was installed. The brief career of the Model 1939 had ended.
Mig's Conversion kit..
Mig Productions know how to present a conversion set. The kit comes in an attractve, full-color box with the contents inside two plastic zip-loc bags. The double-sided instruction sheet contains color photographs of the parts layout and a series of photographs showing where to position the parts and what parts of the (orginal kit) have to be modified. The donor kits can be any one of the three Tamiya KV models (#35063, #35066 or #35142).

The conversion set consists of only twenty parts. The parts are moulded in cream-colored resin and after examining the moudings, there were no sign of damage or air-bubbles. On some of the parts there is a bit of flash to be removed, but nothing a sharp craft-knife can't deal with... Virtually all of the parts come attached to casting blocks and due to the delicacy of some of the components, a degree of care is required in removing them.The two largest castings are the turret and it's top armor - considering the size of these pieces, it says a lot for Mig Productions and there quality control, that there is no warping at all on these large parts. Other manufacturers, take note!

Construction - First Step...
The KV series from Tamiya were tooled in the days when they were producing their armor kits for motorization. Therefore, the lower hull has all sorts of 'helpful' holes in it for metal axles and switches. although not normally seen on a finished model, they are unsightly and something should be done with them. Mig have taken the interesting route to solving this problem by providing four resin pieces to block up these holes. The largest is a plate with the corresponding 'plugs' which fits so snugly, you almost don't need to glue it. The next two parts are to fill in the spaces behind the drive sprockets - again a superb fit, The last part fills in a rectangular hole on the front of the lower-hull and require a slight amount of trimming.

The running gear was then assembled as per the kit instructions.
Construction - The Turret.
Once all the (major) components of the turret were removed from their moulding blocks, construction could begin. At this point I would recommend strongly that anyone who DOESN'T have a Razor-Saw already, rush ot and buy one - Now! When one is dealing with kits of this type it truly is the only tool that gives you the exact control to avoid damaging delicate parts.

I began with the assembly of the front casting for the turret. Even though I had it flat there were still gaps between the casting and the turret. I filled this with a mixture of putty and liquid cement although something like 'Zap-A-Gap' could be used equally well. Next part to be added was the mantlet cover which is slightly too wide. A light 'trim' rapidly resolved this problem. The next part to be added was the turret roof armour. Thius again went on well with only a little filler required to fill some small gaps. Gluing the plate above the mantlet was the next step. Once again, a small amount o filler was required to fill the (slight gap) I had to exercise some caution as there is some nicely moulded bolt detail.

The Gun Barrel. Probably this is the most dissapointing part of the kit. It is moulded in solid resinand although dimensionally seems correct, in mine at least, their was a slight curvature. Therefore a solution had to be found. It came from an unusual source.

Mig Productions are based in Barcelona, Spain. Also based in the same region are another company not (nomally) noted for their contribution to military modelling - the lollipop manufacturer Chupa Chups apart from their world-wide export success, the sticks on these lollipops, just happen to be the same diameter as the Soviet 76mm Gun in 1/35th scale. They are also hollow. Buiding a new barrel was simplicity itself. I used the resin barel as a template and cut a strip of thick metal foil from a dessert container and wrapped it around the muzzle to simulate the collar. The (almost) complete turret was set-aside and the work on the upper hull could begin.
Construction - Upper Hull.
There is a little more work involved in the upper hull. All of this is fairly straightforward and no major surgery is required. Three (rectangular) boxes (fuel cells) are provided to replace the donor-kit offerings along with new lights, hatch covers for both the drivers compartment and the rear engine plate. The atter require a bit of sanding to take off the (finely) moulded interior detail. Some filling is required in the area around the driver's compartment but this is obvious in the conversion kit instructions.
Construction - Final touches
All that was left was the attaching of the turret hatch, the front and rear shackle plates and attaching the upper to the lower hull. Once this was done, an angled bracket is glued to the front glacis. The final item to be added was the MG t the rear of the turret which was left until last due to its delicacy.
Conclusions and Summary:
Over the years, I have done a number of different conversion sets, what makes this so different?

Firstly, the quality of the castings and components is first rate. There is some flash (unavoidable) and there are one or two very minor fit 'issues' however, compared to some offerings from some other manufacturers, this is in a very select group.

The next issue is the originality of the subject. In this, it scores a definite TEN. Many years ago, I had a real obsession with Soviet armor, thanks to my (recent) build of the JSIII and the completion of this, my interest has been rekindled. Next up on the workbench is a Soviet M4... With the promise of an entire series of KVs coming from Trumpeter this year.

Is this a suitable kit for a beginner? The answer to this is a resounding DA! there is nothing complex about the construction. What there is, with the finished model, is a unique representation of an (almost) forgotten vehicle. Mig Productions should be highly praised for 'sticking ther necks out' in producing such an interesting an atractive subject.

VERY Highly Recommended

The review sample was kindly provided by Miguel 'Mig' Jimenez of MIG Productions

This is a conversion set to convert any of the Tamiya KV kits into the first production model - the KV1 (mod.1939) L11. This is the 'rounded' version of the KV, the later versions were more 'angular'.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: MP35123
  Suggested Retail: €25
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 17, 2005

About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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