Hobby Boss has released a number of excellent plastic kits of Soviet subjects in 1/48 scale. At the time of writing, they have begun the release of what will hopefully be a series of KV subjects. The subject choices and engineering of the parts are almost identical to Trumpeter’s range of 1/35 scale kits, which leads one to wonder whether the Hobby Boss offerings are simply 1/48 scale re-renderings of the Trumpeter kits. If so, this is certainly no grounds for criticism since Hobby Boss have maintained Trumpeter’s generally high standard of quality and accuracy.
All of the kits feature lower hulls molded as a conventional tub, including the curved front and rear sections. Details such as the mounting plates for the towing eyes, suspension bump stops, swing arm mounts and return roller mounts are molded integrally with the hull tub. Multi-part molds have been used to provide good detail definition. Note that Hobby Boss have chosen to create separate hull tubs for the early (Model 1939 to Model 1941) hull with the curved rear overhang, and for the Model 1942 hull with the angular overhang. The curved rear overhang itself is molded separately allowing the same hull tub to be used for vehicles with both creased curved and regular curved overhangs.
All of the kits include Omsh pattern tracks as link-and-length styrene parts with the track sag molded into the top track run. The tracks have numerous small ejector pin marks on their inner faces but these can be removed without a great deal of effort.
Suspension swing arms are molded as separate parts, and two different sprues are used in the various kits to provide the correct pattern swing arms with the correct number of retaining bolts for the torsion bar hub.
Fenders are also molded as separate items, with the horizontal flanges for the fender brackets molded integrally with the fenders. There are two different fender moldings representing both the early fenders with six attachment bolts and the later fenders with four attachment bolts. Like the Trumpeter kits however, the different moldings are of different widths with each early fender being approximately 1mm wider. The vertical flanges for the fender brackets are molded integrally with the hull tub, and the brackets themselves are supplied as separate etched brass parts.
The top of the hull is molded in two parts, with the glacis plate, driver’s front plate and forward hull top molded as one part while the second part represents the engine compartment and transmission compartment roof plates. Different moldings are included in different kits to depict the correct bolt patterns for different variants.
All of the kits include early pattern transmission maintenance hatches with curved edges, though flat or beveled hatches would be more appropriate for some of the later variants. Different kits provide early or late pattern domed engine access hatches, though all of the hatches include the central vent molded integrally. This must be removed for variants prior to the Model 1941. Either early or late pattern radiator intake screens are provided according to the variant represented by each kit.
Different kits include either an early pattern hull hatch with curved edge, or the late pattern with a raised lip around the edge. The parts are typically representative of the variant depicted in the kit.