At the time of writing, Tamiya’s 1/48 scale range includes three KV kits, all of which depict early variants manufactured during the summer of 1941. This choice of subject has allowed the use of numerous common parts across all three kits.
Tamiya have adopted a unique approach to the lower hull, providing the hull tub as a metal casting rather than the conventional styrene molding. The level of detail is commendable and the metal lends a satisfactorily “weighty” feel to the model. The suspension swing arms and certain other details such as the bump stops and return roller mounts are cast integrally with the lower hull. While the early pattern swing arms are appropriate for the three KV variants represented by Tamiya’s current range of 1/48 scale kits, they will need to provide new tooling if they wish to release accurate kits of later production variants in the future.
All Tamiya’s kits include Omsh pattern tracks in link-and-length styrene. These include the track sag molded into the top track run. The mold makers have resisted the temptation to exaggerate the track sag, and it is close to the correct scale 50mm.
The upper hull is molded as a single piece including the fenders. The horizontal flanges for the fender brackets are molded integrally with the fenders, but the vertical flanges are missing. The fender brackets themselves are separate styrene parts and, while they provide a enough parts for a full set of skeletal brackets or a mixture of skeletal and solid brackets, the parts are rather thick. They would benefit from replacing with aftermarket items, which will also solve the problem of the missing vertical flanges.
The upper hull includes the correct bolt configuration on the engine compartment and transmission compartment roof plates. The kits include a integrally molded early pattern domed engine access hatch without a central inspection, which is appropriate for the variants depicted in Tamiya’s current range of 1/48 scale kits. However, the cable used to secure the engine access hatch in the open position is molded onto the upper surface of the hatch, and would benefit from replacement with fine braided wire.
The radiator intake screens are also molded integrally with the hull top, and represent the late pattern with flattened front ends. While these are appropriate for the variants depicted in the kits, replacing them with etched brass items would greatly improve the appearance of the finished model.
The crew hatch in the hull, transmission maintenance hatches and turret hatch include internal locking mechanisms. The hull and turret hatches include the operating lever and internal grab handle, while these are correctly absent from the transmission maintenance hatches. The turret hatch on the KV-1 variants correctly lacks a central socket in its outer face.