Italeri recently started producing a line of 1/56 scale AFVs and figures. This might be an unusual scale for most model builders, but is a fairly common wargaming scale equivalent to the 28mm scale. The Soviet KV-1 tank kit is one of their newest kits that also promotes the on-line video game, World of Tanks®.
The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) series of heavy tanks came as a surprise to the German army at the start of Operation Barbarosa. The tanks proved to be nearly impenetrable to all the German anti-tank weapons, other than the 8.8cm gun. The KV series featured heavy armor, and strong weaponry, with the KV-1 fielding a 76mm gun, and the KV-2 fielding the 152mm howitzer. The Soviet tanks so outclassed their German counterparts, that there were instances where a single KV tank, with supporting infantry, was able to hold off entire German columns in the early part of the war.
Italeri’s version of this tank comes packaged in a side-opening box displaying a KV-1 rolling across a flaming steppe with the Soviet hammer and sickle in the background on one side, and a World of Tanks® logo proudly displayed on the other. This artwork is exactly the type of branding World of Tanks® does with their video game, and the result is very striking.
As a special promotion, this kit features added bonuses for model builders, war gamers, and video game enthusiasts. For the modeler and war gamer, the kit comes with enough pieces to build two turrets. One version for the KV-1 heavy tank, and another turret for the KV-2 infantry assault gun/howitzer. Both turrets were mounted on the same chassis, so it provides the model builder the choice of building either one of these monster Soviet tanks. This feature also allows table-top wargaming enthusiasts to have the option of using a KV-1, or KV-2 tank during a game.
The second bonus is for players of the online video game World of Tanks® players. The kit includes promotional items for upgrades, and bonus in-game items for both PC and console players. These promotional items include a guide to some popular tanks in the game, exclusive World of Tanks® decals, special invite codes for friends and new players, and upgrades for the PC version of the game, as well as bonus codes for the console version of the game. The kit’s painting instructions are specific to different tank camouflage patterns, or ‘skins’, available as World of Tanks® in-game upgrades.
The decals provided with the kit include inscriptions and emblems available as tank upgrades exclusive to World of Tanks®. However, there are no painting instructions for actual tanks that a model builder, or wargammer might prefer, and at 1/56 scale, getting accurately sized decals might be difficult. Fortunately, there are plenty of examples of KV-1 tanks that didn’t have a lot of markings on them, other than patriot slogans and the occasional red star.
The kit is molded in olive drab on two sprues containing 56 parts. The tracks provided are in a four-piece link and length style for easy assembly. All of the tank wheels are molded to the side of the lower hull, again for ease of assembly. While a model builder might be disappointed in the lack of detail of the road wheels and suspension, they work well for a wargamer.
The hull goes together very easily, and the kit has extremely minimal flash. The commander and driver’s hatch can be molded open; however, the only figure provided is a tank commander, so a driver would need to be sourced elsewhere. The hull details are simple, but effective.
The one issue I had with assembling the kit has to do with Part 29 on the KV-2 gun assemble. The instructions tell you to use Part 28; however, the part is marked 29 on the sprue. A very simple issue that most people will pick up when assembling either turret.
Each turret went together quickly, and easily, and the entire tank, with both turrets was built in a single evening. The fit was excellent, and there was only a minimal amount of clean-up necessary on the parts.
The decals provided with the kit include inscriptions and emblems available as tank upgrades exclusive to World of Tanks®. However, there are no painting instructions for actual tanks that a model builder, or wargammer might prefer, and at 1/56 scale, getting accurately sized decals might be difficult. Fortunately, there are plenty of examples of KV-1 tanks that didn’t have a lot of markings on them, other than patriot slogans and the occasional red star. I just used some decals from the spares box; however, I have used the decals provided by Italeri for these kits in the past and they worked well with no issues.
All in all, this was a fun little build. I really enjoy building 1/56 scale tanks, they’re well detailed, and easier to assemble than a 1/72 scale kit. The option of building two separate turrets is a nice touch too. Although, I do play World of Tanks® on the Xbox, I found the lack of decal options for an actual tank to be a little disappointing. I can recommend this kit to all armor fans, but it will probably be better enjoyed by wargamers, or people who play, or would like to learn more about World of Tanks®.
Thanks to Italeri, Hobbico, and IPMS/USA for providing the review sample.