KV-1 Soviet heavy tank. Model 1941 early production. Tamiya 1:35 scale. Тяжелый танк КВ-1.

The Tamiya kit was a stress free build and very enjoyable. Especially the weathering! I imagine the scene to be somewhere in the Baltic region, in Lithuania, to commemorate the famous action at Raseinia (see bottom of page).

This is the famous Soviet heavy tank, which first went into battle during the last weeks of the Soviet-Finish war in 1940. Along with the legendary T-34, these Soviet tanks came as an enormous surprise to the Germans at the start of their campaign against the Soviet Union and it was one of the factors that contributed to the failure of their Blitzkrieg.

Mass production of the tank was started at the Kirov works in Leningrad but from July 1941, it was also produced at Chelyabinsk beyond the Urals.

The tank was the brainchild of chief engineer Josef Kotin and his team at the Kirov factory and took the designation KV from the initials of Soviet defence commissar Kliment Voroshilov:

‘The credentials of the hoary old Bolshevik general Kliment Voroshilov, charged with the defence of Leningrad, rested solely upon his loyalty to Stalin; he despised professional soldiers and understood nothing of military science. Moscow despatched a large food convoy to the city, but Voroshilov decided that to acknowledge a need for it would represent defeatism. He diverted the food elsewhere, and launched impromptu assaults on the Germans which yielded only slaughter’.

‘Voroshilov, flown back to Moscow, dared to denounce Stalin to his face, shouting: ‘You have yourself to blame for all this! You’re the one who annihilated the Old Guard of the army; you had our best generals killed!’ When Stalin demurred, the old revolutionary seized a salver bearing a roast suckling pig and smashed it down on the table. Voroshilov was fortunate to escape a firing squad’.

From Max Hastings, All Hell Let Loose. The World at War 1939-45. pp168-169. (2011).

Kliment Voroshilov after he became a Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1935. Voroshilov took part in the purge of the Red Army, personally signing 185 death warrant lists. Stalin needed mediocre but loyal henchmen like Voroshilov. Incidentally, Voroshilov suffered until the end of his life from an incurable headache after being severely beaten in his youth and suffering brain trauma. He would hear various sounds, such as the roar of trains, barking of dogs and the screams of people and his only partial escape from the nightmare was doing various sports.

The KV-2 cousin of the KV-1 mounted a monster 152mm howitzer gun although it was not widely used. When Hitler first heard of the existence of the KV-2, he did not believe it possible that a gun of that calibre could be installed on a tank at all!

The repair of KV-1 tanks during the siege of Leningrad was a great feat of the workers of factory 371. Emaciated workers could hardly stand on their feet or lift their tools but the enterprise did not stop work. They could have done with that suckling pig!

At the start of the Great Patriotic War in 1941, the KV-1 was the most powerful and heavily armoured tank in the Red Army, and it could be considered one of the most powerful heavy tanks in the world at that time. It had a weight of 47 tons and a crew of 5. The engine was a V-2k liquid cooled diesel. Maximum speed 35km/h. The armament was a ZIS-5 76.2mm main gun and 3 DT 7.62mm machine guns.

Later models had glacis plates attached to the turret for extra protection

Welded armour plate was used to create the KV-1 hull and turret. At 75mm thick on the initial design and with 90mm sections around the gun, it offered unrivalled protection. The only weapon that could effectively penetrate its armour from direct fire was the famous German 88- mm anti-aircraft gun. There were several incidents of one KV-1 stopping the offensive of dozens of German tanks.

The main purpose of heavy tanks is to destroy enemy fortified points, vehicles and manpower and until 1943, the KV-1 was successful in this task. But with the appearance on the battlefield of the heavy German Tigers and Panthers, it became clear that the combat properties of the KV-1 were not enough to cope with them. Consequently, the heavy IS-2 tank was created to replace it.

Note shell holes at rear of turret which I added. Always nice to give a model bit of an individual stamp! The slogan says, ‘For Stalin!’
Formidable looking and definitely not to be trifled with unless you have an 88-mm gun to hand…The fenders on both sides both front and rear have been slightly damaged as they would always have been bumping into things.
I used a mass of weathering techniques on this model, including pre-shading, filter washes, pin washes, dry brushing, silver chipping, weathering powders and a few shell holes to boot! The stowage boxes on the fenders I left slightly ajar to expose some rags or tarpaulin which I made from putty.
Rear-firing 7.62mm machine gun. Sneaky! The sign in Russian says ‘Bridge’ 2km.
More battle damage on starboard side. The road wheels didn’t have rubber rims, as apparently the Russians were short of rubber at the time. So I have slightly burnished them with silver to show wear. Would have made hell of a racket against the tracks!
Although the turret already came a bit pitted, I wanted to add extra rough cast texture so applied modelling putty.
I added rough black and white pre-shading before applying the green. It is a technique commonly used by armour modellers to vary the tones of the finished model.
The telegraph pole is home made from plastic rod. The white insulators are made from rocket heads I found in the spares box! All I need now are a few miniature plastic crows…
The embankment is made from a block of wood covered in papier mache and tiling grout then covered in grass and various scatters. Haven’t had so much fun since I was about 8 years old! Unfortunately, I got a bit carried away with the flour and water mix and since I didn’t feel like waiting till Xmas for it to dry out, I stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes to bake!
The engine deck at rear has a generous smear of oil! The great thing about modelling Soviet armour is you can be as crude and dirty as you like and still get away with it!
Sadly, this is how it all ends…
The painting instructions came with a design of a cut out for making the model in paper (bottom left)! Apparently, this is to the correct scale of the plastic model and was supposed to replicate the wooden ones the Germans made for identifying the tank. A nice touch! The KV-1 came as a hell of a shock to the Germans.
The usual lovely Tamiya box art. I could practically adorn my whole house with these box tops if I had kept them all!
The restored KV-1 at Bovington tank museum. The Russian writing is supposed to mean ‘From the women of Leningrad to the front’ but is rather ungrammatical!
4,800 KVs were made in all modifications. Along with the T-34, the KV-1 became a symbol of the Soviet victory in WW2.
Trials of restored M5-200 in field conditions in Russia. Hope you are all suitably stirred by the music at least!
After the action at Raseiniai in Lithuania

A single KV-1 held back the attack of the German Seckendorf battle group for two days. On 20th June 1941, a unique case occurred when one Russian KV-1 tank, supposedly part of the 2nd Panzer Division, managed to block the supply route of the Seckendorf combat group, created on the basis of the 6th German Panzer Division, in the area the Lithuanian city of Raseinia and blockaded it for two days. First, the tank defeated a convoy of 12 trucks with ammunition and food. It was impossible to get to the Soviet tank – the roads passed through swamps. The advanced German units lost their supplies. The seriously wounded could not be evacuate to the rear and died. An attempt to destroy the tank with a 50mm anti-tank battery from a 500-meter distance ended in heavy losses; two 50-mm guns were blown to pieces, the other two were seriously damaged. The gunners lost several men killed and wounded. The Russian tank remained unscathed despite 14 direct hits. The Germans were able to pull out the damaged guns only at nightfall. The next day, an 88-mm anti-aircraft gun, removed from the front, was moved to the position of the tank. The tank allowed it to get closer than 700 meters. While the gunners, terribly nervous, were aiming and loading the gun, the tank turned the turret around and fired first. The heavily damaged antiaircraft gun fell into a ditch. Several perished from the action, while the rest were forced to flee. Machine-gun fire from the tank prevented the removal of the gun and pick up of the dead. Sappers were dispatched at night. They planted explosives under the KV tracks. The charges exploded as expected, but were only able to snatch a few pieces from the tracks. The tank remained mobile and continued to block the supply route. On the first day, the crew, oddly enough, was supplied with food by local Lithuanian peasants, whom the Soviet government managed to endow with land. A blockade was soon established around the tank. However, even this isolation did not force the tankers to leave the position. As a result, the Germans used a trick. 50 German tanks began shelling the KV from three directions to divert its attention. At this time, the 88-mm anti-aircraft gun was covertly installed in the rear of the KV. It hit the tank 12 times, and three shells pierced the armour. When the Germans approached the damaged tank, its turret began to move again, the soldiers rushed away in horror. Only one of the sappers kept his composure and quickly thrust a hand grenade into the hole made by a shell in the lower part of the turret. A dull explosion thundered, and the hatch cover flew to the side. Inside the tank lay the bodies of the brave crew, who had only been wounded before. Deeply shocked by this heroism, the Germans buried our tankers with all military honours. In 1965, the grave was opened. On the basis of the receipt for the delivery of a Soviet internal passport, it was possible to retrieve the name of one of the crew members – Ershov Pavel Yegorovich. The surname and initials of another tanker are also known – Smirnov V.A.

Первоисточник публикации: https://politikus.ru/articles/politics/8996-podvig-ekipazha-kv-1-pod-raseynyaem.html

Destroyed KV-1, the damage clearly demonstrating the unbelievable heroism of the crew
KV-1 nicknamed by the Germans ‘The Monster’

Soviet T-26 Light Tank. Т-26 — Советский лёгкий танк. Zvezda 1:35 scale

Along with the BT tank, the T-26 formed the basis of the Soviet tank park before the start of WW2 and during its initial period. The T-26 was popular at one time but the weak armour and its low speed made it easy prey for the enemy, and quite often there was no radio in the tank. By 1938, it was virtually obsolete.

Forwards, for the Motherland! T-26 in winter camouflage in action in Finland in 1940. I think my artwork is getting better!
I found a few discrepancies in the instructions, par for the course with these early Zvezda kits. Still, it’s cheap and cheerful and a fairly accurate depiction. Unbelievably, the machine gun part was missing so I had to fashion one from a piece of plastic rod which I found in the spares box. How could they make a mistake like that especially considering it’s a Russian tank! Unforgivable!
The tracks and running gear went together surprisingly well. The whitewash and snow effects helped hide some nasty ejector pin marks on the bogies!
The T-26 is a very small tank but I think it looks kind of cute! It weighed between 8-11 tons and had a 45 mm gun. It was comparable at least to a German Pz Kpfw II.
As the model was so light, I added some pieces of lead inside the hull to give it a more realistic feel of weight and also to keep the bottom tracks to lie flat.

The T-26 was the most numerous tank of the Red and Finnish Armies by the start of the Great Patriotic War in 1941 and also of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish civil war. During the 1930s and 1940s, it was second in terms of numbers after the T-34. It was constructed on the basis of the British Vickers Mark ME or ‘6-ton tank’ and was taken into service in the USSR in 1931 (source: Russian Wikipedia).

Captured T-26s. The caption reads: “Captured Russian tanks stand where the Finns halted them on January 7, 1940. The Red Army’s 44th Division enriched Finland’s arsenal with 43 tanks and 46 field guns-too cumbersome for use in the forest”. From Battles for Scandinavia by John R. Elting. Time Life Books 1981. The Finns used the captured T-26 themselves and even until after the war.

In all, 281 T-26s were sent to Spain from 1936-1938. It was also used against the Japanese at Khalkin-Gol, and in the Soviet campaign against Poland in 1939.

Many were captured by the Germans during Barbarossa and used as ‘trophy’ tanks and called the Panzerkampfwagen 737.

Other users were:

Finland, as mentioned. 126 tanks, several dozen of which were only decommissioned in 1961!

Turkey-64 single turret and 2 two-turret versions.

Afghanistan- 2 of the first two-turret version.

Romania- captured 30 T-26s although only one is known to have been used.

Chinese (nationalist)- 82 T-26B model.

Slovakia-2 tanks one of which was displayed at the Exhibition of captured weapons in Bratislava.

Hungary- one model 1938 T-26.

T-26s in Chinese Nationalist Army
Captured Finnish T-26
Spanish Republican T-26 on streets of Madrid

Soviet T-35 multi-turret heavy tank. Т-35 тяжёлый многобашенный танк. Stalin’s Monster Tank. Zvezda 1/35

The T-35 was the largest Soviet tank and with its menacing and inspiring appearance it became a symbol of the might of the Red Army during the 1930s.

When I first saw the release of this kit by Russian manufacturer Zvezda, I knew straightaway I had to get hold of this Soviet Leviathan! I knew very little about this tank and until the collapse of the Soviet Union detailed information about Soviet arms was difficult to come by. That has all changed now of course and there is a plethora of websites devoted to Russian and Soviet military subjects.

The stunning box art alone made it an irresistible project! These multi-turret fighting machines would often proudly lead the columns of military hardware during parades on Red Square in Moscow or on the Khreschatik, the main boulevard in Kiev, Ukraine.
Look at the size of the beast! In reality it was about 32 ft in length and weighed 50 tons. Had to clear my modelling table for this one! Actually the fit wasn’t all that brilliant, especially the turrets, but Soviet weaponry was often crude and poorly finished so it didn’t really matter all that much.

In the first years of the interwar period, the majority of tank powers equipped their armies almost exclusively with light tanks. However a few countries built small numbers, or even single examples, of multi-turreted heavily armoured tanks which were called land battleships or dreadnoughts. Soviet tank builders also became infatuated with these types the representative example of which became the T-35.

The requirement for this weapon originated in 1932. The T-35 was the only five turret tank to go into mass production although in limited numbers. The factory appointed with this task was the Kharkov locomotive works in the name of the Comintern. The cost to the State Treasury of a single T-35 was 525,000 roubles for which money one could build nine BT-5 light tanks!

This heavy assault tank was intended to operate against infantry and anti-tank guns and to help overcome heavily fortified enemy positions. Its powerful armament of three large guns and five machine guns deployed in five turrets enabled the T-35 to bring to bear fire from two guns and three machine guns forward, behind or either side, thereby securing all-round fire.

T-35s took part in battles in Western Ukraine in June and beginning of July 1941 where all were lost. Four T-35s were employed in the defence of Kharkov in October 1941. Some Western and Russian publications suggest the T-35 took part in the Soviet-Finnish war in 1939- 1940 but apparently this is not true.

The combat career of the T-35 was very short. In the summer of 1941, one captured T-35 was repaired by the Germans and sent to Germany. During the loading and transportation of the tank by rail, a number of difficulties arose due to the fact that the T-35 did not fit the gauge (the gauge in Western Europe is less than in the USSR and Russia – 1420 mm versus 1535 mm). However, the tank was delivered to a German tank test site in Kummersdorf, where it was tested. The further fate of this T-35 is unknown.

According to the memoirs of the German driver, “the control of the tank was extremely difficult, and the switching of levers and pedals is very difficult”.

The T-35 had a crew of ten-eleven men(!):

1) commander (senior lieutenant) – in the turret number 1 (main), to the right of the gun, fires and loads the gun with the help of the radio operator, commands the tank.

2) assistant commander (lieutenant) – in turret No. 2 (front cannon), fires from a 45-mm gun, is the deputy commander, is responsible for the state of all the weapons of the tank, when not in action manages the training of artillerymen and machine gunners;

3) junior tank technician (rank 2 military technician) – in the control department, controls the movement of the tank, is responsible for its technical condition, directs the training of driver and motor mechanics outside the battle.

4) mechanic- the driver (sergeant) – in turret number 3 (front machine gun), fires, provides engine care, is the deputy driver of the tank, is responsible for the state of armament turret number 3.

5) artillery turret commander No. 1 (junior platoon commander) – is deployed to the left of the gun, fires, is responsible for the state of armament of the turret.

6) the commander of turret No. 2 (a separate commander) – to the right of the gun, performs the functions of a loader; in the event of the departure of an assistant tank commander, fires from a 45-mm gun, is responsible for the state of armament of turret No. 2.

7) the commander of turret No. 4, the rear cannon, (separate commander) – of a 45 mm gun, fires it, is the deputy commander of turret No. 1, is responsible for the state of armament of turret No. 4.

8) the driver-mechanic, the youngest (separate commander) – in turret No. 4, to the right of the gun, performs the functions of a loader, provides care for the running gear of the machine.

9) the commander of the machine gun turret (separate commander) – in turret number 5 (rear machine gun), firing from a machine gun, is responsible for the state of armament of the turret number 5.

10) senior radio telegraph operator (separate commander) – in turret No. 1, serves the radio station, helps to load gun in battle.

11) senior driver-mechanic (junior platoon commander) – is outside the tank, provides care for the transmission and chassis, is the deputy sergeant – driver-mechanic.

12) minder (junior technician) – outside the tank provides constant care for the engine, its cleaning and lubrication.

Imagine trying to control and co-ordinate that lot in the heat of battle!

As for following rules of movement for the T-35, it was advised that on
single-span bridges – only one tank at a time!

Now she is weathered after seeing action. I added some weld seam lines to the turrets and other places using a heated screwdriver. Perhaps a bit overdone but who cares??
The frame around the main turret was also the radio antennae
I removed some side skirts to show the running gear detail. I hope you like the background -Bob Ross I am not!
Another parade! November 7, 1935. The rear facing gun turret is clearly visible
T-35 of the 34th Soviet Tank Division abandoned on the road due to mechanical failure
A knocked out T-35 being examined by German soldiers 30 June 1941. The battle took place near Brody, Western Ukraine, the region my parents came from.
Restored T-35

Soviet Tank BT-7 model 1937. БТ-7 быстроходный танк Tamiya 1/35 scale

Such a cool looking design! The world’s first truly fast tank. It features sloped armour all around the body in place of the previous flat version. It was an excellent tank for its time and gave the Russians the experience on which to base the famous T-34 and their large-scale tank tactics.

When I heard that Tamiya had released a model of the BT tank, I just knew I had to get one sooner or later! It has always been one of my favourite tank designs.

The designation BT stands for bystro-khodnii tank, literally fast-moving tank, and the BT series of tanks, BT-2, BT-3, BT-5, BT-7, and BT-8 had impressive speed . The BT-7 could travel at a maximum speed of 45 mph on its wheels or 32 mph when tracked. It was armed with a 45 mm 20K Model gun 7.62 mm DT machine gun.

All of these models featured the ingenious ‘Christie suspension’ of American automotive engineer J. Walter Christie, the ability to move from tracks to wheels and back again to tracks, and sloped armour designed to minimise the impact of anti-tank projectiles. More importantly, the series was progressively up-gunned. This celebrated series of tanks would culminate, after considerable modifications, in the legendary T-34.

The tank was suited to the Soviet ‘Deep Battle’ doctrine of fast, offensive warfare into the enemy rear areas although it later became apparent that heavier tanks would be needed to break through powerful enemy defences.

Box Art. As always, Tamiya feature a beautiful picture which adds to the allure and desirability of their kits. I just wish other kit makers would do the same!
The metallic tow chain comes with the kit and adds a touch of realism
The tracks could be removed for high-speed road travel although in reality the option was rarely used given the realities of campaigning in the field and the poor state of the road network in Russia even where it existed. The engine cover is photo-etch. I can’t help drooling every time I look at my BT-7, a practice not to be recommended at this time!
Berlin is the other way! Sorry part of my thumb wanted to get into the action!
In winter camouflage

БТ-7 быстроходный танк. Его военным дебютом стали боевые действия против японских войск у озера Хасан летом 1938 г. Однако наилучшим образом БТ-7 показали себя годом позже в Монголии в боях на Халхин-Голе, где в степях в полной мере проявились высокая скорость и маневренность этого танка.

Успешно действовали БТ-7 во время похода Красной Армии в Польшу в сентябре 1939 года, когда стремительное продвижение мобильных танковых групп позволило парализовать возможные активные действия польских войск. На начальном этапе Великой Отечественной войны по своим боевым качествам БТ-7 не уступали большинству немецких танков и применялся до первой половины 1942 года.

Заключительным эпизодом в боевой биографии БТ-7 стала советско-японская война в августе-сентябре 1945 года.

На тот момент эти уже устаревшие танки входили в состав вторых батальонов танковых полков и шли в прорыв за более мощными Т-34 и ИС-2.

‘BT-7 – fast tank. It’s military debut was during the battles against the Japanese forces at lake Khasan in the summer of 1938. However the BT-7 displayed its best form a year later in Mongolia in the battles of Khalkhin Gol (Nomonhan incident) where the high speed and manoeuvrability of this tank were displayed fully on the steppes. The BT-7 took part successfully in the campaign of the Red Army in Poland in September 1939, when the rapid advance of armoured groups enabled the possible actions of Polish forces to be paralysed. At the start of the Great Patriotic war the military qualities of the BT-7 did not yield to the majority of the German tanks and they were employed until the first half of 1942. The conclusive episode in the military biography of the BT-7 was the Soviet-Japanese war in August-September 1945. At that point the already obsolete tanks entered the secondary battalions of the tank regiments and followed in the breakthroughs made by the more powerful T-34 and Joseph Stalin-2 tanks.’

Source: Internet. 7 Legendary Russian Tanks.

A superb profile of this aesthetically pleasing tank

The following video is an excellent demonstration of the BT-7’s astonishing mobility. The Christie suspension of springs and large road wheels with the considerable vertical wheel displacement allowed the BT-7 to cross rough terrain at high speed, though this resulted in an unstable gun platform which inhibited firing on the move.

The ‘flying’ BT-7 in action. Classic stirring Soviet footage. Let’s hope the tank crew at the end were wearing crash helmets!

Tamiya 1 35 Soviet Su-76M self-propelled gun.

Initially, I was going to do this model in winter camouflage but decided to leave it in the standard Russian green-at least for now! It was based on the T-70 chassis and had a 76mm gun, hence the name. The fighting compartment was not very roomy and left the crew exposed to enemy fire and the elements. However, due to its light weight it was good in terrain impassable to armour such as during Operation Bagration in 1944 in the marshy areas of western Russia. It saw action on all major fronts, including Berlin and Hungary at the end of the war. About half of Soviet self-propelled guns were Su-76s at the end of the war. It also saw service in the Korean war on the side of the North.