Book Review
No. 163 - KV Vol. 1, 1939-41

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

The KV - history's forgotten hero...

The Klim Voroshilov (KV) is a vehicle overshadowed by the T34. Although technically very inferior to the T34 and with none of the 'glamour' attached to the latter... The KV series did (apart from it's impressive history in WW2) did make its mark in one very significant manner. It can be seen as the progenitor of the Russian Heavy Tanks which began with the IS-2/3 and it's 'pedigree' of some of its design components are still to be seen nowadays in the recent AFV developments which have a paricularly Russian stamp on them...

With pre-war tactical doctrine firmly estalished around the earlier 'Land Battleships' of the T-35 series, a change in thinking began, in 1938, to produce a lighter and more modern heavy tank. After much debate, and folowing the beginning of the 'Winter War' with Finland, the curious decision was taken to produce the KV AND the T-34 despite the obvious limitations in the KV's design and technical performance. In sheer nunbers there was an obvious disparity in the production of the T-34 against the KV. By the time production had ceased, in 1943, only 4,566 examples had been produced in 12 different variants. That said, the ungainly appearance of the KV and its relatively large size ensure its popularity as a modelling subject...

Wydawnictwo Militaria's book. KV Vol. 1

The well-established format of the Polish publishing house, Wydawnictwo Militaria should require little introduction to many modellers, however as many will be unfamiliar, some reference should be made to the layout of this book...

Wydawnictwo Militaria: 163 - KV Vol. 1, 1939-41, is written by Maksym Kolomyjec, and is an A4, soft-cover book which has a total of 75 pages. The predominant language is Polish with the illustrations being captioned in Polish/English.

As can be seen from the title, this book covers the early part of WW2, from 1939-41. a crucial period in the history of the Soviet Union and of enormous importance in the initial development of the KV series.

The majority of the book covers the initial development programs of the KV series with the emphasis very firmly on photographic documentation. There are also some useful reproductions of the original blueprints and designer's sketches of not only the principal vehicles (KV1and KV2) but also of some of the more 'arcane' proposals such as the KV-220 (which bore a remarkable similarity to the Pershing), the KV-4 variants (with a resemblance to both the Merkava and with a different turret, the Panther) there were also twin-turret vehicles proposed on a lengthened chassis and the Ohiekt 220A SP gun project...

As I menioned before this book is emphatically about images. The KV is presented in several different manners:

1) Photos. There is a large number of high-quality, b w, contemporary images.

2) Color Plates There are no less than 11 pages of full-color side views of vehicles. The majority of the vehicles are in the 'usual' Green (with some interesting markings) although there are a number of side views of different schemes includng a three-tone camouflage, a Green/Earth scheme, several captured examples (German AND Finnish) along with several whitewashed examples which give some interesting ideas about weathering...

3) Scale Plans two large, fold-out sectons of 1/35th scale plans. These are excellently done and cover a number of different variants along with production models. Oe of the most interesting is perhaps the KV-5 project which, with the provided plans, looks 'do-able'....

4) Reproduction of original Schematics. These are particularly useful for 'filling-in' some of the blanks regarding internal arrangement.

The weakest part of the book is the text. Unlike some of the later books in the Wydawnictwo Militaria series, the principal text is entirely in Polish, and, as there are some intriguing looking sub-sections, this does leave one's 'frustration-level' reasonably high...

Perhaps it is not unreasonabley to see these books as a type of 'Hybrid' between Osprey Vanguard and Concord Publications - the former with its emphasis on developmental history and the latter its provision of documentary material of the vehicle in service.


Despite the loss of some of the content due to the lack of translation, this book (and its companion volume) is a superb source for those badly affected by 'Klim Voroshilovitis' . The photos and the color plates alone make it worth every penny. Convertors will find plenty of ideas to keep themselves occupied as will those who want something different to the usual 'Green-machine'. This is a book (and series) which informs and inspires in equal measure and gives an idea of just how far you can go with such an interesting vehicle subject...

Volume II of this useful series can be seen: HERE!!


Availability etc...

The Wydawnictwo Militaria series is fairly widely available at specialized military book sellers and modelling retailers. Here at just three sources for these books:

In Canada/North America: AirConnection

In Britain/Europe Military Book Centre

Direct from Poland: Jadar Models

With the revitalization in interest in the KV series as a modelling subject following Trumpeter's incredible series of KVs in 1/35th scale, it is important for the serious modeller to have access to as much good quality reference material as possible. With this, the second in a series of four reviews, a good source of documentation on the KV can be obtained.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 83-7219 -142 - 5
  Suggested Retail: 10 Euros
  PUBLISHED: Nov 11, 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 ]. All rights reserved.


Click image to enlarge
  • kvbook1
    Book cover
  • kvbook2
    Back plate
  • kvbook4
    Archive photo from the book. In this case, a KV2 is drien through the streetsof Berlin in summer/fall 1941..
  • kvbook3
    Example of the schematics included in the book...