Book Review
KV-1: Soviet Heavy Tank of WWII - Early Variants

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


The KV, has really to be seen in several ways. Firstly, as a political decision - 'The Horse designed by a commitee syndrome' - following pre-war armored doctrine. Secondly, as the progenitor of a series of MBTs whose basic design elements can still be seen today. Finally, and historically more importantly, the KV was the vehicle that blunted the initial Blitzkrieg of the German invaders in the dark period of 1941. Not quite the vehicle which 'won the war' , but an important component nevertheless...

Tankograd's book....

Tankograd Publishing should require little introduction to the enthusiast who is serious about their reference material. This German company, has published an enormous amount of material over the years covering a wide variety of vehicles from a diverse range of countries. The book: Tankograd Soviet Special Nª 2002 - KV-1 Soviet Heavy Tank of WWII: Early Variants is an 80 page, softcover book which contains a wealth of b w photos, detail illustrations, 1/35th scale plans and a short (though extraordinarily detailed) text. The book is written by Jochen Vollert

There are a total of eight 'sub-chapters' in the book:

1) The Heavy tank Concept

2) The Way to the Prototypes

3) KV with Small Turret

4) Evacuations to the Ural

5) KV-1 (Model 1939)

6) KV-1 (Model 1940) F-32

7) KV-1 (Model 1940) Zis-5

8) KV-1 With M-17 Engines.

The vehicles covered in the book are the six first variants - Model 1939 LKZ, Model 1940 LKZ, Model 1941 s 'ekranami', Model 1941 ChTZ, Model 1941 ChKZ w/cast turret, Model 1941 ChKZ with reinforced cast turret. There is also an extremely valuable chapter on <'BeutePanzer> - the captured vehicles which were used by German formations. This includes a superb section explaining the vehicles' designation along with some excellent (archive) photographs .

Throughout the book, there are various helpful diagrams explaining differences in such items as variations in running gear, different types of storage/tool boxes and (particularly noteworthy) the German-applied 'upgrades'..

The Photos

Primarily, this book will be bought by modellers who want clear, concise images of the various variants. The quality (and choice) of images is first-rate with many of the images not appearing in other books. The quality of reproduction is also excellent, with good crisp photographs chosen from a variety of angles.


For the serious modeller, reference material on the identification and modification of the KV series is a must. The KV, is, in my opinion, a subject which deserves to be taken seriously as a modelling subject. The research done by Vollert is absolutely first-rate. Meticulous, concise and academically disciplined are just three of the adjectives which could be used to describe this book. If you kit-bash, this book will have little appeal. For those who wish to take their KVs a little further, this book (along with several others) is a must-have. A serious book on a serious subject...

VERY Highly Recommended


The book and its companion volume on the later variants of the KV series, was purchased from Aviation Book Centre , which is a British on-line retailer who offer a prompt and excellent service.

The other review of Tankograd's LATE KV Variants, can be seen: HERE!

With the continuing work on review material to complement the (renewed) interest in the Soviet KV Series of tanks, the first of two new books are put under the spotlight. Having built several of Trumpeter's KVs and now at the point of thinking about more variants, the need for concise, reliable reference material has become a greater priority. The KV, as I may have mentioned once or twice in previous reviews, is an incredibly complex subject, the more modern reference sources available, the easier life becomes....
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 2002
  Suggested Retail: €14.95
  PUBLISHED: Jan 02, 2006

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.


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    Front cover...
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    Back cover...
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    1/35th scale plans...
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    Book image...