One of the least 'glorious' military adventures of the former Soviet Union, was the ill-fated 'Winter War' against Finland. This was (with the benefit of hindsight) a good indication of the severe limitations that the Red Army were going to face in the future, effectively getting heavily defeated by what, on paper at least, was a grossly inferior force. There were many negative consequences of this conflict, perhaps one of the more positive, was for the U.S.S.R., the ability to test vehicles in combat conditions. Less positive, were the (generally) negative assessments of the limitations which were to be found.. In the second phase of the Winter War, some headway was made against the dogged determination of the Finns, again however, the Soviets lost a great deal of men and matériel. Amongst the losses, were a number of their newer KV 1s - in particular, a number of KV1 S 'Ekranamis'. These were immediately put into Finnish service and, thanks to the Finnish authorities, a number of vehicles have been preserved, amongst them, an actual example of the KV1 S 'Ekranami' at Parola in Finland.
Aber's New Set35k03 - SOVIET HEAVY TANK KV-1 (Finnish Army Modified)
definitely comes into the category of a 'mixed-media' kit, consisting as it does of the following parts:
Three Photo-Etch brass sheets
Three brass parts (one length of tube and two turned-brass parts)
Two turned aluminium parts
Seven cast-resin parts
two lengths of wire
Also included is (very) complete documentation for the upgrade set .
About this review
At the outset, an 'in-box' review of an update set is always difficult, it is always much better to actually use the set with the donor kit. However, my only 'Ekranami' is already built so I'll have to invest in another to actually do this set justice. All that said however, I am pretty familiar with the subject matter and the donor kit so I should be able to give a reasonably good account of the areas which the update is designed for. As usual, I will be over-viewing the areas which are covered by the set and finish with my general impressions of the set.
There are some rather large modifications to be done to the basic donor kit - this reflects very well the complexity of the actual conversion.
The first area is the turret. The additions are as follows:
An AA MG mount, additional lifting brackets, some reinforcement on the tops of the bolt-on armored plates, additional detailing for the inside of the commanders hatch, the commander's hatch is also somewhat reinforced the slots on the side of the turret are also modified to receive the two bell-shaped turned-brass parts. Here is my first problem. I have got good documentation on this vehicle but I am at a complete loss to discover their function. An excellent new turned aluminium F-32 Gun barrel is also provided.
Following on from the (extensive) turret modifications, attention turns to the Engine Deck. The areas covered by this are as follows:
The most obvious are the heavily modified engine air intakes which are triangular and much higher than the originals. Resin strip is supplied (with correct dimensions in the instruction sheets) to build a collar around the turret race - this was a seven-sided additional collar to give additional protection to a perceived 'shot-trap' under the turret. Also provided are interior details for the engine hatches, mounting brackets for a cylindrical container mounted on the fenders, which, as it has the same dimensions as the F-32 barrel, I can only assume that Finnish vehicles carried a 'spare'. Smaller details are new mounting plates for the small exhausts.
The next area for modification are the fenders. The Finns replaced the Soviet fenders with their own which were very different, due to being curved at the front and back.
The update set completely replaces the kit fenders with the distinctive curved shape. Also reproduced, and this is nice design from Aber
is the beading round the fenders, which, when assembled will give a good representation of the original. New support brackets are also provided to give a better (scale) replacement for the plastic kit parts.
Finally, their are a few modifications to execute on the front hull. The most striking of these is the new (armored) headlight cover which comes nicely cast in resin.
Complex, complete and with the nature of the subject, somewhat 'picky'. Not, under any circumstances, an update set for those who like 'speed builds', this is a set for the careful, meticulous enthusiast. Aber
have done an incredible job with this set. The instructions are good, but, in the final analysis, good reference is vital. The choice of subject is second to none, basically, if you're going to do one Finnish subject, this is the one for you.
The donor kit is reviewed HERE
The most complete reference material on the (early) KV series, can be seen HERE