In-Box Review
Soviet KV-1 's' Ekranami in (Captured) Finnish Service

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

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 Set
35k03 - 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.

In depth
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.

Further details
The donor kit is reviewed HERE

The most complete reference material on the (early) KV series, can be seen HERE
This new product from the Polish manufacturer, Aber, is a rather strange beast. Normally from this company we expect update sets, this time, they have gone rather further than normal with what can only be described as one of the first conversion AND update sets in 1/35th scale.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35K03
  PUBLISHED: Aug 12, 2006

Our Thanks to Aber!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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.


Very interesting, never knew that the Finns made these kinds of adaptations. As a curiosity, one of the recommended tools is a "lightweight hammer"...did you find the need to use this on any of the set by chance?
AUG 12, 2006 - 06:33 AM
More on the Finnish KV's: http://www.andreaslarka.net/ps271001/ps271001.html http://www.andreaslarka.net/ps272001/ps272001.html You can get both turrets in resin from JS Models, as well as the stowage bins and headlight covers. The fenders would be useful in brass, but they're just as easy to make out of styrene. I've been slowly working on both these vehicles out of the Trumpeter (for the m.1942) and Tamiya (for the 'E'). Jim
AUG 13, 2006 - 12:05 AM
I see little real need for replacement turrets - I would imagine that these were produced to upgrade with the Tamiya kits, so, with the advent of the Trumpeter series, they're pretty much redundant. Can I also ask a favor, if a product from one manufacturer is reviewed, it's not considered in best form to start talking about another company's products..Jim
AUG 13, 2006 - 05:21 PM
Jim Are the bell-shaped bits the pistol port plugs? David
AUG 13, 2006 - 05:34 PM
David that's what i'm STILL trying to figure out - I think they probably are, but in all the photos I have of the Finnish KV1s, they DON'T feature...Jim
AUG 13, 2006 - 05:41 PM
Judging by this photo from Andreas Larka's site, the Finns have created a slope (using a welded plate?) under the pistol port to channel the plug over the edge of the applique armour. Or is this an original Soviet feature that I've overlooked Slope
AUG 13, 2006 - 06:06 PM
Hi Jim, thank you for good rewiew, i have question if its ok? could you mesure the widht of the grating, in kv what we have in parola it is 0,5mm, and top of it, is 1,5mm and lower top is 3mm in 1/35 David, you are correct, finns did plug all the holes between the turret and extra armor.. It is nice that Aber has made this really rare kit to us =) Regards Kimmo Siika
AUG 14, 2006 - 01:06 AM
Very interesting review of a subject I'm especially interested in -- thanks, Jim. At the risk of being pedantic, the conflict between the Finns and Soviets had two distinct phases: the Winter War (Nov '39 to March '40) and the Continuation War (June 41 to August 44). After the Winter War the Finns had a number of captured T-26's, T-28's, BT-5's, etc., but it was during the Continuation War that the Finns captured (or bought from the Germans) the T-34's and KV-1's that bolstered their armored force during the second major Soviet onslaught in the summer of '44. A third conflict that Finland was forced to fight, the Lapland War, was the result of the Soviets insisting that the Finns expel the Germans from their country as part of the conditions for ending the Continuation War. Although the Finns lost territory after both conflicts with the Russians, they did manage to keep their independence by viture of the their stubborn defense of their homeland in the face of overwhelming odds.
AUG 14, 2006 - 01:52 AM

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