Bronco 1/35 KV-85
KIT #: CB 35110
PRICE: $70.00 SRP 
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Photo etch parts


The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov and used by the Red Army during World War II. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armour protection during the early part of the war, especially during the first year of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

They were practically immune to the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and howitzer-like, short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 guns mounted, respectively, on the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks fielded by the invading German forces. Until more effective guns were developed by the Germans, the KV-1 was invulnerable to almost any German weapon except the famous 88 mm gun. Even then, its "armor causes hits from the 8.8 cm Flak gun to ricochet." This prompted the Germans to drop development of the VK 20 series and adopt, in great haste, the 7.5 cm KwK 42 gun on a new medium tank design that would become the Panther tank.

Prior to Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the USSR), about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks then in Soviet service were of the KV-1 type. When the KV-1 appeared, it outclassed the French Char B1, the only other heavy tank in operational service in the world at that time. Yet, in the end, it turned out that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally well) in all practical respects. Later in the war, the KV series became a base for the development of the IS (IS - Josif Stalin) series of tanks.

The KV-85 was a KV-1S with the 85mm D-5T cannon in a new turret, with the ball mounted hull machine gun removed and the hole welded shut, 148 of these tanks were produced in the second half of 1943 until the spring of 1944; they were a stopgap until the IS tank series entered production.


Bronco's KV-85 is a kit that takes advantage of the main hull and suspension bits used on some earlier, similar tanks. In this case what is really new is the turret and gun as it seems that all KV tanks used the same hull and suspension.

Bronco kits are not Tamiya kits and so there are a lot of parts involved in putting one together. In fact, the first eight steps of construction concentrate on the hull. Areas involved are the driver's position, the torsion bar suspension and the attachment of road wheels, sprocket and idler gear along with the rear engine cooling screen. While on the subject, you can see that the p.e. fret is not all that intensive, something that will please those builder's who are not all that fond of the material. What is provided (screens, braces and brackets) are quite appropriate for the medium.

In order to give you something to see through some of those screens, Bronco has included a rather nicely done engine to put into the hull. Engine cooling vents near the back can be posed open if one so wishes. Also on the upper hull is a forward firing machine gun and the view window for that can be open or closed as well. There are separate fenders and thes will accept pioneer tools, fuel tanks, and spare tracks. Speaking of tracks, this kit is a separate link track kit with separate link pins. This track will not only not need to be glued, but will be flexible as well to provide the proper sag.

The gun provided is complete with a nicely detailed breech and maoung. This can be seen through the open turret hatch and Bronco has provided seats for the gunner and loader. A rear facing machine gun is also provided for the back of the turret, something that seems somewhat unique to Soviet tanks. A section of copper wire is provided to use for making tow cables.

Bronco has excellent instructions that incorporate color to help with the building process. There are four basically overall green tanks. Two are captured and one of those has a patchy winter wash and German insignia. The other retains its Soviet tank number. The other two are from unknown units. You are provided with a nice decal sheet with lots of extra numbers in a couple of different fonts so you are not limited to what is provided in the painting and markings guide.


Bronco has earned a reputation for providing highly detailed kits. They are not for beginners due to the large number of parts and the photo etch, but I think that even low end intermediate modelers will be able to provide a fine model with a bit of care and patience.


March 2015

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