by: Darren Baker [ ]
Bronco Models has released their 1/35th scale Russian Heavy Tank KV-85 onto the market. The KV-85 had a limited production run as Soviet hardware goes with approximately 150 tanks being produced. Based on the KV-1s hull with the addition of a very different looking turret from previous KV-1 tanks and which sported an 85mm D-5T main gun. The KV-85 was the last of the KV series being replaced by the IS series of vehicles; really the KV tank line under a new moniker.
The model is supplied in one of Bronco Models larger boxes with a cardboard tray and card lid, the lid having a pleasing artwork of the KV-85 on it in the field. Inside the box you will find;
24 green sprues
A lower hull
1 clear sprue
33 brown sprues
A photo etch fret
A length of coiled copper wire
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
A print of the box top artwork
A look at the mouldings for this model shows just how far Bronco Models has progressed in a relatively short time, going from the days of ‘I will wait for the Dragon Models release’ to today where Bronco Models is one of the leading manufacturers in injection moulded plastic models. The mouldings are all very clean with no obvious faults to concern the modeller both young and old. The photo etched parts are of a thickness that will be easy to work with, a good thing considering some of the parts that have photo etched offerings. There are a number of flow/cooling lines present, but these do not feel or look to me to be an issue.
The suspension on the model has a lot of promise having workable suspension and tracks with a good level of detail. The suspension detail on the KV series vehicles are a big part of their appeal to modellers being very visible, wheel and swing arm detail looks good, my only possible concern being that there was so many wheel patterns used on the KV series of vehicle I don’t have the reference to say what is and what is not correct for this vehicle. A check of images online does show the same pattern wheels with the lightening holes present in a few images where it can be discerned, but these are of a vehicle on a display stand and so not 100% proof. I have no concerns about the return, idler or drive wheels offered in the model.
The hull side wall detail is very good and will all add to the overall finish of the model. Bronco Models has also supplied internal suspension detail for the torsion bar suspension and this will give the modeller who wants to scratch an interior somewhere to start. While in this area of the model it is worth mentioning that in addition to the torsion bar suspension detail Bronco Models has also supplied a driver’s position, this makes the addition of a driver an appealing possibility. All in all this is a very nicely detailed area of the model.
The tracks supplied with this model are workable. The links alternate between a track link with a guide horn and a track link without; there are 44 track links of both types required for each track run. The links are workable; being held together by plastic pins and Bronco Models has supplied a jig to make assembly of the track runs as easy as possible. It should be noted that the pins are sided with different head detail and so you will need to pay attention.
Bronco Models has supplied the upper half of an engine with this model, which opens up some further display possibilities to explore. Looking over the detail the addition of some wiring and leads should result in a very pleasing and convincing look.
This area of the model provides the modeller with some options depending on their ability and comfort level. The first thing I really like is that Bronco Models has supplied the option of photo etched engine grills on the upper deck, but for those who are not comfortable with the photo etched approach there is also an all plastic solution and so both parties are catered for. The second part I like is the addition of a full hull machine gun which has been slide moulded and you also get the periscope lenses for the driver. These last two items further enhance the driver’s position and cries out louder for a figure to be included. Moving back to the rear deck, you will be adding a number of small loops which are used to lift the various panels on the deck, these can be further enhanced by making some metal rings and feeding them through these loops. Take a close look at the images I have provided of the upper deck and see what you think of the excellent weld detail provided, I feel it is very impressive.
The track guards supplied with the model have a good look to them as regards thickness and the support brackets are also of a realistic thickness. The securing point for the hawser’s on each track guard also have some very detail; however while looking at this I do not like the multi core cable supplied with the model as it is not very malleable and so will be difficult to look natural on the model. The copper is an improvement over the core string usually supplied and I am glad to see Bronco Models try this approach.
The main gun has some good additions such as a full breach and slide moulded single piece barrel, I would prefer that Bronco Models supplied a turned metal barrel for the model, but a slide moulded single piece offering is a close second.
The turret has a very nice cast texture to it which will please some I suspect, the only possible downside to this is that it may be considered too uniform. The shape and prominent seam line present on the turret of the real tank looks accurate to the naked eye on the model. The hatches on the turret can both be displayed open or closed as desired by the modeller and this again is another invite to practice your figure painting skills. Also of note with the turret is that Bronco Models has supplied another very nicely detailed full machine gun for us as the rear firing MG. Also present again is excellent weld detail where needed.
USSR Army Unit Unknown, Russian Front, Spring 1944
Tank hit and captured by German Forces in Melitpol Area, Ukraine, Nov 1943
1452nd SP Gun Regiment, Crimea, April 1944
Captured and re-used by German Forces, Unit unknown, Russian Front 1944
This release from Bronco Models has a lot going for it and says a lot about how far Bronco Models have come in a relatively short period of time. Bronco Models have done I feel a very good job of this model and added details that many other would not supply in the box, items such as the photo etch intake grills supplied as an option, Workable tracks, workable suspension, some interior detail and fully detailed MG’s