by: Darren Baker [ ]
Trumpeter always had the edge when it came to the Soviet KV tanks of World War Two, at least that was the case until Bronco Models released their 1/35th scale Russian Heavy Tank KV-85 onto the market. Bronco Models has now followed that up with the release of the KV 122, which makes sense as one of the two prototypes was based on the KV-85; the other KV-122 was built on a KV-1S. as you may have guessed the KV-122 never went into service in its own right, but the turret design did as part of the Joseph Stalin line of tanks.
The model is supplied in one of Bronco Models larger boxes with a cardboard tray and card lid, the lid having an artwork of the KV-122 on a plain background. Inside the box you will find;
19 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 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 ĎI will wait for the Dragon Models releaseí 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. There are some ejector pin marks present, but Bronco Models looks to have done a good job of placing these in hidden locations.
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. The wheels 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 donít have the reference to say what is and what is not correct for this vehicle. A check of images online does show the same patterned 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. With the 2 KV-122 heavy tanks being prototype vehicles I suspect that very a specific wheel pattern was used and my knowledge is lacking as to which pattern it was.
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 driverís 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 a type 2 engine with this model, which opens up some further display possibilities to explore. The type 2 engine was used by the Soviets in their tank models right through to the late 1960ís. Being a diesel engine it gave the Soviets a big advantage over German forces due to its ease of start up and it would also cope which much lower temperatures than petrol engines could. Looking over the detail, the addition of some wiring and leads should result in a very pleasing and convincing look for those modellers who want to open their models up for inspection.
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 driverís 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 engine deck, these can be further enhanced by making some metal rings and feeding them through these loops; just wrap a fine wire around a suitably sized drill bit as if making a spring and then cut along one side, I also suggest you make extras to safe guard your sanity when installing them. 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 hawserís 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 provided by Bronco Models is an improvement over the core string usually supplied, but there are better options out there than has been provided.
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 barrel has also been supplied with a one piece muzzle brake
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 rough or rural type welding that is so common on Soviet tanks has been well represented and while I am unable to verify its accuracy I like the look of it. 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 as Bronco Models has added seats inside the turret. 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.
Bronco Models has indicated that this vehicle was on the Russian front in the spring of 1944, but unless the vehicle was used in trials at the front lines I think this is incorrect. Regardless of my opinion the purists can build this as a prototype and the others can go for the what if approach, after all it is a hobby.
I was always a fan of the Trumpeter KV line of tanks and I still am, but this offering from Bronco Models is light years ahead of them. Features such as working suspension and tracks add to the appeal of this model when it comes to display. I like that Bronco Models has considered the abilities of modellers across the spectrum and so offered complex photo etch intake grills or simple single piece plastic offerings. The large and imposing size of this model will also hold a lot of attraction for many.