KV-1/KV-2 Soviet Tank, World War II
700mm Omsh All Tooth Links
Early 1940 to September 1942
New from Tankraft in their ProTracks range, is a set of 1/35 scale, 3D-printed resin tracks for the Soviet KV-1 and KV-2 heavy tanks. The set depicts the 700mm, all-toothed track variant which was fitted to the KV series from 1940 until September 1942, when production switched to the KV-1S with its 608mm (later 650mm) tracks.
This set is applicable to all series production KV variants from mid-1940 until September 1942. It should not be fitted to the prototypes and pre-production (U-series) vehicles as delivered from the factory, since the tracks on those vehicles lacked the raised 'lip' around the edges of the outer spuds. However, if you are willing to put in the effort, the lip can be filed away from the links in this set to depict those earliest tracks. Note that the U-series vehicles underwent several modifications in late 1940 and early 1941, and at least some of them received the upgraded tracks as depicted in this set.
Note too, that the all-toothed tracks were supplemented in the spring and summer of 1942 by an alternate, split-link variant with every second link having a guide tooth as depicted in this set, and the intervening split links having a smaller 'bump' at the center. I have it on good authority that Tankraft intends to release additional sets depicting those and other KV track variants.
The set is packaged in a sturdy, heavy cardboard box, with assembly instructions on the inside of the lid.
The set contains 200 track links, each 3d-printed in resin, along with 400 3D-printed track pins. The track pins are in halves, and are of two types: a flat-headed pin that inserts from the hull side of the track link, and a pin with a washer and cotter pin that inserts from the outside of the track link. While the track links themselves are not 'handed', they were typically fitted to the tank in a particular orientation (see below) with the flat ends of the pins closest to the hull.
The links scale out well compared to the original, with a width of 20mm and a pitch of 4.5mm between track pins. This corresponds to the real thing, wherein the dimensions were 700mm and 155mm respectively (based on measurements from the preserved vehicle at APG).
Assembly is straightforward with the aid of a pair of tweezers. I found a few of the holes in the track links required cleaning out, and the instructions recommend a 0.7mm drill for this task. I only needed to clean up a dozen or so holes over the course of both track runs, however.
The pins feature tiny ribs at their bases, which are intended to lock into the ends of the track links and avoid the need for glue. This technique worked for most pins, but I found that some required glue. In fact, Tankraft mentions this is the instructions and recommends a tiny dab of CA glue. I followed their advice, using the tip of a #11 blade to apply the glue, and found that the pins remained workable. Obviously, you must take care not to be too generous with the glue here.
The tracks fit cleanly around the sprockets of both the new Tamiya (left) and Trumpeter (right) kits (yes, that's a Trumpeter sprocket hub on the Tamiya sprocket, since I'm reworking the kit to produce a specific vehicle).
[Update]: I subsequently obtained a RFM KV-1 Model 1942 Simplified Turret kit, and the tracks fit perfectly around those sprockets too.
When fitting the tracks to your model, note that KV tracks were typically fitted with a specific orientation as shown in the photo below. No doubt there were occasions where the tracks were 'reversed' but this is certainly the most common orientation.
Like all 3D-printed products, you must be careful not to expose the tracks to direct sunlight or UV light until they are painted, since they can become brittle if you do so. Tankraft mentions this in the instructions.
In summary, Tankraft's latest set provides a useful alternative to the link-and-length tracks supplied in the Trumpeter and new Tamiya KV kits. They will require care when assembling them, and when handling them afterwards, but they should not be beyond the skills and patience of the average modeler.
For full transparency, this reviewer assisted Tankraft with the design of this product by providing drawings and other reference material.
Highly Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Tankraft for this review kit.
Reviewed by Neil Stokes
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