This is my first experience with Zvezda kits. Spoilers, I love them! Now, a bit more.
The Finns have the option to take two KV-1s in Mid and Late war. Pretty cool, because the KV-1 is a big bully. So, for under $4 a pop, shipped via Amazon, I got two to play with. Now, why two? If you're not hip to Grey Wolf, then you should know the Finnish captured two KV-1s. What happened to them?
They're at the Finnish Tank Museum at Parola! This is cool. Here's some pictures from the Museum's website. There exist a few pictures of the KVs. The last two of these three pictures are from this site. It has some more in depth information on the KVs, if you're into that sort of thing (if you're reading my drivel, then you should be! Ha!).
So, we're looking at one in a standard Russian Green scheme, and one in a tri-color camo pattern. That tri-color pattern looks similar to the one on the Char B1 here. Neat! If you want paints to use, check out this Finnish painting guide article from Battlefront. It's not entirely helpful, so try this one instead! So, Stone Grey and Beige Brown. Nothing fancy.
Righto, so here we go! This would be easy with my airbrush and my Model Air paint, but I'm watching sappy Christmas movies with my dear mother. So, by hand it'll be.
[One minute later] NOPE. This stuff doesn't brush on well at all. The coverage is pretty awful by hand. In the meantime, let me talk about the kit itself.
Construction was easy and simple. I used no glue putting it together, and this kit isn't coming undone anytime soon. I'm impressed in that regard. However, the kit does feel cheap in that the tank is really light. Since the hull is made of two pieces, the solution is easy: shotgun pellets and PVA! Load that sucker up. Now these guys have some serious heft. This is a personal preference, mind.
Bloody hell, this movie is still going. Time for a hobby enhancer! Highland Brewing Company's Black Mocha Stout. Another North Carolina brew that I highly recommend if you ever wind up down this way. Exactly what it says on the tin. Time to get painting!
I've airbrushed the tanks with a basecoat of Russian Green after a heavy drybrush of white. The white is to help me see the detail on the tank, and to show you what sort of detail you get for a sub-$4 kit. Quite a bit! And to show you that I haven't used any glue, here's the tank taken apart (except for the turret, which refused to separate into its two pieces).
Here's how much they weigh loaded with pellets! 1.5oz, or 42.52 grams.
If you are curious, like I was, as to how Russian Green, Russian Uniform, and Brown Violet differ from each other, check this out:
L-R: Russian Green, Brown Violet, Russian Uniform
Of course, as I'm already in with the camo pattern on one of the KVs, I found more pictures of the camo'd one at the Tank Museum. These pictures show folks restoring the tank, adding the camo pattern! I'm going to continue onwards with it, because the Finns did repaint captured tanks after a while.
No transfers for their slanted crosses, but it's a super easy design to free-hand.
Base coat: Vallejo Russian Green / Vallejo Green Grey for a highlight
Very light color: GW Bleached Bone / White highlight
Medium Brown: Vallejo US Field Drab / Mixed in GW Bleached Bone for highlight
Tracks: Basecoated generic Burnt Umber and slathered on GW Boltgun Metal. I hate painting tracks.
Now, I haven't done any weathering on these guys. I haven't done a lot of pin-washing. Normally I pin-wash, and I rarely weather, but I might make an exception with the more plain one to spice the look up a bit. Dust, paint chips, etc. Heavy weathering isn't my forte nor really my style.
Overall I am rather pleased with these. Like all Zvezda kits (I read other people's work!) they suffer from detail that could be raised more off the surface. They painted well, and being able to assemble without glue lets you paint the track separately and then pop those suckers on without a worry about your glue getting on the rest of the model or frosting the model. They're supposed to have a Hull MG, but it's missing from the kit. I'm highly confident I didn't forgot the piece on the sprue. If you are like me and don't like that cheap feeling from all-plastic minis, load them up with ballast to give them that quality feel.