Gaso.Line, 1/48 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
Is it a KV-1? Is it an IS tank? Is it a T-34?
No. It is a KV-85!
The KV-85 was an interim step between the KV and the IS tanks - an expedient measure to hastily equip the hard-pressed Soviet armoured units with a tank gun that would be able to deal with new German types. The 85mm D-5T gun was the logical choice, and the KV-85 was the result of mating a new, larger turret with this more powerful weapon on a modified KV-1S hull. 130 KV-85 tanks were manufactured, seeing service with various Guards Armoured units from late 1943.
Rapid development of the concept resulted in the IS-1 (also equipped with the 85mm gun), and the IS-2 in much larger numbers. The resemblance between the KV-85 and the IS family is unmistakable.
Gaso.Line has been producing 1/48 scale armour conversions and kits for some time now, but the recent explosion of Tamiya and Hobby Boos kits onto the market must have seemed like a incredible stroke of fortune. Suddenly, 1/48 scale armour was transformed from a niche interest, its exponents scrounging parts and searching for kits long out of production, into a mainstream interest with state-of-the-art models.
Gaso.Line has taken advantage of its lineage in the scale and these new models with several new conversions based on Tamiya kits.
Gaso.Line's 1/48 scale KV-85 conversion comprises around 50 parts in grey and green coloured resin, a turned metal gun barrel and two lengths of wire - one copper and one brass.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
The resin parts are very well cast.
The focus of the conversion is the replacement turret, upper hull and running gear parts. These turret is a large, solid casting with holes cast in place inside the hatches, permitting the installation of crew figures if desired. The characteristically rough casting texture is authentically represented, as are the heavy weld beads along the bottom of the turret. Smaller raised weld lines are also present on the turret roof and cupola, as appropriate. Hatches and the dome vent are supplied as separate pieces. The gun mantlet is designed to be trapped between two resin parts using the poly caps supplied in Tamiya's kit. This works perfectly, allowing full elevation and depression of the gun when assembled.
The upper hull is another one-piece casting. Even the track guards are cast in place. Tamiya's engine deck simply drops into the recess on the rear of the hull. The inside of the turret ring is flashed over, but a few minutes with a sharp hobby knife and a pair of sprue cutters will quickly open the large hole. The remnants of the casting block are still present on the front of the hull and the track guards. Some care is required when removing these tabs to avoid damaging the resin, especially from the mudguards.
Gaso-Line has supplied the correct style of steel wheels for the KV-85. These are in one piece each, and will need to be carefully drilled out to install on Tamiya's axles.
Additional resin parts include four external fuel drums, hull fittings and engine deck rails.
Brass wire is supplied for the turret rails and lifting hooks, while fine copper wire is provided for the fuel drum handles.
Instructions comprise construction diagrams and reference photos over four pages. These are generally okay, but additional reference would be helpful.
I have always liked the aggressive lines of this big "animal hunter", so I decided to test fit some of the parts. Before long, I had actually finished building the tank!
The fit is generally very good, but careful preparation and regular test fitting are essential, especially as the instructions are a little basic. I can offer the following observations about construction:
I will post a detailed article on the construction and painting when the model is finished.
Gaso.Line's 1/48 scale KV-85 conversion is an impressive set which will transform Tamiya's KV-1 into the forerunner of a powerful family of Soviet tanks.
Casting is very good, detail is well done and fit is generally trouble free. Construction as detailed in this review took place over a period of less than two days.
This conversion will be warmly welcomed by Soviet armour modellers.
I look forward to seeing what Gaso.Line has planned next!
Thanks to Gaso.Line for the review sample
Text and Images by Brett Green