The KV - an overshadowed vehicle...
One of the ironies of history, is that on the same day, the decision wa taken in the Soviet Union, to press ahead with the production of both the KV series AND
the T34... The latter, was almost certainly one of the most succesful vehicles in history, the former was beset by technical difficulties and, running into no less than 12 (production) variants and an equal number of strange prototypes and 'concept' vehicles. Nevertheless some of its features can be seen on later Soviet designs, beginning with the JS-3 Series. 'Aesthetically' I have a strong preference for the less 'streamlined' armor of the 1930s and early 1940s, I find the KV series fits perfectly into that category.
is a small publishing house which is part of the ModelHobby
company in Poland. This book is number 13 in a series which covers Avation Armor and Warship titles. The book is A4, softcover and has 64 pages which have 88 photos. The only text (which is in Polish) consists of the photo-captions. This is no real problem as the photos are pretty self-explanatory...
The vehicles are all (as far as I can judge) correctly captioned, with variant and where applicable, the particular armament of the vehicle as well. Some of the photographs have turned up in other books although there are quite a number which I haven't seen before. There are two distinct sources for the photos - official Soviet archives and photos of captured vehicles (which eventually found their way into both Western and Russian archies) - the latter are very interesting as they were obviously taken shortly after their capture. Many of the German archive photos show the vehicles in German service, where in the majority of cases they had been modified by the addition of items such as cupolas and the ubiquitious 'NOTEK' lights. Many of the photos show vehicles which were abandoned with no sign of damage, others are disabled or (in several cases) completely wrecked. Herein lies one of the most valuable aspects of these photographs. Battle damage is a difficult thing to reproduce convincingly as is the 'sit' of a destroyed vehicle - many f the photos show both an aspect which is invaluable for the modeller. Small details such as damage to fenders and the 'sit' of track which has left the running gear are well covered in this book. Inevitably there are also items such as the build up of mud on tracks and running gear which the modeller will also find useful.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the book is the lack of contrast in many of the photographs. Some are positively washed out. The publisher should really have worked on some of these photos to give a clearer/crisper image. With the tools available for photo-enhancement nowadays, there is frankly little excuse for 'unscanned' photos.
Virtually all the princial (early) variants of the KV series are represented. The vast majority of the photos were obviously taken in the early days of 'Barbarossa' when the Soviet Union lost enormous amounts of materiél. There are some particularly inspiring ideas in the book - flatcars loaded with KV-2s and '1s would make an extraordinary (and large!) diorama in 1/35th scale. Just one of the dozens of ideas this book presents...
Tis is a useful addition to the more 'technical' works available on the KV series. The book is very limited in its objective, it sets out to be a photo-album of the KV, nothing else. For the technical details, the modeller will have to turn to other sources athough for sheer 'inspiration' it is very good indeed. There are drawbacks, particularly with the reproduction of some of the images and (unlike other books) not having bi-lingual captions.
A good, useful book and one that should be added to every Klim Voroshilov