Greetings from the Ultimate KVís

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The KV-85 and SU-152 were both based on the KV tank chassis. The potential of the KV hull ended with these production versions. The designs would lead to the later JS series of tanks including the JS-1, JS-2, ISU-152, and ISU-122. My scene depicts these tanks outflanking and capturing a German 75mm AT gun. The Russian Battlefield website describes these tanks together in WWII Russian Front battles.

  • 1/48 Tamiya KV-1 tanks.
  • Gasoline resin conversion upper hulls for the KV-85 and SU-152.
  • Bandai 75mm AT gun.
  • Gasoline tank riders.
  • ICM officers.
  • Art of War tank crew.
  • Dartmoor tank crew.

I prefer Loctite brush-on superglue for use with resin and PE parts. I find it at Walmart. I scratched my own barrel for the Su-152 using brass rod and a brass pipe cutter for $5 from the Home Depot. Brass wire for grab rails. I borrowed the later style wheels from a Hobby Boss KV kit for the Su-152 although Iíve found photos where the earlier style wheels could be used too. The base was a piece of scrap wood with Kincali cobblestone cut out and glued in place. I use something called ďPolymeric SandĒ for my dirt/groundwork. I found this stuff at my local landscaping place and it is used to stop weed grow in sidewalks, bricks, etc. You simply spray water on it and over a few hours it will harden up. Iíve used it to build-up piles of rubble (see JS-2 diorama picture). The ďmagic sandĒ can be painted, but I prefer using a variety of pigments spread around haphazardly to ensure a dead-flat, natural finish. Silflor Grass was added on top. I should have added some other color grass for more variation.

Vallejo Acrylic Paints are my choice for base coats. Russian Green was used straight out of the bottle for the Su-152 and mix with White for the KV-85 lighter color. Iím a beginner but have been told the more variety & contrast you can create, the more interesting the final scene is to look at. I attempted some fading strokes on the sides of the Su-152 with enamels but Iím not happy with the results. Next build Iíll try the Mig 502 oil paints for fading strokes. Various Mig Pigments were used for dust washes on both vehicles (lighter colors on the outer surfaces, and dark over dry mud effects). The Su-152 track mud was created in a mixture of ďPolymeric sand,Ē Plaster of Paris, acrylic gloss medium & varnish paste (from the art store - you can use Mig Acrylic resin too), and pigments for color. The mud is then wiped off the outer surfaces so Vallejo oily steel or rust can be dry brushed on exposed track parts.

I just started trying groundwork for my models and I find it very challenging but rewarding to the final look of the model. My motto is to try at least one new technique with each build. The folks on this site are very helpful and thereís loads of info to be found on this site. If youíre interested in 1/48 scale, I would also recommend Track48.com as they have the largest gallery of this scale. Thanks to Darren for the vote of confidence to write this.

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About the Author

About California Greg (GregCloseCombat)

My father was a model junkie of all scales, and he got me started when I was little (5 to 8 years old maybe?) doing some Monogram Snap-tite kits. Then at 8 years of age, I practiced the art of fireworks and BB gun marksmanship on those kits. When I was 25, he gave me his 1/48 unbuilt Bandai kits t...


very nice dio there, i love the cobbled road. perhaps the KV-85 is a bit clean though. the weathering on the track area of both vehicles is great though.
MAY 01, 2009 - 05:05 AM
Looks very good to me. jeepkid019
MAY 01, 2009 - 03:14 PM
I think the dust effect on the SU looks great, and also really appreciate the hand made gun barrel and other home made parts. It's also great to see another of the old Bandai kits making an appearance on here. Fred Rick Boucher (JPTRR) would be interested. A little bit of blackening arund the muzzles might look good, either dry brushing or pastel chalks.
MAY 02, 2009 - 10:11 AM
Thanks guys - points well taken. Cheers
MAY 03, 2009 - 04:52 AM
Real nice work Greg,I know you are a 1/48 guy and I have seen your work here and other places,this one really is outstanding,especially the figures,I have trouble dealing with 1/35 figures,never mind 1/48,but you have got it down.
MAY 03, 2009 - 09:34 AM
Hi Anthony, another thanks for your comments. I've found the quality of the figures makes a huge difference in what they look like in the end. My current Russian Sherman project has all crummy Tamiya figures with little detail to stand out on them. In 1/48 scale, you can get away with less as more in figure painting I think. It's not necessary to put whites in the eyes or a lot of face detail. I'm glad they turned out good but all I used was a simple formula: Skin: Vallejo medium flesh base, then Vallejo flat flesh for highlights, 2 black lines/dots for eyes. Uniform: base blackgrey, then highlight light grey/buff mixture. The key is careful drybrushing and not letting the Vallejo acrylics dry too fast. The Sheperd Paine book, "How to build dioramas" was my first modelling book, and I sorta follow his 'stop sign rule' but with much fewer colors needed to show the lights/shadows. That book and Mig's FAQ are my bibles I look to to get ideas. Track48.com has all the figures I used, so if you want to give 1/48 a try..... but no pressure Each 1/48 kit is about the size of a coke or can so they fit comfortably in my TV cabinet. Cheers
MAY 03, 2009 - 03:41 PM