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Klimi

Klimi

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Published by Jari Lievonen

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Published by: Jari Lievonen on Jul 28, 2011
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Finnish ”Klimi” – KV-1 model 1942Finnish Army captured two KV-1 tanks intact during Continuation War. One was model 1941(German designation KV-1 B) and the other was model 1942 with additional armor (Germandesignation KV-1 C). The latter was used in year 1943 to test a set of tank obstacles near Äänislinna (Petrosavodsk). The experiences gathered were used to design more effective tank obstacles for future fortifications. A series of photos taken during the tests gave me the idea to build a model climbing a wooden tank obstacle.Finns called the tank simply Klimi, which is just a Finnish way to pronounce the original Russianname of the tank. The other Klim was known as “Pulttiklimi” (“Bolt Klim” ). Neither of these twotanks was very successful in battle, mainly because of technical problems. There were practicallyno spear parts available, and what was available, had been recovered from destroyed Sovietvehicles. Both tanks for example eventually had two different types of road wheels in use.In the summer of 1944 Klimi belonged to the heavy tank company of the armored divisiontogether with the Pulttiklimi, two T-34’s armed with 76 mm guns, 3 T-28’s and a T-50. The hour of glory of the Heavy Company was its counter attack against a Soviet armored spearheadconsisting of about 30 T-34/85’s that had broken through the Finnish front on June 25,1944 inTali. Unfortunately Klimi had some technical trouble and could not participate in the attack, whichwas done with all the other then available tanks: 1 T-34, 2 T-28’s and the T-50. The order was to“destroy the enemy column”, which, given the disparity both in numbers and in quality, wasmildly put a tall order. But I’ll leave the rest of the story to a later time, when I build one of thetanks that really was there…Anyway, the only recorded case of Klimi in real action, was when it was the lead tank in acounter attack in Ihantala. The plan was very simple: Klimi and a couple of Stug III G’s wouldadvance along a dirt road supported by infantry advancing on both sides of the road. Finns knewthat there were several Soviet tanks in position along the planned route of advance and Klimi was put first because it was hoped that it’s armor protection would be sufficient to sustain hits fromSoviet 85 mm guns.The counter attack started in the cover of a forest but once Klimi cleared the first turn of the roadit came to an open field –and it was promptly hit by three Soviet T-34’s positioned on both sidesof the road some 300 m’s away. Despite of the hits, Klimi was able to reverse back to the cover of the forest. According to eyewitnesses, hatches of Klimi opened and the crew bailed out. Everyman was trying to run as fast as he could to the general direction of “homeland”. Unfortunately theroad was not wide enough for them but the men wondered from one side of the road to the other,even falling occasionally into the ditches on either side of the road. When the crewmembers hadrecovered from the shock, they told the others that the effect of the hits inside the tank had beenlike sitting inside a church bell when it was tolling. Scars that the shells left to the nose of Klimiare still visible today in Parola Museum where the tank is stored.Kit and accessories usedKit used as a starting point for the model is the Eastern Express kit Heavy Tank KV-1 mod 1942early version. The kit is not bad at all, but unfortunately there are a lot of details that are incorrectfor Klimi. The most noteworthy problems are turret and the back part of the engine deck.Purchasing the excellent JS-Models resin turret solved the first problem. The second was solved by buying Pulttiklimi, also from Eastern Express (Heavy Tank KV-1 mod 1941 late version). Thatkit had exactly the right engine deck for Klimi. And the one in Klimi was right for FinnishPulttiklimi –good thinking from the manufacturer!
 
Road wheels of the kit were of the wrong type and I replaced them with castings made out of theage-old Tamiya KV-1 C road wheels.I bought the Eduard etched set that contains parts for the Klim mudguards. This set looked ok inthe bag but many details proved to be different compared to the tank used by Finns. Especiallyfendersupports proved out to be too short.Tracks are white metal tracks from Friulmodelissimo.ConstructionConstruction of Klimi was pretty straightforward. I cut off the back part of the engine deck alongthe natural separation line of the plates and replaced it with the equivalent piece taken fromPulttiklimi. Some putty was needed to hide the surgery marks, but this was nothing major. Havingfixed the engine deck I fitted the kit turret ring into the JS-Models resin turret. After that the turretfit like it was intended for the kit in the first place.Because my intention was to build a base with tank obstacles for the model, it was necessary tomake the suspension working. This was accomplished simply by drilling holes for the torsion barsinto the sides of the hull. Then each suspension arm was equipped with a 10 mm long and 2 mmthick “torsion bar”. Suspension arms were then inserted into their positions and stopper that prevented unnatural movement of each suspension arms was glued into the torsion bar inside thehull. First and last wheel on the right and second and second last wheel on the left side was gluedinto fixed position.Parts that needed most effort were the louvers for the engine air intakes, mudguards and the three big boxes placed on top of the mudguards. Louvers were made of 0.25 plastic card strips. It took me a while to come up with a good method of getting the strips evenly spaced. Finally I just cutseveral about 10 mm long pieces of 0.5 by 2 mm strip and used them as spacers when I glued theribs in place. In photos the louvers showed clearly some damage and in this respect it suited wellthat the glue distorted some of the parts a bit when it set. This gave a pretty realistic look to thelouvers.There is an additional louver at the back. This louver consists of almost 100 short ribs. I made this part out of 0.25*1 mm plastic strips but I have to admit that gluing them in place was a tedious job. In order to save some time with the future Pulttiklimi –if I ever get to build one- I tried tomake a mould out of the part. Unfortunately I did not succeed too well and also broke the louver in the process. Luckily the damage proved relatively easy to fix. Next time I might try etching thelouver.For the fenders I used the Eduard fender parts as far as possible. The rest of the parts were madeout of scratch from 0.15 mm brass sheet. Finns cut and rounded the original Soviet stylemudguards both in the front and in the rear. The mudguards were reinforced by welding a rimaround the outer edge of the mudguard and by attaching two longitudal L-shaped supportsunderneath the mudguard. In addition the mudguards had 5 triangular supports that were weldedto the side of the upper hull and bolted to the mudguards.In order to fix the mudguards to the hull, I drilled small holes into the side of the hull with a 0.4mm drill. Then I soldered short pegs made out of 0.4 mm brass strings to the mudguards that fittedthe holes. I used epoxy glue to attach the mudguards and in order to secure that they stay put while
 
the glue set, I twisted the pegs inside the hull so that the mudguard was tightly secured against theside of the hull.The three big boxes on top of the mudguards were made out of 0.1 mm brass sheet. Two of the boxes are of similar design while the third is slightly longer than the others. It has also beendesigned so that it fits in its place despite the additional armor protecting the turret ring. JS Modelsoffers excellent resin boxes for this tank but I wanted to show the damage that the mudguard andthe boxes took when the tank obstacles were tested, so I could not use solid resin parts. Instead, Iused them as a model to draw the necessary parts on thin plastic card. I used the plastic parts astemplates to draw the parts on to brass sheet. I then cut the pieces out of brass with special scissorsthat give a very nice straight clean cut. Then I used a small file to even out any defects on theedges and soldered the parts together. In order to bend the lid of the box in the right way, I had togive the piece some heat treatment. This was done with a small blowtorch. After heating the brassturned pretty soft and easy to form and I even managed to make the u-shaped cover to the lid thatgoes on top of the rain guard. I am very happy with the result. These were one of the nicest partsthat I have been able to make for a model.JS Models turret is almost perfect as it is. The only modification needed was a scar left by a 45mm (?) shell that had hit the front of the turret on the right hand side before the tank was captured.The only complaint I have about the turret is that it is a solid casting. However, a half figurine can be used in the commander’s hatch thanks to the design.
Painting
Finnish AFV’s were painted in a three-tone camo in the latter part of the Continuation War. Thisscheme was copied from the artillery. The colors were Moss Green, Grey and Sand Brown. NameSand Brown and Grey are a bit misleading because the gray is pretty close to sand color where asthe brown is relatively dark reddish brown.Painting was done with Vallejo colors. Jukka Purhonen and Jarmo Lindgren did a thoroughresearch of Finnish camo colors a couple of years ago and even produced a recipe for mixing thecolors out of Humbrol model colors. Based on these colors I tried to choose matching VallejoColours, which were Yellow Olive for Moss Green, German Camouflage Ochre for Grey andBurnt Umber for Sand Brown.The above-mentioned colors proved to be a very good match apart of the Grey that should have aslight reddish tint in it. Jukka Purhonen made some experiments with the Vallejo colors andrecommended that I mix some Burnt Umber to the Ochre next time. The mixing should be done in1 to 5 relation for modeling purposes.Kari Tapio published more than a decade ago an excellent article about Klimi in IPMS Mallari.The article contains drawings that show every detail of the camo based on wartime photos. Thesedrawings were a great help when I started painting the model, because they showed clearly whatcolor should be used in each spot. The separation lines are very difficult to see in the photos,especially between green and brown. But Kari did an excellent job in tracing every possible detail.I started the painting by giving a light base coat of Revell matt green to the model. Then I sprayedthe Green Olive on top. After the green was dry I painted the gray and brown areas with a brush.When using Vallejo colors it is important to dilute them with some water even if this means that paint has to be applied on several layers. Diluted paint enables one to produce results with a brush

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