The KV series.
The (arguably) most succesful tank in history was the T34. Serving in many countries from its inception in the 1930s until the 1980s (and beyond), the story of the T34 has inevitably overshadowed the development and historical story of the Klim Voroshilov
(KV) heavy tank series. With the obvious technical limitations of the earlier 'Land Battleships' of the T-35 series, the race began, in 1938, to produce a lighter and more modern heavy tank. After much debate, and folowing the beginning of the 'Winter War' with Finland, the curious decision was taken to produce the KV AND
the T-34 despite the obvious limitations in the KV's design and technical performance. In sheer nunbers there was an obvious disparity in the production of the T-34 against the KV. By the time production had ceased, in 1943, only 4,566 examples had been produced in 12 different variants. That said, the ungainly appearance of the KV and its general 'clunkiness' make it a wonderful subject for modellers....
Trumpeter's New Kit - what's in the box?
The kit - 00358 - Russia KV1 (Model 1942)
Simplified Turret Tank
, comes in the customary Trumpeter
packaging in a very solid cardboard box. The first impression is excellent with the box-art amongst the best that Trumpeter
has commisioned. The subject of the box-art is one of the most well-known vehicles, Besposhchadniy
- 'Fearless', which is also amongst the options in the decal sheet. The kit contains 237 parts moulded in light-grey plastic on 9 sprues with one sprue of clear parts. The upper - turret and lower hull are stored in a separate compartment in the box along with the 'rubber-band' style tracks and a length of wire for the towing cables.All sprues are bagged individually. An instruction sheet is (naturally enough) provided along with a superb A4, full-color sheet showing the decal placement and color references for Gunze Sangyo Mr.Colors
. Initial impressions of the quality of the moulding is excellent with no flash and little in the way of dimpling or mould lines being apparent.
failed to exploit in their publicity, is that this is in fact a 'Two-in-One
kit with parts being supplied for an alternative build - the KV-8
(flamethrower version) armed with the 45mm gun The version I chose to build, is the 'standard' KV-1 armed with the 76mm Zis-5 gun.
Having seen the work done on Trumpeter's
KV-II on the forums in Armorama
, I was, naturally enough, expecting something a little special. In this, I was certainly not going to be disapponted...
I began construction with the lower hull which (unlike the Tamiya version) consists of a hull tub to which side plates are added. The design of these is superb with small location pins and 'lips' provided which allow the sideplates to fit snugly onto the tub. Once the lower hull was in place, I dry-fitted the hll decking. This is in two parts, a very clever idea on the part of the designers which will facilitate adding a new rear-decking on future kits. The two parts (see photo) fit together with the minimum of problems and only a small amount of cement was necessary to weld them together. A number of location holes have to be drilled to fit items such as the bullet-splash protector and some of the miniscule hull fittings.In the case of the latter, I have left them off in the process of getting the kit 90% finished for this review...
The next stage was the suspension/running gear (see photos of road wheels & drive sprockets). The first stage was adding the suspension arms. An interesting design feature on this kit, is that the location hole for the arms is hexagonal which means that it is impossible to position them a the wrong angle andwould facilitate (careful) work to madel the vehicle in a less 'static' position. Following this, the beautifully moulded rack tighteners were added. It is worth mentioning at this point, that, according to my reference material, the roadwheels are correct for this version - unlike the poor attempts by other manufactures... The roadwheels/drive sprockets and rear idlers, contain exquisite detial on both the outside and the inner part. The roadwheels consist of two parts with a 'polycap' in the centre which ensures a very snug fit. Setting this apart, to dry solidly, I moved onto another sub-assembly - the turret...
At this point, I decided to make the KV-1 76mm version of the tank. Partly this decision was made after getting the excellent Armorscale
76mm Zis-5 barrel and mantlet. No reflection whatsoever on Trumpeter's
76 which is provided, I simply prefer, whenever possible to use AM barrels (see photos). The Trumpeter
barrel is excellent with slide-mold technology being used to good effect. At this point I found the first problems in the construction. The kit contains a number of different mouldings of the semi-circular additions on either side of the mantlet. The correct ones are mis-labelled on the instructions causing an hour or so of panic while I found the correct items. Apart from this, there are no problems in the construction whatsoever with everything fitting together with the minimum of fuss. What is very notable, is the nicelymoulded ventilators and periscope covers. Although the original vehicle turret was of welded construction, the turret sides are lacking in 'texture', which would enhance the model enormously. Even welded plates were notable for their roughness in finsh of vehicles of this period.
Upper hull detailing...
Going back to the upper hull, I followed the instructions and added such items as the front plate over the driver's compartment, the MG housing (two part moulding) and the hatches. In front of the turret ring, there is a V-shaped bullet splash guard which even has the welding marks moulded onto the bottom (no, it ISN'T flash, so don't shave them off!) The side-intake grilles are moulded solid, which would really deserve to be reproduced in etched-brass. The front light is a hollow mouding which has a clear-plastic cover for the glass. Once again, subtle and careful moulding is order of the day. As I mentioned earlier, I have left off the tiny lifting hooks which will require VERY
careful handling... Another notable aspect of the engineering involved in the kit, is the provision of a separate turret ring which adds a 'depth' to sit of the finished model.
The Side fenders and tracks.
When I get round to finishing the kit, I will be using the 'link n' length' tracks provided rather than the 'rubber-bands' (also provided) so for this reason I didn't glue the fenders in place. They are attached with a simple (but effective) series of lugs and fit perfectly. The moulding is impeccable with lots of nice, subtle detail. The fender supports are nicely cast with two types beng provided - solid and open. The track is also well done with the top (part no. T4) being moulded with sag included. Some minor moulding marks will have to be removed with a sharp knife - in particular those at the bottom of the track run.
I make no bones of the fact I am a total 'unconditional' regarding Soviet early/mid war armor. Recently I have done two full-builds of the excellent Mig Productions
conversion sets for the KV1 (model 1939) and the Sturm Pz.Kpf.Wg. KV II 754 r (KV II in German service). In both cases, I used the Tamiya
KVs as the donor kits. Although their are 20 years between the products of the two companies, the difference is as extreme as you can get. The Tamiya kits look (vaguely) like KVs, the Trumpeter
kits are scale models of the vehicle. This is a kit where one rapidly runs out of superlatives. The subject matter is not that of a vehicle which was produced in the thousands (only a few hundred were actually produced), nevertheless, it is an interesting vehicle.The quality is as good as anything on the market today and it has to be said that Trumpeter
(after a shaky start) is now producing kits which are superb. They have captured the all-important 'feel' of the subject which can be built by both 'novice' and 'master' with both acheiving satisfying results. The potential with the KV Series is also enormous, going from the KV-85 to the extraordinary KV-4 - something which the AM manufacturers will unoubtedly be considering. The price is also going to ensure the success of this range. Including postage, I paid less than $20 for this kit.. It would be trivial to describe this as 'shake 'n bake' but it does come very close. There are improvements which will be provided by the AM people, but at theend of the day, this is a kit which leaves little undone.Trumpeter
should be congratulated for going 'out on a limb' with this and the other kits in the series and they truly deserve enormous success with this and the future variants...
VERY Highly Recommended
Further details and references
My KV was purchased from Lucky Model
in Hong Kong, who, once again, supplied the kit in around six days - truly impressive!
I have used a number of reference sources for this kit the most notable are the following:
published by Wydawnictwo Militaria
KV (Part 1) # 163
published by Wydawnictwo Militaria
KV (Part 2) # 168
published by Wydawnictwo Militaria
KV1 & KV2 Foto Album #13
published by Waldemar Trojca REVIEW ON-LINE, HERE!
The Wydawnictwo Militaria & Trocja
books can be obtained from a number of sources:
In Canada/North America: AirConnection
In Britain/Europe Military Book Centre
Direct from Poland: Jadar Models
can be seen on their WEBSITE
, can be seen HERE