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REVIEW
Trumpeter Russia KV 'Big Turret'
c5flies
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Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 05:44 AM UTC
Darren Baker provides an in-depth review of the Russia KV 'Big Turret' by Trumpeter in 1/35.

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If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
CMOT
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ARMORAMA
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Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 06:39 AM UTC
Thanks for getting this sorted James.
bill_c
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MODEL SHIPWRIGHTS
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Posted: Monday, July 13, 2009 - 05:54 AM UTC
Nice work, Mate! I enjoyed my one KV-1 build, though I agree some PE improves things a lot, especially the fender hangers and the engine grills.
CMOT
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Posted: Monday, July 13, 2009 - 10:50 AM UTC
Thanks Bill. The PE grills do involve a lot of work as regards shaping them correctly, however once you are happy with the shape they add nicely to the overall look of the model. I know this is not strictly a review of the kit, but I hope that the addition of the PE along side pictures of the kit offered detail helps the viewer to decide how far they want to go. I also tried to include a lot more data in this review to satisfy the reader who wants a lot more background information as well as accuracy and detail addressed, rather than a strict review of the product.

Did you as the reader gain more from it? And considering the fact you have built a KV1from Trumpeter did it give you anything you didn't already know?
c5flies
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Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 03:37 PM UTC
Well I'm not Bill, and I usually don't comment on reviews, but I think you did an excellent job on this one. A good mix of history, what's in the box and accuracy/timeframe points. For someone like me who has no prior knowledge of this subject, I now have a basis of not only knowing what I'm modeling, but also is this kit the one I want to model. Thanks for sharing this one, Darren
CMOT
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Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 05:17 PM UTC
Thanks James as I kind of had to muddle through this one because I usually use Bill Plunks reviews as a guide.
warreni
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Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 - 11:19 PM UTC
Thanks for that Darren.

I already have five KV-1s and one KV-2 from Trumpeter. Might build one next!
CMOT
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Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 12:55 AM UTC
There is some more information on the KV2 coming from someone who knows more than I, watch this space for his update.
MrNeil
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Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 06:14 AM UTC
Just to add a bit more background to Darren's excellent review, the Trumpeter KV 'Big Turret' kit represents one of the 20 series production vehicles manufactured by LKZ in June/July 1940. It can be back-dated to one of the four pre-production vehicles built between January and March, but that requires eliminating the ventilators from the turret roof as well as numerous other changes specific to individual vehicles.

The KV s bolshoiy bashniy, to use a rough transliteration from the Russian, weighed 54 metric tons, 2 tons more than the later KV-2 since the MT-1 turret was 2 tons heavier than the later MT-2 turret.

The Trumpeter kit gives you the correct early pattern road wheels with eight round holes on the inner (center) disc. These holes exposed the rubber cushioning ring between the two discs and helped to cool the rubber which became very hot as it absorbed energey when riding over rough ground. In October 1940, the number of holes was reduced from eight to six so the early eight-holed wheels are correct for a June/July production hull.

The kit also gives you the correct cast return rollers with reinforcing ribs and drive sprockets with sixteen bolts retaining the hubs. The tracks are slightly incorrect since they represent the later version with lengthened guide teeth and thickened ends on the links, but this is hardly noticeable.

The hull is dimensionally accurate but needs a little work on certain details. The nose plate on vehicles manufactured prior to the end of August 1940 was attached with 34 bolts; seventeen on the lower face and seventeen on the upper. The kit gives you the later place which had 22 bolts, as fitted from September 1940 to July 1941. This can be fixed with a bit of patience however.

The kit gives you the correct "creased" rear hull overhang with the flat spot at the top, though both this and the later version are included in the kit. Use part K7.

The hull and turret episcope covers lack flanges, which is correct for vehicles manufactured before mid-March 1941.

Ensure that you DO NOT use the inspection port (part A18) in the center of the engine access hatch. This feature was only introduced at the end of 1941 when the engine cooling system was revised to include a header tank and overpressure valve; the port allowed the driver to inspect the valve without opening the hatch. The change was made long after KV-2 production ceased, and the port is certainly not appropriate for a June/July 1940 hull.

The stowage boxes are the correct early pattern with no handles on the lids, and the instructions give you the correct configuration; two on the left-hand fender, one on the right. However, the kit is missing the cross-cut saw and its bracket from the left-hand fender, which was fitted on vehicles built prior to March 1941. Steal one from the "KV Small Turret" kit, since you don't need it for a vehicle manufactured after March 1941 (the saw was moved inside the stowage box).

The turret is nice but the circular vision port and pistol port on the right-hand front face need covers like those on the sides and rear. This is an understandable mistake since several photographs of the real thing show the covers missing.

The barrel is a bit of a problem. First of all, it's 3mm too short. Secondly, it includes the reinforcing collar around the muzzle that was not present on the June/July production batch and was only introduced when the first KV-2 Model 1940s appeared in November.

The barrel also includes the infamous grooves. The M-10S had a sleeved barrel made up of three segments welded together, so the grooves show up on factory blueprints and were actually there. However, the segments of the sleeve were welded together and the welds ground smooth, so the joints are barely visible even from close range. The deep grooves on the kit parts are way too prominent.

Given the problems with the barrel, I recommend replacing it with Jordi Rubio's TG83, which has no grooves or collar and is the right length.

The Lion Roar update set is a mixed bag. Nice stowage boxes, fender brackets etc but the barrel includes the aforementioned grooves and has the collar too. As noted above, I'd go with the Jordi Rubio barrel.

Lion Roar's radiator intake screens are also the wrong shape. The curvature should not include the frames on the long sides. Eduard gets this right in their KV Big Turret update set and their screens are easier to assemble than Aber's, so I would go with the Eduard set.

For those who are wondering, this information comes from Maxim Kolomyets' latest Frontline Illustrations 1/2009 "The KVs of Leningrad" (unfortunately only available in Russian or in Polish from Wydawnictwo Militaria) and also from my own book, which is almost finished but not yet available.

Cheers,

Neil
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Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 08:25 AM UTC
Thank you Neil for correcting some errors in the information I have, and expanding upon the information I have right. I look forward to your book being published as I have a soft spot for the KV series of vehicles.
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 02:28 PM UTC

Quoted Text

It should be noted that at least four wheel patterns were used on the KV tanks, and the set included in this kit represents an early pattern (39 to 41)


A cool image that I found, showing all 4 on the same vehicle...

Left to right
1) Replaced initial pattern, autumn 1941. Standard for KV1 m41 and m42.
2) KV-1S variant pattern
3) Initial KV-1S pattern
4) Initial pattern 1939-41(rubber ring on inside)


Quoted Text

Did you as the reader gain more from it?


Yes. I love reading a good introduction with background. particularily helpful when only a fleeting interest is had in particular subjects. Those that are not interested can simply skip it.'
Good review Darren.

Quoted Text

from my own book, which is almost finished but not yet available.


Hi Neil. Looking forward to your book. This will be a must buy. Will you be devoting a section to models, or is it entirly a reference study?
MrNeil
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Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - 01:31 AM UTC
Hi Frank,

The photo you posted is of the KV-1 at the CAF Museum in Moscow. This vehicle is a "dog's breakfast" of parts from different variants.

There were, in fact, nine different road wheel variants, with a possible tenth though I'm not sure on that one. Your quoted text is correct except for the right-most wheel, which was one of four two-part resilient designs with rubber rings. This one is the cast variant that was introduced in mid-July 1941 and was fitted until October/November of that year. The other variations were:

Pressed steel variant with no reinforcing ribs on the outer disc and eight cooling vent holes on the inner disc. Used from January until October 1940.

Pressed steel variant with six cooling vent holes. Used from October 1940 to early July 1941.

Pressed steel variant with six cooling vent holes and no lightening holes on the outer disc. Used for a short period in early July 1941.

Cast variant with six cooling vent holes, lightening holes and reinforcing ribs on the outer disc. Used from mid-July to Oct/Nov 1941.

After that, they went to the all-steel cast wheels.

By the way, no disrespect to Steve Zaloga who wrote the text you quoted. When he wrote that book, he used the best information available. A lot has come to light since then, particularly due to Maxim Kolomyets and his research at the LKZ archives in St Petersburg.

The book is written from a modeller's perspective, so it goes into great detail on the visible differences between variants and production features, when they occured and why. There's also a lot of information on the interior stuff, mechanical operation etc. Just to give you an idea, the book is over 400 pages in A4 size, has 250+ photos and about 300 line drawings. There's a lot of detail :-)

The modelling stuff will not be in the book, but I am preparing a web site which will launch at the same time, to hold modelling-related information such as lists of kits and after-market products, reviews, tweaks lists etc. By doing it that way, I can more easily keep it up-to-date when somebody releases a new kit or after-market set.

Cheers,

Neil
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Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 - 09:34 AM UTC
As far as wheels for KV tanks you might be interested in this article:
http://www.armory-rus.ru/index/0-123
MrNeil
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Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 - 01:59 PM UTC
Nice summary of the various types, consistent with Maxim Kolomyets' research on the early variants and with the work done by Ian Sadler, H.M.Pampel and myself on the late variants.

Neil