Built Review
Trumpeter's Russian KV-1 (model 1942) Heavy Cast Turret Tank

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

The KV series -a brief historical perspective

It is not unreasonable to see the Klim Voroshilov (KV) as a vehicle overshadowed by the T34. The latter served in conflicts, from WW2 until the Balkans crisis in the 1980s (and beyond in some smaller 'brush wars'). Technically and strategically, the T34 was a very superior vehicle to the KV effecting a total change in Soviet doctrinal planning. The kV on the other hand was beset by technical difficulties and (at least in the days and months following the German invasion of Russia) the KV was thrown by using it in small unconcentrated numbers... With pre-war tactical doctrine firmly estalished around the earlier 'Land Battleships' of the T-35 series, a change in thinking 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....

some preliminary comments about this review.

When I published my previous review on (00358) - Trumpeter's Russian KV1 (Model 1942) Simplified Turret Tank it became obvious that I wasn't going o stop with just one - the KV series is a very addictive subject for modellers!!

With this review, I chose to simply build the turret and use (with some modifications) my comments on the previous build. Therefore, large 'chunks' of this review have similar text as all the kits in THIS series of KVs are similar apart from Turrets and some additional details. The original review can be seen: HERE

First impressions..

The kit - 00359 - Russian KV-1 (model 1942) Heavy Cast Turret Tank comes in the customary Trumpeter packaging in a very solid cardboard box. The first impression is again excellent with the box-art being particularly notable - again superbly executed by a long-standing member of this site, Vince Wai..

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. Two of the sprues consist of some of the best 'link n' length' tracks ever seen in a plastic kit...

the build...

Hull/suspension Construction

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 model the vehicle in a less 'static' position. Following this, the beautifully moulded track 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 detail 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. This was set aside to dry solidly...

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.

The Turret.

As can be seen from the above photo, there are marked differences between the turrets of the 'Simplified Turret' tank (furthest from the camera) and the 'Heavy Cast Turret' Tank (nearest the camera). The latter (the subject of this kit) is of straightforward construction with only 24 parts. Moulding is excellent and the fit is extremely good. The only negative side to the construction is the line between the lower turret and the upper turret - see photo below:

That strangely enough works as an amazing advantage. In the actual turret, the basic turret was done in two castings, lower an upper and it seems as if Trumpeter have done the modeller a real favor by seperating the two parts here as it gves an ideal guide line to add the welded joint on top. work will have to be done on the turret to 'roughen' the surface although it should be done with some discretion - the photos I have of this variant show the fnish as uncharacteristically smooth for a Russian vehicle. The roof of the turretis very well-done also. The fairly distinctive weld-lines which mark the roof of the turret are subtle and nicely defined. The interior of the hatch WILL need some additional detailing. I am currently waiting for the set from Eduard although there is another set available from Voyager. The gun/mantlet are well done although some weld-lines should be added/accentuated to the sides of the mantlet mount.The barrel is plastic and many will wish to replace it - an excellent replacement is available from the Polish company, Armorscale. The angles and dimensions of the correspond well with the 1/35th scale plan that I possess with little in the way of abnormalities....


This is simply a superb kit. Contruction is simple and the detail is simply sublime. Curiously enough, although the original vehicle was built in a typical crude manner with engineering tolerances far higher than those of vehicles of other nationalities of the period, the subtlety in the kit design in no way softens the reproduction of a good scale model. Apart from the aspects I mentioned such as 'texturizing' of the turret, the essential 'nature' of the vehicle is well-represented. I would unhesitatingly recommend this vehicle to both experienced modellers and those who are entering the hobby. This series provides few pitfalls for the 'unwary' and even if you only build one of the available KVs they are a fresh, interesting subject for the most 'jaded' of modellers..

The future?

With two further releases coming in the next month or two and using the established components (upper hull and running gear) Trumpeter is coming close to end of 'Phase One' in the KV series. 'Phase Two' will inevitably bring us such vehicles as the KV 85 and the KV 1(s). Hopefully they will consider 'tapping into' the (vibrant) German 'market' with some of the 'BeutePanzers' which are remarkably well-documented. Going in the other direction, some of the prototype models would be equally welcome although more likely to be covered by companies such as Mig Productions. Whatever way things go, for the Soviet armor enthusiast, the future and present are very bright with this extraordinary series!

Further details and references

My KV was purchased from Robert M. Burnside (Alpenflage) whose EXCELLENT on-line store can be seem here: Alpenflage Hobbies' Website. A trader who gives both an excellent personal and professional service. Very highly recommended indeed!!

I have used a number of reference sources for this kit the most notable are the following:

KV 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

Armorscale products can be seen on their WEBSITE

Mig Productions, can be seen HERE

The decision to begin producing a series of KVs was in many people's opinions the right course for Trumpeter to follow. Prior to this, only Tamiya and Eastern Express had produced models of this interesting vehicle. The former with a series of kits which are around 3 generations away from what we have come to accept as 'industry standard, the latter producing a series of kits which are nowhere near what we have come to accept. This is the 3rd in Trumpeter's KV series and the 2nd which I have built for review...
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 00359
  Suggested Retail: $20
  PUBLISHED: Nov 05, 2005

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


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