On June 22, 1941 when Germany started its invasion of Russia, its mighty Panzer armies expected to crush everything before them as they had done in the rest of Europe. Instead they came up against Stalin’s heavy tanks, the KV1 and KV2. These behemoths held up the German advance into Russia, with a single KV1 or KV2 holding up the German advance for as long as thirty hours at a time when defending crossroads and routes of advance. The shells the Germans had just bounced off these heavily armoured tanks.
The KV1 and KV2 went into production in 1940, with 600 vehicles in service when Germany invaded. By 1943, when production stopped, 10,000 KV1 and KV2’s had been produced (the KV2 production was ended in 1941). The KV2 weighing in at 57 tons was an imposing beast, armed with a 15.2cm main gun and two 7.62 machine guns. The KV2 had its weaknesses such as being slow and not being able to rotate its heavy turret unless on flat level ground, however it was all but immune to all the German panzers and field guns of the day, with most KV1 and KV2’s being destroyed by the German 88’s or being hit in the rear.
The kit is packaged in a cardboard box which measures 413mm X 229mm X 79mm, the box is of a very sturdy cardboard which is the norm for Trumpeter. The artwork on the box is very well done, with an image that could encourage people to attempt a diorama of the box top. Inside the box you will find all the sprues individually wrapped in plastic with the exception of the road wheels and link and length tracks.
Included in the kit are the following:
• Nine sprues molded in a light grey plastic.
• The hull tub in a light grey plastic, which is not protected in a plastic bag, however it is protected by having its own partitioned area in the box.
• A small sprue of clear items.
• A 150mm length of copper twisted cable.
• A decal sheet measuring 80mm X 76mm packaged in a sealed plastic bag.
• A set of rubber band tracks.
• A glossy five way view painting and marking guide.
• A fold out set of instructions which gives you ten pages a little smaller than A4 size.
The kit parts are well molded with the only flash being on the tow chain eyes, and a few minor seam lines that will need attention. As with most Trumpeter kits the ejection marks are large, but for the most part not viewable when the kit is assembled. One of the mounting brackets for the fenders was broken in this kit, however its design should not cause too many issues to scratch a new one.
The hull of the vehicle is the same one used in all the KV models that Trumpeter produce, and to get over minor alterations in the hull there are several points that need drilling. The sponson sides are also separate parts from the hull that need drilling in various locations. The upper surface of the hull is in two parts, with one going from the rear of the vehicle and stopping just before the turret starts, the other containing the turret ring and then continuing to the front of the vehicle, which also needs drilling or cutting depending on version. Details on all of these parts are accurately replicated, with a great deal of detail from a minimum amount of parts. The underside of the hull has also been detailed, however this is an area I cannot confirm as accurate or not.
The fenders on this model are nicely detailed on the top surface, however the underside of the fenders do have a lot of push out marks that will need filling despite not being overly visible when the tracks are attached (I know they are there). There is another weakness in this area which is the tow cables, despite providing a length of cable to replicate the tow cables the eye detail is in my opinion very poor and another option should be sought. It is not all bad news in this area though as the tensioner provided for attaching the cable to the hull is beautifully replicated.
Tracks and Suspension:
There are two sets of tracks in the box for the KV2. You have the option of using rubber band tracks which are not the best I have ever seen, but are usable by anyone not comfortable with using individual links. The second option is to use the link and length tracks in the box which are very nicely detailed, I have used these on other occasions and they do look the part. They do have a weakness though, being that they require a lot of cleaning up due to a high number of push out marks on the inside face. There are too many push out marks to count and filling and sanding them all is soul destroying, but worth the effort. Both options are good replicas of the real item, however take into account the weaknesses of rubber band tracks, with the link and length being the most realistic option.
The suspension in this kit is an injection molded masterpiece, with all aspects of it being faithfully reproduced. To give you an insight into how much detail is in this area, it takes up seven of the fifteen stages to complete. You could show some of the parts removed from the tank and being repaired if you wish. The six bolt holes that are used to attach the track support arm are reproduced faithfully in the side of the vehicle. There are some seams that need cleaning, mostly on the legs, but nothing drastic and they should not represent any difficulty. Each arm has a hexagon ‘shaft’ which pushes into a socket in the body allowing for perfect alignment.
The wheels are also very nicely done carrying detail on both faces rather than only the face you can see, they all appear accurate and perfectly shaped. 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)
The turret, despite only consisting of twenty seven parts, replicates the minimal detail present on the turret well. The three parts that go together to construct the main gun can be a bit difficult to line up, and hiding the join is hard work. The only detail I question is the three rings around the main gun, as I have not seen a KV2 barrel with three rings on the barrel so far. The main gun can be elevated once complete however, unless you enjoy playing with your models, I would glue it at an angle you desire.
I have assembled this model and the turret goes together very well, with very clean joints when assembled. The rear of the gun mantlet does have a spur of plastic on its back face which is difficult to clean off, it does however need to be removed in order to join the mantlet to the turret. I have utilized the LionRoar photo etch set and turned barrel in my build, I will however do my best to show the kit part along with the after market items I have used.
The turret in this model is one of the very early KV2 designs. It can be identified by the sloping front, and the two part door at the rear. I have read that as few as four KV2’s had this turret design.
There are seven and a half of the ten page instruction booklet given over to construction of the model, which is shown in fifteen stages. Each stage is very clear as no step is overly complicated or too busy. One and half pages show the layout of the kit parts on the sprues, with the remaining page giving you a guide to the symbols and their meaning. Having built a few of the KV1 and KV2’s from Trumpeter, I have to date only come across one instruction/location error, which was on the KV2 in German service.
I am not convinced that the decal sheet is of much use in this kit, as apart from two Russian stars the rest are slogans in Russian Cyrillic text. I have seen slogans painted on KV1’s, but I have yet to see one on a KV2, that however is up to you and just my personal belief.
I did not follow the instructions as regards the order of the build, and I utilized the Lion Roar after market set LE35060 for the build. I started by constructing the turret which all went together cleanly, the only hard part was the removal of a plastic peg behind the gun mantlet. I used the after market barrel included in the Lion Roar set, and the brass cover as seen in the pictures.
The hull and suspension went together cleanly and easily. I have used the horn, light, and fender mounting brackets from the PE set (I believe it is a horn, but if a horn is needed to warn you something this size is coming glasses is the least of your worries). From the pictures you can see the PE fender mounting brackets and the kits fender mounting brackets, I will leave it to you to decide if it is worth the effort. I have also used the PE which is for each of the four hatches on the vehicle, it is a lot of work to remove, sand, and then attach the PE, however if you are going to show any of the hatches open it will I feel be worth the effort.
The PE grill covers are not the easiest parts to get to the right shape, but they do improve the overall appearance, I ended up using an Xacto handle as a rolling pin to get the shape right. Due to the large number of hatches on this version of the KV2 it would be a good candidate for a full or partial interior build, if you feel up to the task.
There are at least four types of road wheels for the KV1 and 2, the version that comes in the kit are the initial version and used from 1939 to 1941. I believe that the same pattern wheels are supplied in all the Trumpeter KV kits and so may not always be the correct pattern, it was not unusual to see KV tanks with more than one wheel pattern due to the number of rebuilds some vehicles received.
A review of the Lion Roar LE35060 set by Jim Rae can be found Here
For anyone who wants to add a KV1 or KV2 to their collection I highly recommend you buy one of the Trumpeter offerings. Nicely detailed and accurate as best that I can tell, and you cannot beat them for the price and accuracy. The inclusion of rubber band tracks, and link and length allows the modeler to decide how easy or difficult the modeler wants this area to be. The low price for what is a very accurate KV2 that will build into a good model from the box, or a great model if you want to add some of the after market items available. I highly recommended this model for both novice and advanced modelers.
•KV 1 & 2 Heavy Tanks 1939-45 New Vanguard 17
•Stalin's Giants KV-I & KV-II Schiffer Military History
•Stalin’s Heavy Tanks 1941-45 Concord: Armor At War Series