Russia KV "Big Turret"
Trumpeter Kit No. 00311

1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

Trumpeter has now released this second kit of the early Model 1939 KV-2 which at the time was referred to as the KV “Big Turret” as per kit name and the initial KV-1 was referred to as KV “small Turret” as per kit #00356. Only later were the designations changed to KV-1 and KV-2 for the respective vehicles.

The kit uses many parts from kit #00312 Russia KV-2 plus additional early turret parts and revised road and idler wheels and consists of 278 parts in light grey plastic with 2 in clear plastic, a length of copper wire for the tow cables plus the decal and instruction sheets.


The quality of the mouldings is excellent as we know from the other KV kits with clean crisp details and a minimum of pin parks with those present being very shallow for easy removal.
There is some very minor flash around some parts but a quick pass with model knife or wet and dry deals with this along with the normal small mould seams on the parts.

While there is not a lot of parts there are many small finely moulded parts and excellent surface details such as weld seams and bolt/rivet head details that all add to the overall quality feel.

The kit offers a few parts that require the locating holes to be opened up in the hull and engine deck parts before assembly so check the instructions and decide if you will use the optional parts and open up the holes accordingly.

Lower Hull:
The lower hull has a traditional tub with bottom, sides and front panel to which is added the separate outer side and rear panels, this allows different side details to be incorporated without replacing the whole tub. The fit of the side panels to the hull is excellent and once attached form a trough at the top for fitting the upper hull panels.

The side panels have the axle and final drive locating plates included with all other details such as axle bump stops, return rollers and final drive mounts added as well as the separate axles. These have hexagonal locating stubs that fit into corresponding hexagonal holes in the hull sides ensuring they are positioned at the correct angle and have nice details on the axle hubs.

The resilient road wheels have been redesigned to represent the early type with slightly different rib pattern and are made up of four parts each with the inner and outer wheel having a separate central hub to ensure good detail definition and the wheels look good when compared to reference photos.

The drive sprockets have bolt head and other details on both sides of the inner and outer disc as well as having the central hub disc as two separate parts with the correct number of retaining bolts for this version.

The idler wheel mount has a three part tensioning arm for good definition while the idler wheels have the two wheel discs with excellent rib details plus the two part return rollers which are new to this kit with the early design that includes fine ribs in the rim and finally there is a the drive sprocket clearing device fitted to the rear hull sides.

At either end are separate towing attachments and shackles, these have sizable mould seams but should be easy enough to clean up.

You are given a choice of full length vinyl tracks or pre-formed sections of plastic link and length track to use depending on your choice with the vinyl track having excellent details on both sides and look very good for this type of track and is also very flexible to help with track sag. The plastic track incorporates pre-formed track sag along the top run and another long section for the ground run and individual links for around the drive and idler wheels. The details on the plastic track are again excellent but there are some shallow pin ejector marks on the inside to be removed which shouldn’t be a problem.

Just a quick note here if you prefer fully workable tracks, check the KV Resource Page for the various track sets now available for the Trumpeter KV kits.

Upper Hull:
The upper hull panels are in two sections with the forward section including the turret race forward to the glacis and the rear engine deck as with the previous kits. The fit of these panels to the lower tub is excellent with any minor edge gaps small enough to be filled with glue as you attach the panels and at the front is a separate nose cap with subtle rivet details.

There are subtle weld seams on the forward hull section and excellent bolt head and panels details on the engine deck as well as inner vanes under the two side intake grills. These side intake grills are moulded solid with nice mesh details with just the rounded end profiles included with this kit but being moulded solid these grills obviously hide the inner vanes but any of the aftermarket etched sets already released for the KVs will improve this area.

The front crew hatch has a separate hatch lip and the hatch has interior latch details as well as a small hinge to allow the hatch to be positioned open if required. On the driver’s plate is a separate visor cover, horn with separate wiring ducting, the head light with separate clear lens and machine gun plug as well as separate periscope cover on the hull top all with well defined details.

The engine deck has separate round inspection hatches again with interior latch details and hinge as well as a separate central domed engine access hatch with has an optional centre fitting (you have to open up the locating hole to add this if required). Also added to the engine deck are eight very small lifting eyes that will need careful removal from the sprue and in gluing, with tweezers being the order of the day.

At the rear are three additional panels that make up the engine louvers under a new  curved rear hull panel applicable to the early KV and the exhaust outlets are also separate parts with the fit of the centre panel and all parts are excellent with out any trimming needed.

The copper wire provided is used for the two tow cables and are attached to the end sections which are pre-formed to drape over the front hull section for a more realistic finish.

These are full length either side with very nice surface details of rivet heads and securing strips as well as a nice outer lip and also include the longitudinal centre stiffening bar on the undersides. You have to open up a few locating holes for the fender storage boxes and other fittings applicable to this version before assembly, so check the instructions carefully and there are some shallow pin marks on the underside that are easy to remove.
One thing of note here is the forward side panel between the fender and glacis which is included with the main fenders and moulded using slide moulds resulting in well defined details on this panel.

The fender supports are all separate parts for good definition with the fit of the fenders to the hull being very good and again any minor gaps will be filled with the glue residue as they are attached.

The Turret:
The early Model 1939 turret had a totally different profile from the Model 1940 turret with a V shape at the back and hard edges on the turret sides and different shaped front panel.

The turret is split in two halves with separate top panel and front plate gun mount/mantlet plus separate upper crew hatches and features excellent weld seams on the side and top plate joins with this detail not compromised on the sides due multi part moulds used. The mould seam is along the rear corners and edge of the roof and is all but invisible but a quick pass with the X-Acto #11 will eliminate any evidence remaining.

The detail on the ventilators on the top is very crisp and there are separate periscopes and three separate steps up each side. The top crew hatch has interior latch detail as well as a hinge that allows the hatch to be shown open.
The large bolted rear panel which is in two halves to allow good bolt head definition on the angled panels and the panel itself has excellent flame cut texture around the edges and well defined bolt head details.

The front turret plate includes the ribbed gun mount bulges and again has excellent bolt head details with the gun mount trapped between the two turret halves.

The large welded mantlet is well done with nice weld seams on each edge of the mantlet but there is also a small moulding seam down each with the weld seams and care will be needed when removing this to not damage the weld beads.

The large bolt heads either side of the mantlet are on separate parts that fit from the inside and result in excellent definition on the bolts as with the first KV-2 kit.

The big 152mm gun is in two halves with a separate end cap that fits to the gun mount before attaching the outer mantlet as it can’t be fitted later so remember to fit the gun first. One minor issue with the gun is that is about 3mm too short but is the correct diameter when compared to the 1:35 plans in the excellent Tankograd KV-2 special, a book I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the KV-2.

While speaking of dimensions and plans, the kit turret has a number of size and angle variations from the 1:35 plans in the Tankograd book but simply put I don’t believe the plans as some angles and details shown in the plans are clearly not correct when comparing to photos in the Tankograd and other books. This and given every other part such as wheels, hatches and overall dimensions except the barrel length match these and other plans as well as photos leaves me to believe these early KV2 turret plans can’t be trusted and the kit parts are correct, therefore I will dispense with further mention on this.

To correct the barrel length there is the ABER KV-2 barrel (set 35 L-44) and Lion Roar barrel in their recent update set LE35060. Both these barrels are the correct length and also incorporate barrel rifling which is quite noticeable on such a large calibre barrel.

The ABER barrel fits perfectly through the Trumpeter mantlet hole and to fit it’s just a matter of cutting off the Trumpeter barrel level with the back of the ABER barrel and using cyanoacrylate to glue the ABER barrel to the Trumpeter barrel stump and then fitting as per instructions. The barrel collar extends about 1mm out from the mantlet and test fit the parts to get this correct before gluing the ABER and Trumpeter parts together.

Image showing the ABER rifling and lengths of the barrels from the mantlet collar (solid line)
by cutting the Trumpeter barrel at the dotted line it can be fitted to the ABER barrel as above.


The Lion Roar barrel is designed for the Trumpeter kit and is a perfect fit without modification and also included the etched detail parts to boot.


These are the usual exploded view drawings and are very clear and easy to follow although you should read the opening steps carefully to determine what if any locating holes need to be opened up for the different fittings.

The decals are nicely printed with thin carrier film cropped close to the printed image and gives you turret slogans for three KVs finished in overall Russian Green plus a couple of Russian stars but no unit information is given for the particular vehicles.

A full colour sheet is included with five view illustrations of the vehicle and can be used a painting guide as well as showing the decal placement.

Another excellent kit of the early KV-2 with Trumpeter again providing all the little detail differences for this version such as the idlers and rear hull panel. The distinctive big turret details match available photos well as mentioned above and will be another welcomed addition to the KV ranks.

Highly recommended.

The Sprues:

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Detail Images
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See the KV Resource Page for full listings of updates/accessory and other KV reviews on site.


Soviet Heavy Breakthrough Tank KV-2
Tankograd Soviet Special
No 2001
KV-1 & 2 Heavy Tanks

Osprey New Vanguard 17
ISBN 1-85532-496-2
Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945
Schiffer Publishing
ISBN: 0-7643-0913-7
Ground Power Magazine
#75 - 8/2000
Published by GALILEO
Publishing Co.,Ltd.
Stalin's Giants KV-1 & KV-II
Schiffer Publishing
ISBN: 0-8874-0404-9
Stalin's Heavy Tanks

Concord Armor at War
Series #7012
Wydawnictwo Militaria #34
KW Vol.I
Wydawnictwo Militaria #163
Wydawnictwo Militaria #168

See the KV Subjects page for lists of accessory/update sets for the Trumpeter KV kits.

Kit courtesy of my Credit Card and the excellent service from Rainbow Ten.

Page created January 4, 2006

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