Russia KV-2 Tank
Trumpeter Kit No. 00312

1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

The Russian KV-2 has always had a mystique about it probably due to it looking more like an apartment block on tracks and mounting a huge 152mm gun which at the time was unheard of on an armoured vehicle. It further gained almost legendary status due to accounts of actions where a single KV-2 held up entire German advances with the only weapon capable of dealing with it at the time being the equally legendary German 88.

Trumpeter has now released this kit of the KV-2 after years of modellers having to struggle with the ancient Tamiya kit and they have certainly done an excellent job of it with the kit depicting a KV-2 Model 1940 which had a more simplified turret from the initial Model 1939.

The kit uses many parts for kit #00356 Russia KV1 (Model 1941) which for some reason doesn’t seem to have made it to any shops outside of Japan and consists of 290 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 and offers a number of alternate parts allowing slight variations in finish.


The quality of the mouldings is excellent and on a par with the recent ‘Emil’ kit 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 as mentioned offers a few a optional 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, quite nifty. 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 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 wheel has the two wheel discs with excellent rib details and the two part return rollers are also the correct type for this model KV with well defined details 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 looks 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; this allows easy replacement of the engine deck for other versions without replacing the whole upper deck. 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. Added to the top panel is a separate turret ring which allows more details to be included than if the ring was moulded with the hull top, but unfortunately there is a series of pin ejector marks around the ring that will have to be filled. 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 interesting in that they are moulded solid with nice mesh details as well as offering a choice of grills, one with rounded end profiles and other with one flat end profile (see images) and you should check references to see which applies to particular vehicles. Being moulded solid these grills obviously hide the inner vanes but there will no doubt be after market etched screens produced and already having the inner vanes is nice forward thinking by Trumpeter.

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 three part machine gun mounting 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 the curved rear hull panel 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.

Additional alternate parts provided are the added armour plates sometimes fitted to the forward hull sides above the fenders and you have to open up locating holes in the hull sides for these early on although they can easily be fitted later if you forget to open the holes.

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.

It should also be noted that the fenders in the two later kits with steel road wheels (00358 and 00359) are 1.5mm narrower than the fenders in the earlier kits with resilient road wheels (00312 and 00356).

The Turret:
The huge turret has the complete shell as one piece with separate lower turret ring, separate rear and upper crew hatches as well as separate front panel and gun mount/mantlet and features excellent weld seams on the side and top plate joins with this detail not compromised on the sides due to 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 forward periscopes and rear and side periscope covers that have good weld seam detail included. The top crew hatch has interior latch detail as well as a hinge that allows the hatch to be shown open.
The large rear hatch has a separate inner surface and separate hinges that again allow the hatch to be shown open although there is no interior to see, the hatch itself has excellent flame cut texture around the edges and well defined bolt head details.

The front turret plate includes the outer gun mount bulges and again has excellent weld seam and other surface details with the gun mount trapped inside before attaching to the turret shell. The two gun mount supports (parts L11, L12) have notches to ensure you fit these to the correct side but take care to install the mount the right way up as it’s easy to put this upside down meaning the outer mantlet won’t fit correctly.

The large welded mantlet is especially 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 and this solution to what could have been a tricky part to mould is excellent lateral thinking. The mantlet also features the small indentations on the sides to allow wrench access to the bolts which also goes to show the attention to detail.

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. Other features of the kit such as wheels, hatches and overall dimensions match these plans okay which would indicate the length of the barrel on the plans is also correct. This discrepancy may not be that noticeable on the finished kit and may not even bother some but a ready solution is at hand with the ABER KV-2 barrel (set 35 L-44) released recently for the Tamiya KV-2 kit. This is an excellent barrel with the correct length and also incorporates barrel rifling which is quite noticeable on such a large calibre barrel.

The ABER barrel fits perfectly through the Trumpeter mantlet hole due to both barrels being the same diameter and to fit the ABER barrel its 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 to the gun mount 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 separate upper mantlet cover has a bevelled front edge and is commendable thin to look the part and at the back is a three part machine gun mounting with well defined bolt head and other details as well as quite thin step/grab handles for both sides of the turret.

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 give you turret slogans for one KV-2 finished in overall Russian Green plus four Russian stars but no unit information is given for the particular vehicle.
A full colour sheet is included five view illustrations of the vehicle and can be used a painting guide as well as showing the decal placement.


Trumpeter has really done their homework on this kit with well defined details and excellent attention to the minor details of the huge turret with only the one minor barrel length issue but overall is a quantum leap ahead of the ancient Tamiya kit. This kit is bound to be a big hit with Allied modellers and anyone wanting a very good kit of this impressive vehicle.

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

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

Page created 26 July 2005

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