Trumpeter 1/35 KV-1 Model 1942 Lightweight Cast Turret Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2006||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||KV-1 Model 1942 Lightweight Cast Turret||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||0360||Primary Media||310 parts (287 in grey styrene, 18 clear vinyl keepers, 2 black vinyl track sections, 2 clear plastic, 1 twisted copper wire)|
|Pros||Correct variants of the last two major production models of the KV-1 to see service; correct details provided for each one, but "mix and match" is also possible||Cons||Some confusion among modelers may result (see text); ejection pin marks on "link and length" tracks will need cleanup|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$24.95|
Trumpeter is now up to five kits of the KV series tanks in release and at least two more (an early Model 1941 and an appliqué – "S Ehkranami" – are listed as well) basic models are coming; these will pretty much complete the entire major production series of KV tanks.
As WWII – "The Great Patriotic War" – got into high gear, so did production of all Soviet tanks that were in full scale production in June 1941. The production of KV tanks was moved from Leningrad to Chelyabinsk in October 1941, and all efforts at production were then focused on getting the number of parts down, reliability up, and numbers produced increased. To this end many of the "Cadillac" production techniques used on KVs were eliminated or changed, and new designs of components were evaluated and placed into service on the production line. As a result, between May 1941 and Spring 1942 the hours required to built a KV-1 fell from over 25,000 to just over 9,00 man-hours.
Among those were three different turret designs, made in several different factories. Among them were the "Simplified" welded turret (Trumpeter makes a kit of this version as their kit number 00358), the "Heavy" cast turret, and the "Lightweight" cast turret. The difference in the last two was that after doing some preliminary assessments of where KV-1s were penetrated, it was decided to lighten the new cast turret by thinning the top and rear sections down and leaving a thickened skirt at the base of the turret and a thickened ring around the rear machine gun position, which were seen to be weak spots in the turret.
At the same time, a few original "Welded-bolted" turrets were still produced. Each had an item designator: the "welded-bolted" turret was production assembly 57; the "simplified" welded turret was assembly 157; the "heavyweight" cast turret was assembly 257; and the "lightweight" cast turret was assembly 957.
The latter two turrets were similar, but differed depending upon which factory made them. Turrets cast at UZTM had a broad face, which permitted the centering bars for aligning the mantelet mounts to be on the face of the turret. Turrets cast at Factory No. 200 were narrower across the face, with the result that small "sponsons" had to be cast into the front face of the turret to mount the alignment bars.
Hulls also differed, but due to using similar parts the only way to tell them apart was the appliqué armor plate on the front of the glacis. A UZTM hull had the appliqué level with the top of the hull, whereas Factory No. 200 plates stuck up several inches above the hull roof and were usually "dog-eared" to avoid having too sharp a section that could injure the crew.
The hulls could have either a one-piece curved rear plate that stuck up about an inch above the top of the rear decking or an extended rear with a flat rear plate set at about a 45 degree angle. Also, tanks could have either a "domed" engine access cover (to clear the air cleaner) or a "flat" engine access cover and a different air cleaner. Production runs were interspersed and it was not possible to use one or another feature to tell the tanks apart; only the serial numbers would indicate when the tanks were actually built. For example, both the APG and Bovington KV-1 tanks are Model 1942s, with the UZTM "Lightweight" cast turret, domed engine access covers, and "one -piece" rear hull plates; based on their serials, they were probably built in May 1942.
Trumpeter have very cleverly split these features among these two new kits, so that they are not simply one kit with two different turrets. The "Lightweight" turret kit has the lightweight turret from UZTM, a UZTM hull with a "domed" access cover and the flat plate hull rear section. The "Heavyweight" turret kit has the heavyweight turret from UZTM, and the "one-piece" hull rear section.
In common with all of the other KV kits, the two come with a one-piece hull with applique sides suitable for late-model KV tanks. each has a different set of sprues (see listing of parts used in the KV kits at the end of the review) for its hull and turret components. The "Heavyweight" turret is molded top and bottom, whereas the "lightweight" one is molded in two halves, a top and a base. Both have correct profiles, including the visible "skirt" on the "Lightweight" turret.
Each comes with the late-model cast wheels and all steel return rollers; note that the cast wheels use Tamiya-style vinyl keepers whereas the 1941 variants do not. Detail is outstanding with casting webs for strength on the backs of each wheel half. Also, there are separate centers for covering the suspension arm joint with the torsion bar.
Tracks come as either black vinyl one-piece sections or 28 part "link and length" styrene as with previous kits. The styrene ones have some ejection pin marks that need cleaning, however. Also, the gun barrel and tow cable heads are "slide molded" so are pre-drilled, which eases one chore. Twisted copper wire is provided for the cables. Lastly, clear plastic lenses are provided for the headlight and taillight.
Each kit comes with specific marking and finishing directions. The "Heavyweight" one has a winter scheme and one of three numbers may be used for a single unit. The "Lightweight" one comes with two slogans, "Za Rodinu!" (For the Motherland) or "Pobeda Za Budet" (The Victory Will Come). It also has Guards badges and stars.
Overall these are outstanding kits, and the only problem may be confusion among some modelers not aware of the differences in the kits or the two versions of the tank. Hopefully this review helps sort them out for people who want a specific combination. (It is also easy to buy both and swap turrets, as the Soviets at Chelyabinsk certainly did!)
List of Kit Sprues in Trumpeter Kits and their parts breakdown.
- A 68 Foredeck assembly and suspension details
- B1 2 Sides (Early)
- B2 2 Sides (Late)
- C 38 Model 1941 fenders and rear hull details
- D1 18 Turret race and front hull details
- D2 10 Model 1942
- D3 15 Model 1941
- E1 12 Welded wheel centers (Late)
- E2 12 Welded wheels (Late)
- F1 48 Fenders and details
- F2 6 Engine deck - squared off
- F3 9 Optional KV parts
- G 78 Cast wheels (Late)
- H 19 152mm KV barrel and details
- J 30 Welded wheels (early)
- K 22 KV "Big Turret" turret and details
- L 25 KV-2 turret details and race
- P 18 KV-1 Simplified Turret base and details
- Q 5 Engine deck - rounded
- R 4 Lightweight Cast Turret
- S 2 Lights (clear)
- T 28 Link and length tracks
- 18 Clear vinyl wheel keepers (cast wheel versions only)