Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 Scale Kit No. 00312; Russia KV-2 Tank; 327 parts (305 in grey styrene, 18 clear vinyl keepers, 2 vinyl track runs,2 clear styrene, 1 twisted copper wire); price US $24.95
Advantages: Fully eclipses obsolete Tamiya kit; choice of either styrene or vinyl track will be popular with many modelers; pretty thorough job of research appears obvious with moldings
Disadvantages: some ejection pin marks on the "hard" plastic tracks will be annoying to remove; odd gun barrel does not match production photos; use of late model hull rear limits options
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all Soviet armor fans
F I R S T L O O K
Trumpeter has matched its excellent KV-1 Model 1942 with an equally good stab at the KV-2 heavy tank. It also uses what DML calls "slide molding" or using multipart molds to create such things as hollow molded gun exhausts and inner fender details on the mudguards. It is also priced very reasonably, and as such should be a winner in that area.
Detail-wise, this kit uses most of the major components of the Model1942 kit. The hull is molded in three basic parts - a central form and two applique sides, which is unique. The central hull shows a dip on the sides at the rear, so one can bet that either an SU-152 or KV-1s will follow later on (a check of the Trumpter sprues identifies them as for kit 00356; since the Model 1942 is kit 00358, at least one more is on the way)
The side applique parts are squared off to replicate the KV-2 hull. But in an odd choice, Trumpeter has only included the late production "humped" upper rear plate that was used from July 1941 onward. Nearly all photos of KV-2 tanks show them with the two-part upper rear plate/engine deck rear, which was the common one in use. (It was only after the factory made a conscious attempt to speed up production that somebody figured out a single rolled plate of approximately 120 degrees of arc could replace both parts, speed up rolling and cut welding time.) This may apply to as few as 30 tanks built out of 191 KV-2 tanks (another 24 were the early model "KV with Big Turret" tanks with the naval-like MT-1 gun mount.)
All of the jounce stops are separate and correct, and the road wheel arms are each made up in two parts (there are two different grease caps, so make sure you do not get them confused.)
The wheels are completely different than the cast metal ones provided with the Model 1942, and consist of four parts each plus the vinyl "keeper." They are the correct early model internally buffered variants, and are very nicely done (including the lightening holes on the back halves of the wheels, a great touch!) The drivers have both interior and exterior bolt details, as well as the correct mud scraper.
The separate track is well done, as it "link and length" with a pre-cast "droop" in the upper runs. As noted, there are two or four injection pin marks on each link, even the long runs, and while cleanup will be tedious it doesn't seem as bad as many other single-link sets. But even the vinyl "one piece" set is not bad, so many modelers will be happy to use them.
Oddly the kit provides interior details for the engine deck air intake grilles but only two sets of plastic parts and no etched grilles or frames for an etched grille (one set appears to be for an SU-152 or KV-1s as noted earlier).
The hull details are all separate, including separate front and rear hull roof sections and fenders. While the fenders come with the track slap deflectors on the bottom (!) note that the actual fenders came in three sections, joined at the second and fourth braces on the sides. A choice of early or late model viewer covers is included (this one takes the earlier models and not the late ones used on the Model 1942).
The turret is very nicely done, with most of the moldings being added to a "slide molded" main body for the turret with separate front, rear and base parts. But the odd thing is that the gun barrel consists of a very bizarre sectional tube that I cannot match to any references on the KV-2. It does show up on some factory blueprints, but all production tanks have a smooth tube with a muzzle protector/reinforcement ring. I suggest replacing it with a Jordi Rubio or similar turned metal tube.
It also comes with a working rear access hatch, which is a true shame: the $64 Question has been for years - what is the configuration INSIDE a KV-2 turret? To date nobody has seen it and only tempting bits of destroyed or burned out ones from German photos. There is ONE KV-2 extant in Moscow, but nobody has seemingly gotten inside and shot photos.
Only one finishing option is provided - an unidentified tank bearing the logo "Za Stalina! (For Stalin) but nearly all combat photos of the KV-2 show it having no markings whatsoever. The sheet does throw in some red stars as well.
Overall like its "little brother" this is a gorgeous kit, and eclipses the ancient Tamiya kit.
Thanks to Jay Laverty for the review sample.