Russian KV "Big Turret"
by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description
||Trumpeter 1/35 Scale Kit No. 00311; Russian
KV "Big Turret"
|Media and Contents:
||286 parts (281 in grey styrene, 2 vinyl
track runs, 2 clear styrene, 1 twisted copper wire)
||retail price US $24.95
||First correct model of this early Soviet
tank; choice of either styrene or vinyl track will be popular with many
modelers; very thorough job of research appears obvious with moldings
||Some ejection pin marks on the "hard"
plastic tracks will be annoying to remove; odd gun barrel does not match
||Highly Recommended for all Soviet Armor
Trumpeter adds another kit to its KV family with one of the most
obscure and poorly identified variants of the tank built.
The KV with a 152mm howitzer was an assault tank offshoot of the KV
heavy tank, and it was first proposed in the fall of 1939. When the
war with Finland broke out ("The Winter War") the U-0 prototype of
the KV was rushed to Karelia, but did not do well. In February 1940
prototype U-0 went back to Finland along with the U-1 and U-2 tanks;
U-0 and U-2 sported the new large turret with a 152mm M-10 howitzer,
and U-1 mounted the U-0 turret. Later, prototype U-3, also with an
M-10, joined them. But by then Finnish resistance had been broken.
During testing of the tanks against obstacles and live fire testing,
the KV was noted as an excellent bunker buster, as the Finns did not
have an antitank gun capable of piercing its thick armor.
Shortly after the KV was accepted for production, LKZ began work on
producing two versions of the tank. The basic model was dubbed "KV s
maloy bashni" or "Small Turret" and would mount a 76mm L-11 gun. The
other, a fire support variant dubbed "KV s bolshoy bashni" or "Big
Turret," carried a 152mm M-10 howitzer as tested in Finland. These
had an ungainly high turret with massive cast mounting for the M-10
designated the MT-1 mount, which for all practical purposes appeared
based on a naval gun turret. The M-10 fired an 88-pound HE shell
that could crush any battlefield target, and was felt to be a
perfect breakthrough weapon.
In September 1940, after 24 KV "Big Turret" tanks had been built, a
new design turret was produced and used from that point on. This was
initially called the "Lowered Big Turret" but eventually in January
1941 the term KV-2 was standardized for all of the 152mm armed
tanks. It is hard to note the point where the KV "Small Turret" and
KV "Big Turret" morphed into the KV-1 and KV-2 respectively, but it
would appear that it happened in early 1941. Soviet records indicate
the change was made when the tanks began to appear with bow DT
machine guns. The KV "Small Turret" was now identified as the KV-1
with the addition of a bow machine gun vice the earlier pistol port.
The KV "Big Turret" and KV "Lowered Big Turret" tanks can clearly be
seen with simple pistol port plugs, and the KV-2 sports both the bow
machine gun and the rear turret machine gun as well.
The early KV "Big Turret" tanks did not fare well on the
battlefield, and it appears that most of them (19) went to the
Baltic Special Military District with four to the Kiev Special
Military District and one to the Caucasus Military District. Most of
the photos of abandoned or knocked-out ones appear to be those in
the Baltic area. None are known to survive today.
Trumpeter's kit follows the same pattern as its previous KV
releases, and it is very nicely done. It uses"slide molding" or
using multipart molds to create such things as hollow molded
exhausts and inner fender details on the mudguards. It remains
reasonably priced, which in a day of $50 plus kits is a true
The pattern of this kit follows all previous releases. 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, KV-1s or KV-85 will
follow later on (there are at least five different KV kits out at
the present and more announced.)
The side applique parts are squared off to replicate the early hull.
Unlike the KV-2, which only included the late production "humped"
upper rear plate that was used from July 1941 onward, the KV "Big
Turret" comes with the correct early model engine deck rear section
(part K-7). This is the correct one for this tank, as well as at
least 85% of the KV-2 tanks.
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 the
correct early style, but the vinyl "keepers" from the KV-2 kit have
been dropped. 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.
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
The turret is a new molding – which seems to be the differentiating
factor in the other two new releases (the "Light" and "Heavy" cast
turrets from late 1941-1942) with the main section in two parts with
a separate roof and mantelet mounting. The massive MT-1 mount is
very nicely done, and due to the way Trumpeter broke down the parts
it does not need to use "slide molding."
The kit retains the bizarre three-section gun barrel from the KV-2
kit, and I have searched every one of my references and have yet to
find this item on any of the KV "Big Turret" tanks. The only
deviation from a straight gun barrel was the first prototype turret
mounted on tank U-0 which had a "Rube Goldberg" contraption that
swung an armored cover over the muzzle of the weapon when not firing
to prevent enemy troops from shooting down the barrel and denotating
the round in the breech. All of the photos clearly show a smooth
barrel and not sectional, even though the blueprints clearly call
for one! I suggest replacing it with a Jordi Rubio or similar turned
Only one finishing option is provided – an unidentified tank bearing
either the logo "Bey Fashistov!" (Fight the Fascists), "Bey
Fashistskuyu Gadinu!" (Fight the Fascist Reptiles!) or "Nami"
(Ours). But again I have no photos of any KV "Big Turret" with these
slogans, only KV-1 Model 1941 tanks with the F-32 gun. The sheet
does throw in some red stars as well.
In summary, this is one of the most accurate kits from Trumpeter
yet, and they just keep getting better and better.
Steve Zaloga for the review sample.
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Page Created 18 May, 2006
Page Last Updated
19 June, 2006