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General Comments

Just like the real KV, the Trumpeter kits have been engineered around a set of common, interchangeable components, many of which can be mixed and matched to depict specific production variants.  The different components provided in each kit are described below, but it is useful to note some common points.

All the Trumpeter kits include two sets of tracks:

  • Link-and-length styrene tracks are provided in long lengths for the top and bottom runs, shorter lengths to bridge between the road wheels and sprockets or idlers, and individual links for the sections that wrap around the sprockets, idlers and the front and rear road wheels.  These tracks are well detailed, assemble easily and the top runs even have the characteristic “sag” molded into the parts.
  • Single-piece vinyl tracks are very soft, nicely detailed on both faces, can be glued easily using cyanoacrylate, and accept paint well.  Naturally they are a little more delicate to handle once painted, but will produce a nice result if you do not wish to use styrene tracks.

Both sets of tracks represent the reinforced Omsh pattern single-link track with a guide tooth on every link.  This type of track was introduced in July 1941 and persisted until the late summer of 1942.  Tracks manufactured prior to July 1941 lacked the reinforced edges to the outer track spuds and had slightly shorter teeth.  Trumpeter's tracks are therefore not entirely accurate for early variants such as the KV-1 s malenkiy bashniy, KV s bolshoiy bashniy, KV-1 Model 1939, early examples of the KV-1 Model 1940 or the KV-2 Model 1940.  The difference in the length of the guide teeth is very difficult to discern however, unless the two types are viewed side-by-side, and the reinforced edges on the track links can be disguised with weathering. Note that the split-link tracks with a guide 'bump' on the split links became increasingly common on the late KV-1 Model 1941, Model 1942 and KV-8, so check your references for the vehicle you intend to model.

The lower hull features a rather unusual design that combines a one-piece hull tub with appliqué parts for the hull sides.  This has allowed Trumpeter to engineer a common hull tub while allowing for the differences in the rear sides between the early hull (as seen on the KV s makenkiy bashniy through Model 1941) and the Model 1942 hull. The slight slope molded into the upper edge of the hull tub at the rear has led some reviewers to speculate that Trumpeter may intend to release some kits based on the KV-1S hull.

Trumpeter provides both the early and late types of radiator intake screens in all their kits, and the instructions direct you as to which parts to use for a particular version. Trumpeter molds the screens as solid parts. Ingeniously however, they have provided the louvers below the screens, molded integrally with the engine compartment roof plate, in anticipation of the after-market screens that were bound to appear (and indeed have appeared).


Different kits in the series provide two different types of fenders.  Those provided in the kits of early production variants with two-part resilient road wheels are approximately 1.5mm wider (roughly 52.5 scale mm or just over 2 scale inches) than those provided in the kits of later production versions.  While there was certainly some variation in the fender widths between manufacturing contractors and even between individual vehicles, there is no photographic or documentary evidence to support the assertion that there were two different design patterns for the fenders.  However, both sets of fenders are within acceptable boundaries when compared with photographs, and are certainly acceptable unless you are modeling a specific vehicle.

If you wish to model an early production variant with narrow fenders, you are faced with something of a dilemma.  After-market manufacturers including Aber and Voyager have copied the Trumpeter fenders in their products.  Not only are their etched brass fenders the same width as the Trumpeter kit parts, but their stowage boxes boxes match the width of their fenders.

There is a solution to the problem, though it requires some cross-kitting as well as the addition of after-market parts.  Trumpeter’s kits of later production variants (those with all-steel road wheels) include narrower fenders.  However, the lower flanges of the reinforcing brackets are molded integrally with the fenders, and these include four attachment bolts rather than the six or occasionally five bolts that were used on the earlier variants.

Lion Roar has produced an update set for Trumpeter’s KV-2 kits (#00311 and #00312).  This set includes brass replacement brackets with the correct six attachment bolts.  The brackets are slightly too narrow for the wide fenders included in the Trumpeter kits of the KV-2 and early KV-1 variants, but are an almost perfect fit for the narrower fenders included in Trumpeter’s kits of later variants.

You can model narrow fenders on your Trumpeter kits using the following steps: 

  1. Take the fenders from Trumpeter kits #00358, #00359, #00360 or #00366.  This will require you to replace them with after-market parts, but the “late” fenders from Aber and Voyager are a perfect fit for these kits.
  2. Cut away the flanges for the reinforcement brackets.
  3. Attach the fenders to the hull of kits #00356, #00357, #00311, #00312 or #00367.
  4. Add the brackets from Lion Roar’s update set.

The Lion Roar set includes the revised large rectangular stowage boxes introduced in March 1941, and the width of these boxes matches their fender reinforcing brackets.  You can therefore correct not only the fenders but the stowage boxes too.  With some minor modification, the Lion Roar stowage boxes can be converted to depict the original stowage boxes without reinforced lids or handles.

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