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#01565 Soviet KV-8 Heavy Tank

01565 Box Cover


This kit represents one of the 102 KV-8s built at ChKZ between April and August 1942.  These vehicles were based on the Model 1942 hull with a squared-off rear hull overhang and 90mm side armor, and mounted a 45mm gun and ATO-41 flame projector in the uparmored welded turret, which also carried 90mm armor on the sides and rear.  The heavier armor was desirable since flamethrower tanks tended to attract an awful lot of hostile attention.  The kit includes markings for '43', a vehicle from the 502nd Flamethrower Tank Battalion, which was captured by German forces on the Volkov Front south of Leningrad in the late summer of 1942.  The vehicle was extensively photographed during its technical evaluation by the Germans, and several of these photographs have survived to provide a useful reference when building your model.  Some of these photographs appear in KV - Technical History and Variants while others have been published in Tankograd's KV-1 Soviet Heavy Tank of WWII – Late Variants by Jochen Vollert.

Like the real vehicle, the kit draws on Trumpeter's earlier KV kits for many of its components.  While Trumpeter has introduced a number of new components such as the 90mm armored turret shell, not all of the new components required for an accurate representation of '43' are included in the kit.  Fortunately these are readily obtainable from aftermarket sources, or easily added from styrene sheet.

The lower hull includes the diamond-shaped mounting plates for the front and rear towing eyes, as fitted to KV variants prior to the early summer of 1942.  However, '43' was manufactured during the period of transition from diamond-shaped to circular mounting plates.  It carried the circular mounting plates, but the applique armor on the lower front hull still featured the diamond-shaped cut-outs for the plates.  For accuracy, you should replace the kit's mounting plates with 2mm discs of 0.30" styrene sheet, and add the towing eyes to these plates.

The kit provides all-steel reinforced wheels and all-steel return rollers, which are correct for '43' when it was captured.  The suspension swing arms are the correct late pattern with three retaining bolts for the torsion bar caps, but the kit provides no guidance for aligning the caps with the arms.  The drawing below is taken from KV - Technical History and Variants and shows the correct orientation.

Road Wheel and Suspension Arm

The drive sprockets feature the correct 8 retaining bolts for the convex hub.  The tracks represent the Omsh pattern type as fitted to KV-1 vehicles from the summer of 1941 until the early summer of 1942.  However, '43' carried the early pattern split-link tracks with a guide 'bump' on the split links.  These tracks are available from Friulmodel as ATL-51 and for accuracy, you should replace the kit tracks.

'43' featured the taller applique armor on the driver's front plate, characteristic of hulls manufactured by Factory No.200 in Chelyabinsk.  Trumpeter has provided a new part to represent this variant of the applique armor, though the shorter armor plate from earlier kits is also included should you wish to depict a different vehicle with a hull manufactured by UZTM.

Trumpeter provides the two U-shaped brackets on the glacis plate, used to keep the tow cables out of the way of the flame jet, as etched brass parts, with brass wire for the retaining pins.  The brackets should be located against the rear edges of the base plates for the forward fender brackets, with their inner ends level with the inner ends of the base plates.  Make sure that you attach the brackets securely, since they will take a little stress later when you attach the tow cables.

The kit omits the sheet metal guard that was welded to the applique armor plate above and to each side of the driver's visor, to prevent any drips from the flame projector running down behind the visor and inside the vehicle.  This is fairly easy to add using thin styrene sheet.

Take care with the hull machine gun mount (part D4) since it looks similar to the machine gun mount for the turret rear (part D11) though the parts are actually slightly different.

When adding the hatch surround for the hull hatch (part F15), take care to carefully fill the seam between this part and the upper front hull since the entire forward hull top was a single plate on the real vehicle; there was no separate insert around the hatch.

The radiator intake screens (parts D9) are the correct pattern for a Model 1942 hull but the screens are molded solid.  The kit parts are well molded and, provided they are painted carefully, will not detract from the appearance of the finished model.  If you wish to replace them with aftermarket parts, Eduard's TP089 set provides the correct parts.

The engine access hatch on '43' was the flat type with a chevron-shaped armor fillet to protect the rear of the turret ring.  The kit provides the correct part as well as the domed access hatch, and the instructions direct you to use the flat hatch.

The transmission maintenance hatches are the earlier pattern with rounded edges, rather than the later pattern with beveled edges as typically seen on Model 1942 hulls.  When painted and weathered however, the difference is barely noticeable.

The kit provides styrene fender brackets that, while commendably thin, will benefit from a little additional sanding.  The instructions direct you to use the skeletal brackets (parts F7).  Photographs of ‘43’ indicate that it carried skeletal brackets on the foremost two positions on each side, but solid brackets on the rearmost three positions.  The kit includes enough solid brackets (parts F11) so this is an easy modification.

The kit includes the correct large rectangular stowage boxes for the rear of each fender, but the left-hand fender also features two holes for the narrow rectangular stowage box typically carried by the KV-1 Model 1942.  You should plug these holes and sand the fender smooth.

The kit provides six 90-litre cylindrical tanks for the fenders.  However, I cannot find any evidence that shows these tanks were used on the KV-8, though they are present in photographs of the KV-8S.  Numerous photographs exist of ‘43’ both at the time of its capture by German forces and later during its technical examination, and none of these photographs shows any evidence of external tanks or their mounting hardware.   I therefore recommend that you omit the tanks from your model.

Trumpeter has provided a new turret shell that accurately depicts a 90mm-armored welded turret manufactured by ChKZ, including the ring-shaped marks on the roof, the correct welded episcope covers without flanges  and the splash bar beneath the side-facing episcopes.  This type of turret was also fitted to late KV-1 Model 1940s and early Model 1941s so there is some opportunity for cross-kitting here.

The kit includes a very nice 7.62mm DT machine and P40 anti-aircraft machine gun mount for the turret roof.  Etched brass parts are included for part of the mount and the ring sight for the machine gun.  However, the instructions direct you to attach the entire machine gun and mount on an etched bracket (part PE3) to the right of center on the turret hatch coaming.  Unfortunately, this is incorrect.  The mount should be attached to the molded-on mounting plate along the turret centerline.  The bracket to the right of center held the rectangular retaining bracket for the machine gun’s pistol grip, as shown in the photograph below.  Thankfully, this is a fairly easy fix.  Carefully cut away the raised, rounded part at the front edge of the bracket (it should actually be a hook) and glue the completed mount to the cut-down bracket. The kit does not provide parts for the retaining bracket that should mount onto part PE3, nor does the turret hatch (part D19) include a cut-out to accommodate the inner portion of part PE3.  Should you fit the hatch in the closed position, trim part PE3 to match the curvature of the hatch cover before gluing it in position.

In summary, the kit provides a very good basis for modeling the KV-8 in 1/35 scale and, with a few minor modifications, will create a very accurate replica of KV-8 '43' in the late summer of 1942.  The inclusion of the new turret shell also allows you to model a late production KV-1 Model 1940 or early production Model 1941 from the fall of 1941.

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