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#01569 Soviet KV-85 Heavy Tank

This kit represents a KV-85 as built at ChKZ between September and November 1943.  You will need to make a number of modifications to produce an accurate model, however.  Some of the necessary parts are included in the kit, while others will require after-market additions.

The kit uses Trumpeter's new KV-1S hull tub and hull sides with the 12-degree slope on the roof of the transmission compartment.  Dr Božidar Šarler has brought to my attention some discrepancies in the length of the hull.  The sloped transmission compartment roof plate is some 5mm short compared to published drawings.

Step 1 of the kit instructions deals with the assembly of the hull and part of the suspension.  The hull parts are based on Trumpeter's KV-1S #01566 and are, for the most part, correct for a KV-85.  However, you should fill the locating slot for the antenna mount in the upper left-hand corner of the glacis plate on part WL-31, since the KV-85 carried its antenna on the turret.  You should also shave off the central bolt on the rear of the transmission compartment roof plate (part WC21) since photographs suggest that this bolt was absent on most if not all KV-85s.

The kit includes both styrene and etched brass parts for the exhaust deflector beneath the rear hull overhang.  Both sets of parts are correct so choose your preferred medium.

Step 2 covers the remainder of the suspension and the upper hull parts.  The kit instructions do not provide a positive indication for positioning the torsion bar end caps.  The drawing below shows their correct orientation.

Road Wheel and Suspension Arm

The kit includes all-steel return rollers.  These are appropriate for a KV-85.

Like all Trumpeter's KV kits, the kit provides solid radiator intake grilles with molded-in mesh.  With careful painting, these can be made into a nice replica of the original, but you may choose to replace them with etched-brass after-market items such as Eduard's TP089 set.  The louvres beneath the grilles are molded into the engine compartment roof plate (part WL25).

The engine access hatch (part WL24) is the correct domed pattern with the inspection port for the engine cooling system in the center of the dome.  This is appropriate for a KV-85.

Step 3 assembles the road wheels and drive sprockets.  The kit provides all-steel road wheels with eight spokes and eight small lightening holes.  Photographs indicate that these were the most common type of road wheel on the KV-85.  The drive sprockets are the late pattern with eight retaining bolts for the sprocket hub.  Again, these are correct for a KV-85.

Step 4 attaches the running gear to the suspension.  You may wish to leave the wheels separate to simplify painting.

Step 4 also attaches the exhausts.  Unfortunatley Trumpeter provides the early pattern exhausts as seen on the KV-1, KV-2 and KV-1S, and not late pattern armored exhaust covers typically seen on KV-85s.  Trumpeter's SU-152 Late kit (#05568) provides the correct exhaust covers but the mounting plates are still the early type and will need to be fabricated from thin styrene sheet and after-market bolts.  The drawing below shows the correct orientation of the mounting plates.  Moskit also produces the correct exhausts in metal, though you will still need to fabricate the mounting plates.

Step 5 assembles the tracks.  Trumpeter have provided a well detailed set of individual link tracks that represents the split-link tracks typically fitted to the KV-85.  However, the kit tracks are a scale 700mm in width, not the correct 650mm for the KV-85.  For accuracy, you should replace them with an after-market set such as Friulmodel's ATL-54.

Step 6 attaches the tracks.  I recommend leaving them separate until final assembly in order to simplify painting.

Step 6 also instructs you to add the cylindrical protective cover for the antenna mount (part WC26) to the glacis plate.  This part is incorrect for a KV-85 and should be omitted.

The fenders are also added at this stage.  Before attaching the fenders, open up the two locating holes for the cylindrical fuel tanks on the rearmost fender sections.  The kit instructions direct you to add rectangular stowage boxes in these locations in step 9, but based on all available evidence, no KV-85 carried these stowage boxes.  The standard stowage configuration included cylindrcial fuel tanks in these locations.  The kit includes the correct number of fuel tanks.

Take care to open up the correct (rearmost) locating slot on each of the hull side armor fillets (parts WW4).

Step 7 completes the fenders and adds the handrails for tank-riding infantry.  Follow the kit instructions here.

Step 8 assembles the turret.  Unfortunately, Trumpeter has provided an asymmetrical turret which is correct for an IS-2 with the 122mm D-25T gun, but not for a KV-85 or IS-1 with the 85mm D-5T gun.  Other than extensively modifying the kit turret, there is no way to produce an accurate KV-85 turret.  The best way to rectify the problem is to take the turret shell from the Eastern Express KV-85 kit (#35102) and use the Trumpeter kit parts to improve the details.

The Trumpeter kit provides both a one-piece slide molded styrene gun barrel and a turned aluminum barrel.  Both are accurate representations of the 85mm D-5T gun.

Step 9 attaches the front fender brackets and the fender stowage.  As noted above, the kit instructs you to attach two large stowage boxes (parts WL8) to the rearmost sections of the fenders.  I have found no evidence whatsoever to indicate that any KV-85 carried such stowage boxes in those locations.  All photographs and documentary evidence show that cylindrical fuel tanks were carried there instead.  The kit includes enough tanks to allow you to add four of them to the fenders.

Step 10 completes the model by adding the tow cables and attaching the turret to the hull.

In summary, this kit is well detailed and includes most of the components required to produce an accurate KV-85 model.  The incorrect tracks can be easily fixed by substituting after-market parts, which many modelers will choose to do in any case.  The incorrect turret however, is a major flaw for which the only solution is to use the turret from the Eastern Express kit.

 

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