|KIT:||Hobby Boss 1/48 KV 'Big Turret' tank|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
On December 19, 1939, the KV-1 Heavy Tank was accepted for the service with the Soviet Army. At that time, the KV-1 took part in combat tests on the Russian-Finnish War (the Winter War). During those battles, the Soviet High Command came to the conclusion that a heavy tank with more powerful armament is highly needed to combat with enemy's bunkers, pillboxes and other fortifications.
The North-Western Front HQ ordered four KV-1 tanks from the experimental group to be armed with 152 mm howitzers. To do this, the best engineers from KTZ's design bureau were summoned. After two weeks the new project was completed. At first engineers decided use the 152 mm mod.1909/1930 howitzer, but later it was replaced with more modern 152 mm M-10 Howitzer Model 1938/1940. A new, bigger turret was designed to accept such a heavy cannon. That turret was named "MT-1".
At the beginning of 1941, the this tank was renamed to KV-2. Before this, the KV-1 called the "Tank With a Small Turret", and the KV-2 called "The Tank With a Big Turret". The MT-1 turret was placed on the chassis of a twin-turret experimental tank instead of small turret (a large turret was also removed from the hull). On February 10, 1940, first trials were conducted. At the time, Soviet tank designers weren't very experienced in vehicles of such a heavy weight. They added a small lid on the the howitzer's barrel. That lid was intended to protect the gun from dust, shell's fragments and bullets. However, after the first shot this lid was torn away and never again used.
In 1940, a pair of KV-2s were sent to the battlefront on the Karelian isthmus. In spite of some rumors, KV-2s didn't take part in battles before the Great Patriotic War. The pair of KV-2 fired on already captured pillboxes. The results of those tests were excellent and later, in 1940, a KV-2 Heavy Tank was accepted for service. Soviet tankers often called those tanks "Dreadnoughts".
During production, the tank's turret was slightly improved and additional DT Machine-Gun was mounted in it. The shortened M-10 Howitzer was able to fire a 52-kg high-explosive projectile with muzzle velocity of 436 m/s. Only high-explosive shells with reduced propellant charge were used in the KV-2's gun! No armor-piercing and concrete-piercing ammo used! It was allowed to use Naval Semi-AP Round M.1915/28. However this ammo was used only by Red Navla units; it was absent in Red Army's warehouses. Despite some modern sources, the use of armor-piercing and concrete-piercing ammunition was prohibited; this was highlighted in the KV-2's Operational Manual. The problem was with its big recoil; it definitely jammed KV's turret. Until the middle of 1941 Soviet engineers tried to develop a special concrete-piercing projectile for KV-2, but were unsuccessful.
This is the first time I've bought a Hobby Boss kit. Normally, I'd have passed but when I saw this KV-2 in amongst a box full of KV-1s, it got my attention and I picked it up. The Hobby Boss T-34s have an excellent reputation and while the Shermans have been less well thought of, I figured that this one might be pretty nice.
Molded in grey plastic, the kit is devoid of just about any molding glitches. Ejector pin marks will be hidden when built and even the opposite side of hatches are free of these pesky deformations. The only place I found these were some rather prominent 'pips' on the underside of the hull. Some parts also show a teeny amount of flash. Packaging is super with only one or two sprues per bag.
The surface of the hull and turret are well done and show a slightly rough texture that one would expect from Soviet plate armor. The molding of all the other bits is crisp and clear; just what one would expect from a modern kit. Tracks are plastic and consists of long runs with individual links where they wrap around drive sprokets, road wheels and idlers. The upper tracks are quite realistically sagged so no need for expensive aftermarket metal or plastic tracks for this one. No crew members are provided.
The instructions are superbly drawn and the 14 construction steps are very easy to follow. No painting information is provided in the construction sequences so one has to assume that everything is one color. A jig is provided for the tracks so that you can get the proper shape to fit prior to installation. This will help a lot and reduces the track installation to four major sub-assemblies. Etched metal is provided for the skirt braces and it is some rather hefty stuff. A section of braided brass cable is also provided to make a towing cable. A rule is printed on the sheet to get the right length. The KV-2 was often devoid of any markings at all, and this kit provides one set of patriotic slogans for the box art kit. You can have your KV-2 in any color as long as it is one of the myriad shades of Soviet Military Green!
Now this is a pretty neat tank. It is rather narrow and quite tall when compared to other tanks. Should make for a most interesting addition to anyone's 1/48 armor collection.
Thanks to me and those who owed me money for this one.
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