Trumpeter 1/35 KV-85 Heavy Tank

KIT #: 01569
PRICE: $52.99 SRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet Red Army heavy tanks, named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armour protection during the early part of World War II, especially during the first year of the invasion of the Soviet Union.

They were almost completely immune to the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and howitzer-like, short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 guns mounted respectively on the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks fielded by the invading Nazi forces. Until better guns were developed by the Germans it was often the case that the only way to defeat a KV was with a point-blank shot to the rear.

Prior to the invasion, about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks then in Soviet service were of the KV-1 type. When the KV-1 appeared, it outclassed the French Char B1, the only other heavy tank in operational service in the world at that time. Yet in the end it turned out that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally well) in all practical respects. Later in the war, the KV series became a base of development for the Joseph Stalin (Iosif Stalin, or IS) series of tanks.

The KV-85 was a KV-1S with the 85mm D-5T cannon in a new turret, with the ball mounted hull machine gun removed and the hole welded shut, 148 of these tanks were produced in the second half of 1943 until the spring of 1944 as a stopgap until the IS tank series entered production. This tank had its original turret, but later models were equipped with IS-1 turret.


One thing I know about Trumpeter is that one of the first kits they released was a KV-1 as I bought one. Now I am going to assume that some of this kit is based on those molds. If that is not the case, enlighten me.

Looking over the sprues, I noticed that they were quite nicely done. No molding glitches and a rather large number of parts, even if one does not include the individual track links. Yes, there are 12 sprues of these as nothing looks quite as nice as separate links. There are also a lot of road wheels, three sprues of them to be exact. In fact, it looks from the instructions, that half the build is the chassis.

The lower hull is molded in a single casting with side plates attached to it to take care of the suspension bits. There is also a separate forward hull piece. The first piece of photo etch fits on the forward hull, though you can use the plastic one if you would rather. Other uses of photo etch are for a forward fender brace and what looks like a rain guard over the driver's vision hatch. It seems not all the p.e. will be needed. The kit also supplies a nicely molded aluminum barrel and one gets a length of copper wire to use for the tow cable.

Once the hull and suspension are done, one then adds the fenders and finally the turret. There is no breech for the main gun and as mentioned, if you want to use the plastic barrel, that is an option. The gun can move in elevation and the turret in azimuth, and it is keyed as you will find in some other armor kits. It appears the turret hatches can be built open if you would wish to add a figure or two. A pair of cargo boxes/tool chests and fuel tanks are provided for the rear fenders.

Instructions are well drawn and the camo and markings sheet is in full color. All four options are in Soviet Armor Green and none have unit information. These are basically just tactical numbers, though one, a guards unit, does have a patriotic slogan on it. It says “Alexander Nevsky” a Russian prince who defeated Swedes in 1240 on river Neva (therefore Nevsky) and later Teutonic knights on Lake Peipus. Thanks to Tom for providing this info. Decals are nicely printed and appear to be properly opaque.

Another fine Soviet WWII tank to add to the collection. This one is a bit of a limited run vehicle with so few having been built, but is an important step to the very capable IS-2 and IS-3 heavy tanks.


October 2012

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or on-line source.

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