Perhaps one of the more interesting 'series' of releases in the last few years, has been the KVs from Trumpeter
in 1/35th scale. The kits, are, in general, some of the finest on the market and without ANY doubt, the best KVs EVER produced by any manufacturer. That said, with the basically correct nature of these models, it is doing them a gross disservice to not address some of the issues which are present in the basic kits. This is by no means any 'slur' on the work done by Trumpeter
rather a means of taking the 'out of the box' kit and producing something very special indeed. This (recent) set from LionRoar
makes life so much easier....
The Update Set: - first look.
LE35060 - KV-II Update Set
. The first impression one gets is from the highly attractive packaging of the set. The set comes packaged in a box, with full-color images of the upgrade added to the donor model. Inside, the contents are protected by bubble-film and are contained in seperate clear-plastic envelopes on a rigid cardboard backing. This carefully considered packing, ensures that no two parts are ever in contact and LionRoar
have even packaged the gun-barrel seperately to involve any possible damage during shipping. The Upgrade includes the following elements:
Double-sided Instruction sheet
Four frets of Photo-etch
One replacement, turned aluminium, gun barrel
One length of (very) fine plastic rod
Two lengths of fine copper wire.
The Update Set: - In Detail.
As I mentioned in my introduction, the set is designed to overcome some of the 'Detail' shortcomings in the two Trumpeter
KVIIs - NĒs 00311 & 00312. The areas which the update set covers are the following:
1) - The triangular support braces on the fenders
2) - The engine deck screens
3) The rear exhaust screen/supporting brackets
4) The fender storage/tool boxes
5) Additional detailing on the turret
6) Replacing the kit's (plastic) gun barrel.
Now, many times, the criticism levelled at AM (AfterMarket) sets, is that they relace kit components for little justifiable reason, it may, at this point, be worthwhile to look at how REALLY useful this set is. The easiest way to manage this, is to take the six (covered) areas in the Update and consider how they can enhance the basic kit:
1) Support Bracing:
- the kit parts are not too badly executed although, inevitably, with the limitations imposed by plastic moulding, they are very much overscale and lack some of the finer detail on these parts. The AM parts give a more 'acceptable' thickness.
2) Rear-deck Screens:
Here, there is simply, no-contest. The kit parts are the worst aspect of the kit, a replacement is absolutely vital to give 'scale' , the replacement parts are beautifully done and will really 'Add' to the finished model.
3) Rear Exhaust screen:
- This detail is completely missing from the kits, in the kits, it is moulded as a solid piece, which, although dimensionally correct, simply doesn't come up to scratch. As this is not TOO obvious on the finished model, it nevertheless will add a nice 'touch'.
4) The Storage/Tool Boxes
: Again, this is an area which is well enough done in the original kit although lacking some of the very fine detail which many modellers would find desirable. This area will inevitably add some real 'punch' to the overall effect. Particularly noteworthy, is that this will enable the boxes to be modelled open or damaged - something which is difficult using the kit parts.
: Additional detailing on the turret is confined to the provision of fine copper wire to bend into replacement ladder rungs.Also provided are some additional bolt details.
6) Gun Barrel
Herein, lies one of the really confusing areas. The replacement barrel is provided with three marked (grooved) sections, however, despite the large amount of images I have, this particular barrel represents the M10S !52.4mm Howitzer
which was principally used in the KVII Model 1939 ('Big Turret') - on the first three prototypes. I have NOT seen this particular barrel used much beyond this. However, the SINGLE
grooved barrel is much in evidence, simply filling in the front groove should be sufficient. Not a big deal, but sticklers for accuracy may want to bear this in mind....
7) Hatch Details
: If the commander's hatch is moulded open, it immediately becomes apparent that the kit hatches are lacking some real finesse
in detail. The upgrade includes a good representation of the closing/locking mechanism on the hatch interior.
The Update Set: - Conclusions:
So, in essence a detail/upgrade set which concentrates on WHAT IS NECESSARY
- not according to the imagination of designers who feel they have to fill up a fret with (fictional) components. The designers have looked carefully at the donor kit and clearly identified what is lacking, what needs replacing and what can be considerably improved. This is, in my opinion the strength of the set. The etching is VERY well done although I remain doubtful about the gun barrel. I would also feel that the support bracing could have been done a little thicker by doing an opened-up double section (with a fold in the middle) to give a little more 'depth'. These 'niggles' aside, this is a set, which with careful use will enhance the original (excellent) kits well beyond the mundane. As I have said previously, if you want to 'kit-bash', fine, if you want to do a good representation of the KVII, this set will give you a really good start. A set for modelling the KV, not, for simply building...
LE35060 - KV-II Update Set
- was purchased from Lucky Model
in Hong Kong, who apart from their efficient service, are offering the LionRoar
Background research on the KV was done (principally) using Tankograd's
superb book on this most attractive of subjects, the book review can be seen: HERE
For those who wish to model the KV (rather than just build it), we have put together a resource covering all the Reviews and Features published on Armorama
, it can be accessed here, Armor Resource # 2, the KV Series