Many of the captured T-34s and KVs fell into that category where they were simply repainted, remarked and pressed into service against their previous owners.
One exception was a program to re-arm and upgrade captured KV-1s with the 7.5cm KwK40 gun with the Panzer IV type cupola added to the turret plus other minor changes, this was designated Pz.Kpfm KV-1 756(r) but only one example was produced and used by the 22nd Panzer Division, 204th Panzer Regiment in 1943 which is the subject of this new kit from Trumpeter.
There is only one know photo of the 756(r) reproduced on page 73 of the Tankograd KV special No.2003 which shows the conversion based on the Model 1942 Heavy Cast Turret KV-1 and is armed with the early 7.5cm KwK40 L/43 gun with double baffle muzzle brake from the initial Panzer IV Ausf.G and also has the Commander’s cupola from the early Ausf.G with two part hatch added to the front right corner of the turret. Other additions include a T-34 style ventilator added to the front left of the turret roof and additional storage baskets on the rear deck.
This Trumpeter kit is based on their previous kit #00359 of the Model 1942 Heavy Cast Turret with just two new sprues U and W added with the 756(r) parts and a new decal sheet with the rest of the kit exactly as included in kit #00359.
Much of the review below is from the review of the Model 1942 Heavy Cast Turret (kit #00359) with additional comments for the new 756(r) parts plus assembly guide for the new turret.
The kit consists of 337 parts in light grey plastic with 2 in clear plastic, a length of copper wire for the tow cables, some poly caps for the wheels plus the decal and instruction sheets and offers a number of alternate parts allowing slight variations in finish.
The quality of the mouldings is again excellent with clean crisp details and
a minimum of pin parks with those present being very shallow for easy removal.
There is some very minor flash around some parts but a quick pass with model knife or wet and dry deals with this along with the normal small mould seams on the parts.
Some of the new parts have some additional flash, especially the muzzle brake as well as pin marks to be removed on the muzzle brake and inside hatch detail plus a bit of work on required on the barrel housing assembly but more on this later.
While there is not a lot of parts there are many small finely moulded parts and excellent surface details such as weld seams and bolt/rivet head details that all add to the overall quality feel.The kit as mentioned offers a few a optional parts that require the locating holes to be opened up in the hull and engine deck parts before assembly so check the instructions and decide if you will use the optional parts and open up the holes accordingly.
The lower hull has a traditional tub with bottom, sides and front panel to which is added the separate outer side and rear panels, this allows different side details to be incorporated without replacing the whole tub. The fit of the side panels to the hull is excellent and once attached form a trough at the top for fitting the upper hull panels.
The side panels have the axle and final drive locating plates included with all other details such as axle bump stops, return rollers and final drive mounts added as well as the separate axles. These have hexagonal locating stubs that fit into corresponding hexagonal holes in the hull sides ensuring they are positioned at the correct angle and have separate axle hubs with the correct number of bolts for this version.
The ribbed steel road wheels are made up of the inner and outer wheel which trap a poly cap between them for easy fitting to the axles and look very good when compared to photos of the real wheels but remember there are three types of steel wheel used on the KV series so make sure you are looking at the right ones.
The drive sprockets have bolt head and other details on both sides of the inner and outer disc as well as having the central hub disc as two separate parts with the correct number of retaining bolts for this version.
The idler wheel mount has a three part tensioning arm for good definition while the idler wheel has the two wheel discs with excellent rib details and the three part return rollers with separate hub cap are also the correct type for this model KV with well defined details and finally there is a the drive sprocket clearing device fitted to the rear hull sides.
At either end are separate towing attachments and shackles, these have sizable mould seams but should be easy enough to clean up.
You are given a choice of full length vinyl tracks or pre-formed sections of plastic link and length track to use depending on your choice with the vinyl track having excellent details on both sides and look very good for this type of track and is also very flexible to help with track sag. The plastic track incorporates pre-formed track sag along the top run and another long section for the ground run and individual links for around the drive and idler wheels. The details on the plastic track are again excellent but there are some shallow pin ejector marks on the inside to be removed which shouldn’t be a problem.
The upper hull panels are in two sections with the forward section including the turret race forward to the glacis and the rear engine deck; this allows easy replacement of the engine deck for other versions without replacing the whole upper deck. The fit of these panels to the lower tub is excellent with any minor edge gaps small enough to be filled with glue as you attach the panels. Added to the top panel is a separate turret ring which allows more details to be included than if the ring was moulded with the hull top, but unfortunately there is a series of pin ejector marks around the ring that will have to be filled while at the front is a separate smooth finish nose cap.
Details include the large V shaped bullet splash shield in front of the turret ring and on the outer edges of the engine deck with nice weld seam details. Note you have to open up the locating holes for the forward shield before attaching the upper hull panel.
There are subtle weld seams on the forward hull section and excellent bolt head and panels details on the engine deck as well as inner vanes under the two side intake grills. The side intake grills are moulded solid with nice mesh details as well as offering a choice of grills, one with rounded end profiles and other with one flat end profile (see images) and you should check references to see which applies to particular vehicles. Being moulded solid these grills obviously hide the inner vanes but there a number of after market etched screens available from ABER, Lion Roar and Voyager Models for these screens plus other details, see the KV subject page for reviews of these sets.
The front crew hatch has a separate hatch lip and the hatch has interior latch details as well as a small hinge to allow the hatch to be positioned open if required. On the driver’s plate is the added armour panel which is new for this kit with altered details as well as a separate visor cover, horn with separate wiring ducting, the head light with separate clear lens and three part machine gun mounting as well as separate periscope cover on the hull top all with well defined details. The machine gun could have the barrel drilled out for a better appearance.
The engine deck has separate round inspection hatches again with interior latch details and hinge as well as a separate central domed engine access hatch and also added to the engine deck are eight very small lifting eyes that will need careful removal from the sprue and in gluing, with tweezers being the order of the day.
At the rear are three additional panels that make up the engine louvers under the curved rear hull panel and the exhaust outlets are also separate parts with the fit of the centre panel and all parts are excellent with out any trimming needed.
The copper wire provided is used for the two tow cables and are attached to the later style end shackles which are hollowed out using slide moulds allowing the cable to fit centrally for a realistic finish.
These are full length either side with very nice surface details of rivet heads and securing strips as well as a nice outer lip and also include the longitudinal centre stiffening bar on the undersides. You have to open up a few locating holes for the fender storage boxes and other fittings applicable to this version before assembly, so check the instructions carefully and there are some shallow pin marks on the underside that are easy to remove.
One thing of note here is the forward side panel between the fender and glacis which is included with the main fenders and moulded using slide moulds resulting in well defined details on this panel.
The fender supports are all separate parts for good definition with the fit of the fenders to the hull being very good and again any minor gaps will be filled with the glue residue as they are attached. There are alternate fender supports provided with the solid type and the hollow type for variety depending on the version being modelled.
An additional equipment box is added to the right fender while on the left fender is a frame basket holding five jerry cans, with these being in two halves each with nicely detailed grab handles and spout cover and make very convincing looking jerry cans.
It should also be noted that the fenders in the later kits with steel road wheels (00358, 00359 and 00366) are 1.5mm narrower than the fenders in the earlier kits with resilient road wheels (00312 and 00356).
This is where the most changes are made for the 756(r) version with the main turret shell and lower turret ring section as before with the join between the two quite good although there may be some minor filling required at the sides. There are also some mould seams at the front and rear corners and along the top that will need to be removed and the surface is quite smooth without the typical rough texture of these cast turrets. Adding texture with ‘Mr Surfacer’ or any material preferred will improve the look of the turret while the details on the turret roof include top ventilator and hatch lip with all other parts separate.
On the top is the cut-out for the Panzer IV style Commander’s cupola and the T-34 style ventilator while retaining the later KV style side and rear facing periscope covers as well as two very fine grab handles and the round KV style top hatch also remains and again this has internal latch details with separate hinge allowing it to be shown open if you wish.
The new commander’s cupola is in two parts, the upper section with hatch
ring and the lower section with the lower parts of the periscopes visors in
the open position and on the inside is the five separate periscope faces and
handles. There is a bit of flash to be removed and a large mould seam to be
removed on the inside before adding the inner periscope faces and also the
mating surfaces for the two halves have a bit of excess plastic that should
be trimmed for a snug fit.
While the cupola looks good when assembled it is not quite as detailed compared to the cupolas in the recent Dragon and Tristar Panzer IVs kits but after assembly still looks quite okay.
The two part hatches have nice detail on both sides but the inner pad has a sink hole that has to be removed which is no big deal.
The mantlet is a separate part with the gun housing/gun collar in two parts with a separate face plate for the housing and while the detail on the housing is okay there is no weld seams along the four edges of the housing but there is a weld seam around the housing/mantlet join. The fit of the two gun housing/gun collar parts leaves a fair sized join line to be eliminated and the fit of the housing to the mantlet required a fair bit of trimming of the inner locating lugs on the mantlet to get a good fit and test fitting will be needed here to get the best fit.
The 7.5cm L/43 barrel is moulded in one piece that includes the initial style
Ausf.G muzzle brake with the double baffles and just the end cap as a separate
The muzzle brake is hollowed out using slide moulds which gives good muzzle brake detail including the inner flange but unfortunately there is some excess plastic and a large pin mark on the muzzle brake neck to be dealt with and also the mould seam down the length of the barrel/muzzle brake is a bit pronounced and will require a bit of extra work to remove, but after cleaning up these issues the assembled barrel and housings looks very good for a plastic muzzle brake.
The gun housing and collar measure out exactly in size when compared to the 1:35 plans in the Achtung Panzer No.3 Panzer IV and Panzer Tracts No.4 Panzerkampfwagen IV books while the barrel itself is about 1.5mm short in length for the L/43 barrel but the muzzle brake is slightly undersized and just over 1mm too short when compared to the same plans but should look okay when assembled if you don’t carry around a set of plans as it well done as mentioned above.
Fitting the barrel into the collar required the locating notch on the barrel end to be reduced in size to allow the barrel to sit evenly and the separate co-axial machine gun could have the barrel drilled out for a better look.
The co-axial MG is actually located closer to the gun housing than it should be to fit inside the mounting opening which could mean this is slightly too narrow but again this will not be that noticeable after assembly and I don’t have the reference to confirm this.
If you wanted to use an aftermarket barrel set to improve the kit, there is to my knowledge no barrel set available for the shorter 7.5cm KwK40 L/43 barrel with double baffle muzzle brake but a big choice for the longer 7.5cm KwK40 L/48 barrels.
The older Hot Barrels #HB006 set is labelled L/48 but the barrel length is actually correct for the L/43 and so is an option if still available but the resin muzzle brake is way undersized and requires a lot of work to clean up.
Another option is the armorscale set #B35-034 which has the 7.5cm KwK40 L/48 barrel with initial style double baffle muzzle brake and also includes a nicely detailed resin gun housing/mantlet with bonus brass co-ax machine gun. To convert this to the shorter L/43 barrel I drilled out the barrel hole in the gun collar right through the housing and inserted the barrel deeper leaving the correct L/43 length exposed.
The same method can be used on the Trumpeter kit to fit the metal armorscale barrel which also has the correct size muzzle brake but as the resin mantlet
has the co-ax MG in the correct position it will not fit through the kit gun
But just fitting the metal barrel to the Trumpeter kit gun housing will address the minor size discrepancies of the kit barrel/muzzle brake nicely if this is a concern.
Just a quick note on the armourscale L/43 barrel set #B35-014 for the Ausf.F2, this has a different barrel thread and the muzzle brake from set #B35-034 won’t fit unfortunately as this would have been the perfect solution.
These are the usual exploded view drawings and are very clear and easy to follow although you should read the opening steps carefully to determine what if any locating holes need to be opened up for the different fittings.
The decals are nicely printed in black and white with thin carrier film cropped close to the printed image and give you a selection of six balkenkreuz in two different styles.
A full colour sheet is included showing one of the vehicles and can be used a painting guide as well as showing the decal placement.
The basic KV is superb as we well know and the added parts for the Pz.Kpfm KV-1 756(r) make for an interesting conversion and give the KV a totally different appearance. As mentioned there is a bit more cleanup needed on the additional parts and some basic modelling skills required in assembling the gun parts and the minor dimensional discrepancies may not be an issue for most.
Overall this is another nice addition to Trumpeter’s KV range that should widen the appeal to German armour modellers so they can experience these fine KV kits as Allied modellers have done for a while now.
Highly recommended.The Sprues:
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See the KV Resource Page for full listings of updates/accessory and other KV reviews on site.References:
Heavy Tank of WWII - Late Variants
Tankograd Soviet Special
|KV-1 & 2 Heavy Tanks
Osprey New Vanguard 17
#75 - 8/2000
Published by GALILEO
|Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917-1945
|Stalin's Heavy Tanks
Concord Armor at War
|Stalin's Giants KV-1 & KV-II
|Panzer Tracts No.4
|Achtung Panzer No.3
Thanks to the Australian Trumpeter distributors JB Wholesalers for the review kit.
Page created July 2, 2006