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IS-2 Heavy Tank

Tamiya, 1/35 scale

by Steve Zaloga

Mig Pigments are available online from Mission Models


Tamiya's latest 1/35 kit is a new IS-2 heavy tank. The kit depicts the "Roman Nose" production series from Chelybinsk which had the rounded, cast bow produced from August 1944 (Dragon did the UZTM nose which has a flat lower bow plate).



The kit includes both soft vinyl and hard plastic track. In order to get the sag, most of the hard styrene links are separate. However, Tamiya has cleverly included an assembly jig which makes construction of the upper run quite simple. The kit includes two crew figures and decals for four vehicles. In comparison to the old Dragon kit, the wheels are about 1mm greater in diameter and the hull is about 1mm deeper.

Overall, the kit goes together like one comes to expect from Tamiya: excellent fit, nice sharp detail. A few details are a bit behind the times, like a solid plastic lens for the front headlight. The method of attaching the fuel drums to the racks is very simplified. I was a bit surprised that Tamiya does not include the 12.7mm DShK heavy machine gun which was fit on many 1945 production tanks.


Tamiya makes a decent effort to capture the cast texture of the actual vehicle. However, the castings on these tanks varied widely from very crude to quite smooth, giving the modeler a fair degree of latitude. I decided to focus most of my attention on adding more texture to the model. The turret can use some mold seams and cruder sprue cuts. I did this using Kreadatite epoxy putty on both the turret and bow. I also roughed up the surface with various burrs in my Dremel Mini-mite, followed by a brushing of lacquer thinner and a coat of Mr Surfacer. I did some of the finer torch cuts on the side armor and the mold cuts on the turret cupola using Tamiya putty.


The IS-2 seems to have been very prone to bashed fenders judging from photos. This adds some interest to the model, so I cut off the kit fenders and replaced them with fenders made from sheet brass. I expect that these will appear eventually from the after-market folks. I replaced the ZIP gun stowage box on the front left fender from an Aber one from the T-34-85 set.I also replaced the kit nylon tow cable with Karaya cable for a bit more heft.



I used the kit decals for the Ind. 7th Guards Heavy Tank Brigade polar bear; the numbers are dry transfers and the air ID markings were painted.

I based the crew figure from an Alpine head along with an Alpine Soviet officer figure for the torso; both are typical of Alpine with excellent casting and sculpting and a pleasure to paint. The base is the excellent Monroe Perdu MPD-30 corner wall which is one of my favorites for a model this size. To add a little interest to the diorama base, I added an abandoned Sd. Anh. 51 2cm ammo trailer by kit basing the Italeri kit for the body and the Dragon 2 cm trailer. The various bits of ammo and boxes come from the K59 resin set and the maniacally complex Lion Roar PE set.



I will be covering this build in more detail in a future Military Modelling article.

Model and Text by Steven J. Zaloga
Page Created 05 January, 2008
Page Last Updated 05 January, 2008