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.