Home > Reviews > Russia > Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 05589; Soviet JS-2M Heavy Tank - Early

Soviet JS-2M Heavy Tank - Early

Trumpeter, 1/35 scale

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


Stock No.

Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 05589; Soviet JS-2M Heavy Tank - Early

Contents and Media:

521 parts (336 in grey styrene, 177 in brown styrene, 6 etched brass, 1 twisted copper wire, 1 turned aluminum barrel)





Review Type:

First Look


First kit of the postwar IS-2 modification; nicely rendered with changes where needed; looks the part


Only provides two sets of rather sparse markings


Highly Recommended for all postwar Soviet armor fans


At the end of the Second World War the Soviet Union had retained a large number of its most effective WWII tanks, specifically the T-34-85 Medium Tank and the IS-2 Heavy Tank. Both formed the backbone of the Red Army in the immediate postwar years while the T-54 was going through its “children’s troubles” and the IS-3 was failing to provide a super-tank for the next war due to its many problems.

But in 1951 the Ministry of Defense decided that in order to stay relevant - even if just in a reserve role - the IS-2 tanks needed to be given an upgrade to more modern standards and equipment. As they still had a large number of Model 1943 tanks (with the KV-13 style bow) and the later Model 1944 (“Roman Nose” bow) both tanks were given the same level of upgrades with only minor differences to compensate for the different front ends.

The 1951 upgrades included: capping and removing the fittings for the rear mount for the DT machine gun; fitting the V-54K-IS engine of 520 HP which was more reliable than the original V-2-IS one; fitting the OU-2 fire suppression system; new bearings for the road wheels (later they used T-10 road wheels during rebuilds); fitting IS-2 type thin armor “falsie” panels to the front of the upper hull each with two storage bins; IS-3 style mudguards and short fender skirts; upgrade in stowage from 28 to 35 rounds of ammunition; and eventually a 12.7mm DShKM machine gun for the commander. In 1957 the tanks received further upgrades to their communications and electronic equipment to include a new R-113 FM radio set.

The tanks remained in service for a number of years and in reserve until 1997 when President Yeltsin ordered them stricken and scrapped. Few IS-2M tanks were sold or given to Soviet allies but Cuba bought a battalion as did the CSSR. The only known combat action for the IS-2M was in its use as artillery fire support against Brigade 2506 at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961.

While there are a number of IS kits out for both the IS-85/IS-1 and IS-122/IS-2 in its KV-13 and “Roman Nose” types, this is the first kit of the postwar IS-2M to be released from any manufacturer. Oddly Trumpeter calls it the Early model but that is not based on its upgrades but rather that this tank is based on the Model 1943/KV-13 chassis and not the later Model 1944.

The kit provides all of the changes needed to upgrade a wartime IS-2 Model 1943 to the postwar Model 1951 configuration except for the DShKM mount which will have to be scrounged; if they do a Late version on the Model 1944 I think that it may come with such an installation. Parts for the kit come from Trumpeter’s IS-1/IS-2 kits and the IS-4 as well as new mold parts for this version - 24 new styrene parts and a new set of track links.

Construction starts with the lower hull and suspension mounts and the late-war standard fitting of four track links to the lower glacis plate. Suspension is built up in the conventional manner of road wheel arms, bump stops, return rollers, road wheels and then drivers and idlers. Track runs are single links with 88 per side noted (176 are needed and 177 provided so attention to no sacrifices to the “carpet monster” is at a premium if the kit tracks are used).

The engine deck has interior baffles and dividers with the radiator air intakes having etched brass grilles. The fenders also form the hull sponsons when attaching the upper hull to the lower.

The IS-2M parts mostly go on during Step 8 - somebody planned ahead for the storage bin covers for the “falsies” are found on the IS-1 suspension detail sprue! Ditto the late model “cage” headlight guards which come from both the new IS-2M sprue and the IS-1 sprue. Other items include a oil tank (E16/17) and the IS-3 style mudguards and skirts.

The turret also uses a number of different bits with several different options to include rain covers (E24, C10 or C9) and mantlets (C30 or WU1). Two different sets of “cheek” pieces are included for the different mantlets. The gun can either use the standard styrene barrel or the muzzle brake may be removed and attached to an aluminum barrel.

Some tanks were noted as being fitted with a second ventilator, but the kit only comes with one. The only major glitch I found was that the kit shows the rear DT machine gun being used when the upgrades removed the interior fittings and filled the opening in the mount with weld bead. To simulate that, add part C4 but fill the opening and sand flat.

Only two somewhat dull finishing options are shown - either 4BO green with stars or 4BO green with Guards badges. For those wanting something a bit different, Cuban ones were 4BO green with “bort” numbers from 801 to 831 and also were fitted with MDK-5 smoke canisters and a blackout headlight on the left side of the glacis.

Overall this an excellent effort and the first of the postwar IS-2 versions to come out.

Sprue Layout

A 16x4 JS-4 - road wheels and road wheel arms
B 94x2 JS-1 - Suspension fittings, drivers, fuel tanks, hull details
C1 30 JS-1 - Turret fittings, “cheek” pieces, hatches, cupola, mantlet
C2 22 JS-1 - hull rear plate, engine deck interior, hatches, details
E 24 JS-2M - fenders, skirts, mud guards, “falsie” stowage bin assemblies
J 59x3 JS-2M - Track links
WU 3 D-25T gun and mantlet
PE 6 JS-2M - Etched brass
1 Engine deck
1 Forward upper hull (Model 1943)
2 Turret
1 Hull pan
1 Twisted copper wire
1 Turned aluminum barrel