Kit Preview : 1/76 Fujimi IS-2 Model 1943

About the manufacturer
Fujimi is the only remaining active major 1/76 plastic injection molded kit manufacturer. They took on the Nitto range about a decade ago and have been rereleasing tehir catalog gradually. Their latest kits include link and length hard plastic tracks. Be sure to check if the kit you are buying has the old rubbery tracks or the new ones. Just a hint: the cheaper ones have the vinyl tracks.
Henk of Holland has a very useful list of all the serial numbers of Fujimi and Nitto kits.

About the vehicle
The Joseph Stalin 2 (IS-2) was a Soviet late war heavy tank. As the T-34 medium tanks were now carrying 85mm guns, heavy tanks had to be upgraded with more powerful armament to justify their cost. The JS-2 sported a 122mmm gun capable of piercing 160mm of armor. It was on a par with Tigers I and II while being relatively more nimble than its German counterparts. One of the tank's drawbacks was the slow loading rate of the gun. The IS-2 model 1943 entered service in early 1944. A later version, also modeled by Fujimi had a modified bow and a revised gun mantlet.

Here is review of a vey well done 1/35 JS-2.

About the kit
This is one of the most recent Fujimi kits with link and length tracks. The overall quality and level of detail is on par with Dragon 1/72 kits. Even the grab handles are almost thin enough to be useable. I will replace them with 8thou brass wire bent using my new grabhandler from Mission Models. The tow cables are to be made from a length of wire coated with clear plastic. The end result is completely smooth to the touch so the visible wire pattern will disappear under a coat of paint. I recommend using a piece of heavy thread instead. The color schemes proposed are two overall dark green tanks numbered 33 or 43. There is no mention of unit or location.

There are two issues with this kit:

1/ the roadwheels and sprocket are too small.
I used wheels from the PST 1/72 kit, which must be underscale for 1/72. This brings out another issue as the ground clearance on the kit is set for the smaller wheels and needs to be reduced accordingly. I added 40 thou strips to the sides below the hull and 10 thou strips, aligned with the slope of the angled rear and front hull undersides.

2/ the rear deck has major proportion issues, the louvres and exhausts are too small. This is obvious next to the Cromwell ISU-122. Scale drawings point to Cromwell being correct.This would take major surgery and sacrifice another kit so I decided to live with it and leave it uncorrected.

Here is the model ready for the paint shop. The mg's and tools have been left off for the time being. The fuel tanks are also from PST as the kit ones are too thin. The turret was given the coarse texture of cast metal using Tamiya 500 liquid putty.

The model is almost done, ready for a final wash of dust/earth pigment and mutliple coats of matt varnish. The Duschka was detailed but it is not visible onthe pics.

Completed model. Surprisingly, for me at least, it is smaller than a Panther.

Updated on 2/16/2011and 2/22/2011.

Updated on 2/16/2011.