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#6012 JS-2 STALIN II

This kit represents an IS-2 manufactured between March and May/June 1944 with the stepped glacis plate, narrow mantlet for the 10T-17 sighting telescope and the 122mm D-25T gun with TsAKB muzzle brake.

Step 1 of the kit instructions direct you to assemble the sprockets, road wheels/idlers (the road wheels and idlers were identical on the IS series) and return rollers.  As noted in General Comments, the road wheels are slightly undersized and you can replace them if you wish.  The kit return rollers represent the later pattern with three large lightening holes, which were introduced in June 1944.  To correctly depict the earlier pattern appropriate for an IS-2 from the spring of 1944, you must fill the lightening holes.  John Stevens has come up with a way to do this which is described here.

Step 2 of the kit instructions deals with the lower hull.  As with all the DML IS series kits, the lower hull is too low and requires raising as described in General Comments.  In addition, the instructions direct you to add the ammunition loading port (part B32) to the left-hand side of the hull.  This port was not introduced on IS-2s (as distinct from self-propelled guns) until mid-1944, so you should omit it from your model.

The kit instructions give you the option to remove the mounting plates for the spare track links on the lower front hull.  Track links were not mounted in that location until May/June 1944, and their appearance coincided roughly with the transition from the stepped glacis to the one-piece glacis.  However, the spare track mounts were retro-fitted to many earlier vehicles so check your references for the vehicle you are modeling.

Complete Step 3 of the kit instructions, adjusting the position of the lower rear hull plate (part A8) to meet the rear edge of the upper hull due to the modified lower hull tub.

The kit provides individual link tracks, which are the single link type with a guide tooth on every link.  These tracks were introduced in the spring of 1944 and became common in the summer.  Check your references for the vehicle you are modelling.  You can use the kit tracks or you can substitute split-link tracks from the Cyber-Hobby IS-1/IS-2 2-in-1 kit #9108, ISU-152 3-in-1 kit #9112 or after-market sets including Friulmodel set ATL-54, Masterclub 135023W and MiniArm sets B35002 or B35017.  The split-link tracks persisted in service until the end of the war, so check your references for the specific vehicle you are modeling.

In Step 4, you have the option of adding the spare track link mount points to the front edge of the glacis.  Note that in this case, you must drill out the locating points if you wish to add the spare track links, and omit this step if you wish to depict a vehicle without the spare track links.

The engine air intake screens and the radiator exhaust air grille on the engine deck are molded integrally with the hull top.  The mesh on the air intake screens is quite well represented and the frames include the attachment bolts, but you may wish to cut them out and replace them with etched brass screens.  Limitations in molding technology of the time mean that the kit does not properly represent the undercuts beneath the louvres on the radiator exhaust grille, but this is not easily noticeable on the finished model.

The towing shackle stowage bracket on the front right-hand fender is rather poorly represented and should be replaced with a suitable part from an after-market set.

In Step 5, note that the gun travel lock (part A3) was not introduced until the summer of 1944.  However, it was retro-fitted to many earlier vehicles, so check your references for the vehicle you are modeling.  If you are representing a vehicle without the travel lock, omit part A3 and do not drill the corresponding holes in the upper rear plate (part A1).

The lifting eyes (parts B20) are molded with the rings standing perpendicular to the plates on which they are mounted.  The rings were free to swivel in their mounts and typically laid flat against the plates.  The kit parts can be modified by carefully cutting the rings from the eyes and re-attaching them in a more natural position.

Note that the panel lines around the maintenance and inspection hatches on the upper rear hull plate (partA1) are extremely faint and would benefit from rescribing.  If you do not do this, you risk accidentally obscuring the lines when you paint your model.  The kit also lacks the rain gutter above the maintenance hatch, introduced in the spring of 1944.  This can be easily added from thin styrene strip.

Step 6 deals with the turret.  Follow the instructions to remove the gunner's Mk.IV vision device from the turret roof and replace it with the PT-4-17 sighting periscope (part D18).

The kit's gun barrel is molded in two parts and is an acceptable representation of the original.  If you wish however, you can replace it with a suitable after-market item.


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