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#6013 JSU-122 Tank Destroyer

Judging from the marking options provided, this kit is intended to represent an ISU-122 from 1945 with a hull from Factory No.200, but the kit lacks certain features appropriate for a vehicle from this period.  It also includes some features more appropriate for post-war vehicles.  I will also point out the features that can be altered in order to back-date your model to an earlier production example.

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 and are therefore appropriate for a 1945 production example.  If you wish to backdate your model to represent an early 1944 vehicle, 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.  The kit correctly includes the ammunition loading port (part B32) in the left-hand side of the lower hull.

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 fitted commencing in May/June 1944, and retro-fitted to many earlier vehicles so check your references for the vehicle you are modeling.  If you wish to model an early 1944 production example as built, remove the mounting plates.

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.  They are therefore appropriate for a 1945 vehicle, though most photographs of post-war vehicles show the later tracks with holes in the sides of the guide teeth.  These are represented by Modelkasten's set SK-9. Check your references for the vehicle you are modeling.  Some vehicles carried split-link tracks until the end of the war so if you wish, 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 instructions tell you to cut out the locating points for the spare track links on the front edge of the glacis in Step 7.  However, all the detail parts will then be in place on the upper hull and you risk damaging them during the cutting process.  I recommend cutting out the locating points at the beginning of Step 4.  You should do this if you are modeling a vehicle from the period after May/June 1944 since, as noted above, the track links were fitted to all new production vehicles after that time, and retro-fitted to most earlier vehicles.

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 left-hand fender is rather poorly represented and should be replaced with a suitable part from an after-market set.

The mounting bracket for the spare hydraulic fluid container (part D16) is mounted in the correct position for a vehicle from mid-1944 onward.  However, if you are modeling a vehicle from early 1944 and are omitting the spare track links, you should relocate part D16 to the lower front hull between the towing hooks.

The forward pair of handrails on the forward superstructure side plates were only fitted to post-war vehicles, so check your references for the vehicle you are modeling.  None of the marking options included in the kit should have this forward pair of rails, so omit the foremost two parts B2 and fill the locating holes.

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.  This applies not only to the superstructure and engine deck lifting eyes but to those on the rear hull (Step 6) as well.

Step 5 deals with the gun and mantlet.  The gun barrel is molded in two halves.  The kit parts will respond well to careful assembly and cleaning up, but you may wish to replace them with an after-market barrel.

In Step 6, 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, which was fitted to all vehicles from the late spring of 1944 onward, and retro-fitted to most earlier vehicles.  This can be easily added from thin styrene strip.

Strangely, the kit instructions direct you to drill out the holes for the gun travel lock in the upper rear hull plate (part A1) and fit the travel lock (part A3)  though the travel lock was only fitted to IS-2s and not to any of the ISU variants (how would the crew traverse the gun to the rear?)  DO NOT open up these holes.

Note the comments above for the lifting rings, which should be carefully cut away from their mounting eyes and relocated in a more natural position.

The splash guard on the glacis (part A9) is overly thick but can be easily thinned down with a sharp hobby knife or sanding stick.

The kit lacks a 12.7mm DShK machine gun on the commander's cupola, which was present on most vehicles after the end of 1944.  You can take the weapon and mount from DML kit #6804 if you wish to add it.

The kit provides three marking options:

  • Polish People's Army, 1945
  • Red Army, Berlin 1945
  • Polish People's Army, 1945

All of these vehicles are finished in overall Protective Green 4BO.

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