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#6052 JS-1 (M.1943)

This kit represents an original IS-85/IS-1 with the stepped glacis plate, original turret and 85mm D-5T gun.  However, since it borrows many parts from DML's JS-2 Stalin kit #6012, it includes certain components not appropriate for an 'as built' IS-1.  These issues are pointed out below, along with suitable alternatives.

Don't panic when you first open the box and look at the kit instructions which are headed 'JS-2 STALIN II' Kit No: 6012.  As noted above, the kit borrows extensively from kit #6012 and uses the same instruction sheet with a supplementary sheet for the IS-1 components, which is also in the box.

In describing the build sequence of the kit and the necessary changes, we will use the main instruction sheet (the one headed 'JS-2 STALIN II' and switch to the supplementary sheet as necessary.

Step 1 instructs 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-1 from the winter of 1943/44, 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 IS-1 model.

Ensure that you remove the mounting plates for the spare track links on the lower front hull.  Track links were not mounted in that location until the spring of 1944.  However, the spare track mounts were retro-fitted to some IS-1s 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, which only became common in the summer of 1944.  Split-link tracks were the most common type fitted in the winter of 1943/44 and were seen on most if not all IS-1s.  These tracks are available in the Cyber-Hobby IS-1/IS-2 2-in-1 kit #9108 and the ISU-152 3-in-1 kit #9112.  The tracks in kit #6052 will not go to waste since they can be used to create models of later production examples of the IS-2 or the ISU sub-variants.  If you do not have either of these kits, appropriate replacements are available in Friulmodel set ATL-54, Masterclub 135023W and MiniArm sets B35002 or B35017.

In Step 4, remove the forward ends of the fenders as shown in the supplementary instruction sheet, and replace them with parts H8 and H9.

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 tool box on the right-hand fender (parts H3, H4 and H7) was present on some vehicles but not all, so check your references for the vehicle you are modeling.

Similarly, the splash guard (part A9) on the glacis was retro-fitted to some IS-1s so again, check your references for the particular vehicle you are modeling.

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, omit the gun travel lock (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.

Step 6 deals with the turret, and it is here that the most serious flaw in the kit is revealed.  The turret roof on the IS-1 was symmetrical about its longitudinal access.  The kit's turret shell however (parts C1 and C2), represents the modified turret casting introduced when the IS-2 was introduced with its 122mm D-25 gun.  The size of the gun breech required the commander's position to be shifted to the left, his cupola relocated and the contours of the left-hand side of the turret roof altered to accommodate the new cupola location.  The roof was no longer symmetrical about its longitudinal axis and the sides were also altered to match the new roof contour.  The kit turret is therefore incorrect for an IS-1.  There is no way to correct this error without major reconstruction work.  You can either live with the error or use the turret from an Eastern Express KV-85 kit #35102, lately re-marketed by ARK Models with the same item number. 

You can use the detail parts from the DML kit in conjunction with the Eastern Express turret as shown in the supplementary instruction sheet, omitting Steps 7 thru 9 of the main instruction sheet.

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.

In Step 10, omit the spare track links if you are building an IS-1 'as built' though as noted above, the spare tracks were retro-fitted to some vehicles in the spring and summer of 1944.


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