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#6804 JS-2m UZTM Production Type Chinese Volunteer

This kit represents an IS-2 manufactured by ChKZ with a hull from UZTM, from May 1944 onward, with the one-piece glacis, wide mantlet for the TShK-17 sighting telescope and the 122mm D-25T gun with TsAKB muzzle brake.  The term 'JS-2m' with the lowercase 'm' has been used by some references to distinguish vehicles with the one-piece glacis from those with the earlier stepped glacis.  It should also be noted that except for 5 vehicles manufactured by LKZ in June 1945, all IS-2s were manufactured by ChKZ so the kit's title is something of a misnomer.  However, this is really not the fault of DML since that knowledge was not widespread at the time the kit was released. 

The 'UZTM' title in fact refers to the subcontractor who built the hull.  UZTM hulls were distinguishable from those built by Factory No.200 by the hard-edged joint between the glacis and the lower front hull; hulls from Factory No.200 had a rounded joint.

The 'Chinese Volunteer' portion of the kit's title refers to the fact that several regiments of IS-2s were supplied to China in the early 1950s and there is anecdotal evidence that they were used by Chinese forces in the Korean War.  A few photographs have survived of these vehicles and their production features match those represented in the kit.  However, the kit can also be built to represent an RKKA vehicle from May 1944 onward, or a vehicle used by allied regiments (Polish and Czech) fighting under RKKA command.

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 correctly represent the later pattern with three large lightening holes, which were introduced in June 1944.  The kit includes the later pattern return rollers introduced in June 1944, which are appropriate for the sub-variant depicted by the kit.

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 introduced on IS-2s (as distinct from self-propelled guns) in late June or early July 1944, and is therefore appropriate for the sub-variant depicted by the kit.

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 are appropriate for an IS-2 built from the summer of 1944 onwards.  If you wish, you can replace them with after-market tracks such as Friulmodel set ATL-14, but there is no need to do so.  You can also 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, the cast texture on the upper hull is rather pronounced.  While it will not appear too overdone after the model is painted, you may wish to reduce it a little by light sanding.

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.  Most vehicles completed from June 1944 onwards carried the spare track links or at least the mounting brackets but check your references for the particular vehicle you are modeling.

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.

The external fuel tanks (parts B15, B16, B17, B18 an B19) represent the 100-litre type common during the Great Patriotic War, rather than the larger-diameter 160-litre type commonly seen on post-war vehicles.

In Step 5, 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.  This can be easily added from thin styrene strip.

Step 6 deals with the turret.  DO NOT open up the slot in the turret roof and fit part D18.  This part represents the PT4-17 sighting periscope that was replaced by the Mk.IV periscope (part B11) in the spring of 1944.  Omit part D18.

In Step 9, the 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.

Note that the kit includes hand rails for the IS-2 option on both the upper and lower edges of the turret rear.   The lower hand rails were fitted to early production examples but were soon eliminated so check your references for the specific vehicle you are modeling.

Steps 10 and 11 deal with the 12.7mm DShK machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola.  This was introduced at the end of 1944, so if you wish to build a vehicle from an earlier period, you should omit the machine gun and its mount.  Not however, that the machine gun was retro-fitted to many earlier vehicles in early 1945.

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