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#9108 JS-1/JS-2 2-in-1

This kit is essentially a reboxing of components from the earlier JS-1 and JS-2 kits (#6052 and #6012) with some retooled components and a bonus set of figures from DML's Soviet Motor Rifle Troops set #6019.  Most notable is the retooled lower hull tub which corrects the the height problem in DML's earlier IS series kits. Furthermore, the kit provides excellent value for money since it allows you to model a number of different IS-1 and IS-2 sub-variants manufactured prior to June 1944 using hulls from Factory No.200.

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.  For the sub-variants applicable to this kit (ie. those with the stepped glacis), 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.  This kit has been retooled by DML to address the height issue with the lower hull of their earlier kits.  However, the height of the lower hull sides has not been increased along their entire length, resulting in a visible gap behind the top run of the tracks.  You can close this gap with sheet styrene.

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 includes individual link 'Magic Track' tracks depicting the split-link pattern fitted to most IS-1s and IS-2s prior to the late spring of 1944.  These tracks are a very nice representation of the original and really not require replacement, though there are several suitable after-market sets available should you wish to replace the kit parts.

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 spare track links were fitted commencing in May/June 1944 but were retro-fitted to many earlier vehicles, so check your references for the 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.

In Step 6, note that the gun travel lock (part A3) was only fitted to the IS-2 and was not introduced until the summer of 1944.  However, it was retro-fitted to many earlier IS-2s, 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 and therefore appropriate for only a few examples of the sub-variants represented by this kit, though it was retro-fitted to some earlier vehicles.  If you are modeling a vehicle with the rain gutter, it can be easily added from thin styrene strip.

Step 7 deals with the turret.  The kit provides the correct turret for an IS-2 but not for an IS-1.  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 which appeared 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 Step 7 and part of step 8 in the Cyber-Hobby instruction sheet.

However, the kit turret is perfectly acceptable for an IS-2.  The kit provides you with a number of options to depict the different mantlet and sight configurations seen on vehicles manufactured in the spring of 1944:

  • For a vehicle with the PT4-17 sighting periscope and 10T-17 sighting telescope, manufactured prior to May 1944, remove the gunner's Mk.IV sighting periscope from the turret roof and replace it with the conical housing for the PT4-17 sighting periscope (part D18).  Use the turret cheek casting part C3 and the mantlet part C6.
  • For a vehicle with the Mk.IV sighting periscope and the Tsh-17 sighting telescope, manufactured in May 1944 (Factory No.200 switched to hulls with the one-piece glacis in June), do not remove the molded Mk.IV periscope from the turret roof. Use the turret cheek casting part C5 and the mantlet part C4.

In Step 9, both the 85mm and 122mm gun barrels are molded in two parts.  They are acceptable representations of the original.  If you wish however, you can replace them with suitable after-market items.

In Step 10, 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.

In Step 11, omit the spare track links if you are modeling a vehicle from 'as built' though as noted above, the spare tracks were retro-fitted to many vehicles in the late spring and summer of 1944.

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