December 21, 2013
After the primer, I covered the whole tank with Vallejo Russian Green and applied a little color modulation on more exposed areas. The white stripes and the turret numbers are hand brushed as it were in reality.
Next, I will apply an yellow oil filter to lighten up the green, and the rest of the weathering techniques.
December 04, 2013
The joining lines on the nose of the tank are way too sharp and pronounced, so I had to sand it to gave a more rounded appearance. I then brushed and stippled a thin layer of Mr. Surfacer 1000 to obtain a rough casting texture, just like for the turret.
Next were the air intakes and their mesh screens. Zvezda offers a quite acceptable plastic replica, even better looking the the ones from Part’s set, which are nothing but some holes drilled into a brass plate. A Lipton tea bag proved again to be a great substitute, and I will definitely use it in my future builds.
I than added the MasterClub hexagonal bolts, after shaving off the original ones. I’ve described the whole process here. The lifting rings and other few small but time consuming details were next. The gun travel lock came from the Italieri kit, as it has superior details. The towing cables are from Eureka XXL and were a great addition.
One of the most difficult challenge was to make the supports of the side barrels. I used the main supporting ribs from Part (again, shortened with few millimeters), and glued can foil strips on top.
After that I moved to the lower hull, by adding the ammo loading hatch, which was missing. The tracks are very easy to work with, but unfortunately you can’t obtain a proper amount of track sag, or at least I couldn’t. The tracks are not attached permanently, for an easy painting, and I think is better to assemble them by gluing the ends and shave off the mounting lugs. This way you can test the sag and the tracks can easily be removed for painting (for this, the outer half of the road wheels and sprockets shouldn’t be glued permanently).
All in all, this is a good kit, but with a few shortcomings. Most important, it provides a good foundation for those obsessed with details, like myself. :)
November 16, 2013
Panther early tracks (the black ones are from Zvezda):
I never worked with resin tracks, so I hope to find a way not to broke them.
November 10, 2013
I made the first attempt on the rear engine access plate. Just drilled the holes and inserted the bolts, and at the end I added a small drop of superglue on the inside face. The original plastic pull rings (which look quite good) were replaced also. Zvezda did a terrific job with those weld seams around the hinges.
A closeup, to see the hexagonal shape of the bolt.
I think these bolts really improve the look of a model, especially in larger scales, where you can actually see the difference. Highly recommended!
October 03, 2013
During my research I’ve learned that IS-2 turrets were made by three different factories: UZTM, Hammer & Sickle and Factory no. 200. I opted for a Factory 200 turret, as the tank I want to build seems to have all its trademarks. Among these, some are quite noticeable: low casting seam, smooth commander’s cupola, big numbers on the back – usually one letter and a digit above a group of three digits.
Unfortunately, Zvezda provides a muzzle brake that is too short, so I had to buy an aftermarket one from Aber, which is far from being perfect. I had to rework the muzzle brake, as it lacks all of its casting marks and contours.
The rain guard above gun mantlet lacks the hinged front section so I had to improvise one. I added pistol ports and the caps of the gun trunnions by cutting small styrene discs. I thought the Mk. IV visors were too small so I replaced them with new ones made from scraps.
I added grab handles and textured the surface with Mr. Surfacer 1000. An old Italieri IS-2 provided a nice option for the commander’s cupola hatch, and has some interior details. Though remained closed, I decided to stick with Zvezda’s loader’s hatch, as I think it has very nice details. There are two pairs of bolts on this hatch that must be shaved off and replaced with holes with the same diameter.
The round mobile part of the 7.62 mm DT machine gun was taken from Italieri IS-2, as Zvezda’s seemed a little too flat compared to the real thing. I replaced the barrel with a syringe needle and added few bolts and other small details. The casting numbers are made from brass wire and simply glued into place.
September 11, 2013
August 25, 2013
Finished as Polish Cromwell IV, 1st squadron, 10th Mounted Rifle Regiment, France, August 1944, with Decals from ToRo. I used only Vallejo paints and weathered it with oils and pigments.
July 29, 2013
This is my all-time favorite tank and I wanted to build it for a long time; I already had Italieri and PST kits and I was ready for a kitbash. However, when I heard Zvezda will release its own version (a snap fit), and knowing the quality of its earlier releases (T34, Tiger I and Panther Ausf D), I decided to wait. And the wait was worthwhile. This is not a comprehensive review, just a few shots with the main parts (I didn’t removed the flash on any part, just detached it from the sprues).
The upper hull (Zvezda on the left, Italieri in the middle, and PST on the right). Italieri’s hull is a little bit short, both Zvezda and PST seem to have the right proportions, Zvezda has the nicest details of all:
Lower hulls (same order). I took an extra shot with Zvezda’s lower hull, looks like Dragon style, with superb details:
Gun barrels. I added the metal Aber barrel just for comparison. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think this is Zvezda’s only soft spot: the gun muzzle brake is maybe a little too short.
The turrets. Italieri is the only one with a very nice cast texture (present on the hull also). All Zvezda hatches are closed (maybe another minus).
General shots with Zvezda kit sprues. The DSzK 12.7mm machine gun has amazing details, and I think is the best plastic replica in 1/72.
I think the conclusion is obvious: Zvezda IS-2 is the best on the 1/72 market today.