The IS-2 series of late-war heavy tanks is now well represented in 1:72 scale, with PST producing both the 1943 and 1944 models (although they are quite old and fairly rough mouldings by modern standards), Italeri with the model 1943, Zvezda with an excellent snap-together kit of the model 1944 that puts most other 1:72 kits to shame in terms of detail. And recently Chinese producer S-Model have released its two-in-one-box quick build kit of the IS-2, again the model 1944 with DShK AA machine gun.
As the S-Model kits are essentially quick-build kits, Flyhawk Model have released an upgrade set designed for this kit to improve on the quality of this model, but this should be suitable for any of the 1:72 kits listed above.
The small packet contains two frets of brass etch material and four resin 100 litre fuel drums, along with simple instructions for use. Although it is aimed at the S-Model kit which has two IS tanks in one box, the pack only contains enough parts to upgrade a single tank.
Having received recently Flyhawk's excellent 1:72 scale FT-17 kits (see the review on Armorama by Jan Etal) I was very keen to try out their etch sets, particularly as I have a large number of 1:72 scale IS vehicles under construction. I ordered a set from a seller on eBay and it arrived promptly.
The set is quite simple which of course leads to a simple review. Etch is provided for handles, reinforcing rings and supporting brackets for the fuel drums, for two of the grills on the engine deck, and very little else.
When compared to the PART etch set, designed for the older PST kits, it has far less included, although that comes with terribly difficult etch barrels rather than resin (but unlike the Flyhawk set it does provide both 100 litre and 160 litre versions).
Having resin fuel drums would seem a big improvement over the fiddly etch drums in the PART set, but sadly, the drums have one big drawback, and one small one.
The small drawback is that the drum is completely smooth, and photos of any in-action IS tanks show these invariably dented and got beaten, at least with the etch tanks from PART this can be simulated without difficulty. However, this is no worse than the actual kit parts.
The big problem is that the ends of the drums are also completely smooth - they should have a noticeable lip which isn't present at all on these resin replacements. Short of rebuilding the whole drum there is very little that can be done to fix this.
The etch handles that stick onto the drums themselves are incredibly difficult to fold, as any etch of this size is, but even so they still look a little oversized to me.
Out of this whole set, I will probably only end up using the drum mounting brackets (to build a vehicle without drums fitted) and the engine grills, which is a pity considering what was offered.
Highs: Relatively inexpensive, good detail on etch.Lows: Fuel drums inaccurate, not very much included in kit, only enough to upgrade one of the two S-Model IS tanks.
Verdict: Some useful parts, but not enough. Disappointing.
About Jolyon Ralph (jolyonralph) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been building models since I was six years old. Currently I build 1:72 scale armor, Russian/Soviet/Chinese/Communist Block things in particular, although I also have a fascination with Japanese tanks WW2 and before. Obscure prototypes and one-offs are my particular favourite!