Thursday, 11 January 2018

Back for 2018!

Hooray, my modelling mojo seems to be returning! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

After 2017's recurring illness and major creative doldrums, I feel reenergized for the New Year and forced myself to return to the Scarborough Games Society for its first session. They kicked off the 2018 season with a painting evening, an ideal opportunity for me to dust off my little workbox and get going again.

The SGS is my local port of call for a game of Gale Force 9 'TANKS' - the tabletop tank warfare game - and the addition of a special 'paint night' to their club meetings is a great way to kick start your 'army' construction for a game. Aside from my putting together my practise tank (yes, although it was a 'paint night' model construction is allowed) there were a number of other armies being painted by other members which ranged from historical (e.g. Bolt Action) to fantasy (Warhammer and some very novel 'Toy Soldier' figures).

I decided to start with a very simple 15mm (1/100) Zvezda IS-2 Soviet Heavy tank. Although I have a very large backlog of other projects, I did not want to jump straight back in with an ongoing model until I had gotten some much needed modelling & painting practise again.

Nice comparison shot of the IS-2 (front) compared to the later IS-3 showing
how Soviet tanks were to evolve. The IS-3 arrived just too late for WW2, but
gave the West a very nasty shock and initiated a rush for heavier tank designs.
(Source: Wikipedia.)
Also, I didn't want to make a mess of one of my 'good' models, so decided to start by making a completely unrelated test model first, before re-embarcking on either my Finnish, Kursk or Pacific projects. I happened to have the IS-2 knocking about my stash so it seemed a good candidate for a guinea pig!

The Zvezda 1/100 IS-2 'Joseph Stalin' Heavy Tank
Many modellers wax lyrical about the German 'heavies' - I call it 'Tiger love' - but I have always had a bit of a crush on the Soviet IS series of tanks. It was a long lived series which spanned the whole of WW2 and beyond, and was very influential (in the end, more influential than the German heavies) the development of Cold War tanks in both the East and the West.

Just 2 spures with 16 parts in total, not a complex job!
(Sorry about the naff photo, the lighting plus my awful
phone camera was against me.)
As usual, Zvezda have produced a very simple 'game marker' quality tank kit, with very few parts that simply snap-together quickly. Though, as usual, I took my time about construction as I looked for ways I could improve of modify the basic model.

To be honest, aside from the addition of some small items of storage, there isn't much more I would do to this model (aside from paint it). I've looked at quite a few reference photos now and - for a Soviet tank - the IS-2s seemed to run pretty lean (no great piles of gear strapped to the hull). I'm sure there was cases where the crew added plenty of stowage to the outside, but I'm gonna go with a clean look with this one. This, incidentally, suits this test project as I don't want to over-complicate the process.

The kit is the usual Zvezda 'Art of Tactic' fair with a minimum of parts (just 16) with much of the detail being moulded onto the components.

The detail itself is crisp enough (as usual with Zvezda) but the lack of options or alternative versions is the compromises which keeps the price of this kit low. By contrast the PSC IS-2 pack gives options to build either a IS1, IS85 or a IS2 and comes with a commander figure. BUT, it also comes with 5 tank kits and costs £19.95. So, you pay you're money and takes your choice.

Personally, I find the level of detail on the Zvezda perfectly acceptable for a game of GF9 'TANKS', in fact - for a war-game player rather than a committed modeller - the simplicity of the Zvezda model is actually a positive. If you twisted my arm for a criticism, I suppose - as usual - it might be that the track treads lack detail - but that's the compromise with one-piece tracks.

The end result is a nicely intimidating heavy tank which should put the shivers up even an opposing 'German' player fielding his selection of heavies. Combined with supporting T-34/85s and perhaps a heavy tank destroyer - like the ISU-152 - or more IS-2s, this model will make an excellent spearhead for a late WW2 Soviet assault force.

Ta-Da! Done, I will probably drill out the gun muzzle, but aside from that
she's ready for priming. Nice ease start to the year!

Next: Now to dust off my brushes!

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