JS-2M ChkZ Russian Tank
The Dragon kit built with a few modifications
I choose to model this tank because of its cool look and raw design. It shows the typically russian tank producing philosophy; fast, simple and powerful. Most people recognize me as a Tiger I modeller but right now I am deep down into a russian phase.
This particular JS-2M ChKZ was chosen because it it is the best looking version of the JS-2 on account of the cast front. The vehicle depicted here belongs to the 85th Heavy Tank Regiment which fought inside Berlin in 1945. I was particularly attracted by the bear inside the red star on the turret.
The kit is made by Dragon (no. 6018) with Friulmodel separate metal track links, Jordi Rubio turned aluminium barrel and Aber anti-Panzerfaust brass shields. Further details were added from pieces of styrene, brass screen and sheet metal from a caviar tube. The chains are from Verlinden.
I think the JS2 kits by Dragon are pretty good, the overall fit is ok and they do not suffer from any large gaps. As for accuracy I do not dare to comment, to me it sure looks like a JS-2 - brutal and beautiful at the same time. It is hard to tell weather the JS-2 ever carried the anti panzerfaust shields but they sure add to the appearence of the model.
The construction was not too complicated, depending on which order you decide to proceed with construction. I always start with the turret with the mantlet and gun barrel followed by the suspension and wheels as the final stage. The only major error with Dragons kit is that the return rollers are located too high, making them come too close to the fenders. Also, the joint between the lower and upper hull next to the return rollers could have been better designed.
All fenders, fuel tanks, stowage boxes as well as the metal parts of the tools were fabricated using the tube metal and scrap pieces of styrene. The handles for the tanks comes from an old Airwaves photoetched set for the T-34. The various locks and clasps were taken from leftover photoetched sets.
Painting and weathering
The model was primed using Humbrol Matt Black followed by a base coat of Gunze Sangyo H320 Dark Green. The entire turret was painted Matt White and the "Berlin Cross" as well as the turret sides were masked off using strips of tape.
The areas of chipped white paint were done using Humbrol Maskol masking fluid to paint the scratches that was later to become covered with the final colour, a great product for this kind of task. With my airbrush I applied a shade of Tamiya XF-61 Dark Green to all edges.
The next step was to dry-brush using Humbrol 78 Cockpit Green. The main areas to recieve dry-brushing was the turret roof and the wheels. This was followed with a wash of diluted Burnt Umber oil colour. The last weathering was done with dry pastel powder, using the colours Dark Brown and Leather. The powder was applied liberally with a short pointed brush.
The tracks were simply airbrushed Humbrol Matt Black followed by applying liberal amounts of pastel powders.
All in all I am very satisfied with this project and I am currently working on a JS-2 which will be finished as a UZTM version. I can recommend the Dragon JS-2 series of kits to anyone who want to model a large vehicle that at the same time offers a relatively quick and easy build.