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22Jul/180

Bolt Action IS-2 Heavy Tank

The heaviest plastic tank kit Warlord Games offers for the soviet forces is the IS-2 heavy tank - a perfect match for the Bolt Action campaign supplement The Road to Berlin and worthy enemy for the King Tiger. Time to honour it with a review on its own.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

The IS-2 (Iosef Stalin, in Wnglisch often called JS-2 for Joseph Stalin) was the successor of the IS series heavy tank and counts as one of the most powerful tanks of World War 2. It was developed to withstand the German 8,8 cm guns and to counter Tiger and Panther tanks with the 122mm gun. It went into service in April 1944 and was used in the final offensive of the Red Army towards Berlin. Of the IS-2 were 3.850 units built between 1943 and 45, making it the most numerous tank of the IS series and triple the number of produced Tiger I. Besides being field by the Red Army / soviet forces, the IS-2 was part of the Polish and Czechoslovakian tank forces towards the end of the war. To the end of the war, the IS-3 was introduced as a derivative of the IS-2. IS-2s often would carry soviet soldiers into battle, offering valuable protection from enemy infantry. Warlord pays respect to this and adds a sprue of plastic infantry to this kit.

Warlord Games offers this kit for 20 GBP in their new format, containing the co-produced vehicle sprues with Italeri, an infantry sprue, decals, stat cards, damage tokens and a new size assembly and painting guide. This is kept in 28mm / 1:56 scale and the decals cover the Soviet, Polish and Czechoslovakian variants. There were no variants of the IS-2, so this kit has no optional parts beside the tank commander and turret mg.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

The vehicle sprues are produced by Italeri, the infantry by Warlord Games themselves. They were quite generous with the infantry, as they added the base and weapon sprue for the 8 (!) miniatures.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

Casting is well done, with minimal mold lines and no offset.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

Building starts as usual with the tracks. Unfortunately the instructions are wrong as the numbers for the tracks are off and do not fit either the right or the left side. But this is just an error in the instructions as the wrong termed parts are recognised easily and no hassle to assemble.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

The tracks are added to the sides of the lower hull. You could add the additional lead to the chassis already now, but I waited for it, as we have to turn the hull around for the details on back and front.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

Spare tracks sections and towing hooks are added to the lower front of the tank.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

Now the upper hull is added to the chassis, now you can add the lead to the hull, to weigh it down. Especially with these larger heavy battle tanks it is important from my point of view, to give them a proper handling.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

As the chassis is now almost complete, we close the back with the armour plate and some exterior details, like the fuel drums, tools and stowage.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

The rear receives similar parts to the lower front, additional spare tracks and towing hooks. And a pair of towing rope. These are the only really "fiddly" bit of the kit, as they slightly interlock and are flexible.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

As the chassis is now complete, we move forward to the assembly of the turret. You can build the cannon in a way to be elevated, just make sure not to glue part 53 to 34. The hatches can be build either closed or open and you have an optional soviet tank commander in this kit, which fits both hatches.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

Now you can add the turret to the hull, the only step left is to add the brackets around the turret.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

This is the complete IS-2 or JS-2, depending if you're going with the Russian or anglicised nomination for the Soviet late war heavy tank.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

In comparison with other Soviet heavy tanks, the KV-1 and IS-3. You can see the close relation between those tank patterns. And they are rather similar in size as well.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

But as mentioned above, I couldn't close this review without the comparison with the Big Cat of the German army, the King Tiger, similar in length and width, but the IS-2 has a lower height. In the third picture the comparison of the resin King Tiger, next to the IS-2 and the British Comet. All of which participated in the very last years of World War 2.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

And the last set of pictures, the IS-2 from different angles.

Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank Bolt Action - IS-2 Heavy Tank

Conclusion
At a price tag of 20 GBP you get quite a lot with this kit. Not only is the IS-2 tank quite a large model, but it is pleasant to build as well. There is a full infantry sprue including weapons, something you can never have enough of if you're playing Soviets in Bolt Action and you get a proper decal sheet including the variants for the Polish and Czechoslovakians as well.

Casting of the sprue is properly done; the fit is good as well. There is nothing to say against this kit. Usually I would add recommendations for conversions in this part of the review, but with the IS-2 there aren't any (at least none that I've heard of). The IS-2 wasn't in use after the world war, as the Soviet Union had a broad development program for the time after the World War / beginning with the Cold War. So for Cold War Gone Hot / Team Yankee projects in 28mm, it is more appropriate to go with T-54 or T-55 tanks. You could use the IS-2 as a captured vehicle, there were a couple captured by German forces, but those didn't really saw any action as they were brought to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or Kummersdorf test facility for academic purposes. So if you're going to use them, it might be for the very last battles over Berlin with the use of the Replacement Tank Force or similar.

Bolt Action is a brand of Warlord Games.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

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