by: Matt Flegal [ ]
In 1944 development of the Object 701 began in parallel with the IS-3. Entering limited production in 1946 and full production in 1947 this tank was not truly a success, with only 250 produced and most sent to the East. However, it is an impressive beast and is not just another "paper panzer". After many years of hoping we finally have a state of the art kit to build.
This is an impressive kit, probably the best I've seen from Trumpeter yet and at the level of Dragon Models or Tamiya's best as far as detail goes. You get individual track links, photo etched screens, a turned metal barrel, and some really inventive and appreciated slide molding. The various fuel drums and smoke dischargers are molded in one piece with almost no flash, so no seams to fill. The tracks are very nicely molded and match the ones fitted to the IS-4 on display at Oblast Russia. Actually, it seems pretty obvious that this was their reference for the kit as even the casting numbers match but they did their research and added the various screens and bits not present on this exhibit.
Overall the molding is very nice and the detail quite fine. Too fine in some respects as the casting on the turret and mantlet is a bit too restrained, the same with some of the welds. However, the casting pattern is not just pebbling as Trumpeter has done in the past, it is actually a good rendition of an irregular pattern.
The photo etch covers the various engine deck screens with separate frames for a more 3D look which is a nice touch. There isn't a great need for additional photo etch from aftermarket suppliers outside of perhaps the fuel tank brackets.
Looking over the kit I am quite impressed. The detail is the best Trumpeter has yet done, the shapes seem to be captured well, ejection marks are placed where they won't be an issue (and they've avoided any on the tracks, thank heavens), and the parts count isn't needlessly high due to an overcomplicated parts breakdown. It's a winner of a kit. I can only hope that their upcoming IS-7 is as good (and perhaps that they've got the same team working on an IS-6 two in one kit).