Although Trumpeters release times are not a voracious as Dragons, they are still releasing at a steady rate or what seem to be in batches, with the three Japanese tanks as one batch then the AS 90 and the Strv as another and now the JS-3 and the Sherman's, what will come next??
On to the kit, it is moulded in a light grey plastic, somewhat lighter than the Dragon colour. All parts are very finely moulded, there is nothing clunky about this kit. The hull comes in two parts, with the lower being very well detailed, the suspension arms are separate items allowing for some movement in the suspension.The upper hull has some rather large placement holes for the various parts that fit to the hull, from past experience I am not overly alarmed by this as most will be filled, the other thing I like is the fact that the parts can be attached from the inside, negating any mishaps with the glue on the outside.
So how does the hull compare to the Roden Hull? Placed side by side there is not much difference between them, but closer inspection will reveal several bad points on the Trumpeter kit. The first is the angle of the nose, the angle of the Roden kit is a little more acute than the Trumpeter one, the Roden one is correct, this brings me on to the second failing, the Trumpeter kit is missing the prominent weld seams around the nose. The third thing is not really a fault the barrel clamp is moulded as part of the hull, removing it will be extremely difficult without obliterating the detail underneath. However it is not all doom and gloom, at least the Trumpeter kit has the stowage bins along the side of the hull.
The kit has one large sprue which contains the turret and the hull fittings, the Auxiliary fuel cells are moulded as one piece with just one end to attach, how well does this work ?? we will see. The Turret is moulded in two halves, you may wonder as to why there are two sprockets one with teeth and one with half of them missing, I will come to that later. The DshK AAMG is one of the best that I have seen, I used to think that Rodens was the best until I saw this one, why is it that the best MG's are on the IS-3??
Here are the Trumpeter and Roden turrets side by side, the main problem with the trumpeter turret is it is missing the flat area at the rear of the turret.
The wheels and tracks come on two separate sprues of which there are four in total (two wheel and two tracks) As has been discussed elsewhere, the wheels are not an exact representation but they are close and better than the Roden Wheels. The tracks are of the L&L variety very well detailed and nicely thin.
One surprise to me was the inclusion in the kit of a set of ready assembled tracks wheels and suspension, These are nothing like the one piece tracks in the Italeri IS-2 or the Hat kits, these are beautifully detailed tracks just as good as the Link and length ones, in fact I would say better because they are a perfect fit around the sprocket and idler. On closer inspection you can see that you still have to add the wheel outers from the sprue so you don't exactly get a full second suspension which is a damned shame
Trumpeter have also included pre-bent wire for the turret grab handles, this is a nice touch but how do they look ?? until assembled it is hard to tell
The decal sheet seems to be a generic one covering the IS-3M as well, the instructions show markings for 2 vehicles, with the decals in the Red rectangle being used as one vehicle is devoid os marking except for a white recognition stripe.
The kit scales out to 1/72nd according to the references I have. All in all it is a nice kit with a few faults the main one being the moulded in place barrel clamp, something that has spoilt a otherwise very nice kit.
Note 1. The plans of the IS-3 in this book show the turret wrong, the plans show the turret to be eliptical, where as it is more like the kit turrets in real life.