I have only just noticed that I have forgotten to write the review!! Sorry, The recent releases from Italeri (not including the re-released Esci kits) have been including a easy build for wargaming, especially the M8,M20 and DUKW kits with the simple wheels. This time they have gone the whole hog and included a full kit for wargaming ! but I will concentrate mainly on the main kit.
The IS-2 is a simple kit with few parts, most of the parts are for the tracks and wheels. The lower hull is a tub with the suspension on two separate parts to be glued on the side in a similar fashion to some Revell kits. all suspension arms are moulded in place and although nicely detailed from the outside, the side nearest the hull is lacking, in fact the arms are solid to the sides, although much of this will be hidden by the wheels and tracks it is still noticeable from certain angles. The hull top come as a single piece and is well detailed, personally I think it is better than the PST kit. The turret comes in three main parts, upper, lower and the front. The pieces are split along the normal turret seams and have a fine cast texture to them, all hatches on the turret are open. The only fault I can find with the turret is round the rear Machine gun, the feature carries down to the bottom of the turret instead of being rounded. It is an easily corrected error and easier to correct than the PST turret, To end on a high point, the casting numbers are moulded onto the turret rear.
A comparison with the PST turret shows that there are some differences, one being that the PST turret is a generic turret used for their IS range with only a few part changes, which leaves the turret not 100% correct for any. However that said the turret shown is for a IS-2 M hence the different mantlet. The Italeri turret did look a bit odd without the mantlet piece, but it is the correct shape for an IS-2
The kit comes with two sprues for the Tracks and wheels, the tracks are nicely detailed and look to be accurate, they are certainly better detailed than the PST ones, enough track is included to add a bit of sag to the top run of the tracks to give a more realistic look.
The wheels are with the exception of the hub, fairly well detailed and are the best IS wheels from a kit in this scale, all the details are there, the hub is slightly too small and could do with being a bit bigger, the wheels could do with being a bit deeper towards the centre, but you can't have everything.
The track detail
The sprocket, nicely detailed
Decals are supplied for 3 vehicles, well printed and in register.
All in all it is a very nice kit and scales out well to the drawings in the Osprey book, although plans and details of the M version are common, the IS-2 is not so well covered. The reason as to why Italeri have decided to add a complete wargaming model is a mystery, they could have just included the tracks and the fuel drum and gun mantlet from the wargaming kit with the same effect, however that said the wargamer gets two kits and the serious modeller gets one ! plus one to practice all those techniques that you wouldn't want to try on a model for fear of ruining it, The other option is that with the kit costing no more than other releases, if you buy enough, you can always sell the wargaming models on to recuperate some money !
The Wargaming Model
The wargaming model is avery simple affair consisting of just 10 parts, unlike the Trumpeter IS-3 easy tracks the Italeri ones are very simple with solid one piece wheels and track with little or no detail, similar to the tracks on the minitank series from Roco. The other problem is there is no turret bottom and so you can see though from front to rear.