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JS-4 (IS-4) Heavy Tank Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 JS-4 (IS-4) Heavy Tank Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2014 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject JS-4 (IS-4) Heavy Tank Scale 1/35
Kit Number 5573 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Aluminum Barrel
Pros Interesting subject, nice detailing Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $92.95

First Look

JS-4 (IS-4) Heavy Tank Kit
JS-4 (IS-4) Heavy Tank Kit
JS-4 (IS-4) Heavy Tank Kit

The Joseph Stalin (Iosif Stalin) series of tanks were developed as follow-on heavy tanks to the Klimov-Voroshilov (KV) series and named in honor of their (then) current Soviet leader. As the JS-2 (IS-2) tank entered service late in the Great Patriotic War (WWII), designers were already looking at even more capable designs to keep German developments in check. One such design was the JS-4 (IS-4) which was essentially a stretched JS-2 hull with one additional road wheel added to each side, and engineering improvements learned from expoitation of captured Panther tanks and data taken after war's end. While the design passed testing and production was approved in 1947, less than 260 were produced due to speed and mobility problems. Like many undesireables of the time, the JS-4s were shipped off to Sibera and the Far Eastern military districts for service.

Trumpeter has filled another vacancy in the line-up of World War II era heavy tank designs with this release of the JS-4. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 13 parts trees plus upper and lower hull, and upper and lower turret halves. Ten trees of rust-colored styrene are included for individual track links along with a turned aluminum barrel and one fret of photo-etched parts. Duplicate parts trees not shown.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed suspension and road wheels
  • Individual track link assembly to replicate track sag
  • Nicely detailed DShK anti-aircraft gun
  • Positionable travel lock for main gun barrel
  • Detailed main gun mantlet with metal gun barrel
  • Main gun barrel is movable in azimuth and elevation
  • Photo-etched engine deck grilles
  • Basic pioneering tools and external fuel drum storage provided

I'm curious about the gun ring that mounts near (over) the turret hatches. It appears that the ring will pivot out of the way but if not secured, will pivot over the top of the turret hatches and block the crew inside. There was probably a handle inside the turret to pivot the ring out of the way if needed, but it sure looks like a problem waiting for a victim.

This will make for another interesting subject as this one of the last heavy tanks to be produced by the Soviets (the IS-10 would be the last, but by the time it entered service, Stalin was out and that tank was redesignated T-10). Perhaps Trumpeter will tackle this subject in the future though as I recall, Tamiya had released a T-10 kit that looked more like the JS-3 (IS-3). In any case, kudos to Trumpeter for continuing to tackle interesting armor and military vehicle subjects like this one!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!