Russian Heavy Tank
u m m a r y
||Trumpeter 1/35 Scale Kit No. 00316;
Russian Heavy Tank IS-3M
|Contents and Media:
||245 parts (224 in light olive drab
styrene, 18 clear vinyl parts, 2 vinyl tracks, 1 length of nylon thread)
online from Squadron.com)
||First CORRECT kit of this version of
this tank, nicely done, fixes some problems from Tamiya kit
||Some shortcuts on detailing, thin
||Recommended for any Soviet armor fan
or Six-Day War modeler
Trumpeter's 1/35 scale IS-3M is available online from Squadron.com
Trumpeter is doing better with many of its kits, and this one is a kit that
is better in many ways than the only other competitor on the market, Tamiya's
IS-3 kit from 1996.
Tamiya did a rather lukewarm job on their kit – it was based on the survivor in
a Polish Museum of the first 52 or so pre-production tanks, and was thus missing
all of the operational equipment needed for a "real" IS-3. After-market people
immediately set to work with "correction" sets including brass and in a couple
of cases an entire new upper hull for the IS-3M.
Alas, most of this was based on the vehicle at APG. This vehicle was one of the
Egyptian IS-3M tanks captured in 1967 by the Israelis, converted to a static
pillbox, retaken by the Egyptian Army in 1973 (when the Israelis apparently
jammed the gun in battery to prevent its further use) and re-retaken by the
Israelis. It was sent to APG as is, where a spare T-62 engine deck was welded
onto the rear of the hull to cover the hole the IDF cut in the engine
compartment to use for ammunition stowage. All of the kits used this as their
model for an
"IS-3M" with a "T-54 engine and transmission" fitted to it.
TRUE – the IS-3M did use a T-54's V-54 engine of 520 HP.
FALSE – the T-54's transmission, radiator and other kit will not fit in an IS-3
engine bay, so they never looked like our marked-up friend.
The actual IS-3M was a combination of several rebuilding projects with new
electrics, fender skirts, an additional side stowage bin (making 4 per side), an
R-113 radio set, a pair of DShKM machine guns vice DSshK types, IR headlights,
and new road wheels with better bearings. They also carried smoke pots on the
rear of the hull.
For the record, this kit is a ground-up static kit and as a result was NOT
designed to take a motorization pack. While the Tamiya kit may have provided
inspiration, this is not the same model with new parts but a unique and separate
The kit reflects the actual IS-3M and comes with most of the changes listed
above. The wheels have the correct 10-bolt greasecaps of the T-10 type bearing
wheels, but appear to be a bit underscale and are not sharply defined as the
5-bolt caps on the Tamiya kit. It does have sponson floors not found in the
Tamiya IS-3 (or many other of their kits either), reasonably good weld bead
details, but a somewhat overdone rough-cast finish on the turret. Casting
numbers also are not the same as the Tamiya kit; it is quite possible that one
of the handful of IS-3/IS-3M tanks purchased by China was used for the pilot for
this kit, and it is more in line with the actual service vehicles than the
The tracks are competently done but appear thin, however on comparison with the
Tamiya tracks the only major difference is that one can be fitted together with
plastic cement (Tamiya) and one cannot (Trumpter). The two tracks appear nearly
identical except that the Trumpeter ones do not have depression detail on their
outside edges of the inside face and are two links longer than the Tamiya ones.
Oddly, the Tamiya track is a later model track seen on some IS-3M tanks and the
Trumpeter track is the IS-2 based one found on many early IS-3s. Go figure.
Markings are included for the popular (well, with modelers anyway!) Egyptian
IS-3M with the black eagle turret marking and a rather plain Soviet Guards tank.
Overall, this is a very nice kit and one which is more to the modelers' wants
and desires. The reasonable price ($20 for a kit this good in this day and age
is a STEAL!) should make it very popular, and shows Trumpter can play with the
"big boys" when it concentrates its efforts.
Review Copyright © 2002 by Cookie
Page Created 25 August, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003
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