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3rd Guards Tank Army, Berlin, 1945 (the unit symbol is correct,  the number might not be – down to what spare decals I had).

IS-2 build – Part 1:Introduction
IS-2 build – Part 2:Assembly
IS-2 build – Part 3:Painting
IS-2 build – Part 4:Weathering

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IS-2 build – Part 4:Weathering

  • Lighter paint chips were simulated using LifeColor “4BO Var” (UA239), applied with a sponge or brush.
  • Darker paint chips were simulated using Vallejo Model Color “German Camouflage Black Brown” (70822), applied with a sponge or brush.
  • Before further weathering, a 1:2 mixture of Mr.Color “Clear Gloss” (46) and Mr.Color Leveling Thinner was sprayed over the entire model.
  • The entire model was washed with a dilute mixture of Winsor & Newton “Raw Umber” and “Lamp Black” oil paints (ratio about 5:1) in enamel thinners – the excess being cleaned up with a dry brush or cotton bud.
  • Further contrast was added using AMMO Oilbrusher “Starship Bay Sludge” and “Light Brown Rust”.
  • The wooden handles of the tools were brushed with AMMO Oilbrusher “Dark Brown” to simulate wood grain.
  • To the some of the vertical or sloping sides of the hull and turret Abteilung 502 “Starship Filth” (Abt510), “Sepia” (Abt002) or “Light Rust Brown” (Abt060) were added. Then, using a flat brush, the oil paint was drawn down the sides to simulate streaks of dirt or rust.
  • To simulate dirt the lower hull, engine deck, fenders and top of the turret were selectively treated with a wash of AMMO Oilbrusher “Dusty Earth” and “Medium Soil” in enamel thinners, with the excess being removed using a dry brush.
  • Abteilung 502 “Light Mud” (Abt125) was added as dots on vertical or sloping surfaces and then drawn downwards with a flat brush to simulate dirt streaks.
  • The entire model was sprayed with a 1:2 mixture of Mr.Color “Flat Clear” (182) and Mr.Color Leveling Thinner.
  • AMMO “Europe Earth” and Rubble” pigments were brushed onto the lower half of the tank and the wheels and fixed with a 1:1  mixture of AMMO “Pigment Fixer” (A.MIG-3000) in enamel thinners, added by brush.
  • The wheels were then fixed and the tracks (Fruilmodel ATL-14, linked with 0.5 mm brass rod – 85 tracks per side – and weathered using Ultimate Modelling Products “Burnishing Liquid” and then pigments) were added.
  • AK Interactive “Dark Steel” (AK086) pigment was brushed on onto the raised parts of the tracks in contact with the ground or running gear, as well as the edges of the metal tools and the machine gun.
  • The upper part of the tank and the top of the turret was treated with AMMO “Europe Earth” and Rubble” pigments.
  • Vallejo “Carbon Black” (73116) pigment and Tamiya “Soot” powder was added to the exhaust area.
  • Abteilung 502 “Sepia” (ABT002) and “Engine Grease” (ABT160) oil paints, in varying dilutions in enamel thinners, were added to parts of the vehicle, to simulate oil and fuel stains.
  • Remaining items to add were a discarded shell case and bits of broken brick to simulate the sort of debris which might collect in an urban battlefield.

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IS-2 build – Part 3:Painting

Primer: Tamiya “Fine Surface Primer” (light grey) spray can.

Base coats: Using most of the Mr.Hobby Russian Green modulation set. In all cases the paint was sprayed as a 1:2 mixture in Mr.Color leveling thinner.

  • The darkest colour (“RG shadow” CMC13) was sprayed over the entire model, to act as a dark base.
  • The next darkest (“RG CM base” CMC10) was sprayed over the bulk of the vehicle, save the deepest recesses.
  • “RG highlight 1” CMC11 was sprayed on the upper hull, the sides and top of the turret and the outside part of the wheels only.


  • Machine guns: LifeColor “Matt Black” (LC02)
  • Headlight: Citadel “Runefang Steel”
  • Tools: LifeColor “Tyre Black” (UA733), LifeColor “Light Wooden Stock” (UA728)
  • Stowage: LifeColor “British Uniforms Battledress Dark Tone” (UA444), “British Uniforms Battledress Light Tone” (UA443), “British Uniforms Green Tone Gears” (UA441), “British Uniforms Water Bottle Bag” (UA440), “British Uniforms Leather Jacket” (UA445), “Russian Uniforms Helmet” (UA446), “British Uniforms Yellow Tone Gears” (UA442) and Citadel “Runefang Steel”


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IS-2 build – Part 2:Assembly

I am going to be doing two of these vehicles, to feature on my Berlin diorama. Therefore, I thought it might be a good idea to build them slightly differently. For this one, I have omitted any photo etch (except in one place – the brackets on the empty fuel tank holders), relying instead on my ability to alter the plastic parts to how I wanted them. There are a few compromises in places – some of the pre-moulded parts on the engine deck are a bit clunky, but I either choose to ignore them or obscure them with bits of stowage. Many pictures of the real tank show a lot of damage, especially to the fenders and fuel tank holders – see here, here, here and here – so I decided to try that. As in a previous similar attempt, I can’t be sure that I am fully accurate in what I have done, especially for the rear of the vehicle, but, well, once it is painted and weathered it is not that important!

Changes made:

  • Replaced the kit barrel with the Aber 122mm D-25T (35L69).
  • Large parts of the fenders on both sides were removed.
  • The fuel tank holders were removed on one side and those on the other side were left empty, according to the pictures I link to above.
  • The weld seam on the turret (where the two kit pieces join) was enhanced using 0.4mm plastic rod.
  • The grab handle weld points were made less uniform by softening the plastic with thin cement and shaping with it various metal points.
  • Extra flame cut edges were added to some of the back plate.
  • Extra texturing of cast surfaces with Mr.Surfacer 1000, applied roughly with an old brush.
  • Various stowage items – either pre-made or made from green putty – were placed on the vehicle, to be tied in with further bits and pieces later on.

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IS-2 build – Part 1:Introduction

The vehicle

“The heavy tanks were designed with thick armour to counter German 88 mm guns and carried a main gun capable of defeating Panzer IV tanks. They were mainly designed as breakthrough tanks, firing a heavy high-explosive shell that was useful against entrenchments and bunkers. The IS-2 went into service in April 1944 and was used as a spearhead by the Red Army in the final stage of the Battle of Berlin.” [1]

The kit

Tamiya 1/35 kit [2].