- Published on Thursday, 05 January 2012 00:01 Nick Mayhew
1/35 JS-2 (Mod.1944) Value Package
Part 2 of 2
Comprehensive Photo-Etch Upgrade Set for Tamiya kit #35289
E.T. Model of China make a wide variety of accessories and upgrades for armour kits in 1/35 scale. Although this is the first time I have seen E.T. Models' products in the flesh, their range is already quite extensive, and includes resin details as well as photo-etch sets, and covers Modern vehicles as well as WWII armour and trains - you can view their full line up here.
This is the second instalment of a two-part review of the 'Value Package' for Tamiya's excellent JS-2 Model 1944 Russian tank (kit #35289). The concept is rather similar to Eduard's 'Big Ed' sets, and comprises one set for the fenders, and one for other exterior details such as engine grills, fuel drums and so on.
The fender set was reviewed here, whilst this review will focus on the general detail set.
There are two of these frets for the fuel drums
1/35 JS-2 Upgrade Set #E35-053
This set contains four frets of brass, two small pieces of resin (pistol port plugs), one piece of clear plastic (headlamp lens) and a length of braided wire for the tow rope. The instructions are on two A4 pages, and detail the various sub-assemblies. Packaging is the same as the fender set: you will need to remove a cling film like plastic coating from each fret.
The most prominent feature of the set is the replacement external fuel tanks. The kit ones are ok, but lack the finesse and detail of the E.T. Model parts. The PE ones allow you to have correct handles at the ends and a correct cap, rather than the out of place hex bolt for a cap on the kit parts. The support brackets are also much better, and allow you to display just the bracket without the actual drum, as often seen in pictures.
Kit drums – nice weld beading, but the hex bolt for fuel cap is incorrect
Handles on ends of kit drums are rather crude
The drums themselves even come with a PE part simulating the weld beading which runs down the length of each drum. Being PE you can then add your dinks and dents in a way which is much more difficult with plastic parts.
Kit drum forward, but with PE straps; rear drum is E.T. Models, complete with dent and accurate fuel cap – a vast improvement.
Fuel drums removed, but brackets left in place; note that the cylindrical straps were not left on when the drums were absent in the photos o have checked.
My only concern is I am not sure exactly how easy the drums will be to construct, and I may resort to using the odd strip of plastic to provide backing for the seam down the length of the drum. I have yet to see a clear war time picture of the plumbing connecting these pipes into the engine compartment or fuel tanks, and would be very interested if any readers could assist in this regard (please contact us via our Facebook page).
The other parts that really stand out are the engine grills: these are a two piece affair and notably include the bolt heads which are not present in the PE grills which come with the kit. I have laid two of the frets on top of each other so you can see what the finished article will look like.
PE grills as supplied in the kit – better than nothing, but lack bolt head detail.
E.T. Models frets laid over one another to show engine grill with correct detail.
The rest of the set is still quite 'busy', as you have the various stowage bins (always good for adding a few dents), tool stowage brackets and clamps etc. To make the most of these you will need a variety of very small gauge brass or plastic rod, and perhaps lay off the caffeine for a few hours beforehand – some of the parts are very small indeed.
The PE weld beads look quite convincing
There is a tow cable of sorts provided in the kit, but on closer inspection it looks like what it really is – just a piece of string. In our upgrade set we get a length of tightly braided wire which looks far more realistic. My piece wasn't overly springy, but you may wish to anneal nonetheless.
Comparison of Tamiya string tow cable and E.T. Model braided wire.
For the turret there is an assembly for the hinged mantle rain guard / cover, as well as periscope guards and small rings to simulate the weld marks where the grab handles are fixed. The rain guard will be a bit tricky as there are four hinges to construct, but the kit part is rather simplistically moulded, so I think the difference will be noticeable.
The large part forms the basis for the mantle rain guard.
The other nice little feature are the two resin pistol ports: in the kit they are just plastic plugs, and cannot be shown open / dangling down from the side. The PE and resin assembly will be particularly valuable if you want to have the turret opened up and put a full interior in there (Jaguar make a resin interior I believe). I am still searching for pictures which clearly show the plug hanging down, and will add one to the review once I have completed trawling my references.
Note resin pistol port in open position
Kit pistol port is just a plastic plug
So What Do We Think?
An excellent quality set, and one which will add real value to the basic JS-2 kit from Tamiya. No cutting required for his part of the update set, but some of the construction will be quite fiddly, and require prior experience with PE parts. Given the comprehensive nature of this set, and the prominence of many of the pieces on the tank, I think you can produce a real show stopper with this set.
With thanks to E.T. Models for the review sample.
E.T. Models are available in the UK from Cove Models
- Wydawnictwo Militaria #273 – JS-2 vol.1
- Wydawnictwo Militaria #294 – JS-2 vol.2
- IS-2 Heavy Tank 1944-73 by Steven Zaloga