Trumpeter 1/35 JS-III 'Stalin'

KIT #:  
PRICE: $12 at a swap meet
REVIEWER: Jack Bruno


               This Kit brought back many pleasant memories of riding my bike just two blocks south to buy the latest 1/48 addition from AURORA, The Stalin Tank.  The unique and evil shape just oooozed COLD WAR......a period that I indeed remember well............
               It might be going on ten years now that I've had the 1/35 TRUMPETER JSIIIm Tank in the stash.  In fact, I shelved it after sanding clean the road wheels and just a few weeks ago found it tucked in the corner of the storage area.  I recently got on a 67 Six Day War kick, due to the fact of joining yet another Facebook Page Group on Middle East Conflicts. So, as Yul Brenner said in the Ten Commandment's............"So it is written......So let it be done......."
               The appearance of the JS III at the very end of the War in Europe stunned the Allied Nations as it seamed the Soviet Union was still on War footing. Nicknamed, "PIKE" because of the unique bow shape, it was a brutal machine designed to combat Tiger II's and dare I say other possible Armor it may have had to face. Postwar and British Independence came and one of the Best Customers for Russian Armor were the Nations surrounding Israel starting from the 1950's thru Present Day.  Built with the powerful 122mm gun as found in JS II machines, the JS III featured a well sloped, low profile Hull with a rounded turret. Actually, it was a very pretty machine. Years went by and JS III development moved forward to now have larger fenders and storage bins on the side as well as side sand shields.   Thus, the JS IIIm series. Upon the appearance of the T-54/55 and later the T-62 series, the JS Tanks were put out of business.  Needless to say, JS IIIm's were mauled by Up-gunned Shermans, Centurion's and better tactics and strategy of the IDF. After the Six Day War, captured units were put to use in the IDF and I was really surprised to see pictures of these brutes and having a short stove pipe exhaust mounted.  I will do one of those soon...... Ya alwayz find something!!
                What you get in the box is normal for a Soviet Tank. Basically four green sprues with Turret and Hull in addition to the SMALL decal sheet.  The cool thing about the decals was that it did have a Unit for an Egyptian Tank.  Well, that was easy enough to be on my way. The tracks??? Well, I tossed them right in the bin. After trying to decide on buying the FRUIL set I went with an extra set of JS II tracks from DRAGON...........I made it a rule never to invest more in track than I did with everything else for a project.  The Casting on the turret was really nice and based on EARLY TRUMPETER kits, this offering was a little above average from them............of coarse, now the latest kits are pretty well made.  Also in the box you had the rope (cable) and poly caps. instructions were pretty good, but ya gotta look often and pay attention ;)  The box art is pretty funny as it's a JS IIIm, and what appears to be German "Door Knocker" and a LOT of fire...I bought this kit at a swap for $12....All righty now.............
                  In less than an afternoon, while watching one of the rare Cub wins, I had the Road Wheels and Running gear cleaned up and mounted to the chassis.  This is really easy and just pay attention to making sure everything lines up right and the wheels that are SUPPOSED too, all touch the ground.  I had an extra bitch kit of a DRAGON JS II Tank that I gutted for parts. The tracks were a perfect fit and it again took a very short time in cleaning these up and getting them put together. I've said it before.....I love DRAGON track.  This was the old link to link but there's just something about these that I alwayz enjoyed. I use the TESTORS Black "LONG NECK" plastic glue for these because it apply's well and gives me plenty of drying time.  Although the side shields pretty much hide the entire top run of the track, I still added extra links to get that beautiful looking Soviet Sag that I like so much.  Like a fine curvy woman with no back flap ;) This part of the project was finished after both sides of the tracks were mounted .........on to the Hull.
                      The Hull was a very well engineered. Not too many pieces but plenty of room for improvement. I substituted in a few area's that I'll pass on to you........the headlights are okay but the endgame featured the addition of MV lenses. Wait until the end to put them in. They are hard to find but the Galzz at Majors, in Davenport IOWA,  hooked me up. I used real wire instead of the supplied rope.  Now, one of the fun parts. Call it artistic licence if you like, but I've often seen Fuel Drums that are welded. Wanting to stand out I dug into my stash and got some small plastic strip and using liquid glue, melted the strip over the seams and used a new #11 blade to make weld beads.  I must say they came out really nice.  The Smoke Cannisters were last and found their place on the rear ........I could get funny here but I'll let it slide.
                        I'm of the opinion that the whole LOOK of the kit was going to be the turret.  So, I started by adding more texture with green putty and a stiple brush. I tossed the kit grab handles and again substituted fine wire for this.  I bent them up a bit too just for a more ballsey disco look.  The 122mm gun was now installed and in most pictures AND because of Desert action, I added a muzzle cover of tissue soaked with water and white glue.  On to the Paint Shop.
                         The Tank was in three units, Chassis, Hull & Turret.  I sprayed, out of a rattle can, the entire kit Flat Black. I put this off to the side letting it dry for an afternoon (which I then started something else) .   Having just picked up a new GREX Package I converted over to VALLEJO paints.  I liked the colors and used three different "yellows" to get the look I wanted. At the same time you create depth to the look. Keep into consideration that the top of the vehicle would be lighter to compensate for fading.  I gave this an afternoon to cure and then shot it with light applications of FUTURE.  I use this as my barrier for oil washes and also the gloss for the very cool Eagle Decal of an Egyptian Unit.  The decal was softened with SOLVASET.  After the decal cured and was melted into the turret I took a brush and applied a little FUTURE over it to protect it from my Terp/Windsor-Newton Dick Van Dyke brown wash.  I use a large and medium brush to apply my washes and alwayzz move front to back.  The trick with washes is to apply light and if you want more, you can.  I like a steady build up of color/grime/effect because it does happen that way in real time, Right????  Using a clean brush and a clean pair of cotton panties (don't get me started) I removed some of the oily film and played with the tone here and there. I placed it under an old desk lamp to speed up the drying. When the entire kit was as to what I wanted I used VALLEJO Matt Finish for a sealed DEAD FLAT look. MIG Pigments have been around and I took out the apporpriate one's I wanted.  I added a lot to the track and running gear using TAMIYA thinner and a small eye dropper to fix it in place. Once you get the hang of this you'll love what you can do. When all was said and done I started to dry brush using yellow oils and applied pencil to the grab handles. A little Chain here and a net there and it was done.  
                The Base was a simple affair, just the way they are intended, and was CELLUCLAY mixed with water and white glue on wood that I told the guyzz at the Meeting was a real piece of bark from a deserted hut in Egypt.........they bought it.  A little curbside rubble and a VERLINDEN resin fuel drum was added for scale size ..........but, I needed more.   I had a few decal sheets for Aircraft and using the Star of David decal, I cut a piece of foil down, ruffled it a bit, then pressed it down to where I wanted it.  I then painted it blue and applied the decal over it.  While I was painting the base I let it dry and then mounted it on the pre determined spot.  It got wheathered along with the rest of the base and the last two things done for the project was applying pigments to the flag using the same method as the Tank and placing the MV lenses into the headlight with white glue.  There you have it

                 I enjoyed this Build very much and I'm really giving thought to a GREEN Soviet machine in the future.  Happily, I took the JS out to St.Louis for it's First Show and was humbled in winner First in it's Category and Best Armor at the Gateway Show in September. Not bad for a nice little kit found in storage ................CHEERZ till next time.

Jack Bruno



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