Bigger and badder.  An out-growth of the KV-1 design, the JS series tanks were An aggressive counterpoint to German Tigers. soviet production capacity was the crucial difference as these machines outnumbered their heavy counterparts five to one.

Tamiya has releases a 1944 CHTZ model with a hefty price tag but impressive features.  AS usual, the packaging is impressive and the kit features the normal high quality parts and metal components.  This time around Tamiya has stuck with the MFU/DMD package offered with the KV-1/KV-2 (MFU-6 / DMD-8) But the engine noises are comparable.

Tamiya has included metal offerings for some common breakable parts as grab rails.

Overall, the kit seems nice.  As I reviewed the plastic parts, I was impressed with the level of detail that went into texturing the cast portions of the turret, etc.  It gives it some added detail that is much appreciated. 

DAK First Look


Russian Heavy metal

The DAK offering out of the box features realistic cast texture on the hull and a few variations on the the usual Tamiya construction theme.  Anyone who's assembled a few of Tamiya's tank will note some subtle changes, such as:

New mounts for transmissions instead of the old standoffs.  They look to be much more solid than the old standoff system.  No more transmission braces needed.

Mystery of CN-5 socket on the MFU solved.  It's for lights.

One must now assemble the speaker enclosure.

All of the grab handles are metal (KV 2 had some metal handles, but it is nice to see the trend continue) (Very Nice!)

The JS-2 also uses fiber optics for the headlight (some of the later produced M-51 Super Sherman kits had this, but not all).

THE tracks are slightly narrower than standard KV, As were the originals.  Standard ABS plastic with pins; assembled for your leisure.

A few things jumped out as being quirky.  Namely, sprues A and B are listed separately in the instructions, but are joined on a common sprue (and even bagged together) .  Another bag contained several more sprue B's (by themselves).   Next, there are several obstructed Allen bolts.  While the kit provides a small wrench (Tamiya is great about providing everything needed to assemble their kits), a ball end allen driver (2mm in particular) would greatly speed things along.  Lastly, the transmission mounts are tilted [see pic 1600].  Meaning, the TU's don't sit level.  They are raised in the rear (front is raised up 8mm, and the rear is 12mm). 

For those interested in the transmission compatibility, I took a picture of the JS-2 TU next to a Tamiya Tiger 1 TU.  Specifically, the output final drive shaft length.  [see pic 1525].  In the pic, the JS-2 TU is on the bottom and the Tiger 1 on the top.  Distance from the TU wall to the tip of the final drive shaft is:  Tiger 1, 23mm, JS-2, 24mm.  The internal gears appear identical.

The screws came packed neatly in three small bags. [pic 1526]  As mentioned before, the bags appear to contain the screws in the order you will use them.  This is very nice and helps prevent opening everything up (and thus risking losing them) until you actually are ready to install it...


Step one is where the suspension begins.  Here, we install the bearing races and torsion bar rails.

Step two. 

We assemble the return rollers.  Original bushings were used, and yes, that's the grease I used.

Attaching return roller assemblies.  It's starting to get interesting now, more detail going into the track area.  Looks busy! 

One of the more noteworthy items is the complete redesign of the KV's weak idler attachment system.  The JS has a new system, and it is a significantly reinforced idler system.  More on this in the upcoming steps...

Suspension Stoppers!  Nothing too exciting really, more of the suspension...

The detail is great here.  If you look closely, you can see that even the suspension stoppers have a heavy cast texture.  I was also impressed by the detail level (adding the nuts was nice).  You can see that I added a dab of CA (Extra Thick) under the part to hold it, until I could put the screws on behind.  The fact that the suspension stoppers are screwed to the hull are a big improvement and shows Tamiya knows these tanks are for RC.  No more falling off (like the shock bodies on the Leo 2a6 do).