IS-1/IS-2/IS-2M and ISU-152/ISU-152-1/ISU-122/ISU-122S

preview/construction review

Article by Kevin Liang - kevin_liang123(at)yahoo(dot)ca
Edited by Marc Mercier

Note: There are two releases, the old boxes as per above, and newer boxing with red and blue border.

PST has been a favourite manufacturer of mine for a while now. The IS series of kits from PST has been excellent. No other braille manufacturer has really made the IS series (beyond a single IS-2/ISU from Italeri) and definitely not up to the same standard as the PST offering. As usual, these PST kits are full of spare parts for the spares bin, as well as offering plenty of conversion possibilities.

If you want some background on these tanks, Wikipedia has a bit of information :


Essentially, the IS-1 used the 85mm D5T gun, while the IS-2/M used the 122mm D-25T/A-19T.
The main difference between the kits are the box art, the kit number, and the instruction manual. Beyond this, everything is the same. Note, the IS-2M Mod 1944 has a different upper hull than the first two tanks. IS-2M has a sloped frontal hull, whereas IS-1 and IS-2 Mod 1943 has a stepped hull. The change into a single sloped hull is to improve protection around the driver's viewport.


This ISU family are self propelled guns based on the IS tank hull. The ISU concept originated from the SU-152, which was based on the KV-1S hull. ISU-122 uses the 122mm A-19S gun, while the ISU-122S use the 122mm D-25S gun. They are essentially the same gun, but with different mantlet and breech mechanism. The D-25S's new breech allows it to fire faster, and the mantlet was lighter, but offered the same protection.

The ISU-152 used the 152mm ML-20S howitzer, while the ISU-152-1 used the 152mm BL-8. The BL-8 was an experimental high powered gun, which was abandoned due to the unsatisfactory performance (and being too long!).

Common Sprues

This is the B sprue. As you can see, the sprue contains roadwheels/sprocket/return rollers. Two variants of the return rollers are supplied. However, the smaller return rollers are not usable unless you drill the holes bigger. ISU kits contains the same sprue.

Close-up of the wheels. They are very crisp, and free from flash. (One of my kit was the reboxed IS-2M, which had parts full of flash. My other kits were fine though.)

The tracks are wonderful, very easy to assemble. Since there are so many extra parts, track sag can be replicated very easily (unlike the Italeri IS-2/ISU).

Close-ups of the track


Inner side of tracks

This is the B sprue, common to both IS and ISU kits. It contains the gun, various common parts (external fuel tanks, rear smoke canisters, unditching beam, handholds, AA-machine gun, hatches) for the tank, as well as the side hull parts.
As you can see from the tow hooks, you have to make your own tow cables. The gun parts are very well made, and appropriately scaled. (Italeri IS-2's gun looked very anemic and thin.)
Due to the moulding, the handholds and hatches are very thick.
For the hatch, it is no problem should it be closed. If the hatch will be left open, a lot of sanding needs to be done.
The handholds are usable, but can be replaced with wire.

This is the F sprue, common to IS kits. It contains both upper hull variants, along with the turret and associated mantlets.
Note, there are three mantlets (from top => bottom: IS-2M/IS-2/IS-1). The new reboxing of the kits may only have one upper hull, depending on which kit you purchase. So, get the old boxes (shown above) if you can. The lone loose part is the rear turret MG mount, the same part was loose on all of my kits.
This is the common ISU sprue. It holds the BL-8/A-19S/ML-20S, and various mantlets.
There is 1 piece missing on the image, above the 122mm gun. I already attached that part (the muzzle brake half) to the BL-8 gun.
Decals are very nice. However, it looks like it's starting to peel from time. My other decal sheet was perfectly usable.

Construction Review (IS only, ISU I have not started)

Overall, the fit of the parts is acceptable. Some sanding and cutting was needed for the turret/hull halves to fit.
Some of the kits are moulded in a terrible way. I had one of mine severely deformed on the side hull sprue. As a result, the attachment point for the return roller was gone.
Another kit had massive amount of flash. Oddly enough, this kit also had multicoloured plastic. PST has a knack for using randomly coloured plastic it seems.

Pictures of the moulding defects

As you can see on the left, I had to cut off most of the drive sprocket's teeth, since the tracks do not fit with the sprocket teeth. It's not that bad though.

On the IS/KV/ISU series of tanks, the tracks were 'dead'. This meant the top track run would sag when the tank was stopped. So, unless you are depicting a tank on manoeuvres, there should be some track sag between each return roller. Since there are so many links available, you can construct the ENTIRE upper track run if you buy multiple kits.
Nevertheless, it is rather simple to achieve a sag with the link and length tracks. Simply manipulate the tracks with your hand, and bend up where the return roller sits, and down where it sags in between. However, be very careful not to snap the tracks. Dipping the tracks in warm water may help.
I think my track sag on the picture right was a bit too heavy and I missed the first return roller by a bit (such is life for eyeballing it.)

Due to the multicoloured plastic, it is recommended to use a primer coat, if you do not already practice that (especially for bright white plastics).

The machinegun on the turret rear is way too long and thick, and should be sanded down.

As for the gun on the IS-2, you can actually use the 122mm A-19 from the ISU kit, as it was apparently tested. The D-25T gun can be used with the early mantlet or the late mantlet. The early mantlet is square shaped, while the late mantlet is rectangular.

The "on vehicle tools" are moulded separately, which is good. However, they are very brittle, and easily broken. (I've broke three entrenching tools on my 4 kits..)

On the IS-1 and IS-2M instruction manuals, there is an error with the machinegun mount. The DshK machinegun is supposed to be mounted on part B27 (rotating mount), but it is not indicated on the respective manuals. It is only mentioned on the ISU instruction manual.


These kits have minor problems and some moulding faults. They are either superb quality or subpar depending on the box. So, if you can get these kits for cheap, get as many as you can, the spare parts are numerous!

Highly recommended

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Article Last Updated: 02 June 2013

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