Kit #: 72030
Preview by Kevin Liang - kevin_liang123(at)yahoo(dot)ca
Edited by Marc Mercier

Gordon (Ed: the owner of Cromwell models) has made a pretty decent rendition of the Soviet Heavy tank IS-4. Cromwell’s combat ready range of kits is designed to give wargamers a quick model, but retain enough details for collectors to improve upon. The hull is cast as one piece, with the tracks as a part of the hull, as opposed to separate pieces. However, this casting technique means there are large casting plugs on the bottom of the tracks, which can damage the tracks upon removal or at a minimum leave them without details. (Although it’s the bottom, so it won’t be seen unless the model is picked up.)

The kit comes in a plastic bag, stapled to a piece of paper. Alas, it’s not very protected from shipping and depends entirely on whomever is shipping at the time. As a result, kits often come damaged.

The IS-4 (Object 701) was designed in competition with the IS-3 heavy tank. Essentially, the IS-4 was an uparmoured, lengthened version of the IS-2. The IS-4 used design elements from German tanks, hence the reason why the engine deck resembles German engine deck layout. Only 250 tanks were produced serially, as the tank was considered too heavy for railway transportation. The Soviets relegated these tanks to the Far Eastern military regions. The tank retained the ubiquitous 122mm D-25T gun, like the IS-2 and IS-3.

Gordon’s kit represents the IS-4M, a modernisation of IS-4, giving it sideskirts, among other upgrades.

Unfortunately my kit is already semi-complete, so this photo at right (credit to charlie6810) gives the kit contents.

All the hatches are moulded open, which is great for showing a destroyed vehicle or for adding crew members. Some of the outer row of roadwheels have been moulded separately. The 122mm gun is from the Trumpeter’s IS-3 kit, which looks a little thin. (I have no idea if there’s a correctly depicted 122mm D-25T in 1/72. If someone knows, please email me so I can make a correction here!)

As you can see, most stowage is moulded on, except the unditching beam, gun lock, 12.7mm DshK MG, and two smoke dispensers.

The spare tracks are ostensibly for track repair, should pieces become broken during shipping or from removal of the bottom casting block, but can be used as additional stowage should none of the pieces be damaged.

Here is my Cromwell IS-4. I replaced the kit gun with a 122mm M62-T2 gun from a Fabbri T-10M tank. I didn’t use the kit’s MG, as it broke in transit.

I had to replace the entire bottom run of the tracks, as I had no Dremel tool. The tracks had no track teeth, as I used the spare tracks from Trumpeter’s

My kit came damaged from moulding, probably because the moulds are getting old. There are hard to fix resin fill spots around the sprocket.

Removing it is pretty much impossible without destroying the sprocket and roadwheels.

The other side is not much better, the sprocket came broken (plus it still had resin fill behind it too). The side skirt was already missing a large portion.

The engine deck is nicely done, but lacks the engine grilles, similar to the ones prevalent on German tanks.

Currently only two IS-4 resin kits exist on the market as far as I know, Cromwell’s and one offered by OKB Grigorov. Depending on where you purchase, the price difference actually isn’t too much.

Conclusion: Gordon’s kit, although well detailed, has many casting issues. With the price these kits are going for, they are rather expensive for a mediocre kit. If you are looking for a display model, OKB’s IS-4 is much better cast, (though the turret hatches are not open…) and includes PE and a metal barrel.

Not recommended, unless you are getting it cheap.

Review sample purchased by the author

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Review updated: 28 December 2013