Modeling project

Tamiya IS-3

In 2019, before the pandemia, our local hobby club had this Chicken Con contest going for which I decided to go with a quick OOB build. I opted for Tamiya’s IS-3 because Tamiya is my go-to when I think OOB and quick worry-free projects. I quickly put it together, then left it aside for a long while.

Separate Heavy Tank Regiment, Odessa Military District, November 1948.

Fast-forward almost two years. We’re now just about to resume our local club monthly meetings, so I decided to finish the project. I did not have anything specific in mind, just that I wanted to paint a huge green stronk tank. You could say the project was intended as a quick-build, quick-painting one.

Honest Assessment

Things I’m happy with

  • Super happy with the post-shading. I’ve picked this up from Uncle Night Shift and although I went more subtly, I guess, it still brings lots of texture and depth to the overall finish. I especially like the turret side, top and rear.
  • The Silouhette cutting maching keeps delivering. I went for a simple scheme I’ve picked from Zaloga’s Concord book on Russian heavies (Stalin’s Heavy Tanks 1941-1945, ref #7012) and execution went flawlessly, even the handpainted star is pretty cool IMHO.
  • This will sound silly but I did not do any major blunder, a first for me. No part afixed at the wrong place, no loosing or breaking something, no big accident.
  • The tracks. Whatever people say about Friul, they are still awesome to me. You can be pretty rough with them all along, they’ll never break, they’re super easy to install and that saggy, heavy feel for a IS is completely convincing.
  • I sped through the finishing without bogging down on anything.
  • The spare track scratch attachement plates made of styrene and Meng’s bolt plates are pretty much as I intended them to be.

Things I’m okay with

  • The Dushka. It doesn’t really show on the pics but it’s not bad at all. I completely forgot to paint the wooden handles, however. *smack forehead*. I could have created a more contrasting ammo can as well. On the pics, I realize it all looks pretty monochrome.
  • Some little defects here and there that I just did not see.
  • I’m okay with the quick nature of the build, but at the same time, some crude details (external fuel tanks handles, in particular, easy to replace) do annoy me a great deal.
  • I really need to control more all that speckling 🙂
  • Pictures are decidedly getting better, no doubt about it, but there is still some space for getting better, especially overhead detail shot which I didn’t really do here.

Things I could do better

  • Again, a somewhat soulless project. You see, I’m getting really interested in following Martin Kovac on his awesome youtube channel.The amount of techniques you get there is just mind blowing. But I’m also pretty fan of Wilder, of whom I recently managed to secure a copy of his second volume (Adam’s Armour vol. 2), and, as you can probably guess, I’m a hopless fan of Michael Rinaldi, who remains my main source of inspiration.

    Anyway, the point is that all these influences and inspiration get confusing with multiple techniques and approaches. It leads to some blind forward movement where I don’t have a clear view in my mind of where I’m going, what I want to get and how I do things. I just feel like trying stuff and hoping for the best. Not ideal at all, but for my defense, this is just the sort of project to do that, because in the end, I did learn a lot. As I am currently reading Adam Wilder book on finishing, for instance, I think I do understand why he mentions and insist on contrasts. While I don’t necessarily subscribe to the full color-modulation approach, I can totally see why this came to be, and looking at my build, I realize there must be ways to get more volume, more depth and overall more character.
  • Lower hull dust weathering is poorly executed. In fact, overall weathering is okay, but if could be wayyyy better.
  • I did not use oils at all and really should have. I believe that this is because I wanted to get this one out the door quickly.
  • The whole area around the external fuel tanks is just boring. Again, the whole build finish is somewhat boring, it lacks contrast and specific interest but it remains pretty solid all around I think.
  • I wanted to experiment with hand chipping and that did not got super well. Not aweful, but not great. I definitely need much more practice.
  • One last thing: appart from Zaloga’s book and a fe walkaround shots, I didn’t use any specific refs, especially on weathering. This is something I need to get doing because I feel it’s time to get more credible with how a tank gets dirty in actual reality. As it stands I’m going more or less by instinct.

Now, as usual, I sound depressed, but that isn’t the case at all. I’m actually super happy with this project. It looks great overall, it went at a pretty solid pace and I learned a lot by experimenting some without actually ruining anything. So that’s a winner in my book!

Project Specs

  • Tamiya IS-3 (Kit ref #35211)
  • Friul tracks (ref #ATL-14)
  • Aber D-25T 122mm metal barrel (ref #35L126)


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