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ICM 1/35 scale BM-13-16N Katyusha

ICM has released a BM-13-16N Multi-ple Launch Rocket System vehicle, nicknamed Katyusha, based on its 1/35 scale Studebaker 6 x 6 cargo truck.
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ICM has released a BM-13-16N Multi-ple Launch Rocket System vehicle, nicknamed Katyusha, based on its 1/35 scale Studebaker 6 x 6 cargo truck.

Molded in gray plastic, the kit features full chassis, engine, and cab detail. My kit arrived with all of the trees packed in one tight plastic bag, causing many of them to warp; several parts were loose from the trees, and a few were damaged. The parts are not numbered; while most are easily identified, I found myself referring to the sprue diagrams in the instructions often, especially for parts that are handed.

ICM has corrected the tire tread pattern from the original release. Decals are provided for four vehicles, but the white on the multicolor decals is a bit out of register. Surprisingly, the vehicles depicted in the colorful box art have their gas tanks located differently from the kit.

I started assembly with the rocket rails, as I knew that squaring up the warped and twisted rails would be essential to the success of the kit. Using a magnetic assembly jig, I clamped each rail as straight as possible until the glue dried, then glued the rails together using the jig to hold the assembly while it dried.  Note that the outside rail, with end caps for the support rods, is actually different from the other rails also labeled J3.

I assembled the frame before building the drivetrain, since other parts’ locations relied on the frame. Again, I used the as-sembly jig to get the frame as square as possible.

The wheels have an unusual parts breakdown: Instead of the usual halves, just the sidewalls are molded as separate pieces. The fit of these was excellent, requiring no filler at all. Rather than attach the wheels so they can roll (as the instructions show), I glued them in place after the vehicle was painted. I had to enlarge notches in the frame to get the exhaust to fit properly.

The multi-piece cab fits well, but some of the pieces for the engine compartment have no locators; assemble it all at once and test fit to the chassis often. I suggest fitting the doors while assembling the cab to help align things. The doors fit very well and can be posed open or closed. Only the roof seam needed a bit of sanding and filler.

While building the rail support frame, I inadvertently glued Part H55 in backwards; I corrected it by sawing out the V-notched brace with a fine saw and turning it around. The position of the internal brace (Part H56) is a bit vague. If you decide to build your model with the rocket rails stowed, do not use the support rod (Part H7) – it will be too short – but cut down the longer Part H6. My rail unit is slightly elevated.

I painted with Tamiya olive drab, then lightened it with desert yellow to highlight panels. The decals went on well, requiring only a little touch of Micro Sol. After they dried, I applied an oil wash, then dry-brushed.

I spent about 27 hours building my Studebaker rocket launcher, a bit more than usual. The finished model matched dimensions I found here; the width scaled out about 1⁄4" wider. ICM’s kit can be built into a good replica of the Katyusha, but it will take some modeling experience.


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