Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Zvezda Katyushya

I was hunting around for paints the other day (how many colours of Khaki can there possibly be?) when I came across this little gem hidden in the corner;

Zvezda 1/100 BM-13 'Katyushya'

I had made a deal with myself not to buy any new models until I had painted the current force, but at only £3 I could not help myself.

I have seen the Zvezda models on the Plastic Soldier Company's website, and even considered buying a platoon of the KV-1e models, figuring that it would be rather unique compared to the ubiquitous horde of T-34s.

In the end I demured on three grounds,

1) I never buy a model unless I can see what it actually looks like, PSC only show the bow art

2) While the KV-1e served for most of the war, the KV-2, KV-1s and the KV-85 superseded it, and I would quite like some of the later options.

3) I heard that PSC might be making their own version, with the additional options

 The Katyusha, on the other hand, is a rather standard piece of kit that changes little over the years and is the most iconic piece of WW2 Soviet artillery.

 The sprues are rather simple, snap fit so little chance of variation from the basic model. The most annoying part of the construction was the bonnet, which needs to be carefully bent into shape. Some of the components were very tight fitting, requiring a little shaved off for them to fit snugly.

The same master must have been used for the ZIS truck Zvezda also sell, as the cab lacks the blast shields normally mounted on the Katyusha. Some of the other simplifications of design that are aimed at making it work as snap fit kit also reduce the accuracy of the model. The most obvious chose is to have all eight top missiles connected together rather blatently, and to not include any missiles underneath the rails. With a bit of cutting and glueing this can be partialy corrected.

 The model fits well on the large artillery base, with enough room either side for addition crew.


Cheep and cheerful, there are some obvious inaccuracies to aid the snap fit system.

On the plus side, the supports for the missile rack are in far better proportion than I have seen in any metal or resin model of the same vehicle.

I will be buying more in the future, but I will have to do a fair bit of conversion work to make them look proper, and to create variation within the unit.

The problem with the PSC Russian Infantry Company may well be that it offers too much indirect artillery, 4 light mortars, 4 medium mortars and 4 heavy mortars up to plus 8 battery guns, how does one expand into rocket artillery without going overboard?

~ Bob

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