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BM-13 Katyusha (on Studebaker chassis) in 1/56...

...from Rubicon Models
Rubicon1_56Katyusha (1).JPG

Not quite a new kit, but I have only recently got to try a variety of their kits, having tried their M5A1 Stuart a few months ago. In this instance it is the Russian BM-13 Katyusha rocket launcher. These 132cm calibre rockets were unguided, and launched both above and below the 8 launch rails of the unit, a total of 16 rockets per salvo from an individual vehicle. They were not as accurate as a conventional artillery piece, but a battery of these could put down a frightening volume of high explosive on the target area in a very short space of time. Their disadvantage was that the rails took several minute to reload them, quite different to conventional artillery. They made up for this in being cheaper to make, and being mounted on a variety of truck chassis types, and in the case of this kit, the US supplied Studebaker US6 truck. I have seen figures saying that about 1800 were fitted to the Studebaker chassis.

The kit is nicely moulded, and in the wargames scale of 1/56, or 28mm scale, often referred to as for 'Skirmish' gaming. You have two build options within the box. It provides the hardtop Studebaker cab and chassis along with the option of fitting the Katyusha rocket rails or the complete GS body for the basic Studebaker 6x6 truck. I went for the Katyusha, which has the rockets moulded onto the top and bottom of each rail, and the rails need to be assembled in the set order illustrated in the instructions.  The fins are a part, or parts. They are moulded with a connecting frame. For best detail, that frame should be removed, but leaves you with the task to getting the fins fitted squarely. If you leave it in place it makes fitting them really easy and it blends in with the rails so it hardly notices. With the rocket rails fitted, there is also the armoured shield which fitted over to protect it when the rockets were fired. You also have a choice to fit a driver figure or not. He comes with the steering wheel moulded in his two arms or there is simply a separate wheel if you don't add the driver.  As I have the shield in place, I chose to leave the cab empty.

Fit of parts is very good, and the build is quite straightforward. I have mine built and the basic paintwork applied. Transfers to apply red stars on the doors and then weathering still to be done.

I bought mine through Tiger Hobbies here in the UK.


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