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Alan 1/35 Katyusha Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review April 2008 Manufacturer Alan
Subject Katyusha Scale 1/35
Kit Number 008 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat Soviet soft-skin vehicle. Complete engine provided Cons No crew figures provided. Description of unit markings a little vague
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $16.95

First Look

Katyusha Kit
Katyusha Kit
Katyusha Kit
Katyusha Kit
Katyusha Kit
Katyusha Kit
Katyusha Kit
Katyusha Kit

As early as the 1920’s, Soviet Russia began to develop a weapon know throughout the world as “Katyusha”. Only in June of 1941 was it decided to produce this weapon serially. The 133mm jet missile M-13 was developed in 1939. It was intended for hitting ground targets. This missile hit targets at 8 km and more. The combat machine BM-13 was developed in 1940. It was a construction with 16 launching rails, installed on a frame, equipped with a sight, turning and lifting gears, as well as an electric fuse for launching the missiles.

All the structure was intended for installation on the chassis of a truck, for increased road capability. Initially, the truck ZIS-6 was used for that purpose. Subsequently, the launcher was installed on Ford, GMC, International and Studebaker chassis. These were delivered to the USSR during WWII under the lend-lease program. Seven BM-13’s on the ZIS-6 chassis, and 3,000 missiles M-13 were subjected to tests at the time. They were put into service at the time of aggression by Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union. The first experimental battery was formed on June 29th, 1941 and it participated in combat operations for the first time on July 14th, 1941.

The first batteries consisted of 4 to 8 machines of BM-13’s. BM-13’s participated in all the major battles of the Red Army between 1941-1945. Within this period, 6,500 BM-13 machines were manufactured. Almost 4,000 of these launchers were lost in combat. The large losses were due to inevitable exposure of the weapon after the first salvo because of the clouds of smoke and dust that gave away their position. From 5 to 10 minutes, at best, was required for reloading, and that was sufficient enough to destroy the battery with enemy artillery.

Alan is a model company based in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The kit comes in a trray and lid type box. The cardboard used to make this box is kind of on the flimsy side.

The box art has a painting of a BM-13 superimposed on a black and white photo of a town square. In the background is a U.S. jeep, a couple of trucks and buildings. The BM-13 is in overall Russian military green. It carries whte markings on the cab doors for a vehicle assigned to a Guard’s unit in 1943-1945 (this marking on the decal sheet in the kit). However, the serial number in this mark ends with 27 and the same marking on the decal sheet ends in 28.

On one side panel of the box is a side profile color illustration of a BM-13 that has been overpainted with white wash for winter cammouflage. It carries the same markings on the cab doors. Next to it, is one paragraph histories of the vehicle in 5 different languages (including English). These are all labeled with color illustrations of the flags of the countries where these languages are spoken.

The other side panel has color illustrations of the boxarts of 3 other kits that Alan markets: a Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C (kit no. 004), a Sd.Kfz. 124 “Wespe” (kit no. 005) and a Pz.Kpfw. I Ausf. F (kit no. 007).

Inside the box is one large dark gray part tree and three medium sized dark gray trees in a sealed cello bag. In another large sealed cello are one more large dark gray tree, one more medium sized dark gray tree, a large dark green tree and a long dark green strip that just holds a few parts. (some parts had broken off the trees in both these bags, due to friction between the trees.

There are 11 black vynil tires in a zip-locked cello and a tree of clear parts and the decal sheet in a second zip-locked cello. The instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of a single sheet that is folded in the center into 4 pages of 8” x 11 ½” format.

Page one begins with a black and white repeat of the BM-13 off the boxart, but minus the background photo. This is followed by the history of the BM-13 in Russian, English, Japanese and German.

Page two to the top of page 4 gives a total of 11 assembly steps. The bottom of page 4 is the marking and painting instructions. Color is called out for the BM-13 in overall Soviet military green in warm weather and that it could be overpainted with white-wash for winter camouflage. Numbered arrows point to the areas where the numbered markings on the decal sheet should go. There are 4 options:

  1. A vehicle with 3rd Baltic Front, Winter 1944
  2. A vehicle with 3rd Battery 11 Rocket Launcher Regiment, Byelorussia 1944
  3. A vehicle with 2nd Guardian Rocket Launcher Division, 1943-1945
  4. A vehicle with 3rd Strike Army, Byelorussia 1943

The bottom of page four gives Alan’s street address in St. Petersburg, Russia

There are no parts tree drawings in the instructions.

Medium sized dark gray letter A and B trees are joined together. Letter A tree holds 2 pieces for the truck’s frame. Letter B tree holds: suspension parts, leaf springs, axles etc. (21 parts).

Large dark green letter C tree is molded too big to fit the tray of the box. So, one end of it has been chopped off in a long strip. This tree holds all the parts for the rocket launcher rails, the rockets and the elevation arms etc. (102 parts) There are 16 rockets provided.

Large dark gray letter D part tree holds: the cab parts, cab doors, radiator, engine hood pieces, steering wheel, shift levers, front fenders, engine, seats etc. (44 parts).

There is no letter E parts tree.

Large dark gray letter F parts tree holds: the rear truck deck with fenders attached, parts of the rocket launcher apparatus, more leaf springs, axles, wheel discs etc. (55 parts).

Medium size dark gray letter G parts tree holds: cross frame members, wheel discs and other small suspension detail parts (36 parts).

Letter G is again used to mark the small clear parts tree. It holds the cab windows and the headlight lenses. (7 parts).

A unlettered medium size dark gray tree holds wheel hubs (23 parts).

The decal sheet (markings already described above) and the 11 black vinyl tires complete the kit’s contents (one tire is the spare).

There are no crew figures included in the kit.

The parts trees all have the numbers next to the parts. I have found, in other kits from Russia and the Czech Republic, by other model kit manufacturers, that there are sometimes no part numbers on the trees and you have to keep referring to the parts trees illustrations and assembly drawings to identify things by their shape. Glad to see the numbers on the trees this time.

This is one neat Soviet soft-skinned vehicle. I could not help noticing that there is a tab on all the trees that make up the basic truck that say “ZIS-5”. The history says that MB-13’s were built on the “ZIS-6”. Maybe there wasn’t that much difference between the two?

The kit has a darn nice engine under the hood. It could be displayed if a modeler was to fold up the side panels of the hood. Cab doors are separate too, and can be posed open or shut. I am not sure whether the rocket launcher can be made to go up and down after assembly though. I don’t see any DO NOT GLUE symbols on the assembly step for it anyways. It may be able to.

Highly recommended to modelers that have had a few other AFV kits under their belts due to the complexity of the rocket launcher and also the truck.