ICM 1/35 BM-13-16N WWII Soviet MLRS

KIT #: 35512
PRICE: $56.00 SRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Katyusha multiple rocket launchers are a type of rocket artillery first built and fielded by the Soviet Union in World War II. Katyushas of World War II, the first self-propelled artillery mass-produced by the Soviet Union, were usually mounted on trucks. This mobility gave Katyushas another advantage: being able to deliver a large blow all at once, and then move before being located and attacked with counter-battery fire.

In June 1938, the Soviet Jet Propulsion Research Institute (RNII) in Leningrad was authorized by the Main Artillery Directorate (GAU) to develop a multiple rocket launcher for the RS-132 aircraft rocket (RS for Reaktivnyy Snaryad, 'rocket-powered shell'). I. Gvay led a design team in Chelyabinsk, Russia, which built several prototype launchers firing the modified 132mm M-132 rockets over the sides of ZiS-5 trucks. These proved unstable, and V.N. Galkovskiy proposed mounting the launch rails longitudinally. In August 1939, the result was the BM-13 (BM stands for Boyevaya Mashina, 'combat vehicle' for M-13 rockets).

Testing with various rockets was conducted through 1940, and the BM-13-16 with launch rails for sixteen rockets was authorized for production. Forty launchers were built before Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. These particular versions were in production from late 1942/early 1943 on US truck chassis.


This one is pretty sprue and part intensive for an ICM kit with 310 parts, many of them involved with the launcher rail assembly and the rockets. For some reason, ICM has decided that the 'Correct Tread Pattern' is a major selling point so that is on the cover. The truck chassis for this looks like a Studebaker, though the Soviets got a lot of GMCs as well. Sharp eyes will notice that the roof and window area are armored, undoubtedly to prevent the blast from the rockets from damaging these areas.

The kit is not a mere curbside as it has a full engine and chassis detail. In fact, according to the instructions, the chassis is quite complex, so care will be useful when building this one. The interior is also quite complete and with all those separate panels, one will need to be cautious on assembling the cab. The doors have separate handles and window winders, just to show how complete this kit really is. Though there are a lot of parts in the launcher assembly, only five of the thirty construction steps are dedicated to it.

Instructions are well done with nice illustrations for the construction steps. Color information is in Model Master paint references. Basically it is Soviet Army Green. There are four decal options. None are specifically identified, but each have different door markings. The decals appear to be well printed, but I'd take care in applying them. I've not had really good luck with ICM decals, though these may well be better.


Compared to earlier, similar launchers, this one appears to be the best. This may well be the first time the Studebaker chassis has been molded in a kit. Regardless, the end result will be a superb looking model.


Dragon USA Web Site

October 2009

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer

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