Trumpeter 1/35 BM-21 Grad MRL

KIT #: 01013
PRICE: $64.99 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The BM-21 launch vehicle (Russian: БМ-21 "Град"), (Grad) a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher, and a M-21OF rocket were developed in the early 1960s. BM stands for boyevaya mashina, ‘combat vehicle’, and the nickname grad means ‘hail’. The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket has designation as M-21 Field Rocket System. The complete system is more commonly known as a Grad multiple rocket launcher system. In NATO countries, the system (either the complete system or the launch vehicle only) was initially known as M1964. Several other countries have copied it or developed similar systems.

The system has been exported to many nations and copied by some. Since 2006 Hamas has fired 122mm Grad rockets, copies made in Iran, and Eastern-bloc versions modified to expand their range and lethality, into Israel. The rockets were believed to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip via tunnels from Egypt. Some of the rockets were of a Chinese Grad variant. Hamas sources said they were pleased by the performance of the Chinese variants of the BM-21 Grad rocket, which demonstrated a far greater range and blast impact than Palestinian-made rockets, as well as Russian-origin Grads or Katyushas.

Judging from what is written on the p.e. fret, the base Ural truck has been released in 2011. Those who may have built that kit will find nothing new in terms of the truck. It has a large ladder frame that you need to build up along with a nicely done V-8 engine. The suspension and drive line are quite detailed with a lot of small parts making up the axle housings and the transfer case as this is an all wheel drive truck. The tires appear to be rubber or perhaps vinyl and are relatively heavy so one will need to be careful when constructing the suspension to be sure these will hold up well.

The cab section is built up of multiple pieces with a very nicely detailed interior. There is a large decal for the instrument panel if you wish to use it. A myriad of small knobs are to be attached to the dash so I do hope spares are provided as I can see some of these tiny items flying off into the void when using tweezers to apply them. The doors are three major pieces with an inner and outer section trapping the windows. Separate handles are provided on both the inside and exterior of the door.

The forward engine compartment and fenders are all made of separate bits as well. A rather complex looking spare carrier with p.e. straps and a pair of ladders is provided for behind the cab section. Behind that is what looks to be a very large tool kit of some sort that is placed atop another platform. The rocket launcher system is probably the simplest part of the build. One builds up the base of the launcher, then assembles all of the tubes (which come in sections of eight and four) before attaching them together. There are no separate rockets but it appears the tubes are all loaded as they have complete end caps, each of which is a separate piece to be installed along with separate hinges or locking arms. This then goes on the rear platform which is attached to the back of the truck.

Photo etch is only for the truck. This is used for a variety of small items like bits on the spare tire carrier, the defroster vents atop the dash, hood latches and other grille items, motor belts, a small bulkhead on the underside of the bed, a tray in the back and some very convoluted rear bumper items. Good luck bending this straight piece into these items.

Instructions are well drawn and actually rather busy, thanks to all the parts. There are 30 construction steps with the only color information being provided being that for external painting, so you will need to do a web search to figure out the color of the engine, transmission and the interior colors. Decals (not shown) are for a single truck in overall Soviet Army Green and consist of what look to be plates and a pair of Guards emblems for the doors as well as the instrument panel. Considering the number of countries that use this, one would have thought that perhaps some additional markings options would have been provided.


If you have not already figured it out, this is a very parts intensive kit. But you need a lot of little parts to provide the sort of detail many modelers demand from their kits. Due to all the small parts, I would not recommend this one for the beginner. However, if you want a pretty neat vehicle and take your time in construction, you will be rewarded with a superb model.


March 2013

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can get this one at your favorite hobby retailer.

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