ICM has released the G7107 Chevrolet truck with Katyusha rocket launcher in 1/35th for the second time with the addition of a four figure set of Soviet troops in the process of loading rockets onto the Katyusha frame. The rest of this introduction is as provided by ICM: Chevrolet vehicles began arriving in the Soviet Union from the United States in 1942. The total number of these vehicles in the Soviet army was about 47,000 units. Reliable and with good manoeuvrability they rightfully enjoyed the love and respect of the soldiers. In addition to base functions of a truck, many vehicles of this series served as the basis for the installation of multiple launch rocket systems - rocket artillery combat vehicles known as “Katyusha” launchers with sixteen rails for 132mm rockets were mounted on the Chevrolet G7107 chassis, during the period of 1942-43. It was an effective and formidable weapon, with a projectile speed of about 355mtrs per second, and a firing range of 8 kilometres. These volleys were very effective, and they often became a decisive factor in the outcome of combat operations.
This offering from ICM arrives in a cardboard flip top box, with a card lid depicting the artwork. Inside there are two re-sealable plastic bags, one containing all of the parts from the for the G7107 and the other the figures. The instruction booklet is loose inside the box, and contains a small decal sheet between the pages. An examination of the sprues reveals no major issues beyond some ejector pins marks that will need to be addressed. Access to the parts is good, as long as care is taken during removal no other issues should be encountered.
As is typical with ICM, the chassis of this vehicle is a multi part affair, and as usual will require care during assembly to ensure it is square. Good replication of areas such as fuel tanks, and exhaust are lifted further via equally good replication of axles and drive shafts. Missing from the area are brake lines and fuel lines that will need to be replicated by the modeller who seeks the utmost in the finesse of detail. Fuel lines and brake lines will need to lead to the engine bay, were a very nice engine and gear box is provided that with the addition of some wire will provide the modeller with an exceptionally detailed chassis, gearbox and transmission. Reference images on line for the super detailing of these areas can be readily found, and this ICM offering will dress up well.
The cab of the vehicle is one of the areas, were the modeller will need to be astute in tackling ejector pin marks, but otherwise no other problems should be encountered. Decals are provided for the instrument panel and all of the mechanical parts have been well replicated. Door furniture is provided separately and I believe that this can be put aside as a sub-assembly to enable the modeller to get access to all areas. The bonnet can be shown open, but will in my opinion require a little work for accuracy.
Moving to the rocket launcher parts of the model, the launching frame has good tubular structure, but will require the modeller to take care during its assembly, as it could be easily messed up due to its fragility. Launching rails are individually assembled, and mounted on cross members that really will provide you with a stunning result that will also allow a great view of the chassis area of the model, something that ICM does very well, but is often unseen. The launcher can be shown in the raised or lowered position and while the provided parts only allow for fully extended on contracted a simple cut of the fully extended part will allow any height the modeller decides they wish it to be. The rocket projectiles have very nice detail to them. The shielding system for the cab, when the rockets are being fired is another very nicely replicated area that can be assembled as wished by the modeller, but not shown in the instructions. Modellers will be pleased that the tyres are injection moulded plastic and not vinyl and this along with the main screens and light lenses being clear has the potential for a very pleasing result.
Two finishing options are provided with the model;
BM-13-16 based on G7107, 84th Red Banner Novozybrovsky Guards Mortar Regiment, 1943
BM-13-16 based on G7107, Unknown Guards Mortar Regiment 1943
The four figure set released with this offering is Soviet BM-13-16 Crew (1943-1945). Access to all of the elements is very good and I appreciate the location of gates between sprue and part in all cases. The uniform depicted here is what I consider as the warm weather outfit and consists of bulged thigh breeches and standard jacket (the uniform could be winter of summer as a winter one would be woollen and a summer one cotton; the woollen version was a darker tan colour). Two of the figures are wearing the ankle boots with puttees well replicated and the other two have the high boots. Shoulder boards are represented as are medals and badges and that has raised a question in me; would troops in the field wear medals when they could be lost, get caught in equipment or draw attention to you being bling by design; still not an issue as the detail could be scrapped away. All of the figures are wearing the Pilotka cap, but if you wish to add a tin hat a careful cut of the head would allow the change.
This offering provides three troops and an officer, the officer being stood upright having a smoke and I would presume giving orders and supervising. The three troops are in the process of loading the rockets and the stances have been well considered and look natural, but would the weight of the rockets cause stress on the body that is no so well depicted. Each of the figures is provided with a haversack that should contain a gasmask but rarely did, the moulded strap detail works for this item. The personal weapons are in the form of two Mosin Nagant rifles and two machine guns which are PPSh 41’s with a drum magazine in one and a banana clip in the other. Appropriate ammunition pouches are provided for these weapons but placement is not well shown. Lastly a water canteen is included but not indicated for use. The slings could do with replacing so that they are attached to the weapons. Hand and facial detail is excellent for injection moulded plastic, but my eyes can only detect one figure with a moustache not two as indicated in the instructions.
ICM does a very good job of tackling soft skinned vehicles, but with two repetitive weaknesses, these are the inability to show the front wheels turned and not taking the time to enable the modeller to easily show the superb detail hidden within the engine bay of this model. In all other respects this is a very pleasing release that has a lot going for it. Due to the ease of showing the wonderful chassis detail thanks to the Katyusha launcher I am liking this release a lot. The figures are something that ICM does well and I have no issues with what is provided here.