Thursday, December 30

Build Review Pt I: BM-13-16 on G7107 Base from ICM in 1/35th scale

Andy King has stopped his build of ICM's new BM-13-16 on the G7107 truck base in 1/35th scale to recite his journey through the build in a nice guide for you, his fellow modellers. See how his kit went together & a little about the contents of the box in his review...

BM-13-16 on G7107 Base. 
From: ICM 
1/35th scale 
Kit Number #35595
Two marking choices in the box:
- ВМ-13-16, G7107, 84th Red Banner Novozybkovsky Guards Mortar Regiment, Nov.1943
- ВМ-13-16, G7107, unknown guards mortar regiment, 1943
L:190 x W:85 mm
Price:$64 USD From Hobbylink Japan
The Subject: BM-13-16 on G7107 Base from ICM in 1/35th scale
During WW2 the Soviet army received vehicles and equipment through the Lend-Lease agreement they had with the USA and the Chevrolet G7107 was just one of the many types of the truck arriving in the USSR during 1942. The Soviets placed a big reliance on rocket artillery during the war so many Chevrolets' were converted to fire these rockets. 
This type of artillery was more better known as 'Katyusha' (the Russian equivalent of Katie) and although not the most accurate of weapons, the rockets were pretty devastating in saturation bombardment and coupled with the distinctive howl from the rockets the effect was terrifying psychologically.
The model: ICM's 35th scale 
This particular kit is based on the fairly recent release of the Chevrolet G7107 cargo truck and in the box, you'll find sprues J1, J2 and K are new and include all the parts for this rocket-firing version. All parts are well moulded with the usual seam lines and the odd bit of flash here and there that needs removing. Mould pin marks are present on some parts but these are generally located in out-of-the-way areas such as the cab interior, the undersides of the fenders, inside faces of the chassis etc but most of them are raised and easy to clean up.
Detail-wise the kit is very nicely done and features a full engine, chassis and cab, the only thing missing are the fuel lines and hydraulic pipes. 
Another nice feature is that the wheels are injection-moulded on the sprues rather than being separate vinyl ones so I was quite happy to see that. 
The glazing for the cab is nicely done and not overly thick and distorted plus the decal sheet (although small) is well printed.

The plastic ICM use is quite soft which has its advantages and disadvantages as we shall see during construction so launching straight into the build, it starts off with the chassis and as it's a multi-part assembly I opted to use superglue as well as liquid glue to give the parts strength.

The chassis rails were cleaned up first as the seam lines are quite pronounced then the leaf spring suspension pieces were fixed into place using a combination of liquid glue followed by superglue as the locating pegs are small. Then, the superglue had some accelerator washed over it to speed up the drying time.
As well as giving delicate joints strength, the use of super glue and accelerator certainly cuts down the assembly time so the chassis was partially built within a few hours.
The engine is very well detailed but unless you are depicting the bonnet (or hood) open then you won't see much of it so I just built it as is and glued it onto the chassis.
Whenever I build wheeled vehicles I like to set the front wheels to the left or right and on previous models, there has been some chopping of the kit parts to obtain this. However, on this kit, the front wheel hubs are separate and the wheels can be posed how you want with minimum effort
All that you need to do here is make sure that the hubs are correctly aligned on the axle and remove the locating pins on the steering rod (part D43). . The hubs were fixed into place using liquid glue and while setting, the wheels (which I had assembled beforehand) were dry-fitted to the axles to help with the alignment.

Speaking of axles, the instructions have you glue parts D44 and D45 to the rear axle before fitting it to the chassis however it's better to fix the axle in place then glued the two parts.
The bottom half of the truck was now ready to go...
With the chassis virtually built it was time to move onto the cab and my approach here was to build it in two halves as painting the interior would be virtually impossible otherwise.  
The interior details were added to the front of the cab and doors and I jumped ahead in the instructions at this point and glued the bonnet (or hood), side panels, grill and fenders to the cab as well.
The roof was glued to the cab rear and the joint filled with superglue with an accelerator washed over it to speed up the drying time, after which the joint was cleaned up.
The doors were also prepped at this point using the same approach to the holes.
Step 87 sees the construction of the rocket rails and after putting together the left rail, the three rods (parts J1-9) were glued in place. While these were setting the other rails were cleaned up and glued together and once done slid onto the three rods, these rods were then glued to the right rail (which was assembled as per step 95).
The rails were glued onto the three rods and using the spacers provided in the kits (parts J1-7) the assembly was set aside on a flat area and left to set. The instructions show just two spacers but I used all three and taped them in place.
The supports for the rocket rails were assembled next and can be a bit fiddly if you follow the instructions, however, I found that with a combination of liquid and super glue you can get it together with minimal fuss. 
To do this I glued all the support struts to J-2-27 (except for part J2-13 as the location is not clear in the instructions) and when virtually set the assembly was glued to J2-1.
Going back to part J2-13 and the instructions are pretty vague as to how this fits but it actually mates to the centre cross-member as shown in the picture above, the assembly was then glued to the rocket rails.

The rest of the parts to do with the rails were fixed to the chassis and looking at part K-33, there is a rectangular hole that looks a bit toy-like. I covered this with a thin plastic sheet and when set cleaned it up and drilled a hole where the assembly shown in step 119 fits.
I wanted to depict the vehicle in the firing position but as no provision was made for this in the kit (apart from a choice of hydraulic rams) I modified the two supports on the rear of the chassis as the instructions show them stowed. This was simply done by cutting the hydraulic rams off parts J2-2 and J2-3, drilling holes into the bottom of them and inserting approximately 10mm lengths of 1mm diameter styrene rod that had been previously glued to the base plates (parts K24).

To fix the rocket rails to the chassis, part K45 is inserted and here again, ICM has simplified the assembly as they supply a round, flat disc for the right side.
Looking at reference pictures this should actually be a dome shape so after rooting through the spares box I found a tank headlight that was a suitable shape and this was glued into place.
Another thing to note is that part K37 is actually a sighting mechanism so to improve the look, I drilled out the ends of it and after painting, I'll drop some gloss varnish in them to represent the glass.
Just remember that the sighting mechanism aligns with the rocket rails!

- With that and the addition of the rest of the parts the build was complete.
Although the fit of the cab and doors looks bad in the above images, they are only being held in place temporarily for photographic purposes along with the rockets and the model will be broken down prior to painting, the cabin glazing will also be fitted afterwards.
I have to say that this was a thoroughly enjoyable build as the fit of parts was very good and apart from a couple of simplified parts as described in the text above, the detail is great. The kit was built straight from the box without any after-market, the modifications as mentioned and the only improvements I made during construction were to drill out the exhaust pipe and thin down the rear bumpers as these were a bit on the thick side.
If you are looking for something a bit different in the current wave of new truck kits then this comes highly recommended and I'm looking forward to painting it (which will be described in part II).
Great stuff ICM!

Andy King

Many thanks to ICM plastic model kits for supplying the kit for Andy to review.