26 Jun 2012

Zvezda Katyusha for Flames of War

So, whilst recently sorting out my Soviet force, re-basing some to get the right mix of weapons and to make sure I had the right number of bases I realised that I had an issue.  I like Katyushas.... Not an issue in itself as they seem to me to be one of the iconic Soviet units from WW2, but the issue was with how many I had, the availability of new ones and the army lists.

I shall explain as I can almost see your eyes glazing over ;)

So, I bought the Battlefront box of 4 and very nice it is too - 4 well detailed models on nice resin bases withholes for crew.  Perfect.  They're one of the units that I've finished apart from a bit of work on the base and I've used them pretty much every time I've used the Soviets (yep, around 3 times).  The army list tells me that I can either get 4 of them (for a double width template) or 8 of them for a DEVASTATING BOMBARDMENT (I just felt that had to be written in capitals).  All's well so far....

Well, I also had another two Katyushas from Battlefront that came individually in blisters as a birthday present a fair few moons ago.  "Great" I thought "only 2 more to get".  Only to find that Battlefront apparently doesn't do the blisters anymore..... So the only way to get 8 was to buy another box for about £35.  Ouch.  And then have 2 Katyushas spare.

Then I remembered a recommendation from the "Model Dads" blog (a very valuable resource for FoW - trawl their archived posts if you haven't seen it already) of small plastic single Katyushas from a company called Zvezda.  A quick internet search later revealed that they were £2.97 each and looked well sized.  But came with no crew.... But fortunately I have so many spare Soviets that a quick tally revealed I could staff them from spares - so there is an upside to buying too much as it saves you money sometimes.... honest :)

So I plunged in and ordered a couple.  They turned up and I took one out of the pack and here it is

Doesn't look too daunting, does it?
A quick peruse told me it was snap-fit..... which made me slightly concerned because the holes and dibbits would need to be pretty perfect, so I grabbed my glue and clippers and files (just in case).  The instructions were all in picture form (good job as I don't speak Russian!) and I was very pleasantly surprised by how well the model went together.  Some other plastic miniature manufacturers could learn a thing or two from these boys....... I still glued most bits to add to longevity, but all of the pieces went together very smoothly (apart from the bonnet, which was a bit of a chore but as it was the last piece I fitted, I magnanimously forgave it).

But was the scale right?  Pretty much spot on actually.  Couple of pics below of it next to one of the sadly neglected blister originated Katyushas.

Not bad......

........Not bad at all

The launching rails are thinner, probably due to the fact it's one piece plastic instead of metal, and it had a slightly sleeker feel, again probably due to the way you can use plastic, but I'd certainly have no concern fielding these two together in an army!

Bargain cost of less than £6 as opposed to £35 - well chuffed!

So, would I recommend only buying the Zvezda kit as opposed to any battlefront ones?  Depends on how much time you have.  The battlefront box includes the crew, command and observer teams and a truck for the command team.  Once you factor in 4 Katyushas (£12), a zvezda truck (also £3) and enough crew and command teams (about £10 from maelstrom for example with the little special order packs to get some ammo too) you're comparing £25 to £35.  But the time element is much greater as it's plastic sprue based kit as opposed to the 5 or so pieces in the Battlefront kit.  It's better when you compare for the 8 gun battery as you only need 1 command team and truck, so the saving probably goes up to £25 or so, which isn't to be sniffed at.

Right, I'm off to look for a DEVASTATING BOMBARDMENT template as I may need one in the not too distant future.....


Eddy Artillery said...



I do not like the sound of that!

JamieM said...

It's 4 normal bombardment templates put together. So fairly devastating :)

Von said...

It does look very snazzy and once painted up will fit very nicely into that small unit!

Really don't want to face the DEVASTATING BOMBARDMENT!!! Let's hope his spotters can't see very well :)

Mark said...

Peter Pig make a cheaper alternative crew for the katyusha.....584. Russian katyusha crew( 8 men) at £2.70 a pack.

Silverback said...

very good find!!

Between you and Dave, who wants a 16 gun artillery Regiment on the board we are stuck in arms race