1/72 Scale Guided Missile Models 
(from 1940s to 1990s)

Monogram 1/80 scale Snark Intercontinental Cruise Missile (1950s)

I don't have a clear explanation for my interest in guided missiles. Perhaps it is admiration for the "genuine, steely-eyed, missile-men" (Ed Harris; APOLLO 13) who conceived, designed, built and manned the missile defenses of the United States, from the 1950s to the 1980s. Books like RINGS OF SUPERSONIC STEEL and BLAZING SKIES are very interesting reading. Perhaps it is a fondness for the brightly-colored 1950s plastic kits of then state-of-the-art missiles, complete with realistic launch pads. I know I was fascinated by my father's description of the German V-1 cruise missile of World War Two.

In any event, once I had scratch-built a couple of AFVs, I got the idea that I could do the same for the missiles that weren't available in kits in 1/72 scale. Below are several of the guided missile models I have built, from kits and from scratch. I have a few more missile subjects I would like to build, someday. 

German Fiesler Fi-103 (V-1) cruise missile
on scratch-built launching ramp
(World War Two)

Museum display V-1 cruise missile (U.S. Navy Loon version) (Google)
Museum display V-1 cruise missile on launch catapult (Google)
Dragon V-1 on scratch-built launch ramp
The V-1 Flying Bomb was an extraordinary surface-to-surface guided missile developed by the German army in World War Two. Built by Fiesler, the Fi-103 was powered by an Argus pulse jet, an engine that combined atomized fuel and air brought in through a multi-vaned intake, inside a combustion chamber.  The fuel-air mixture was ignited to produce an impulse of propulsion, the force of which temporarily closed the intake vanes in the front of the chamber, channeling the gases out through the exhaust tube. The forward motion of the V-1 would then force open the spring-loaded vanes, admitting more air, and the process would begin again. This repetitive process of combustion and exhaust, almost 50 times a second, gave the V-1 its distinctive buzzing sound. To achieve the necessary forward velocity to sustain the pulse-jet at take off, the V-1 was launched from a 118 to 158 foot long ramp, under the force of a piston driven by very rapidly expanding gases created by combining hydrogen peroxide and rocket fuel. Guidance was by an internal gyroscope plus a timing system that kicked down the elevator, forcing the bomb to dive, when the missile had reached the desired range. The V-1 was 26 feet long, had a wing-span of over 17 feet, weighed 4,800 pounds, and could travel 150 miles at 400 mph. 30,257 V-1s were manufactured (Osprey Publishing; Crescent Books)

Click on the link below to hear an actual Buzz Bomb in flight:
Dragon V-1 on scratch-built launch ramp
Dragon V-1 on scratch-built launch ramp
Dragon V-1 on scratch-built launch ramp
Dragon V-1 on scratch-built launch ramp
I bought an Italeri 1/72 scale He-111 bomber kit, just to get the Dragon V-1 Buzz Bomb for this project. A splendid book V-1 The Flying Bomb had detailed illustrations of the V-1 launch ramp, which was the genesis of this project. I created an AutoCAD drawing of the ramp and its parts, and built the ramp out of Evergreen brand styrene plastic sheet, strip and structural shapes, around a brass tube at the core of the ramp that was both true to the ramp design and added strength to the model. I included on the diorama base the rusty rails and railroad ties that were installed for the wheeled derrick that was used to erect these "mobile" launch ramps through-out Northern Europe in 1944. 

The Dragon V-1 was assembled and painted, and supplemented with a resin gas generating unit from an otherwise dreadful resin V-1 ramp kit I bought, after I started this scratch-built ramp. All paint was Humbrol, and all scenery was Woodland Scenics. The Luftwaffe officer, added to establish a sense of scale, was by Preiser figures. The Kubelwagon was by Academy. This model received a Silver Medal at the 2002 AMPS Nationals, in Havre de Grace, Maryland where, curiously enough, the model was classified as a "conversion" of the Dragon V-1.

RAF Bloodhound anti-aircraft guided missile
(Cold War)

Operational RAF Bloodhound anti-aircraft guided missile (Google)
Museum display Bloodhound anti-aircraft guided missile (Google)
The Bloodhound was a two-stage, surface-to-air, anti-aircraft guided missile operated by the Royal Air Force for the home defense of the United Kingdom and Bomber Command air bases. Four solid rocket boosters accelerated the Bloodhound to a velocity and an altitude where the upper and lower ramjets could function as sustainers at Mach 2, over a range of 50 miles. Guidance was by semi-active radar homing: a radar receiver in the nose of the Bloodhound homed in on radar reflections of the target, from a radar transmitter on the ground. The Bloodhound weighed 5,000 pounds, was 28 feet long, and was operational from 1958 until 1991. (Crescent Books)
AIRFIX 1/76 scale Bloodhound anti-aircraft guided missile
This Airfix kit is 1/76 scale, but close enough to 1/72 that I wasn't willing to scratch-build it. I followed the kit instructions for painting, matching the museum display version seen above, even though I could see that the operational Bloodhounds were usually dark green, as seen above, also. The base is a disk of Evergreen sheet styrene, with Woodland Scenics turf. Paint was by Humbrol, and flat finish was by Poly-Scale.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.

Scratchbuilt U.S. Army Nike-Ajax anti-aircraft guided missile
(1950s to 1960s)

Nike-Ajax missiles 1950s (Google)

The Nike-Ajax was a two-stage, surface-to-air, all-weather, radar-guided, anti-aircraft missile, deployed near large cities through-out the United States, from 1954 through 1964. With a range of 30 miles, a speed of Mach 2.3,  and an maximum altitude in excess of known enemy bomber ceilings, the one-ton, 32 foot long missile was steered into proximity to the target by ground-based radar, and was equipped with three high-explosive warheads, exploded by command from the battery control site. (Osprey Publishing)

Scratch-built Nike-Ajax anti-aircraft missile
This Nike Ajax model was my first scratch-built missile, constructed from Evergreen brand styrene sheet, rod and strip. The missile was based on photos I took of the example on display at the Aberdeen Proving Ground AFV Museum, drawings from the internet, and my own Auto-CAD drawings. The launch pad was based on the Revell "History Makers" reissue of the Renwal 1/32 scale plastic kit. Paint was Humbrol, and flat finish was Poly-Scale. The figure included for a sense of scale was from a Hasegawa USAF Ground Support kit. This model won a Silver Medal at the (I think) 2003 AMPS National in Havre de Garce, Maryland.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.

USAF Snark intercontinental cruise missile (1950s)

Northrup SM-62A Snark Intercontinental Cruise Missile (LIFE/Google)

The Northrup SM-65A Snark was an air-breathing USAF pilotless bomber designed to fly intercontinental distances, at a wide range of altitudes, at near Mach 1, and drop a maximum 20 kiloton nuclear warhead on the target. Two solid-fueled rocket boosters, each of 130,000 pounds thrust, lifted the Snark off of its air-transportable mobile launcher and accelerated the missile to a speed where the Pratt & Whitney 10,500 pound-thrust turbo-fan engine could sustain flight. The 26,000 pounds of fuel gave Snark a range of more than 6,000 miles. Guided by internal inertial navigation that was corrected through-out flight by star tracking, night or day, the Snark tested very successfully, and was operationally deployed in Maine from 1957 to 1959, only to be replaced by the Atlas ICBM, which could reach in thirty minutes the same distance the Snark needed ten or more hours to travel. The Snark was 76 feet long, had a 42 foot wing-span, and weighed 60,000 pounds, not counting the solid rocket boosters. (Crescent Books) 

Monogram 1/80 scale Snark Intercontinental Cruise Missile

This model was a very old Monogram kit I bought on eBay. The scale of approximately 1/80 was smaller than my preferred 1/72 scale, but not enough of a difference to warrent scratch-building. Choose your battles. I finished my Snark in the eye-catching, test-subject red, instead of the boring, light grey operational scheme. I had to replace the unusable, ancient Monogram decals with nearly identical decals from a much newer Revell "History Makers" Snark kit. These decals exhibited one of the worst cases of silvering I've ever failed to remedy on a model.

Inside the fuselage, I installed an all-but-invisible plastic engine intake fan, at the end of an intake trunk sculpted out of English Milli-Put 2-part epoxy putty. An aluminum tube at the rear completed the illusion of an engine, inside. I whittled away all of the inaccurate plastic molded around the tractor's wheels and tracks, to achieve the appropriate see-through effect. Having practically nothing in the way of references to correct or superdetail this model, I concentrated instead on having fun building this vintage kit. All paint was Humbrol, with the clear flat finish by Poly-Scale.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images. 

USSR SA-2 Guideline anti-aircraft guided missile
(1950s to 2000s)

Museum display SA-2 Guideline (Google)

Designated the S-75 Dvina when it was developed in the Soviet Union in 1956, the SA-2 (NATO codename "Guideline") is probably the most widely-used surface-to-air anti-aircraft guided missile in the world, still in use in the Middle East. The 5,100 pound, 32 foot long missile consists of a solid-fuel booster and a liquid-fuel sustainer, and has a range of  31 miles. Guidance is by radio-control, through location of the target by ground-based radar. The SA-2 was the principle weapon used against B-52s during the bombing campaigns of the Viet Nam war. (Wikipedia, Crescent Books)

Planet Models resin SA-2 Guideline
This model is the Planet Models resin kit of a SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile. Resin kits are assembled with cyanoacrylate glue (SuperGlue), since plastic cement won't bond to resin. The kit included the launcher. The terrain base was scratch-built of Evergreen brand sheet styrene and Woodland Scenics fine gravel. All paints were Humbrol, and flat finish was Poly-Scale.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.

Scratch-built U.S. Army Nike-Hercules anti-aircraft guided missile
(1950s to 1970s)
 

Operational Nike-Hercules anti-aircraft guided missile (Google)
The Nike-Hercules was a tremendous upgrade to the capabilities of the Nike-Ajax. Deployed from 1958 until 1974, the solid booster stage was essentially four Ajax boosters clustered together, and the sustainer stage was also solid fueled. The Nike-Hercules was capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, which permitted the destruction of formations of enemy bombers, instead of one missile per bomber. Late model Nike-Hercules missiles could achieve a range of 90 miles and an altitude of over 100,000 feet, at 3.6 times the speed of sound. The Nike-Hercules was 27 feet long, and weighed 5,500 pounds. My freshman year college roommate had been an Army MP at a Nike-Hercules site in Florida. Thank you for your service, Don. (Osprey Publishing)
Scratch-built Nike-Hercules anti-aircraft missile
This missile was constructed from Evergreen brand styrene sheet, rod, tube, and strip, with photo-etched screens at the base. The missile was based on photos I took of the example on display at the Aberdeen Proving Ground AFV Museum, drawings from the internet, and my own Auto-CAD drawings. The launch pad was based on the Revell 1/40 scale re-issue plastic kit. The upper stage was turned on a Sherline lathe, from a solid rod of styrene plastic from U.S. Plastics Corporation. Paint was Humbrol, decals were SuperScale, and flat finish was Poly-Scale. The figure included for a sense of scale was from a Hasegawa USAF Ground Support kit.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.

Scratch-built USAF BOMARC anti-aircraft guided missile
(1950s to 1970s)

Testing phase BOMARC anti-aircraft guided missile (Google)

The BOMARC (BOeing Aircraft Company and Michigan Aeronautical Research Center) was a U.S. Air Force anti-aircraft guided missile in competition with the U.S. Army Nike projects. The BOMARC was more a pilotless aircraft than a typical guided missile, with a liquid-fueled booster that lifted the missile vertically to 60,000 feet. A pair of liquid-fueled ramjets then provided propulsion in horizontal flight. The later BOMARC B model had a solid-fueled booster. Guided by ground-based radar to within 10 miles of the target, the BOMARC then homed in with its internal radar, destroying the target with either a nuclear warhead or conventional explosives. With a maximum range of 440 miles, the BOMARC weighed 15,500 pounds and achieved Mach 2.8. The BOMARC was operational from 1960 through 1972. (Osprey Publishing)

Scratch-built BOMARC anti-aircraft guided missle
This model of the BOMARC was constructed from Evergreen brand styrene sheet, rod, tube, and strip, with photo-etched screens at the work platform. The missile was based on photos and drawings from the internet, which I developed into Auto-CAD drawings, and the launch platform was based on the Revell 1/40 scale re-issue plastic kit. The nose cone and ramjet engines were turned on a Sherline lathe, from solid rod of styrene plastic from U.S. Plastics Corporation. The bold black and white paint scheme represents the testing phase of the BOMARC program (as opposed to the boring, light grey operational scheme), with the monitoring cables at the nose cone disconnected to prepare for launch. Paint was Humbrol, decals were SuperScale, and flat finish was Poly-Scale. The figure included for a sense of scale was from a Hasegawa USAF Ground Support kit.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.
Monogram 1/80 scale Snark Intercontinental Cruise Missile (1950s)

Scale 1/72

Email: AtomicCannon(at)embarqmail(dot)com