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SM-65D Atlas ICBM

Horizon Models 1/72 SM-65D Atlas ICBM Kit Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2016 Manufacturer Horizon Models
Subject SM-65D Atlas ICBM Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2001 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Quick build Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $36.95

Build Review

For a brief history of this launch vehicle and/or a look at this kit out of the box, look here.

You might recall that I built Horizon's Mercury Atlas kit earlier this year, so I was eager to tackle the Atlas ICBM version. After my experience with the previous kit, I wanted to try a different approach to bare metal this time.

As before, I followed the instructions for opening the flashed-over holes in the Atlas airframe and once again, I had a few holes that should have been opened up not indicated in the instructions. More on this later.

SM-65D Atlas ICBM

With the upper and lower sections assembled, I test-fitted the two sections before starting the clean-up of the seams.

SM-65D Atlas ICBM

I filed the seams flush, removed a little mold flash from a few edges, re-scribed a few ring sections in the upper fuselage that were removed from the filing, then began the process of wet-sanding the airframe. Once I had it buffed and saw the few remaining flaws, I treated those areas with Mr.Surfacer 500 and repeated the wet-sanding until I'd reached 12000 grit. Before you go any farther, be sure to test-fit the exterior plumbing and cable channels to your airframe to ensure that your holes are large enough. Better now than after the metalizer is applied (like I did).

Last time I used AK Extreme Metal for the airframe but I opted to try some old stash of Alclad II. After applying the Bright Aluminum to the upper airframe section, I discovered that the metalizer had gone bad. I was able to remove the aborted Alclad with alcohol and applied AK Extreme Metal Chrome to the upper airframe and AK Extreme Metal Dark Aluminum to the lower airframe as well as the side fairings and plumbing.

SM-65D Atlas ICBM

The engine bells are added to the assembly and the center bell is dry-fitted to the display base that is included in this kit.

SM-65D Atlas ICBMSM-65D Atlas ICBM

I painted the Mk.IV re-entry vehicle Tamiya Flat White and added it to the top of the stack. The decals are printed by Microscale and go down nicely on the model. As before, the sheet includes airframe stencils which look nice when getting close to the model. Once the decals had set and dried, I installed the exterior plumbing and cable channels completing this build.

SM-65D Atlas ICBM SM-65D Atlas ICBM SM-65D Atlas ICBM SM-65D Atlas ICBM SM-65D Atlas ICBM

This was a relatively straightforward model to build as long as you test-fit each part before committing to glue. That little extra effort will make the whole process go smoothly. Given that this kit arrived last Friday and it is built, polished and bare metal painted to completion by Monday, it is a fair statement to say that this is a quick build. Get one for your spacecraft shelf!

This kit is available from CultTVman Hobbyshop or directly from the manufacturer.

My sincere thanks to Horizon Models for this review sample!

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