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Snark

Lindberg 1/48 SM-62 Snark Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2008 Manufacturer Lindberg
Subject Northrop SM-62 Snark Scale 1/48
Kit Number 91001 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nostalgic model back after a LONG time Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $30.00

First Look

Snark
Snark
Snark
Snark
Snark
Snark
Snark
Snark

In 1946, the US was still recovering from World War 2 and US forces were still abroad to keep the peace in post-war Germany and Japan. Meanwhile, a former ally was starting to demonstrate its own interests in world domination as Stalin continued building up his military might. The US had atomic weapons for deterrence, but with the exception of the special B-29s of the 509th Bomb Wing at Roswell, New Mexico, the US had no way to deliver them.

Northrop started work on one of many parallel developments in strategic airpower. Taking the concept of the Fieseler V-1, Northrop designed the first intercontinental guided missile. Using a sophisticated stellar navigation system, this new missile designated Snark had a range of approximately 5,500 nautical miles. The missile did not have horizontal stabilizers, instead using Northrop's elevons (combination ailerons for roll and elevators for pitch) that would appear on other designs including the B-2 Spirit.

The Snark was supposed to be the first of two phases of guided (cruise) missile with the Snark being the subsonic version and the Boojum to be the supersonic follow-on. Teething problems with the design led to many crashes of test missiles and even as the design finally started entering operational service in 1958 (five years late), the Air Force lacked confidence in the reliability of the Snark. In February 1961, the first Snark missile wing was declared operational, but in March 1961, President Kennedy declared the missile obsolete. You see, while the Snark was under 'extended' development, the first ICBMs were brought online which could penetrate enemy air defenses where the Snark would be vulnerable. In addition, General Le May had pushed for and achieved a bomber fleet that could be air refueled and have better strike performance than the Snark.

Lindberg, under the new ownership, has been re-releasing older toolings that have not been on hobby shelves in decades. One such tooling is the 1/48 scale kit of the SM-62 Snark.

Molded in white styrene, the kit is not just about the missile, it is a complete vignette in a box. This kit starts with the Snark complete with external tanks and RATO bottles to get it off the ground. The fuselage has a removable aft section which reveals a removable J57 engine. The elevons and rudder are separately molded and positionable.

The kit also includes a transport trailer that doubles as a launch stand, a tow tractor to move the Snark into launch position, a maintenance stand which might be handy for other 1950s era vignettes, and even nine figures in action poses.

This was quite the detailed kit in its day, and is still rather cool today. Molding is typical of the Lindberg of old with raised panel line and rivet detail. The best thing to when assembling the missile is simply sand the details off the surfaces and if you're so inclined, scribe new panel lines.

In addition to the styrene parts, the kit also includes a vinyl tree with 18 wheels and two sets of track for the tow tractor.

This kit comes with a very nice set of decals that replicates the photo calibration stripes of a test vehicle. The sheet comes with all of the stripes you'll need in addition to national markings, SAC bands and shields, and maintenance stencils.

I was happy to see this kit on display at the Chicago Hobby Show two years ago and while it took a long time to finally arrive on store shelves, it is nice to have one back in my collection.

This kit is definitely recommended to nostalgic modelers as well as to those looking for something a little different to build.

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