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AIM-9B Sidewinders

Eduard 1/48 AIM-9B Sidewinders Set First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2011 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject AIM-9B Sidewinders Scale 1/48
Kit Number 648028 Media Resin
Pros Beautiful detail update for any Vietnam War era fighter Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $10.00

First Look

AIM-9B Sidewinders

Eduard from the Czech Republic is easily the most prolific producer of aftermarket details.Period. Their series of photo-etched detail sets have brought additional fidelity to otherwisebland subjects, and have taken even the best-produced models and kicked them up a notch ortwo with details that cannot be produced with injection-molded plastic.

Many AMS modelers will collect the relevant Eduard photo-etch sets for a given project, butthey'll also go out and gather specific resin enhancements as well. Eduard has stepped up witha new product line to complement their photo-etched detail series - Brassin.

Brassin is a play on words with Brass and Resin, and in many sets in this series, the resin details also include a set of color photo-etchas well.

In this release, Eduard has produced the nicest set of AIM-9B Sidewinders I've seen in any scale (except 1:1). I'm hoping they'll do these in 1/32 scale as well! The set is cast in gray resin with the missile airframes molded to their rear fins. The detailing is very fine and the roll-damping gyros are nicely done. The forward fins are separately cast and Eduard provides an extra set of four just in case you lose one or more during construction.

The seeker head lenses are cast in clear resin and ready to drop into place. Alternatively a set of covers are provided for the seeker heads also cast in gray resin. A set of color photo-etch is provided with jigs to help you align the forward fins onto the airframes, plus a set of "Remove Before Flight" streamers for the seeker head covers and for the missile rail safety lock.

Four complete missiles are provided which is ideal to arm up a Vietnam era F-4B, F-4C, F-4D, F-4E, or F-4J in the standard four-heater configuration. Alternatively you can arm up an F-8 Crusader in the two or four-heater configuration, an A-7 in the two-heater configuration, plus quite a few more aircraft.

In addition to US aircraft, the AIM-9B was used extensively on Soviet fighters from the early MiG-21 through the MiG-23. AIM-9Bs? Yep, they were copied so precisely that when an F-105 was hit by one over Vietnam, the Thud driver wasn't aware of it because the warhead didn't detonate. When the Thud arrived back in Thailand, the missile was sticking out of the rear fuselage. After it was made safe, the crews there were so amazed at how much it resembled the AIM-9B that they put an AIM-9B next to the Soviet missile and were able to exchange parts between the two. In Soviet service, the AIM-9B copy was called the R-3 or K-13 and had a NATO designation of AA-2 Atoll.

In other words, this set will be perfect with the current releases of the 1/48 MiG-21MF, MiG-21SMT, and MiG-21bis kits from Eduard (don't use the 'Remove Before Flight' streamers or covers). You should be able to find this detail set at your local hobby retailer or one of the many online hobby shops. Trust me, this is worth looking for!

Recommended for experienced modelers!

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!