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Convair SM-65D Atlas

Horizon Models 1/72 Convair SM-65D Atlas Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2016 Manufacturer Horizon Models
Subject Convair SM-65D Atlas Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2001 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Impressive kit engineering and options Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $36.95

First Look

Convair SM-65D Atlas
Convair SM-65D Atlas

The Atlas family began as the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system for the United States which was developed in parallel with the world's first ICBM, the Soviet R-7. The SM-65D was the first operational version of the Atlas which first flew in late 1958 and would service as part of the nation's nuclear deterrance until replaced by later versions. With its intercontinental range and payload capability, the SM-65D was also the natural choice to put the Mercury spacecraft into orbit. The launch vehicles modified for such duty were designated as LV-3B. Even after the SM-65D was retired from active duty, many of these vehicles were refurbished and served to put a variety of payloads into low earth orbit.

Horizon Models has returned with this natural follow-on to their Mercury/Atlas kit. When we looked at that kit, we could see some of the parts that would suggest an ICBM version coming, and here it is. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees (duplicate tree not shown). Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Beautifully detailed launch vehicle
  • Display base (center engine bell mounts to this base)
  • Choice of Mk.2, Mk.3, or Mk.4 re-entry vehicles

Marking options include:

  • Atlas 12D, 57-2630, First SAC Launch, 1959
  • Atlas 101D, 58-7096, Operation New Nickle, 1961
  • Atlas 83D, 58-7078, Mk.4 RV Test Flight, 1960

The decal sheet has a full set of airframe stencils, all printed nicely by Microscale.

For a nice addition to your launch vehicle collection, this kit provides a nice addition to the series and you might want to do all three payloads. The build-up Atlas looks really nice. For a look at the Mercury/Atlas built-up, look here.

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

My sincere thanks to Horizon Models for this review sample!