First developed for the US Navy by Raytheon in the early 1950s, the AIM-9 (Air Intercept Missile) has been a mainstay for the United States and our allies for nearly 60 years. The AIM-9B represented in this offering from Eduard was the first production model of the Sidewinder, entering service in 1956. There have been several updates over the years, and the current model in use is the AIM-9X. Raytheon and General Electric produced approximately 80,900 of the B variant, and the model is credited with one Navy and 26 Air Force victories during Vietnam.
This set consists of four missiles and optional nose covers that are cast in resin, a single photoetch fret that holds the forward fins and rings to represent the exhaust nozzle of the rocket motor, and a small decal sheet. The photoetched parts include extra fins, just in case, but no additional rings, so be cautious when removing and handling them. The decals include three stencil markings, two yellow stripes, and one black band per missile.
In over 40 years of modeling, these are the absolute best representation of the AIM-9 that I have yet to work with in 1/72 scale. Eduard did a great job capturing the detail of the Sidewinder, and all of the fins are appropriately thin for the scale. My one assembly tip is that I did find it easier to attach the forward missile fins if I first touched their attachment point with a small drill bit. I used a mix of medium and thin CA to attach the PE parts to my missiles, which I then painted with coat of Alclad Primer White followed by Model Master Acryl Gloss White. The decals settled without issue using Micro Set and Micro Sol.
My hits for this set would have to start with the fine level of detail cast onto the resin missiles. The use of photoetched parts for the forward fins and motor exhaust ring are also positives for this release. The inclusion of the nose covers is a great touch. Although I did not use them on my AIM-9Bs, they may eventually make their way onto other Sidewinders on a future build, as the covers have remained unchanged through the various versions.
My misses are not difficult to remedy. The first would be that on my example, the black band decals did not quite meet when wrapped around the body of the missile (this can easily be rectified with black paint or a drafting pen). My other miss would be the instructions for decal placement, as I had to do a little guesswork regarding where the rear yellow stripe and black band should be set.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend these Eduard AIM-9B missiles to modelers who are looking to add the early Sidewinder to their 1/72 scale kit. There should be no fit issues when installing the missiles onto a plane, and modelers with some experience in working with resin and photoetched parts should find it easy to utilize this set.
I would like to thank the folks at Eduard for graciously providing these missiles to the IPMS/USA for review and to Dave Morrissette for allowing me to receive this set. I would also send kudos out to the assistants in the Reviewers’ Corps for the great job they do in keeping the Corps running strong. Finally, as always, I extend my appreciation to anyone who takes the time to read my comments.