The AIM-9 Sidewinder has been a mainstay of the US Air-to-Air arsenal since the 1950s. The AIM-9G/H was used extensively in the Vietnam War by US Navy. Most of the Navy kills during the war were with the AIM-9G. The later AIM-9H was a navalized version of the AIM-9G and had the highest kill ratio of the Vietnam War. The difference between the two missiles were all internal with the H having solid state electronics. The AIM-9H missiles were used well into the 1970s when they were superseded by the AIM-9L.
Eduard allows you to build this historically important missile using the latest technology in their Brassin range. Packaged in a plastic blister pack, you get 32 resin parts, including four clear resin warheads. The resin is light grey and perfectly formed with no imperfections that I could detect. There are enough pieces to build four missiles. The missiles themselves are cast with the tail fins installed already. Careful removal is all that is required there. Then it is just a matter of adding the forward control fins and the appropriate nose. You get a choice of either the clear resin warhead or the protective cover. With the protective cover in place you will need to source a Remove Before Flight tag to dangle for the end. Eduard offers them separately in US and Israeli versions. In addition to the four missiles, you get four detailed launch rails for the missiles to hang off of. You can hang these missiles on the F-4, F-14 and even early F-18s.
There is a small fret of photo etch that is used for the missile exhausts. You get six just in case you make a mistake or feed the carpet monster.
There are decals for all the stencil markings on the missiles and the launch rails. Care must be used when removing the protective paper from the stencils as it tends to get stuck to the decals. The decals are printed by Eduard and they are very thin and in perfect register. You must use lots of water to get the decals to move around on the missiles, but they react well with setting solutions.
The instructions are a single sided page with pictograms and very easy to understand. Construction is straight forward. Be careful when you cut the protective warhead covers as they have a ‘shape’ on the end that if you don’t pay attention you will cut off. I did this and had to replace the parts I cut off with plastic cut to shape.
Separate the parts, add the forward maneuvering fins. Then it was time to paint up the parts. The missiles are mostly white. But there are some splashes of color here and there. Painting is all that is needed to bring these gems to life. The instructions gives you color callouts with reference to Gunze paints.
The launch rails were painted up in light grey and set aside.
Both the missiles and the launch rails were sprayed with Future and a drop of Tamiya thinner. This was in preparation for the decals. The decals are very thin and like to curl so go slow and be sure to use plenty of water to get them in place. On the yellow and brown rings I recommend that you have the point where the decal comes back on itself that you do that where the launch rail will be as they are just a tad bit short. The decals all fit perfectly.
A coat of flat was added to the missiles and rails. Then the missiles were added to the rails with superglue.
The last part for the missiles is to add the clear seeker head. I found that I could easily lose the clear seeker head parts without even trying. I lost three of them. The one I did manage to get on the missiles fit well. So for the other three I used Microscale Krystal Kleer applied with a toothpick and set the missiles upside down while it dried and they formed perfect tips. Truth be told this was significantly faster than adding the clear resin parts.
You will have to drill location holes on the launch rails to suit your particular model. Since I didn’t have a specific model in mind for these missiles I will have to do that later.
The level of detail on the missiles and rails is impressive. Certainly better than anything you can get in plastic. The simple construction and ingenious casting makes cleanup and assembly a breeze. Careful painting and decal application will result in a superior missile to spice up your Phantom or Tomcat. Another great addition to the Brassin range.
Thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for the review copy. You can obtain your copy by contacting Eduard at www.eduard.com or your local hobby shop or online retailer.