Published on
June 9, 2011
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Zactomodels - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Zactomodels - Website: Visit Site

Thanks once again to Chris for providing IPMS USA more of his excellent products; in this case, a brace of modern snakes!

The AIM-9X program has been yet another joint effort (Navy/AF) intended to provide better weapons to our warfighters. The AIM-9 series is one of the more effective close-in weapons; it’s notoriously accurate, and usually does the job better than radar guided weapons. Of course, you are in a knife fight at this point if you must use these missiles, so effective and accurate are both pluses. The AIM-9X is the latest generation Sidewinder; it is tied in to helmet-cuing sight technology, and goes where the pilot is looking. It’s an excellent follow-on to the AIM -9L (Lima) and -9M (Mike)… both which have extremely successful history as lethal close-in air-to-air weapons.

These missiles are extremely simple in construction; included are a perfectly detailed missile body, fore and aft fins, nozzles for either inert Captive-carry training rounds, or live rounds with thrust vectoring vanes. Most impressive are two bits: The umbilical to attach the missile’s electronics to the jet, and the MV lenses that go on the nose. Very nice! The master is done by Alexander Rogal; Impressive details, perfectly sculpted… obviously an artist!

Chris’ instruction sheet is a model of how things should be; the only thing missing is marking information, and that is readily available. I built one missile as a standard war round; the nozzle is first, a smear of Vallejo water-based putty to blend with the body, then it was on to fin installation.

Take your time here; the fin pivot pins will fit perfectly (just tight enough) if you carefully remove the parts (Sharp #11 or scalpel) from the pour stub. I recommend medium CA to allow adjustment; Install the aft fins first, then the front fins to align everything. Heat the umbilical in hot water, bend and plunge in cold to set, then cement on the faint marking for it on the seeker head just between the fins.

On to painting! I used automotive primer gray with yellow and brown stripes, and silver metal bands. The seeker head was a mix of olive drab and steel, and the fins were painted steel. I used semi-gloss black for the umbilical, dark red-brown for the exhaust nozzle interior color, and steel thrust vector vanes. The MV seeker head was added last with RC56 canopy glue. (YES, follow the instructions!)

All in all, this was an effective presentation…Note to builders, this kit is not a beginner item; the parts are delicate and will break or disappear if you aren’t careful.

Final verdict: Zactomodels aftermarket parts are well worth the effort and provide what we AMS gorillas need. ZM gets 10 on all counts for detail, presentation and fit!


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