Revell 1/40 Nike Hercules SAM

KIT #: 00011
PRICE: $23.95 MRSP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: Reissue of Revell 1958 Nike Hercules Kit, only 5000 units produced

HISTORY

 

The Nike Hercules MIM-14 was an upgrade to the Nike Ajax SAM and itís mission was to engage targets at mid to high altitude including certain missiles.  The Nike Hercules SAM was a two stage solid fuel rocket equipped with either a conventional warhead or a small nuclear one (designed to blow up an entire formation of bombers) using command guidance meaning that it was guided to target via ground control radar.  It can also be used as a Surface to Surface Missile.

 

Some 25000 were built and used by various NATO countries (nuclear and conventional), Japan and South Korea (conventional only.)  The missile served with the US Army/NATO from 1959 till the mid 80s.  Most if not all CONUS missile units were disestablished in the mid 70s in large part to the huge cost of maintaining SAM sites while those located in Germany remained operational till the introduction of the Patriot SAM in the mid 80s.  Many of the foreign operated sites remained active until the late 1980s/collapse of the Soviet Union.  Japan used an upgraded version known as the Nike J till the 1990s when it was replaced by the Japanese version of the Patriot SAM.  South Korea is the only current operator of the Nike Hercules (and developed a pure surface to surface variant) although there have been major reliability and maintenance issues in the past decade.

Nike Hercules is roughly equivalent in performance to the USSR SA-5 Gammon SAM which was designed for the same purpose of long range interception of medium to high altitude bombers/bomber formations and slower ballistic missiles.

 

Nike Hercules Specs (From Wikipedia)

Length 41 ft (12.53 m) overall 26 ft, 10 in (8.18 m) second stage

Diameter 31.5 in (0.80 m) booster 21 in (0.53 m) second stage

Fin span 11 ft, 6 in (3.50 m) booster 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) second stage

Weight 1065 lbs (4850 kg) at launch 5500 lbs (2505 kg) second stage

Max speed Mach 3.65 (ca. 2750 mph or 4,470 km/h)

Range 90 miles (140 km)

Ceiling 150,000 ft (45,700 m)

 

Warhead conventional T-45 HE warhead weighing 1106 lb (500 kg) and containing 600 lb (272 kg) of HBX-6 M17 blast-fragmentation

 

Warhead nuclear initially W7 (2.5 or 28 KT) and later W31 nuclear 2 kt (M-97) or 20 kt (M-22)

 

THE KIT

 

It is the old Revell 1/40 scale model that was introduced in 1958 and re-released every 15 or so years since the early 80s.  This time it has been re-released by Revell AG/Germany.

 

The kit consists of 60 parts in dark green plastic (including three figures if you want to make a diorama) and shows its 50+ year age as it is full of flash, surface imperfections and sink marks in the parts.  The missile is covered with lots of more than obvious rivets to show detail while the actual missile has a pretty featureless surface.

 

The model is essentially two kits.  One is the actual Nike Hercules SAM while the other is the launcher which also has a working feature of going up and down which wouldnít last long due to the delicate nature of the parts.  The decals seem to be okay and are based on the original kitís markings while the instruction sheet is in the standard Revell AG format with 28 steps and the color callouts in Revell AG colors (so it will take a bit of internet searching to get the right colors for the launcher.)

CONSTRUCTION

 

The launcher is pretty straight forward to assemble when you follow the instructions, but you need to deal with a lot of sink marks, flash, ejection pin marks and surface imperfections.  That was the most tedious aspect of the launcher as it required multiple applications of CA glue and sanding especially the sink marks on the launch rail.  The launcher was glued in a posed upright position.

 

One thing I noticed about the kit was that the mating edges of many of the parts needed to be sanded down to ensure a decent fit.

 

The missile, on the other hand, proved to be a lot more work.  I followed the instructions and built both stages separately.  The booster stage was straight forward except that the four engine tubes required a lot of sanding and filling due to the gaps.  Some of the gaps that needed to be dealt with included the edges of the fins and the mating collar. I discovered that the missileís engine nozzle did not line up exactly with the booster mating collar causing the missile to be crooked.  I did not realize this until after I had put primer on the missile and attached the two together.

 

I tore off the missile engine nozzle and spent a lot of time adding shims to the nozzle.  Added a shim between the missile body and the missile engine nozzle, glue, attach to booster, check to see if it was straight and repeat many many many times.  It took about 9 shims in various locations to get the Nike Hercules relatively straight.  Unfortunately, the shims meant I had some gaps and steps to deal with.  This required a lot of filling and sanding with CA glue.  I tried a few times to protect the detail, but after enduring various headaches because of it and the tight spaces due to the two sets of fins, I opted to sand the detail away.  It took about 5 tedious filling and sanding sessions to eliminate the gaps and steps.  In a fit of sanity, I decided not to redo the missing details.

 

The rest of the construction was uneventful.

 

COLORS AND MARKINGS

 

Painting

Thanks to the dark green plastic and the white paint job required, I had to prime the missile.  I used XF-19 Sky Grey in three light coats to get it right.  I lightly buffed the missile with a 3200 grit sanding cloth to smooth out the surface.  As I mentioned earlier, it was at this step when I realized that the missile would have an unnatural curve to it.  Once I fixed that problem, I reapplied the XF-19 primer and then sprayed down three light coats of flat white and two coats of gloss white to get a paint job I could be happy with.

 

The launcher did not need priming.  The color callouts were in Revell AG paint, but I opted to use two coats of XF-58 Olive green instead of NATO Green because I had the Olive Green paint and did not have any NATO green available.  Some details were hand painted or dry brushed (the walkway grills) using Citadel Mithral Silver and Chainmail paints.

 

Once dry, the launcher received a light coat of Future gloss in preparation for the decals.

 

Decals

I used most of the kit decals and stencils except the AA badges and red lighting markings which I thought were way too garish.  The decals did not have any issues and settled in among the detail with some MicroSet solution.

 

Final Coat

No wash was used as these missiles were kept spotless.  The final coat was different for the launcher (flat) and missile (semi-gloss.)

 

FINAL BITS

 

I did not glue the missile to the booster when I mounted entire Nike Hercules on the launch rail.

CONCLUSIONS

 

This is pretty much the only game in town if you like the Nike Hercules SAM.  I had quite a bit of fun building the missile with only one major headache to ensure that the entire missile is lined up.  It might not be the most accurate kit, but that should not distract you from building it.

 

I added a photo comparing the kit to a 1/48 scale Bf-109 just to give you an idea of the actual size of the SAM.

 

The kit courtesy of my thinner wallet.

 

Thanks to those who pointed out my mistakes in the preview's intro.

 

Dan Lee

 

August 2009

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