Revell 1/81 SM-62 Snark

KIT #: 7810
PRICE: $19.95 SRP
DECALS: One Option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Reissue of 1957 kit


The Northrop SM-62 Snark was a specialized intercontinental cruise missile with a nuclear warhead operated by the US Strategic Air Command from 1958 until 1961. It takes its name from Lewis Carroll's snark.

The Snark was developed to offer a nuclear deterrence to the Soviet Union at a time when ICBMs were still in development. It was the only intercontinental surface-to-surface cruise missile ever deployed by the United States Air Force. With the deployment of ICBMs, it was rendered obsolete and taken out of service.

In January 1958 the Strategic Air Command began accepting delivery of operational missiles to Patrick AFB in Florida for training and in 1959 the 702d Strategic Missile Wing was formed. Multiple launch failures led to the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Canaveral being described as "Snark infested waters."

On 27 May 1959, Presque Isle AFB in Maine, the only Snark base, received its first operational missile. Ten months later, on March 18, 1960, a Snark officially went on alert status. Thirty are known to have been deployed."

The 702nd was not declared fully operational until February 1961. In March 1961, President Kennedy declared the Snark "obsolete and of marginal military value" and on 25 June 1961 the 702d was deactivated.


I almost hate to say it, but I recall when this kit was first issued. I was still in the single digit age bracket and it was included in a set that included several other Revell missile kits, none of which were ever assembled past the airframe.

Though released a few times in the past, I believe the last time was in 1982 when it was part of the semi-successful 'History Makers' series and I still have that kit in the stash. Back in 1982 it was a pricey kit, costing about the same as does this one some 30 years later.

Molded completely in red plastic, with raised detail and decal placement clearly shown on the plastic, it is really still in quite good shape. There are sink areas on the alignment pin sections and some pretty horrendous ejector pin marks (including one huge one in the middle of the outer fuselage halves), but that was pretty much the norm.

This is truly box scale as the fuselage does a commendable job of filling the box. The airframe itself is pretty basic with not many more than a dozen pieces and not that were it not for the fuel tanks and rocket assist units. The rest of the kit has a launching pad on which to place the missile. Two somewhat anemic figures are included.

Of course, in 1957, the Snark was still in the testing stage and the markings for this one are of a test missile in red with lots of white areas. Most of the white is included on a decal sheet, though you'll have to paint the RATO units. The launch base has a lot of yellow in it for the various beam sections, so break out the white and yellow for this one. Thankfully, the decal sheet is a good one, though it remains to be seen how well it will prevent the red of the missile from bleeding through.

Instructions are well done and may be similar to that provided in the original kit. All of the parts are named and color is provided in generic references. For those who may wish to do an operational missile, I believe they were painted in ADC Grey (16473), though you'd have to leave off most of the white decals and you'd have to hunt up a SAC band for the nose. Google will get you a bunch of images.

There are at least three injected plastic Snark kits, all from about the same time frame. In 1/48 (or so) is the Lindberg kit, while there is this one and apparently Monogram did a Snark as well, though I'm not familiar with that one. It isn't a difficult kit and if you don't spend a ton of time filling in sink areas, fixing ejector pin marks or blanking off intakes or exhaust, it should build rather quickly. Those of us who do have to do all this stuff, will have to decide if full sanding and rescribing is an option as we will remove detail in the process.  Regardless, it is nice to have this one back at a decent price so we don't have to pay those outrageous collector's prices.


March 2011

Thanks to me for grabbing this one at the LHS yesterday.

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