Lindberg 1/48 SM-62 Snark

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

History

The Northrop Snark (the name combines the words snake and shark) was the largest of the U.S. Air Force's winged jet-powered missiles. It had a range of 5000 miles and a top speed of slightly under Mach 1. The Snark was launched from either a mobile or fixed platform with two solid fuel rocket boosters. The Pratt and Whitney J-57 jet engine then took over for the duration of the flight. In the terminal phase of the Snark's flight, the entire fuselage forward of the wing (which contained a nuclear warhead) separated and continued on a ballistic trajectory.

According to my reference (Airpower May 2004), the Snark was operational only for one year--from March 1960 to March 1961 with one USAF squadron. More sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missiles like the Atlas and Titan were by that time available to replace the Snark.

The Kit

Lindberg's Snark is to my knowledge the only kit of this subject in a standard scale. There were odd-scale Snark kits produced by Revell (1/81) and Monogram (1/90) in the late 1950s. The Lindberg kit is also an old kit belonging to this same generation. According to the box top, this kit is made in the USA.

The plastic parts are molded in white and packaged in two bags, one for the missile and the other for the launcher, check stand, tow tractor, and ground crew. The black vinyl tires and tracks, along with 6 of the 9 the crew figures, are on other trees outside the bags. The parts are generally well-molded with good surface detail, but there are a few small sink marks and ejector pin marks to deal with on the launcher. Flash is present on some of the figure and missile parts. There are raised panel lines and rivits on the missile.

The missile itself features a detachable rear section that can be removed to show the jet engine. External fuel tanks and separate, positionable rudder and elevons are also provided. The launch platform can be raised or lowered.

Instructions

The easy-to-follow instructions contain sub-assemblies with the typical exploded diagrams. Interestingly, supplemental instructions ( text only) are in French. There is no painting or decal placement guide. The builder is supposed to use the color photos of the completed model on the box top, bottom, and sides for reference. This model is to be painted in the test markings of red with elaborate white stripes. (The operational Snarks were overall light gray.)

Decals

The decal sheet has the white stripes mentioned above, along with full national insignia. Unfortunately, the star & bar insignia are out of register and the stars are too small for the blue disc. The SAC badge and band are too dark. Some small stencils are also included on this decal sheet, but there is no indication of their placement.

The builder will need to research the various Snark markings. Many of the red and white machines had no national insignia, while the gray ones did have them.

Conclusion

This is a kit that will need a bit of extra work (and perhaps some replacement decals), but an attractive model can definitely be made. I have not dry-fitted any parts together, so I cannot comment on the fit. I am pleased to see old kits of unusual subjects like the Snark being produced again.

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