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F-100 Super Sabre
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AFTERMARKET REVIEW


Eduard AIM-120C AMRAAM -- 1:32 Scale

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In the 1950s, the AIM-7 Sparrow made its operational debut as the first U.S. radar guided beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile.  Though its initial performance (especially against opposing fighters) left a lot to be desired, it was progressively improved through the 1970s.  By then, it was also clear that a new generation of air-to-air missiles was on the horizon, and development work began in the early 1980s on what became the AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile).  This new missile would be lighter, faster, and possess greater range than the AIM-7.  It would also not require constant guidance from the launching aircraft, unlike the Sparrow.  Instead, the AMRAAM would possesses a revolutionary “launch-and-leave” capability, receiving guidance data from its launching aircraft up to the moment of release and then switch over to its own independent onboard radar to find and kill its target.  AIM-120s also had HOJ, or a home-on-jamming capability.  If an enemy aircraft tried to jam an AMRAAM, the missile would home in on the source of the jamming, nullifying any ECM thrown at it.  

The first-generation AIM-120A became operational in 1991 and was introduced to the F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 (while tested on the F-14, it was not adopted for operational use by the Tomcat).  Today, the AMRAAM is the primary BVR missile used by the U.S. and its allies.  The improved AIM-120B arrived in 1994.  The C-variant was another major development, distinguished by its shorter, “clipped” wings allowing for both improved flight characteristics and ability for carriage in the F-22’s internal weapons bays.  The AIM-120D family emerged in the late 1990s and was an evolutionary development of the -C model.  It features changes including even further extended range and a touted “no-escape” kill envelope.  As of today, the AIM-120 has been fired in combat 12 times and has scored 12 kills.  The AMRAAM will continue to serve in its prominent role securing U.S. and allied air dominance for many years to come. 

Many 1:32 scale model kits will have AIM-120s on their sprues, but they often lack detail and what’s there is arguably inaccurate and simplified.  In this large scale, those kinds of oversights are especially problematic.  To solve these issues, Eduard has recently released AIM-120A/B and AIM-120C sets in their Brassin product line. Here, we take a look at their AIM-120C.

This set contains 28 cast resin parts for two missiles.  The set is really impressive.  The single-piece missile bodies feature great detail, from the missile hangers to the waveguide assembly.  The missiles can be built up as a live AIM-120C or as a CATM-120C.  Alternate radomes are provided for the latter captive-carry training rounds (which are slightly more bulbous) and the aft rocket motor nozzle is blanked off.  Each of the wings (fins) are perfectly cast.  The approach to part design allows for simple removal of your preferred radome, exhaust nozzle, and the fins so that they all just plug right into the missile body.  The decal sheet also provides the stripes and stenciling that are needed for both live and training round versions.   
  
Compared to my reference photos of the AIM-120C, this set looks just about perfect.  I’ve got nothing to critique here, and the details of the clipped wings are perfect. If your 1:32 project requires this later-version AMRAAM, look no further.  I think this is the best aftermarket -120 I’ve seen to date.  Including the subtly different parts for the CATM variant (rather than including just some blue decal stripes and calling it a training round) is a very much-appreciated touch.  And FYI- Eduard has produced this set in 1:72 and 1:48 scales as well.

Many sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany   

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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Our Most Recent Release!



F-100 Super Sabre in Detail & Scale

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U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series


Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
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