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AFTERMARKET REVIEW


Special Hobby RP-3 60lb. SAP/HE "British WWII Rocket Projectile" -- 1:32 Scale

 

In addition to machine guns, cannons, and bombs, many WWII-era aircraft utilized unguided rockets to attack ground targets.  Among British forces, the RP-3 (Rocket Projectile 3 inch) was a broadly fielded air-to-ground weapon on a wide variety of aircraft.

The RP-3 emerged from an air-to-ground weapons program started in 1941 and first used in combat in 1942.  Its 60-pound warhead made it an ideal munition to employ against tanks, trains, soft targets such as unarmored or lightly armored vehicles, buildings, troops, U-boats, and other surface targets.  The “3” in the RP-3 designation referred to the diameter of the steel rocket motor tube.  RP-3 warheads were screwed onto the rocket tube and could came in AP (armor piercing), HE (high explosive), and SAP/HE (semi-armor piercing/high explosive) varieties.  The rockets were mounted on rails and an electrical “pigtail" lead was plugged into the exhaust of the rocket.  When launched, the four large tailfins induced enough spin to stabilize the rocket, but approach to the target needed to be precise in terms of airspeed and a straight flight path.  In WWII, the RP-3 was devastating against ground troops and was highly effective against surfaced U-boats and other enemy ships.  In one notable episode, RAF Typhoons armed with RP-3s attacked German forces in the Falaise Pocket in 1944.  They inflicted some physical damage to the retreating Nazi hardware, but the rockets did far more psychological damage to German troops who found RP-3 attacks to be fairly terrifying.  The further continued use of the RP-3 into the Korean War and beyond underscore the long history and versatility of this munition.

In this release, Special Hobby provides a set of eight injection-molded RP-3 SAP/HE rockets along with their launch rails.  The set consists of 81 parts on a single medium gray sprue.  The rocket bodies are molded as single pieces, though the backside of the warhead is a separate part.  The individual tailfins are also separate parts.  Detail looks great and the injection molding quality is excellent.

Aviprint produced the decals, and the RP-3 stencils look great.  Two different stencil varieties come on the sheet representing the subtle differences between the SAP and HE munitions.  The painting and markings guide is also very nicely rendered.    

This set can be used on a wide variety of RAF and Commonwealth aircraft, (e.g., Coastal Command, South East Asia Command and Royal Australian Air Force), from the Consolidated Liberator B. Mk. III, VI to the Boeing Fortress Mk. II and IIA, the Bristol Beaufighter Mk. VI, VIC, X and 20,  de Havilland Mosquito F.B. Mk. VI, Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIE & IV, Hawker Typhoon Mk. Ib, and the Vickers Wellington GR Mk. XIV.  RP-3 were also used on the Fleet Air Arm Fairey Firefly Mk. I, Fairey Swordfish Mk. II, III, and the Grumman Wildcat/Martlet and Tarpon/Avenger Mk. I, II, III.  Following WWII, RP-3s were fielded by the Barracuda, Hawker Sea Fury and Sea Hawk, Supermarine Attacker and Scimitar, de Havilland Hornet, Vampire, and Venom, the Gloster Meteor, and the Hawker Hunter.

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby for the review sample.  You visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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