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HobbyBoss 1/72 scale Soviet S-75 Surface-to-Air Missile plastic model kit

Slide-molding makes this scale model as easy as 1-2-3


The Soviet S-75 (NATO designation SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missile (SAM) was developed in the early 50s in response to the U.S. deployment of high-altitude bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. The Soviets shot down Frances Gary Powers' U-2 in 1960 with an S-75. A year and a half later, another S-75 would take down a second U-2, this time over Cuba. Although the Soviet's replaced the S-75 in the 1980s, the missile system continued to serve in many other countries even up to this day, making it the most used SAM system in the world. 

HobbyBoss’ new 1/72 scale model kit of the SA-2 Guideline missile with launcher comes molded in tan-orange tan plastic and contains a whopping 26 parts. But don’t let that fool you: The parts count is low due to the beautifully slide-molded missile and separate booster with all the fins molded in place. Only the front rail guide and the booster engine nozzle assembly need to be added to the missile. A small decal sheet provides a plethora of stencils for the missile. The small instruction booklet has clear assembly diagrams. On the other hand, the painting and decal guide can get a little confusing because the toned diagrams make it hard to see exactly where some decals are meant to go. 

Starting with the launcher, I found the parts fit quite well. The large alignment pins reminded me of a press-fit kit. Overall, the base, launch rail, and side structures went together quickly.

The instructions have you press fit the elevation gear (Part A1) into the side of the launcher. When fully assembled, if you move the launch rail up or down, it falls out. I corrected the problem by adding a stiff wire extension to the gear, drilled a hole in the other side of the launcher, and added a spacer to keep the gear in place. This allowed some limited adjustment in the rail elevation. A simpler solution would be to glue the gear in place and set the launch rail in a fixed position.

There was a small gap in the fit of the bottom of the blast shield (Part A2). I filled it with superglue and sanded it smooth. I left the main assemblies of the launcher separate to ease painting. 

While the fancy molding of the missile makes assembly a snap, it complicates cleaning up mold lines because they cross some of the delicate raised details. Once cleaned up, the missile and booster went together easily.

Adding decals to the missile proved a challenge. The kit provides more decals for the missile that there are parts to the kit! Well-printed and thing, the decals work well with Microscale Micro Sol and Micro Set. However, they tended to fold under and were difficult to straighten when they did; a couple of decals did not survive the process. A few small decals (nos. 8, 9, 15, 22, and 23) are not referenced in the instructions, so I didn’t use them. 

I spent about 11 hours building my SA-2 kit, with about a third of the time focused just on decals. The finished missile matched perfectly to the dimensions I found in The Soviet War Machine: An Encyclopedia of Russian Military Equipment and Strategy (Christopher Donnelly, et al.; Salamander Books; ISBN 978-0-89009-084-8). While assembling and painting this kit is relatively easy, you'll need experience applying decals. This kit would make an excellent addition to anyone's 1/72 scale collection; several of these kits would make a great basis for a SAM site diorama.

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