In the chill of the Cold War a golden age of aviation inspired many new aerospace vehicles, including surface-to-air missiles. One was the supersonic long-range anti-aircraft Bomarc missile. USAF originally categorized it as a fighter aircraft and designated it F-99, later re-designating it IM-99A and IM-99B after 1955, and finally CIM-10 after the McNamara Sept. 1962 dumb-down. Aurora
wasted little time detecting and acquiring information to cut tooling to produce injection molded models of those contemporary subjects, and Boeing Bomarc IM-99 Intercepter
[sic] Missile With Mobile Launching Platform “Newest Weapon for America’s Defense”
was released by 1958 as kit 377-198. The “198” was Aurora’s MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price $1.98), a part of the box despised by retailers. Aurora scaled it to 1/48.
Most of these kits came out before I was born so perhaps it isn’t so strange that I never saw them at my hometown hobby outlets. In fact, most of these I never even knew existed until the advent of online auction sites!
Thanks to OldModelKits.com
we have this complete kit to examine at Nostalgia Air Defense Missile Squadron (ADMS). A link to that site has this review plus expanded photographs and a detailed kit history.
Aurora’s Boeing Bomarc Boeing Bomarc
was packaged in an Aurora standard “long box” carton, a sturdy cardboard conventional lid-tray design. Dramatic box art shows a Bomarc searing skyward from its launcher into the atmosphere to smite commie inbounds. Although restrained by packing paper the sprues were loose in the box which means that several pieces could be expected to be rolling around loose. Later Aurora kits were bagged. Instructions and decals were included, and occasionally a promotional insert.
This kit is essentially two models in a box, the missile and the launcher, with more than 60 injection molded pieces to build up this subject, in white and silver plastic.
Bomarc - 16 pieces including boosters
50 pc launcher
A clear two-piece display stand was not included as the missile came with the launcher.
Molding is fair in that most parts are well defined with no flash, a few slight mold seams and shallow sink holes. However, visible ejector marks mar parts, such as along the leaf springs of the launcher. I test-fitted the fuselage together and found most of the seams joined tight. Liquid cement should fill them with little need for filler.
Bomarc appears close to 1/48 as advertised by Aurora.
Raised and recessed panel lines detail the surface although there doesn’t appear to be much in the way to represent. After the fashion of the era Aurora molded markings and insignia with raised textured areas on the model. On this model those eyesores might be difficult to remove from the rocket. It will probably take time and effort to remove them.
It has respectable surface detail for the frame, wheels and springs. However, Bomarc was not fired from a mobile launcher, rather from a hardened shelter nicknamed “coffin”. Thus, this fanciful mobile launcher is as authentic as your imagination allows it to be. All the same it still looks good!
Instructions, decals, painting
Aurora printed up a large multifold paper sheet with text, line art and half-tone illustrations. One side is the assembly instructions and the other side advertises all of their models, with focus on their series “Whirlybirds”, “Giant Bombers”, “Modern Day Fighters”, and “Famous Tanks”. Aurora hawked their own brand of paint and glue in the instructions, too.
Assembly is guided via the “exploded” style of illustration. Several illustrations coach building the F-99, the launcher, and joining of the two. Thirty-one written steps support the graphics. A concise history of the vehicle is included in a sidebar. Minimal painting guidance is provided.
Only a single missile is offered on the decal sheet. Decals have thicker carrier film that extends farther from the printed graphics than is acceptable today. Yet they are sharply printed and registered. I would like to tape the sheet to a south facing window to determine how much yellowing will bleach out, and then try soaking a decal; would it disintegrate? All of those markings were intended to be applied over the textured areas.
What's there not to like? Aurora’s Bomarc is acceptably molded. Thick parts and some ejector marking on the launcher suspension detract from the model, as do those thoughtful yet unappreciated molded insignia areas.
As with other Aurora missile and rocket kits I have reviewed, the quality of molding is not up to today’s standards compared to some of the main model manufacturers. Also like those other Aurora missile and rockets, if you have one of these kits, treat yourself and build it. I think it would be a very interesting addition for your Cold War air defense collection.
We thank OldModelKits.com for kindly providing this kit for review!
Bomarc was quite a piece of hardware for the time. Bomarc 'A' was launched with a liquid-fuel booster, guided by an electron-tube based radar and computer. ‘B' model boosters were solid-fuel with a transistor based guidance radar and computer.
A Bomarc B test intercepted a Mach II Regulus II cruise missile flying at 100,000 ft in March, 1961!
The supersonic Bomarc missiles (IM-99A and IM-99B) were the world's first long-range anti-aircraft missiles, and the first missiles that Boeing mass produced. The program also represented the first time Boeing designed and built launch facilities. It used analog computers, some of which were built by Boeing and had been developed for GAPA experiments during World War II.
Authorized by the Air Force in 1949, the F-99 Bomarc prototype was the result of coordinated research between Boeing (Bo) and the University of Michigan Aeronautical Research Center (marc).
The missiles were housed on a constant combat-ready basis in individual launch shelters in remote areas. The alert signal could fire the missiles around the country in 30 seconds. The Model A had a range of 200 miles, and the B, which followed, could fly 400 miles.
The production IM-99A first flew on Feb. 24, 1955. Boeing built 700 Bomarc missiles between 1957 and 1964, as well as 420 launch systems. Bomarc was retired from active service during the early 1970s.
First flight: Feb. 24, 1955*
Military designation: IM-99A/IM-99B
Wingspan: 18 feet 2 inches
Diameter: 35 inches
Length: 45 feet
Approx. takeoff weight: 16,000 pounds
Top speed: More than Mach 2.5
Range: More than 400 miles (IM-99B)
Ceiling: More than 80,000 feet
Power: 50,000-pound-thrust solid-fuel rocket (takeoff); two 12,000-pound-thrust Marquardt ramjet engines (cruise)
Armament: Nuclear warhead
*"Bomarc Missile." Boeing: Bomarc Missile
. Boeing., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. .