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Built Review
HO scale
Missile launcher SCUD
Scud-A Missile Carrier
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Missile launcher SCUD
Item Numbers:
742863 Missile launcher SCUD (Roco 768)
741330 Rocket launcher SCUD USSR (Roco 250)
Collection: Minitanks

Minitanks released scores of WWII and Cold War tanks, halftracks, guns, howitzers, softskins, troops, and accessories. Minitanks’ extensive selection of HO (1/87) military vehicles included mobile rocket launchers including the Soviet SCUD-A.

The Scud is a mobile, Russian-made, short-range, tactical ballistic surface-to-surface (hence the nomenclature abbreviation SS) missile system. The SCUD-series guided missiles are single-stage, short-range ballistic missiles using storable liquid propellants. The Scud is derived from the World War II-era German V-2 rocket. Unlike the FROG series of unguided missiles, the SCUDs have movable fins. Warheads can be HE, chemical, or nuclear, and the missile, launched vertically from a small platform, has a range of 300 km. Unsophisticated gyroscopes guided the missile only during powered flight - which lasts about 80 seconds. Once the rocket motor shut down, the entire missile with the warhead attached coasted unguided to the target area. Consequently, Scuds had notoriously poor accuracy, and the farther they flew, the more inaccurate they became. SCUD missiles are found in SSM (SCUD) brigades at front/army level. The SCUD series of missiles gave the Soviet front and army commanders an integral nuclear weapons capability. Non-nuclear variants of the SCUD missiles have been exported to Warsaw Pact and non-Warsaw Pact nations.*

Minitanks SCUD-A
Roco released this Minitanks SCUD-A in the early 1960s. It is the initial version carried on the chassis of an IS-3 Stalin heavy tank. The main identifying feature between the Scud-A and –B are two air bottles on the side of the superstructure and the longer rocket.

Minitanks released the model molded in unpainted hard dark olive styrene and assembled. Herpa released it in gray styrene and painted. The model has good raised and recessed detail. However, the running gear – tracks, idlers, road wheels and sprockets - are molded as a single part for each side. Minitanks were made to snap together. The tabs-in-slots are prominent on the lower glacis and rear hull; these should be filled and sanded, or hidden with weathering. There is no interior detail even though the vision ports are relatively big and you can see inside the vehicle.

Several separately molded items are snapped on to the superstructure. These include boxes and the mounts for the rocket erector cradle and hydraulic extenders. The hydraulic lifts are unassembled in the Herpa release. Herpa includes an instruction sheet showing how to assemble and mount them. The tips of the shafts have separate tips to be glued on; the holes are too small for the tips.

Molded detail – shovels, spare track and the like – is fairly sharp. The main detail is the positional rocket. The erecting cradle can be tilted vertical. The rocket launch stand moves with it and seats on the surface. Telescopic hydraulic cylinder lifts move. However, those hydraulic cylinders are only held in mounts by friction, not via pins and slots. Also, the extending rods are not long enough to stay in the cylinders and be connected to the hull and the erector when the rocket is in firing position.

Paint and Markings
Herpa factory painted this model in Soviet olive. Tracks are steel, as are the hydraulic rods. The Scud is a glossier darker olive. This Scud is marked for East Germany. The printing of the insignia is sharp; Herpa does not use decals. However, the white lines on the Scud are not sharp.

This model is about 50 years old and while Herpa now distributes it, it is not a Herpa model, so don’t let its shortcomings reflect upon modern Herpa models. It is an interesting model with imposing shapes and apparatus, and a missile! The detail is mainly molded on: nicely on the superstructure, horribly for the running gear. Herpa did a good job applying the paint, although dark steel for the extendible arms seems odd. Insignia for East Germany is printed sharply, while markings on the rocket are soft. I am impressed that Herpa chose to paint the rocket and transporter different colors.

All in all this is an interesting HO scale Cold War military model. It may look out of place on a model railroad unless you are modeling Eastern Europe, or some 1/87 military diorama.

Minitanks--Roco or Herpa?
Minitanks were released in the early 1960s and is known for detailing, scale and precision in the model building world ever since. Roco was forced into reorganization recently and the Minitanks series is now distributed by Herpa. For this reason, I refer to the series simply as Minitanks. Herpa's website states, ”On October 1, 2007, Herpa has taken on the worldwide distribution of the military series Minitanks. In cooperation with the Modelleisenbahn GmbH (Roco), the line will be continuously advanced and extended.”

    Roco was founded in 1960 by Mr. and Mrs. Roessler after Mr. Roessler recognized that plastic injection moulding (which was quite a new development then) made it possible to manufacture models with greater detail compared to the metal models that were produced at the time. Initially Roco made Minitank models only, but entered the model railroading market a few years later with HO- and O-scale models. Models in N-scale models followed in 1965.

    In 2002 the company, which was privately held, was sold and extensive investments and modernization measures turned Roco into one of the most modern manufacturing plants in the model railway industry. Unfortunately, the investments also led to high indebtedness which ultimately resulted in a bankruptcy in the early summer of 2005.

    In July 2005 the Roco assets and trade name were bought by Modelleisenbahn GmbH, this new company will continue production of the Roco models.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here – on RailRoadModeling.net.


* FAS. R-11 / SS-1B SCUD-A
R-300 9K72 Elbrus / SS-1C SCUD-B
. [Web.] September 09, 2000.

** Roco. 87thScale.info. n.d. http://www.87thscale.info/roco.htm.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Elevating rocket launch cradle. Good paint and printing.
Lows: Molded detail; Telescopic hydraulic cylinders do not extend enough.
Verdict: An interesting HO scale Cold War military model.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: Herpa: 742863; Roco: 768
  Suggested Retail: 10,95 €
  Related Link: Herpa Missile launcher SCUD
  PUBLISHED: Aug 02, 2012

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2018 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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