Antiaircraft Guided Missile Nike with launcher and Crew
Series: Selected Subjects Program - Limited Production
Remember the big Renwal Atomic Cannon? (I remember mine as about three feet long when assembled!) How about Renwal Aeroskin
ragwing airplanes? Renwal made models of a host of subjects: civilian and military; air, sea and land. Cars; trains; "visible" subjects like submarines and hearts and horses and people featuring interiors with clear styrene exterior parts; action models with spring-launched ICBMs. Many Renwal models were big - 1/32 tanks and 1950's-modern military machines, nuclear submarines of 24-inches or so. Common scales of 1/48 and 1/72 were also plentiful.
Renwal produced military models as their Blueprint
models, boasting that they were, "Accurately scaled from U.S. Army Ordnance blueprints." This was reinforced by box art with the subject shown on a blue grid-line. Still, Renwal Blueprint models were made for a generation of modelers who valued moving parts and operating gimmicks over prototypical scale. Styrene airplanes molded with bulkheads and stringers and spars over which you apply their thin paper Aeroskin are still pretty neat! You could open tank engine deck panels to view a motor, or crew hatches to see a driver's compartment, even unload the M65 atomic cannon from the transporters to pivot on the ground, pretending to blast fission rounds at the onrushing hordes. Pretty impressive models for the time!
That was Renwal. Renwal went out of business in the 1970s and Revell bought up much of their tooling in 1976. Many were reissued in the late '70s and 1980s in Revell's History Makers
series. Today Revell is re-reissuing the kits as part of their SSP - Selected Subjects Program - Limited Production program. While History Makers were in Revell boxes, Revell is now reproducing the Renwal Blueprint Models box art. (Thanks to Revell-Monogram Product Manager Ed Sexton!)
I will not relate the extensive history of Nike development and deployment. Nike served as two systems for the U.S. Army: Nike Ajax designated SAM-A-7 (1954 - 1961) and MIM-3 in 1962, then the SAM-A-25/MIM-14 Nike-Hercules. Renwal kitted the Nike Ajax. Renwal Nike history stated:
Nike missiles were the American military's answer to high-speed, high-altitude enemy aircraft. Bell® Laboratories designed the Nike Ajax, a radar-guided missile that carried three fragmentation warheads, to defend against strategic bombers. Batteries of the missiles were sited in underground magazines strategically clustered around major cities. Most of these defensive installations have been removed since the end of the Cold War, but some remnants can still be seen.
What's in the box?
Eighty parts in olive and white styrene, decals and an instruction sheet. These are packaged in a light weight lid-tray box and the part sprues are sealed in bags. Box art depicts the typical action art of the era, crewmembers running for their lives from Nikes roaring into the sky to smite attacking bombers, one (Looks like a Tupolev Tu-4 Bull
.) shown exploding near a city. Ah, the good ol' days...
Renwal trumpeted that their models were engineered so that glued joints were not visible: "'No show' cementing." Additionally the parts feature respectable molding for the era with very little flash. Unfortunately for the era, there are sink holes, visible ejector circles, and mold seam lines on some parts. For the most part the missile is free of these blemishes. Also the parts are fairly crisp with mainly raised detail. The launcher has rivets of different sizes as do other parts.
The soldiers appear to be huge! Yet, at 2.25 inches they scale to a healthy 6 feet tall from sole to top of headgear. Their detail is extensive yet inaccurate and soft. The model missile is approximately 12 inches long assembled, very close to the prototype which was 32-ft 8-in overall. Pretty good!
The launcher also looks fairly accurate although the parts are over scale and lack finer detail. The electrical junction box/hydraulic power rack does not look like examples I've found. Most detail is molded on.
Instructions, decals, paint guide
The instructions are a 12-page booklet of excellent line art illustrations guiding one through 12 steps and sub-steps. One page lists each part by number and identifies it by name.
Painting is indicated by keying the colors to the parts. Only six colors are used.
Decal placement is shown in step 11. The decal sheet is simple with only a few markings for the MIM-3 missile. One will have to expend time tracking down what year and unit the badges and insignia represent as no information is provided. However, the decals are impressive with bright opaque colors, sharp printing, accurate registering and minor film edges. They seem to be thin.
Except for a few odd kits by a few odd manufacturers Renwall made models that no other companies tackled. Only Aurora issued similar series but in 1/48. I thank Revell for reissuing these classic models! I built a few as a kid -- the M42 Duster, M47 Patton, the M65 Atomic Cannon and a few ships. They were fun! Then they disappeared into vintage collector's bins with the associated collector's prices. Denied my prizes, they came to fascinate me.
The models sacrificed some accuracy for movable options. They were molded in an era when fine parts were not achievable.
Parts feature respectable molding for the era with very little flash. Unfortunately for the era, there are sink holes, visible ejector circles, and mold seam lines on some parts. For the most part the missile is free of these blemishes. Also the parts are fairly crisp with mainly raised detail. Decals are colorful and competently printed.
Until some new companies began kitting 1/35 Soviet SAMs a decade ago Renwal's Nike Ajax and Hawk battery were the only large scale models of antiaircraft missiles. The bright white missile on the glossy army olive drab should make a striking sight. If you are willing to overlook some accuracy and molding issues then this model should be a very pleasing addition to your collection. Recommended.
Please remember to tell vendors and retailers that you saw this on Armorama.
Procedures and Drills for the NIKE Ajax System
. Department of the Army Field Manual, FM-44-80
TheMilitaryStandard - Nike. Nike Historical Photos.
http://www.techbastard.com/missile/nike/photos_1.php. n.d. n.a.