Wednesday, July 23

Gary reviews the KA Models 1/48 "Super Detail Weapon" Agm-142 Pop-Eye & Data Link Pod Set

The KA Models version of this venerable weapon in 48th scale is up for detailed review by Gary today – he gives a detailed insight and some good reference pictures as well.

Kit No: 48010
Designed for: Any suitable aircraft
1/48 scale
Resin parts: 23
Clear Resin parts: 2
Available from: KA Models directly & most model shops

In this review I have a close up look at the 1/48 AGM-142 Popeye & Data Link Pod set by Mk1 Design from KA Models, Korea. The set provides two complete Popeye missiles and one AN/ASW-55 data link pod. As an Australian modeller I am particularly interested in this weapon as our own RAAF F-111’s were one of only a handful of aircraft worldwide that carried the Popeye.

Popeye is the name of a family of air-to-surface missiles developed and in use by Israel, of which several types have been developed for Israeli and export users. The United States operates the Popeye under a different designation according to US naming conventions as the AGM-142 Have Nap. The AGM-142E is the Australian designation (carried aboard the F-111 Aardvark). The AGM-142E/F are South Korean weapons (carried aboard the F-4 Phantom).
The Popeye is designed for precision attack against large targets from stand-off ranges. The standard Popeye and smaller Popeye-Lite are powered by a single-stage solid rocket. An inertial guidance system pilots the missile towards the target; for terminal homing the pilot can control the missile directly via an INS and data link, aiming via either a television or imaging infrared seeker depending on the missile model.

The only plane to carry the weapon in US service is the B-52H Stratofortress bomber. Three are carried, two on the port wing pylon and one on the starboard wing pylon along with the AN/ASW-55 data link pod. The AGM-142 significantly improves the tactical abilities of the B-52H, effectively turning the huge strategic bomber into a precision strike plane. Five hundred missiles were delivered to the USAF. Although it was operational in time for Desert Storm, it was not used, as it was feared using an Israeli weapon would upset Arab allies. No such concerns were voiced in 2001, when the AGM-142 was used heavily during attacks on Taliban targets in Afghanistan.

Mk1 Design has modelled the AGM-142 in resin, including the clear seeker head. The body of the missile is cast in two parts (despite what the instruction sheet shows). The fins are included as separate parts on their own block.
The resin is well cast and free of blemishes. No alignment holes are provided to aid in matching up the front and rear halves of the missile body and very careful sanding will be needed to ensure the butt joint is perfectly square. Likewise it would have been nice to provide some form of mounting or alignment holes for the fins rather than a simple butt joint.
Each of the fins look to be cleanly moulded with minimal casting attachment points making for easy removal and reducing the ever present risk of damaging the parts.
The tinted seeker/camera cover on the nose of the missile is provided in resin. At extreme close-up settings on the camera you can start to see the rough finish on the parts but I believe that with some buffing and a clear gloss coat these parts will come up nicely when attached to the body of the missile.
The AN/ASW-55 is an external underwing pod which provides bidirectional imaging and control link for the AGM-142 missile.
MK1 Design provides the AN/ASW-55 data link pod in 3 resin parts. The distinctive cooling fins on the side of the pod are provided as photo etch parts. Very shallow indents are provided on the resin to aid in aligning the cooling fins however I believe you will need a very steady hand to glue each cooling fin in the right place and each one parallel to the rest. 
A full set of stencils for both Popeyes and the AN/ASW-55 data link pod are provided on a small decal sheet. These look to be well printed and should look the part when applied over a gloss coat. 
Both the AGM-142 and AN/ASW-55 have been available in 1/48 before (from Skunkmodels and Academy in their F-15I) but never in a single package as provided by KA Models.

The asking price looks to be around the US$30 to US$35 mark, which in my opinion means that most modelers will think fairly hard before taking the plunge. That’s not to say this set is not worth the asking price, the Popeye is not a small weapon in 1/48 and two of them plus the rather chunky data link pod add up into a significant amount of resin. 

So if you are looking to add some impact to your F-111 or perhaps your next F-16I or F-15I then the KA Models resin Popeye set will get the job done in style.


Thanks to KA Models for sending these to us to review.