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In-Box Review
IM-99 Bomarc
Boeing Bomarc IM-99 Intercepter Missile With Mobile Launching Platform
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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 quality
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.

The interceptor
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.

The launcher
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
      Classification: Missile
      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. .


Highs: Aurora’s Bomarc is acceptably molded and it comes with a launcher.
Lows: A few slight mold seams and shallow sink holes. However, visible ejector marks mar parts, such as along the leaf springs of the launcher.
Verdict: 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.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 377-198
  Suggested Retail: Collector
  Related Link: OMK Bomarc
  PUBLISHED: Dec 25, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Old Model Kits!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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 ©2021 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 AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Fred, I'm really enjoying your trip back down memory lane. The sad fact is that I do remember building each of these kits on a Saturday afternoon. No paint, just glue. Parts were twisted off the sprue trees because Mom wouldn't think of letting me use a sharp knife out of fear that I would cut a finger off. No tape or clamps to hold the parts while the glue set, just my little fingers. Still, I remember how proud I was of those finished models. Joel Joel
DEC 25, 2014 - 08:47 PM
Hey Joel, sounds like I built models. Me thinks mom was too trusting with my X-acto as I have the scarred finger tips to prove it! Be watching - the rest of the Aurora missiles, and then the helicopter kits are forthcoming!
DEC 26, 2014 - 01:18 AM
The Bomarc is certainly purposeful looking; a real beauty. My opinion, though, is that the Bomarc represented the greatest technological and military folly in Canadian history when it's purchase spelled the end of the CF-105 Arrow development program. So sad. This is the reason I'd like to get one of these models though Nice review by the way.
DEC 26, 2014 - 03:09 AM

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