Rapier entered service with the British Army and the RAF in 1971 as a visually aimed system with integral radar surveillance. The quick response time and high manoeuvrability of the missile made it the most formidable point defence anti-aircraft system of its time. It was expanded in Field Standard A (FSA) to interface with an all-weather all weather guidance DN181 radar (available as a separate model).
The development history of this system is interesting, as it was derived from a more ambitious ET.316 project that was cancelled in favour of the US MIM-46 Mauler system as an attempt to reduce duplication and cut research expenditure. Both systems exceeded the technology of the time, and the US project proved to be a technical failure. The UK then derived a more limited visual system, initially as a Private Venture, which was adopted by several countries as Rapier. Rapier FSA used a four round launcher, which was updated to a 6-round launcher (available shortly) as a FSB. FSC (originally Rapier 2000), the current version, is quite different and will be the subject of a future model. A fuller history is available at https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Rapier_(missile).html.
The towing vehicle for Rapier FSA was initially the 1-tonne Land Rover 101, which is now available as a separate model. I have also made a version of this towing vehicle available on the Thingiverse site ( https://www.thingiverse.com/), but this has several significant inaccuracies and the version on this site is much improved. Later towing vehicles have included the Reynolds-Broughton RB44, and possibly the BAE Land Systems Pinzgauer in either 4×4 or 6×6 version (shortly to be available on this site), though the RAF replaced the 1-tonne with special versions of the conventional long-wheelbase Land Rover 127. In Australia, the system was towed by the Perentie vehicle (http://www.allisons.org/ll/4/LandRover/Perentie/).
A Rapier FSA detachment typically comprised of a LR101 carrying four missiles and the aiming sight system, and a second LR101 carrying four further missiles and equipment, and pulling a missile resupply trailer with 12 missiles on board. Suitable model loads and trailer will be available shortly.
A separate model included in this product offers the Rapier FSA system in travel configuration.
The product includes the firing station in deployed configuration, designed as two parts to permit some flexibility in displaying or using the model. If necessary, the guidance radar dish can be cut off and repositioned at a different angle relatively easily. A second base unit is provided that shows the unit in towing configuration, and wheels are provided for fixing to this alternative part if the unit is to be shown as towed.
For either version, the launcher arms are provided with a number of options. A version in two halves for each side is provided to ease printing and removal of supports. These should be glued together, supporting one in some Plasticine or other ‘third hand’ to permit alignment of the matching part, as superglue or epoxy should be used to ensure a good bond. The four printed missiles can then be slid and glued into the appropriate positions with care, as the protection rails are fragile. Note that towed units do not often have the missiles but carried in the towing vehicle in containers. The two completed arms can then be fitted to the top half of the firing station at the same angle as the tracking radar. Two versions of the optical tracker are provided, as this can be used with or without some supporting arms. Integrated versions of both launcher arms are also provided, in two versions. A first provides the ‘full’ protective arms around the base of the missile, and a second reduces these to a minimum to ease printing – this is the recommended option for a wargaming model. Choice between the different versions will depend on the level of fidelity required, and the capabilities of the printer used. Further notes on the product components are provided in the data pack where required.
Two versions of the optical tracker are provided, one with bracing arms and one in quick deployment mode.
The final element is the power generating trolley, which is provided in two versions, deployed or carried. If the unit is to be completed in towed configuration, then the carried generator should be affixed to the back of the base unit, and the top half of the unit glued in the fore-and-aft rotation. Generator wheels are small but printed separately for ease.
Please note that the photograph includes the DN181 Blindfire unit, which is available separately, with its own generator trolley. There is also a photograph of the unit in towing configuration being towed by a 101 Land Rover (towing vehicle available on this site).
The product is offered for personal, non-commercial use under the Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).