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  1. Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B in RAF Service (A12014) 1:48 Airfix The Buccaneer needs little introduction to most British aviation enthusiasts, as it was in service for a long time, first in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, and latterly with the RAF after remaining airframes were handed-over, performing a similar strike role in both branches of the British armed forces. The Buccaneer was originally designed by Blackburn for the Royal Navy, which is why even the RAF aircraft retained their folding wings and arrestor hooks. Blackburn was later rolled into Hawker Siddeley, hiding away its lengthy heritage. It was designed to be a rugged low-level attacker that was to approach below the enemy’s radar horizon, and had a reputation as a highly-stable weapons platform that although it was just subsonic could leave other more modern aircraft in its wake in the turbulent air close to the ground. After the last British aircraft carriers were retired at the end of the 70s, the hand-over to the RAF was completed, and older airframes were scrapped due to safety concerns after an accident, leaving them with a fleet of around 60 aircraft that served until 1994 when the Tornado took over the tasks it had been carrying out. The type progressed from initial S.1 variant to S.2, replacing the underpowered De Havilland engines with the powerful Spey engines that were also used in the Nimrod and British Phantoms amongst others. This required a larger intake to ingest sufficient air to feed the engines’ voracious appetite, and later the S.2B was further upgraded to carry Martel missiles. The S.2A moniker was reserved for former FAA airframes after they had been converted for use by the RAF, while the C was the Navy’s name for the S.2A, and the D were former Naval airframes upgraded to S.2B standards. The last hurrah of the Buccaneer was during the first Gulf War that the British called Operation Granby, laser designating targets for the Tornados that it accompanied in the event they encountered problems with their own pods. They were instrumental in the destruction of many bridges in Iraq, and they were also sent to dive-bomb airfields and bunkers either solo, or with lasing provided by other aircraft. On its return from the Gulf, it was decided that they were no-longer needed, and were retired early, despite having been substantially upgraded at great cost just a few years earlier, which is typical of British Defence decisions. Their role was taken over by the Tornados after they had been upgraded to operate the Sea Eagle anti-shipping missiles that the Buccaneers had been carrying before they were retired. The Kit This is a fresh reboxing of the still brand-new tooling of the venerable Buccaneer from Airfix, adding RAF decals and a new sprue of parts that contains many parts common to the previous version, reorganised to accommodate the new missiles etc. The kit arrives in a large top-opening box, and if you consider part count to be a value indicator, you’re getting almost 300 of them on the seven sprues that are in a darker grey styrene than usual, reminiscent of the Extra Dark Sea Grey scheme that it often wore in service. There is a single sprue of clear parts, a large decal sheet and a thick instruction booklet that has three glossy colour and markings profiles inside. First impressions are excellent, with lots of delightfully fine detail that includes panel lines and rivets, as well as raised details where appropriate, at odds with the jest that the Bucc was hewn from one huge billet of airframe aluminium. Amongst the parts you get a very detailed cockpit, gear bays, engines, boarding ladders, an open port engine bay that even includes a handy styrene mask for painting, a contoured box inside the nose for the nose-weight, detailed bomb bay, air-brake in the tail and a broad weapons load, plus a set of FOD guards for the intakes and exhausts. That’s an impressive list of features that even includes two pilot figures, although they are sadly still suffering from the hands-on-laps pose that dates back to the 80s and beyond. Such a minor gripe that it’s hardly worth mentioning, especially as many folks don’t use pilot figures anyway. Now that my two old Airfix Buccs have been firmly pushed right to the back of the stash, let’s move on. It’s of no concern to this modeller though, because this kit and its siblings are already doing roaring trade at model shops, and is firmly in the realms of the de facto standard for 1:48 scale. Having since watched the Hornby TV show where Paramjit worked upon this project, it’s clear that he and the team have put in a lot of effort to create a model kit that trumps their old tooling by a substantial margin, which is honestly a huge understatement. The decal sheet is similarly well-detailed with lots of stencils, seat belt decals, and dials for the instrument panels that should add to the realism of the cockpit without stressing your bank account further. Before you break out the tools, you need to decide which of four weapons loud-outs you are planning to deploy on the wings and in the belly of your Bucc. Decal Option A 4 x Sea Eagle Anti-Shipping Missile Decal Option B 4 x Empty Underwing Pylons 4 x 1,000lb Bombs in Bay Decal Option C 2 x Slipper Tanks on Inner Pylons 2 x Empty Outer Pylons Decal Option D 1 x AIM-9 Sidewinder Missile or 1 x 1,000lb Paveway II Laser Guided bombs 1 x AN/ALQ-101 ECM Pod 1 x AN/AVQ-23 Pave Spike laser designator pod 1 x Empty Inner Pylon Construction begins with drilling the necessary holes for your chosen weapons scheme, which takes up four pages with various diagrams used to assist you with the decision. A further page shows the location of the various internal decals that are used throughout the build, although they aren’t mentioned on the actual instruction steps, so a bit of cross-referencing and pencil markings might be wise to prevent missing some out. They are all within the cockpit however, so that shouldn’t take long. We finally get to cut some parts off the sprues to make up the two Mk.6 Martin Baker ejection seats, which consist of six parts each, with large multi-part cushions and the overhead pull-handles that initiates the ejection process in the event of an emergency. The seat building process is carried out twice, then the rear-seater’s instrument panel is made up with a recess on the front mating with a block on the back of the pilot’s launch rail, adding decals to the panel and the headbox of both the seats. The cockpit tub has the nose gear bay glued under it, needing just the aft end cap adding to box it in, then the side consoles are detailed with top surfaces that lock in place on shaped depressions, and accepting decals later to improve the detail. The pilot’s instrument panel is started by adding rudder pedals behind the centre, and adding the short L-shaped control column into the slot in the front of the panel, before it and the rear bulkhead are joined to the rest of the cockpit, followed by the two seats, the forward one also holding the rear instrument panel. In preparation for the closing up of the separate nose portion of the fuselage, a container is made up from two halves, which has large I-shaped bars running down the sides, and inside you are told to put 15 grammes of nose weight before closing the lid on it. It’s a fancy feature that should make the sometimes fraught task of avoiding a tail-sitter model a thing of the past, cramming lead shot into available spaces to your best guess and hoping it won’t cause problems when you close the fuselage halves. The nose sides have cockpit sidewall detail moulded-in, which is improved further by adding seven extra parts, and if you are planning on using the included boarding ladders, you should drill some holes where indicated, ensuring they are horizontal to the finish aircraft’s line of flight. The nose weight fits into the port half of the nose on its I-tab, taking care to glue it home fully. The cockpit slides into the port nose half, and should click into position thanks to a tab on each side of the rear bulkhead that clips in place on a shape secreted in the rear of the nose halves. Gone are the days of inexact cockpit positioning, which is another welcome improvement. The nose is glued together and allowed to set up, then the pilot’s coaming and clear HUD are popped on top, finishing off the work in that area for now. As mentioned, there are detailed engine fronts included, plus their trunking that penetrates deep into the fuselage and out the other end, with an almost full engine in the port side nacelle that can be displayed. The first parts are the exhaust trunking halves that are paired on a cross-brace and the halves fit together using four circular depressions, and includes some framework for the main gear bays, which is painted a different colour. A bulkhead straddles the two tubes and incorporates the rear walls of the main bays, with another at the forward side that clips onto a large tab. Another bulkhead slides into the rear of the exhaust trunking tubes, and two perpendicular panels slide in between the two aft-most bulkheads to strengthen the assembly, and provide surface detail for the inner walls of the main gear bays. This part of the assembly can then be inserted into the lower fuselage half, which has the rotating bomb-bay roof moulded into it. Before proceeding, two raised panels and square blocks should be removed by sanding back to the correct profile of the engine nacelles. The intake trunking is mounted on a similar cross-brace with two circular alignment pins, then is butted up against another bulkhead that has engine front-faces moulded into them. You are incited to build the next few steps whether you intend to display the engine or not, as it will make aligning the parts much easier down the line, and I’m not going to argue. The shell of the port engine is made up from two halves, and attaches to the rear of the forward bulkhead behind the intake trunks, with some detail painting necessary before you insert them into the fuselage in front of the aft assembly. Some additional tubing is laid over the top of the engine as it will appear through the hatch if you are leaving it off, but omit these parts if you are modelling it closed. A curved plastic part is included with the word ‘MASK’ etched on it is surfaces that can be used to protect your hard work on the engine during the painting of the exterior of the model. Paramjit is clearly demonstrating his devotion to modelling and modellers there, as masking a recessed area can be tricky. If you are displaying the engine, the upper fuselage needs a little work, removing the access panel that has been helpfully part chain-drilled for you from the inside, making the task simply a case of attacking it (carefully) with a scalpel, and a scrap diagram shows the correct angles to cut through the thickness of the fuselage. A side wall is glued in place in preparation, then the fuselage is left to one side for a moment, before it is shown again over the page, where you are incited to paint the main gear bay rooves and drill out some holes in the spine if you are folding the wings. The fuselage halves are then joined only if you are folding the wings, where you are advised not to glue the aft bulkhead as it will help ease the alignment of the two halves. The decision of whether to fold the wings or not is down to you, but bear in mind that RAF aircraft retained their wing-fold mechanisms, and there are photos of them with wings folded on airfields, despite their original reason being to save space below deck on a carrier. The folded option involves inserting ribs into the wing roots that have spikes projecting from the top to receive the outer wing panels, which are next to be put together. Two decal options involve making up fairings that project from under the leading edge of the wing outer panel, then the ailerons, all of which are made from two parts each, then adding a choice of different shaped clear wingtips, depending on the decal option you have chosen, stopping the inner ends with a rib that accepts the fold mechanism later. You are told to remove the fifth vortex generator from the inside edge, and the port wing also has a long pitot probe mounted on a fairing below. For unfolded wings, a spur on the outer panel is removed, and so is the fifth vortex generator as for the folded option, then an A-frame with insert is placed in the recesses inside the wings before they are joined. The wings are glued into the lower wing roots within the raised guides, then the upper fuselage skin can be glued down, again without gluing the aft bulkhead. The same painting and drilling is done before the two halves are glued, as per the repeated scrap diagram. If you have elected to expose the engine, a brace is glued across the bay, then the bay door and a small part are fixed in place on four hinges that slip under the edge of the bay. Again, the mask part is included for your convenience during exterior painting. The Bucc has an area-rule era coke-bottle shaped fuselage, so has a bit of a wide rear, which is made from a separate section to the main fuselage and incorporates the tail fin. The tail is split vertically into two parts, and has an aft bulkhead inserted during closure, after which the tail-hook insert is glued into the gap in the underside of the assembly, followed by gluing of the tail and the nose assemblies to the fuselage, taking care to align everything neatly to remove or reduce any remedial work. The larger S.2 intake trunks are slotted over the interior trunk surface, and are topped off by a handed lip, but as usual, it’s best to ensure a good fit here before applying glue. The exhausts have inner and outer skins too, and these slide on inside the other before being attached to the rear of the fuselage either side of the tail, with the short flap-sections made up from top and bottom halves and fixed next to the exhausts either flush, or dropped to 40°, next to the ailerons that can be offset to 30° by swapping the actuator part out. The final flying surface is the prominent T-tail, which starts with the main surface that’s made from top and bottom halves, mated with the now usual circular locating tabs, then it’s glued onto the moulded-in tail fin. The fairing on top is two more parts, with a choice of forward and rear bullet fairings, separate elevators (one of which is arrowed to the rudder position incorrectly) and rudder panel, all of which are single parts each and can be deflected as you wish. The Buccaneer has a long tail cone fairing that splits vertically and hinges out into the airflow to act as the air-brake, which was a definite weak-point of the old kit in terms of detail and fit, but doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case with the new tool. To display it open, you begin by assembling two outer skins on a W-shaped support, then inserting the three peaks into the rear of the brake surfaces, which are moulded as one, and have some nice rivet detail moulded into them. The surfaces are boxed in at the rear by the fairings that give it the tapering profile it achieves when stashed away, adding a short bulkhead and a triple-linked tube before sliding the air-brake assembly into position, with a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the tubes diagonally within the assembly. The closed air-brakes are simple by comparison, comprising two halves and a central bulkhead that creates the vanes at the top and bottom of the fairing. It slots straight into the rear of the fuselage, so is quite the appealing option if you’re intrinsically lazy, in a hurry, or just don’t like masking. The arrestor hook is added later by choosing a deployed or stowed Y-shaped base, actuator to get the correct angle, and the hook itself with a small blade aerial next to it. A pair of blade antennae and two probes are also fixed under the nose while the airframe is inverted, with a tubular aux-intake further back on the fuselage. Under the belly of the Bucc is an innovative rotating bomb bay that you can either pop the lid onto and carry on with the rest of the build, or put the effort in and detail it further. The process begins by adding an insert forward of the bay, with another insert with clear light at the rear, and a detail insert in the front of the bay that is used for both options. The closed bomb bay can then be covered up and you can move on, but if you plan on showing off that nice detail within, there are five lengths of hose/cable bundles fitted within, plus two thick pipes added into the main gear bays nearby. The bombs are fitted later if you plan on using them. The gear of the Bucc was sturdy to cope with constant hard landings and catapult launches from the deck of a carrier, so all the struts are moulded in halves with some of the wider sections hollow inside to reduce the likelihood of sink-marks. Some bright spark will probably make metal inserts to toughen those up further. The three wheels are each moulded in halves, with a flat-spot on the bottom to simulate weighting, although all the wheels are shown as not glued in place yet, presumably so you get the flat spot on the bottom consistently. There is also a scrap diagram showing the diameter of the hub, which should allow the deft modeller to create their own punch-out masks to ease painting of the wheels, choosing a diameter of 7.6mm. Once the gear is done, flooding the wheel centres with glue should prevent them moving again if you don’t want to faff about every time you move it in the future. The nose gear leg slots into the bay with a retraction jack behind it, and a single bay door running down the side of it. The main gear legs fit into a hole in a rib and on top of another rib, making for a strong bond, then they have their curved doors fixed to the edge of the bay with three hinges that slot under the side. A decal of a data-plate is applied to both the main gear legs at front and rear, which is good to see, as stencils make models look much more detailed IMHO. Before applying the glazing to the cockpit, you should choose whether to install the pilots, which have a detailed painting guide next to them, then a blast-shield is placed between the two pilots, and a choice of two windscreens, only one of which has a wiper, so you can use aftermarket Photo-Etch (PE) wipers if you’re an inveterate detail upgrader. This is certainly a model designed by modellers with modellers in mind, and watching the episode where Paramjit is working on the design is well-recommended. The main canopy also has two parts, one with the det-cord breaker moulded-in and the other without it, so you can use alternative methods such as PE or decals to replicate the det-cord that shatters the canopy in advance of the pilots punching out. Yet another helpful addition. You can close the canopy or depict it pushed back to just over the rear pilot’s seat using either of the two parts, either option showing off the detailed cockpit within. The Bucc’s prominent L-shaped refuelling probe is inserted into a recess on the nose in front of the canopy, and the spine is decorated with blade antennae and lights depending on which decal option you have chosen. The weapons included in the box are well-detailed, and have inserts for the Sea Eagle missiles to give them more realistic thickness fins. The weapons set includes the following: 2 x TV Martel Anti-Shipping Missile 4 x Sea Eagle Anti-Shipping Missile 1 x Martel TV Guidance Data Link Pod (left over from the C/D boxing) 2 x handed slipper tanks 1 x 1,000lb Paveway II Laser Guided bombs (the instructions mark this as a 10,000lb bomb due to a typo) 8 x 1,000lb Iron Bombs 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles 1 x AN/ALQ-101 ECM Pod 1 x AN/AVQ-23 Pave Spike laser designator pod All the weapons have handed pylons that are suitable to their station, some of which have additional parts to thicken their mounting-points, and the bombs have either pylons for wing-mounting, or cleats for mounting inside the bomb bay. All the weapons and fuel tanks have stencils and a painting guide included on the main sheets. The model is complete now, but Airfix have helpfully included several extras that will give your model some additional visual interest. There are two crew ladders with separate stand-off brackets, one for each pilot that are fixed side-by-side to the nose using the holes drilled initially before the model was completed or even begun if you’re prepared. There are also Foreign Object Debris (FOD) guards for the intakes and exhausts, which have nice engraved detail, and the exhaust blanks have a T-shaped handle that is fitted to the centre of the part. Markings The Bucc didn’t wear too many schemes during its long and illustrious career, but Airfix have managed to include four different options on the sheet, each of which has a side of glossy A3 in full colour devoted to it to assist you with painting and decaling. An additional four pages in the instruction booklet shows where all the many stencil decals are placed for each decal option, avoiding duplication and over-complication of the other sheets of diagrams. From the box you can build one of the following: XW527/527, No.12 Sqn., RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, 1993 XW544, No.15 Sqn., RAF Laarbruch, Germany, 1971 XV352, No.208 Sqn., Operation Red Flag, 1977 XW547/R, Guinness Girl/Pauline, Operation Granby/Desert Storm, Muharraq Airport, Bahrain, 1991 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion I’m still excited of course, but I’ve calmed down a little bit since the initial release. It’s an exceptionally well-detailed replacement for the old tooling, and the engineering that has gone into the making of the kit is first-rate. Add to this the useful extras such as the ladder and FOD guards, and we’re onto a winner. It’s a Buccaneer too, and we’ve waited SO long for a new one. Extremely highly recommended. Kit Only Kit & Coin Review sample courtesy of
  2. BAe Harrier GR.7A/GR.9 (A04050A) 1:72 Airfix Developed from the prototype Hawker Siddeley P.1127, which astonishingly flew for the first time over sixty years ago, the vertical take-off Harrier has become one of the most famous post-WWII jet aircraft of all. Awarded what some would say is the ultimate accolade for a non-US designed aircraft – a purchase order from the United States Government – the first-generation Harrier was successful enough to merit the development of a second generation that although it was outwardly very similar to its elder, it was radically different in many ways. Despite a slightly troubled development, during which Hawker Siddeley pulled out of the joint Anglo-American project in 1975, only to re-join again as the newly merged British Aerospace in 1981, the resulting aircraft was a quantum leap in terms of capability compared to the original design, capable of a wider range of tasks. The second generation of Harriers, to which the GR7 and GR9 belong, feature a larger wing, substantially more powerful engine and extensive use of lightweight composite materials throughout the airframe. The GR9 boasted a wide range of improvements to avionics and weapon systems compared to the GR7 that should have seen it remain in service until the 2020s. The aircraft saw extensive combat service and both the GR7 and GR9 were employed over Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick before they were prematurely withdrawn from Royal Air Force service in 2010 only 7 years after the last one was upgraded, under the guise of money saving, after which they were promptly boxed up and sold to America for a relatively paltry sum as “spares”. The Kit This is a reboxing of the 2011 tooling of this type, but with new decals. The kit arrived in a standard red-themed top-opening box, and inside are three sprues in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, and instruction booklet with colour (well, grey) profiles in the rear. Detail is still excellent for the scale, with finely engraved panel lines and raised details where appropriate, a set of 60% LERX as well as full LERX that was suitable for some airframes, and plenty of weapons for the aircraft’s pylons. Couple this with highly detailed exhausts, a visible intake fan, and flaps that can be posed deployed for a more dramatic look, and you have a model that punches above its scale. Construction begins with the Martin-Baker ejection seat, which is made of two side panels enclosed around the seat cushion with moulded-in headbox. The pilot figure can be used if you feel like it, then the seat is shoe-horned into the cramped cockpit tub and joined by control column and instrument panel. While there isn’t a decal for the panel, there is a detailed painting guide that should allow you to create a good replica of this MFD dominated panel, so get your fine brushes out. Once completed, the cockpit is trapped inside the two halves of the nose, which need a little paint on the interior before closure, and a tiny hole is drilled in front of the windscreen. A twin sensor slips into a depression under the nose, then the front of the Pegasus engine is laid into a circular surround and mated with a two-part intake trunk, the latter usually painted white. To close up the fuselage, you must first make up the combined rear wheel and air-brake bays if you are using the wheels, or just the air-brake if your Harrier will be wheels-up. This assembly is then fitted inside the fuselage along with the engine face, with two more holes drilled from within for the refuelling probe later. If you will be using an Airfix stand, a small part is inserted into the lower fuselage from above once the two halves are mated and the glue dried. The Pegasus ejects its exhaust from four angled nozzles situated on the side of the fuselage in pairs that are called the hot and the cold nozzles due to the temperature of the jet efflux that leaves them. Each nozzle is made from two halves and they have twin strakes inside them that should be lined up to create the visible louvers inside the exhausts. The exterior of the nozzles have some nice detail moulded into them just like the real thing, so take care with the seams and concentrate on the louvers, as they would be hardest to deal with later. The exhausts are inserted into their recesses in the fuselage sides at any angle between vertical and horizontal, depending in what you want your Harrier to be doing. Behind the rear nozzle a protective plate keeps the heat off the fuselage, and this has a pair of holes to locate it, with corrugations moulded into the front surface. At this stage your Harrier has no nose, but you first add the prominent tail “stinger” that contains sensors and puffer-jets that give the pilot fine control over the aircraft’s attitude. This is a two-part assembly that is inserted into the tail after adding the one-part elevator, which has a large pivot between the two fins, and is locked in place by the stinger. If you’re careful with the glue it can remain free, but in the real world it has a ±12° range of deflection. The wings of the Harrier are built as a straight-through unit, heavily utilising modern composites for strength and weight-saving, and the kit mimics that with the upper and lower wings both full-width, being glued together before they are attached to the top of the fuselage, where they are joined by a choice LERX (Leading Edge Root eXtensions), after which you can insert the nose assembly into the slot, mating the tapering trunking moulded into the rear of the nose with the centre of the intake fan. You then choose whether you want to depict the blow-in doors around the circumference of the intake lips in the relaxed position under gravity with the engine off, or pushed fully flush for in-flight operation. The doors are all attached to a carrier that slots inside the hollow back of the intake part, filling in the gaps on the exterior at the appropriate angles. These are then glued to the sides of the cockpit, butted up against the front of the fuselage. Your Harrier looks pretty Harrier-y now, but there are a lot of parts still to add before you’re done. A pair of pylons are fixed under the inner wing initially, then you have a choice of deployed or ‘clean’ flying surfaces all along the wings, using the appropriate parts to suit your needs. The Harrier is a real bomb-truck, and is outfitted with another six pylons under the wings, and a choice of another under the centreline, or two long strakes either side that prevent the jetwash merging too soon, thereby reducing the pilot’s control. The Harrier’s landing gear is unusual because it only has a nose strut and one central main strut with two chunky wheels. The aircraft’s balance is maintained by a pair of outriggers that were originally at the tip of the wings, but were moved inboard into a pair of trailing edge sponsons in the Harrier II. The nose gear leg is made from two halves that trap the one-part wheel, then it is inserted into the bay, or covered over with a single bay door part for wheels up. The main gear leg is a single part that receives the two wheels on a cross-axle, then two bay doors for the nose, and three for the main bays are added. The instructions don’t seem to include mention of the rear bay closure step for in-flight, but it's easily identified as part A4. The two outriggers can be depicted closed by employing different parts that have the two small bay doors moulded-in, while the ground-side option has separate and nicely-detailed legs with moulded-in tyres, plus a pair of narrow bay doors that are joined together by slender cross-braces. The next choice relates to the ventral air-brake, which can be posed closed, partially open whilst landed, or fully deployed during flight. Ensure you don’t opt for full deployment if you plan on putting your model on its wheels, as it hangs down further than the main gear, so will create a highly unsatisfactory “nose-sitter” that might also fall forward to one side. All options use the same brake part, but the two open options use different length actuators to obtain the correct angle. A brief break to build up the weapons sees you making up a pair of two-part fuel tanks, a pair of AIM-9L Sidewinders, two Paveway IV Laser Guided Bombs, a Sniper ATP and DJRP Pods, and a pair of CRV-7 rocket pods that can have frangible aerodynamic covers, or with their rocket tips exposed ready for action. After another detour back to put all the small parts, including deployed or retracted refuelling probe and canopy on, the weapons are shown around the aircraft with arrows leading to the appropriate pylons. Markings There are two decal options included on the sheet, with a full page devoted to each one, plus another page that shows the numerous stencils in isolation to reduce confusion. If you’re about to moan about grey jets though, go and look at my review of the US Chevrolet truck to get a fix of some vibrant colour, and come back when you’re happier. From the box you can build one of the following: ZG857/EB-Z, No.41 Sqn., RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, England, 15/12/2010 ZD437 ‘Michelle’, Harrier Detachment, Operation Herrick, Kandahar, Afghanistan, 11/2006 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A welcome reboxing of this great little kit of a much-loved, capable and sorely missed weapon from the RAF’s defensive arsenal. Excellent detail and plenty of weapons to hang off the pylons make it a well-rounded package. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. BAe Sea Harrier FRS.1 (A04051A) 1:72 Airfix The Sea Harrier or SHAR as it became known was developed for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm from the successful Harrier, beginning with the GR.3, but with some significant modifications that made for a very different-looking aircraft, including a blown canopy that eventually spread throughout the later marks of Harriers, addition of the Blue Fox radar, and other changes to allow the airframe to cope with shipboard operations. It reached operational service at the beginning of the 1980s, and was considered to be a mistake in some quarters, but it was soon able to show that it was in fact a highly competent aircraft. On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces landed on the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory located some 290 miles east of the South American coast. Within a short time, Argentine troops had taken control of the islands. When word of the invasion reached Britain, a large Naval task force was dispatched to retake the islands. The Falklands War had begun. By early May, the Sea Harriers of 800, 801 and 809 Naval Air Squadrons, flying from Royal Navy aircraft carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible, were fully engaged in an air war with Argentine air forces who were flying French-built Dassault Mirage IIIs, Israeli IAI Daggers, British English Electric Canberras and US-built Douglas A-4 Skyhawks. By the end of the conflict, 11 Daggers, 20 Skyhawks, 2 Mirages and 2 Canberras had been shot down, either by Sea Harriers or ground fire from British forces. 2 Sea Harriers FRS.1s and 3 Harrier GR.Mk.3s were shot down by Argentine ground fire. Further aircraft were lost on both sides, either to hostile actions or accidents. This cemented the reputation of the Sea Harrier and Harrier in the psyche of the Nation, and they carried on in service in various incarnations into the new millennium, only to be removed from service prematurely by politicians looking to save money, selling off the airframes to the US for a pittance. Nuff said on that one. The Kit This is a reboxing of Airfix’s small scale SHAR that was first released as a new tool as recently as 2010 under new management after the company’s financial issues were resolved by a new owner. It arrives in the modern red-themed box with a nice CGI painting of a pair of FRS.1s over a boat that is billowing smoke, although it’s not clear what started the fire. Inside the box are three full sprues of parts, a clear sprue, large decal sheet and the folded instruction booklet with spot colour printing. Construction begins with the three-part ejection seat, which fits into the simplified cockpit tub, which has decals to add detail to the side consoles, and a separate instrument panel with moulded-in coaming, which also receives another decal for instruments. There’s a modern fighter pilot figure depicted on the instructions, but the plastic part is a WWII era pilot with his hands folded on his lap. That’s no use then. The intake and front fan for the mighty Pegasus engine is built within the splitter behind the cockpit, and a circular backing plate prevents the viewer from seeing through the fan blades, which are separate on the part, but may need a little flash removing to separate them properly. This assembly plus the cockpit, the two gear bays and the belly air-brake bay are installed between the fuselage halves after a little painting, and the heat-resistant plates behind the hot rear nozzles are added on a pair of pegs that slot into corresponding holes in the fuselage. The fuselage has a big gaping hole on the topside that is reminiscent of the original, as the wings are a separate entity that have to be removed to carry out deep maintenance on the engine on the real thing. The wings are full-width on the topside, and separate parts on the underside, with delicate vortex generators on the upper wing. The four exhausts are each made up with two parts, and have a join down the centre of the internal louvers, so take care to align these areas, as they would be the hardest to sand smooth. They slot into their receptacles in the fuselage sides, and you can pose them for horizontal flight, or in the hover mode if you wish, just ensure they are all set at the same angle. The two intake lips are provided with separate blow-in doors that are inserted from within the rear of the parts, depicting either a closed set or a set that are dropping down under gravity with the engine switched off. The next step involves making a decision whether to pose the gear up or down, with the retracted position being the easiest, involving placing all the bay doors closed, and the wing-mounted outrigger wheels retracted parallel to the direction of flight. Wheels down can have all the bays open, with scrap diagrams showing their correct angle, and of course the landing gear with outriggers down. You can also pose the gear bay doors closed around the gear. The twin main wheels are attached to the short leg at the rear, and the nose gear is a single part with moulded-in rear bay door, as are the two outriggers which are a different pair of parts from the wheels-up version. There is gravity “sag” on the tyres, which appears a little extreme on the main wheels and the outriggers. It’s easy to correct with a slip of styrene glued to the contact patch and sanded to shape once dry. You also get a choice of whether to deploy the air-brake or pose it flush with the skin of the fuselage, and the open option has a short actuator for the open option. The weapons and fuel tanks are the final aspect of the build, including a pair of AIM-9L Sidewinder with separate fins and adapter rails, plus the four wing pylons that have a pair of auxiliary fuel tanks to hang off them on the inner stations, with the twin Aden cannon fairings under the fuselage adding some old-skool gunfighter punch to the load-out. Unneeded for these decal options are a pair of Sea Eagle missiles that are left on the sprues, with separate forward fins adding detail to them. Markings There are two options on the decal sheet, both from Operation Corporate, which was the British name for the successful operation to take back the Falklands Isles from the invaders. From the box you can build one of the following: XZ459/25 HMS Hermes Air Group, South Atlantic, May/June 1982 XZ458/007 HMS Invincible Air Group, South Atlantic, May/June 1982 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The decals for the instrument panels contain the dials and dividing lines, with the centres of the panel transparent for you to paint the panels behind with your choice of brand of paint. Conclusion A welcome reboxing of a nice model of the Sea Harrier’s first foray onto the battlefield very far from home, where it proved itself to be a capable platform. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Harrier GR.1/3 Update Sets (for Kinetic) 1:48 Eduard After years making do with ancient kits of this important and much-loved aircraft, Kinetic stepped in and gave us a brand new tooling of the first successful VTOL/STOVL fighter/ground-attack aircraft in service anywhere in the world. Eduard's new range of sets are here to improve on the kit detail in the usual modular manner. Get what you want for the areas you want to be more of a focal point. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Harrier GR.1 Detail Set (491172) Two frets and a slip of clear acetate sheet are included, one fret is nickel plated and pre-painted, the other in bare brass. A complete set of new layered instrument panels and side consoles and sidewall details are the primary parts on the painted set, with new rudder pedals; HUD with the acetate used for glazing; ejection seat details, and canopy internal structure also supplied. Most of the bare brass parts are used externally, in detail skinning the gear bays; skinning the air-brake bay; replacement deflectors behind the rear “hot” nozzles; bay door details; gear leg details such as brake hoses, scissor-links, even replacement of some smaller doors; two raised panels over the engine; a full set of individual vortex generators for the wing uppers with a PE jig for positioning; stiffening plates on the nozzle fairings, and finally the mating surfaces of the pylons, as aircraft often fly with empty stations. Harrier GR.3 Detail Set (491173) Two frets and a slip of acetate are included again, almost identical to the GR.1 set above, but with subtle differences in the cockpit sidewalls due to the different equipment that the GR.3 carried. Zoom! Set GR.1/GR.3 (FE1172/FE1173) These setw contains a reduced subset of the interior, namely the pre-painted parts that are used to improve on the main aspects of the cockpit, as seen above. Whatever your motivations for wanting this set, it provides a welcome boost to detail, without being concerned with the more structural elements. Harrier GR.1 Harrier GR.3 Seatbelts STEEL (FE1174) These belts are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds perceived depth to the buckles and other furniture by shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. As well as a set of crew belts, you some stencils for the seat’s headbox and the pull-handle between the pilot's knees that gets him out of there in case of an emergency. The belts are common between both the GR.1 and GR.3, so if you have both, get two sets. Masks GR.1/3 (EX770) Supplied on a sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy, with compound curved handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved gaps are in-filled with either liquid mask or offcuts from the background tape. Masks Tface GR.1/3 (EX771) Supplied on a larger sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with everything above, but also give you another set of canopy masks tailored to fit the interior of the glazing so that you can paint the interior and give your model that extra bit of realism. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Hawk T.1 (04970) 1:72 Revell When the RAF began the search for a new fast jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat, it was originally intended that the role would be fulfilled by the SEPECAT Jaguar. However, the advanced capabilities demanded of the new Anglo-French aircraft meant that it became too complex for use as a trainer As a result, Hawker Siddley Aviation began work on a private venture known as the P.1182. The design team produced a relatively simple, subsonic aircraft with a number of clever features. The fuselage is designed around a large, tandem cockpit, which features a significant difference in height between the student & instructor. This affords the instructor a much better view than in the Gnat. The wings featured double-slotted flaps which gives the Hawk excellent low-speed handling characteristics. Though the box calls this a BAe Hawk lets not forget it was a Hawker Siddley design. The first of the 176 Hawks ordered by the RAF entered service in 1976, designated the Hawk T.1. 88 T.1s were modified to T.1A standard, which allowed them to carry two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for use in the emergency air defence role. The Hawks reputation as an excellent aeroplane has been confirmed by the considerable success it has enjoyed in the export market. Users include the air forces of Australia, Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates amongst others. A highly modified carrier capable version is in service with the United States Navy, where it is known as the T-45 Goshawk. The most famous role occupied by the Hawk, however, is as the mount of the world-renowned Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team the Red Arrows. The Kit Revell's kit arrives packed into their new style end-opening box and comprises 90 parts spread across 5 sprues of grey plastic and a single small clear sprue. This version thankfully dispenses with the bright red plastic of the Red Arrows boxing. The smoke pod is also not included, but you now get two sprues of weapons, tanks, and pylons. The plastic parts themselves are beautifully moulded and engraved details are fine, crisp and clean. The overall shape looks promising on the sprue, but discussions would seem to indicate that it only has the short fin fillet, and rear end as on early aircraft. In line with the usual model building clichés, construction starts with the cockpit. This prominent feature is made up of a large tandem tub, instrument panels and coamings, control columns and bulkheads. The ejection seats are each made up of three parts and look very good indeed, both in terms of detail and shape. The cockpit is fully detailed, with instruments and controls picked out on both instrument panels and all of the side consoles. Decals are also provided, but I would be hesitant to cover up all of that lovely detail. Once complete, the whole sub-assembly can be sandwiched between the fuselage halves, along with the jet exhaust pipe, fin fillet and airbrake bay interior (the airbrake itself can be fitted in either the open or closed position). The wing is moulded as a single lower span with separate port and starboard upper wings. Ailerons are moulded in place, and there are quite chunky sprue attachment points on the leading edges of the wing (and the horizontal tail surfaces too). These shouldn't cause any problems for most modellers , but care will need to be taken when removing these parts from the sprue. The undercarriage occupies six stages of the construction process and is very finely detailed indeed. The gear doors are moulded as solid pieces in order to make the wheels-up configuration a little easier to build, so they must be cut up along the moulded score lines in order to finish the model as it would appear on the ground. The cockpit canopy has been moulded in two pieces, so it can be finished in either the open or closed position. The smaller parts such as the blade aerials are very fine indeed. Decals The decals are by Cartograf so there will be no problems there. Only one option is supplied that for 208(R) Sqn RAF 2016 special tail scheme. Conclusion While there are a few Hawks available in this scale, in my view Revell's effort has surpassed the models already on the market, making it the go-to option for those wishing to build a model of the type if you can over look the tail issues. Recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  6. Harrier GR.1 50 Years (05690) 1:32 Revell The Harrier began life as a Hawker Siddeley product, and was the first aircraft capable of Short/Vertical Take-Off and Landing (S/VTOL) to reach service, and until its eventual replacement the F-35 Lightning II began flying it was pretty much the only aircraft that was actually capable of carrying out the task it was designed for, although the Harrier was very good at its job unlike other pretenders. We’re excluding rotary wing aircraft just in case the pedant in you was awakening. The GR.1 was the first to reach service with RAF and as the AV-8A in US Marine service as a close air support and reconnaissance aircraft, becoming a favourite with pilots despite the relatively high workload imposed on them by the complex controls necessary to maintain attitude and attitude at slower speeds – long before computers were really good enough and available to assist stability at sizes that could be carried by an aircraft. It was replaced by the GR.3 with the Ferranti LRMTS in an extended nose that gave it a funny look (is that blasphemy?). The Harrier II eventually replaced it with composite components and a much improved capability. The Kit This is an old kit – let’s get that out of the way at the beginning. It has raised panel lines as you would expect from its mid-70s heritage, and the detail is also what you’d expect with a pilot figure that is kind of funny-looking to put it politely, although he’s quite photogenic he just seems a bit… wide, especially given the cramped cockpit of a Harrier. The box is a top-opening affair with a nice digital painting of the aircraft on the front, and a golden 50 years strapline below the title, plus a picture of the paints, glue and brush included in this model set. If you’re a “serious” modeller, you’ll probably just toss these in the back of the drawer and keep the brush for weathering or something similarly lacking the requirement for a sharp point. Inside the box are five sprues in Revell’s trademark green/grey styrene, plus a clear canopy, a modest-sized decal sheet and instruction booklet that includes the separate health warnings sheet that is bin fodder for most of us. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, and when has a modeller ever skewered themselves with a scalpel? Preposterous! What to say about the detail? It’s adequate and can be upgraded easily enough either by adding scratch-built parts or by obtaining aftermarket, although the majority of sets available in this scale seem to be for the later Trumpeter kits of the AV-8B or Harrier II. If you want an earlier Harrier in this scale however, it’s pretty much the only game in town in injection moulded styrene so you’ll be looking at this kit whether you want to or not. The raised panel lines are restrained and with a decent scriber you could re-scribe the airframe if you are minded to, which is best done before you begin the build. Construction begins with the internal mechanism that allows the exhaust nozzles to operate in unison when completed, with two axles and two control arms clipped together without glue. These are then hidden within the two engine halves that are split into top and bottom, joined by a set of ancillary parts that fit to the top and a two-part intake and engine face that is visible from outside. The curiously broad pilot is next, and he has a front and back part with detailed painting guide pointed out as you go, which is also the case for the simple cockpit floor, ejection seat with moulded-in belts and separate headrest, plus decals for the side consoles. The instrument panel also has a decal, which is a good thing as it’s otherwise devoid of any detail whatsoever. A control column, rudder pedals and the pilot (if you want him) finish off the cockpit, then the canopy is made up from clear glazing, a styrene frame and square block underneath to secure it in the track before you close the model up. To us modern modeller that seems a strange thing to do, but if you paint the canopy and cockpit rear deck beforehand, it should work out with some tape stuck to the clear parts to protect them from paint. The cockpit, engine and rear air-brake bay are glued into the starboard side, then the canopy is trapped in place when the fuselage is closed up around it. The four exhaust nozzles are made up from top and bottom halves trapping two vertical vanes in place in their grooves with a little glue. They’re simple parts, but with some effort can be made more realistic with good references of the correct type and a little putty, styrene or foil. With the fuselage closed up the intake lips are fitted, with a lightly recessed set of blow-in doors depicted on the outside with the option of cutting the top ones out and replacing them with dropped ones that obey the laws of gravity like the real thing. There are a ton of references out there to help you, or you can just leave them be and enjoy some retro-modelling with a heavy dose of nostalgia for me as I built this kit as a youngster and it ended up hung from my ceiling by a few pieces of cotton and a drawing pin. The nozzles are attached to their axle-stubs next, taking care with the glue so they remain moveable, and there are a pair of ribbed heat-protection plates behind the rear nozzles, which are known as the hot nozzles. The wings are simple affairs with a soft approximation of the vortex generators on the upper surface, although if you’re a detailer you’ll need to replace them with some more sharp in-scale parts. The wings are fitted to the fuselage on each side by the usual tab and slot, and each one has a pronounced anhedral like the real thing, and a pair of clear lenses for the wingtip lights. The cockpit coaming and windscreen are also fitted at this stage, and as with the canopy they’re a product of their time, slightly thick and with some mild distortion visible. The tail fin is two parts, as are the elevators although the swash-plates are moulded into the fuselage so moving them from the neutral position would require some surgery. Adding the rear pen-nib fairing with integral puffer jets over the boat-like tail strake finishes off the main airframe, with only the wheels, nose cone, air-brake and weapons left to do. The Harrier has bicycle undercarriage with a single wheel at the nose and dual wheel at the rear. The nose leg is split vertically and traps the two-part wheel in place, with the rear wheel also made of two parts but with the three-part wheels fitted into the stub axles at each side. You can add either two belly strakes to the underside or the two gun packs, as the Harrier needed one or the other to reduce the jetwash wrapping round under the fuselage and reducing lift enough to make it an issue. The outrigger wheels that stop the aircraft from keeling over are next, and again the two-part wheel is trapped between the two-part leg, then fitted into their wells with the curved bay door finishing off at the front. It’s worth mentioning that you can also build your Harrier with the wheels up by omitting the legs and wheels and using different outrigger parts. Now for some stores. Whilst you’re not spoiled for choice due to both the kit’s age and the fact that it’s an early version of the Harrier, you do get enough to fill the wing stations and don’t forget you’ve also had the choice of two gun pods for the underside of the fuselage. On the inner stations there are a pair of additional fuel tanks, which are made from two halves plus an insert for the tail fins and moulded-in pylons. On the outer station are a pair of Matra rocket pods with their pylons moulded in, all of which slot into the underside of the wings on tabs. While your Harrier is on its back, you fit a couple of antennae, a clear nav light, and the air brake with its large retraction jack that fits onto the bay you installed earlier. Flipping the model back over, the two bunny-ear intakes behind the cockpit are added, the nose cone and pitot are popped into the nose cavity, and another clear nav light fits into the spine of the fuselage. The last act is to drop the cover over the engine that allows the viewer a peek inside if you lay off the glue. Markings There are two decal options provided on the sheet, and it’s nostalgia time again with grey/green camouflage over light blue and big bright roundels under the wing, just like the diecast Harrier I had as a kid. There are some scrap diagrams showing the stores and their stencils, with their locations shown as dotted lines on the main drawings so that they don’t obscure the view of the roundels and codes. From the box you can build one of the following: No.3 Squadron, RAF, Wildenrath, Germany, August 1974 No.20 Squadron, RAF, Wildenrath, Germany, August 1971 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The instrument panel decals don’t have a coloured background, so you’ll need to paint the panels a background colour before use. Conclusion It’s an old kit but it checks out. If you set your expectations accordingly and either leave out the pilot or replace him with something a little more realistic, a decent model can result. Sadly, the kit I built as a kid went to landfill many years ago but its nice to see it again. Recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  7. BAe Hawk in Worldwide Service (ED32128) 1:32 Euro Decals by Fantasy Printshop The BAe Hawk has been the standard advanced jet trainer for the RAF since its introduction, it has been the aircraft of choice for the world-renowned Red Arrows, and is also in use in various variants around the world, even having made the difficult transition into the US Navy arsenal as the navalised T-45 Goshawk. It has been a huge success overall and is well-known at least partly due to the kudos of the Reds using them. This decal sheet is for the 1:32 Revell or Kinetic kit until another manufacturer comes along with another new kit of course. It arrives in a large ziplok bag with the instructions at the front and the oversized A4 decal sheet behind, protected by a sheet of contact paper. From it you can portray five options, which are helpfully split by dotted lines on the sheet, save for the middle one, which has a gap instead. It also includes a large number of stencils in appropriate colours for the operator, with a half page of the diagram showing their location and suggesting that you check your references, as sometimes stencils become lost after repainting in service. From this sheet you can depict any of the below: BAe Hawk T.1 XX318, No.95 Y of 100 Squadron RAF Valley, UK 2012 BAe Hawk Mk.63 1722 of 17 Squadron, Royal Jordanian Air Force BAe Hawk Mk.51 HW-345 Finnish Air Force, 2011 BAe Hawk Mk.52 1002 Kenyan Air Force BAe Hawk Mk.53 TT-5309 No.09 Indonesian Air Force Each subject is shown in four separate views with the decals called out by number with a red line to their placement pointing the way, and the last panel shows all the stencils, as mentioned earlier. The decals are printed by Fantasy Printshop’s own people, and are in their usual high quality, with excellent registration, colour density and sharpness, plus a thin glossy carrier film cut close to printed areas and cut back wherever possible to reduce the chances of silvering. All decals should be applied to gloss surfaces of course, but it’s always worthy of a reminder now and again, and seeing as we are there, seal them with another coat of clear gloss to protect them from harm later on. Conclusion It’s good to see some foreign decals for the big Hawk, with four good foreign options. The first option is British, but it’s an unusual scheme, and Britain is part of the world after all! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. A good evening to you all, despite the sad events of today, First of all, a bit about me: From a young age I was first introduced to the RAF Museum at Cosford, I have been there during the construction of the Cold War hangar and although I can't remember it, I presume that I must have been there before the Nimrod (XV249) arrived and I have since become well acquainted with it when they brought it in during 2012. Out of all the exhibits there, the Nimrod is still the one that catches my eye- perhaps it is because of its size or it might be due to the red goose emblem of 51.sqn on its nose! (Pictured) Having gone to Telford in 2015 and having seen an Airfix 1:72 Nimrod kit, I simply couldn't resist! So, without further ado, the following is a quick summary of the kit and modifications: 1:72 Airfix Nimrod kit A set of fabulous decals from RAM Models (more on this later) A really excellent Raven Scale Models lighting kit (again, more on this later) A few scratchbuilt bits and pieces, mainly the "forest" of antennae and pitot tubes. Finished with a combination of Vallejo "Air" paints and some AK Interactive washes. NOTE: THE MODEL I HAVE CREATED IS NOT 100% ACCURATE and the positions of the lights are certainly not accurate! Issues with the kit: The wing-fuselage join was horrendous (although this might be due to the wires of the lighting kit getting caught in the internal structure of the fuselage) and so vast quantities of liquid poly glue were utilised and subsequently sanded down to get a "decent" seam. The wing-tip pods were not suitable for the R.1, these were made from bits of sprue which were sanded down and hollowed out. -This isn't much of an issue with the kit, but an issue nevertheless: trying to get the wiring through the wing structure and into the wing-tip pods was a nightmare, this is not a fault of the Airfix kit or the lighting kit- just a problem with trying to integrate the two. Now, time for some pictures! The superb RAM Models decals for the 51 sqn goose on the nose. And another view of the nose..... You can tell that I love that decal Last one I promise!!! (Note the effective texturing of the goose decal). A nose-on view A view of the wing structure, intakes, wing fuel pods, antennae under the wing, try and ignore the light to the right of the intakes, the hole is to allow a strong beam of light through from the LED A view of the central fuselage section, note the "forest" of antennae The flaps and engine nozzles. And the left side... (The rigging from the fuselage to the tail needs re-tensioning) A close-up of the tail section Excellent decals once again from RAM Models I attempted a moderate level of weathering using an AK Interactive wash From a distance... And underneath... A selection of AK Interactive washes were used for the landing gear bays, also note the antennae just in front of the pylon and another one coming out from the rear of the wing-tip pod (this one somehow survived without breaking off!) One final shot before I demonstrate the lights. As mentioned previously, I used the lighting kit from Raven Scale Models, the image below shows the underside of the Nimrod- note the position of the bomb-bay panel. Now you see it... Now you don't! -The wiring was redirected into the bomb bay area, where the battery holder is located and where the switch (silver coloured thin tube) is activated from. It lives! (sort of) Demonstrating the landing lights- I haven't added lights to the nose or to the inner wing-mounted landing lights, purely due to the fact that using fibre optics would ultimately reduce the intensity of light coming from the lights that are currently present, I would prefer there to be two bright lights compared to 5 dim lights. They're quite bright! The placement is pure fiction, but there is one red flashing light (pictured) and two flashing strobe lights Furthermore, there is one light in each wing tip (red and green), again their placement is somewhat fictional; i've been told that they should be swapped over (I'll be damned if I'm changing their position now!) And that, alas, is that. Thanks for having a look, she'll now be fitted with wire and hung from the ceiling- flying alongside the Shackleton, the Nimrod MR2's predecessor and stablemate in the ASW role during the Cold War. Perhaps I'll get round to doing an MR2 one day.... But for now, thank you and have a good evening- my best wishes, especially to members in Belgium. ;( Sam
  9. Hey guys, First post here, long time lurker but only first time geting round to posting! Im pretty well established on the Facebook pages and Instagram (@jonesy.models) but never branched out to BM yet! I thought id share a recent completion of mine here, Airfix's venerable offering of the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod... The kit itself is really quite remarkable, and offers the oppurtunity to build the MR1, MR2 and R1. I went with the MR1 at the request of recipient, who further detailed that he wanted XV230 in her handover days to the RAF. So i decided to represent her as she was at Hawker Siddley Aviation Woodford in 1969. Just in her standard scheme and markings, lacking the squadron details et al. I used a pick of markings from the Xtradecal X72080 'Grey and White Nimrods in RAF Service' sheet which provided all i needed for the final livery. The build itself wasnt without its difficulties. The main being when it came to affixing the wing. The lower wing section was fitted, and then when the upper halves were to be attached, it wouldnt go correctly, forcing an unnatural and unrealistic dihedral to the wings. As a result, it took a few good goes, and finally a bit of filler to get it correct. Otherwise, the build was uneventful and generally pleasent. Which is good, as i have two more of these beasts to build in the near future! The basic shots above show the completed model, and what a mighty looking aircraft the Nimrod is! I am a Volunteer at the Avro Heritage Museum, on the former Woodford Aerodrome, and here you see the mode in 'flight' over a model of the airfield at it once was in its heyday. Now, it has been demolished and is being turned to houses. A shame for the home of Avro, and birthplace of some of my favourite aircraft, namely the Vulcan, Nimrod and HS748. Finally, a shot of the model in profile with our Nimrod nose section, XV235, which holds many stories in its own right! Thank you for reading my post, my first here but i dont doubt therell be many more to come! Rhys Jones-Ager
  10. Hawker Siddeley HS.125 CCE ZE396 (HS-125-700B) Ex 32 Sqn Queens Flight. This aircraft has now been buried in Bentveld in Holland as part of an art installation! Pics mine.
  11. I planning on making a 1:72 Hawker Siddeley Harrier T bird conversion, and am after some accurate measurements, can anyone help? Thought of adapting some drawings using the AV-8A cross sections (http://aviationarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/av-8a-cross-sections-and-loft-lines.html) I have the following, any comments on which you think is the best: A.A.P. Lloyd: Aero Modeller, August 1969 Scale Models, November 1973 [I notice Spencer Pollard used these for his lovely 1:24] Modelling Manual: Hawker Siddeley Harrier Gr.1/3 AV-8A, Koku-Fan ,December 1981 Mike Keep: Roger Chesneau - Aeroguide 12: Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR Mk3 / T Mk 4, 1989 Denis J. Calvert - Aircract Illustrated Special: Harrier, Ian Allan, 1990 Krzysztof M. Zurek: Aero Technika Lotnicza, April 1991 [Nice detail appears to be based on A.A.P. Lloyd] Nils Mathisrud: Andy Evans - BAE/McDonnell Douglas Harrier, Crowood, 1998 Richard J. Caruana: Marcus Herbote - British Harriers Part 1, AirDOC, 2008 Tim McLelland - Harrier, Classic, 2011 [Incorect details in places] Juanita Franzi: Aeroplane, March 2011 Peter Scott: Model Aircraft, May 2014 [Looks iffy to me]
  12. Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R1 XV249 at East Midlands aeropark, pics thanks to Dave.
  13. For newer 2nd generation Harrier see out thread here. GR.3 XZ997 at The RAF Museum Hendon, pics mine. Rolls Royce Pegasus Engine
  14. Hawk as used by the Red Arrows. Pic from Graham James.
  15. Greetings Fellow Modellers! I submit for your perusal a pair of small, so terribly small Gnats . Both models are Airfix's newish Gnat T.1 in 1:72 scale. They represent my return to the hobby, in that on these models I let loose every experiment from which I could learn. I initially wanted to build them OOB, but I ended up using quite a bit of aftermarket stuff: the pitot tubes are Albion Alloy Micro Brass Tubes and the nose wheels are from a nice wheel update set from the Hungarian company SBS. The nose wheels make an improvement over airfix's ones which are a little bit too small. The main wheels are from the kit, and the examples left over from the SBS set will be used later for a hangar diorama. The canopy was cut with a Revell precision saw to enable it to be posed open. The interior of the canopy was lightly detailed with thin plastic card and stretched sprue. For canopy work I mostly used bookbinder's glue, which is a strong PVA type. The windscreen was made flush with the fuselage with the aid of Gunze Mr. Dissovled Putty and then Mr Surfacer 500. Same story for smoothing the side walls of the nose wheel wells. Cockpit and ejection seats were detailed with plastic card of different thicknesses, stretched sprue and very occasionally thin brass wire. Paint was basically Gunze Sangyo Mr Hobby, except Vallejo for detail work and Citadel Runefang Steel for the silver. I had lots of trouble with the H1 gloss white, which I applies much too thickly and as a result wouldn't cure well. Thanks to tips from the Tools&Tips section (thanks DuncanB ) I learned some new skills. First matt white, a coat or two, then one coat of gloss. Works beautifully. Decals were from all over the place: lots of stuff from S&M models' sheet, wing stencils came from the home printer, and the rest was basically scavenged. Please forgive the format of some of the photos, I liked the idea of imitating 1970s film, so I edited the model's images accordingly. gnat2-7 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-9 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-13 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-1 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-3 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-15 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-4 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-5 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-2 by J Goat, on Flickr gnat2-14 by J Goat, on Flickr Thanks for looking! Jay
  16. Hawker Siddeley HS.125. G-ARYC which was the third production aircraft. Now at the de Havilland Heritage Centre. Pics are mine.
  17. Pics mine taken at The Norwich City Aviation Museum.
  18. Nimrod XV250 at Elvington in 2013, pics thanks to J.Dowse / WV908.
  19. XV232 at Airbase Coventry. Pics thanks to Rich Ellis.
  20. XV229 At the manston Fire Training Centre, pics by alex (Acky190)
  21. BAe Hawk T Mk.1A 1:48 Hobby Boss The Hawk has been the RAF fast jet trainer of choice since it replaced the Folland Gnat in the late 70s, at which time it was still under the management of Hawker Siddeley, who were later subsumed into British Aircraft Corporation. It has gone on from there to be a widely used across the world in varying guises, including a carrier-borne variant operated by the Americans as the T-45 Goshawk. The T.1 has been in service since the beginning with the RAF, and a number of airframes were upgraded to the 1A specification to carry Sidewinders and a cannon pod. As well as being used to train pilots, it is also the mount of the much-loved and admired Red Arrows, who are probably the best advert for the aircraft available. The new T.2 has been designed as a lead-in to the new fast jets, the Typhoon or F-35, as and when it arrives in service. The Kit This release from HB was a bit of a surprise to all but the diligent, with very little heard about it before it hit their catalogue a few months ago. It arrives in a busy market, with the old Airfix kit, and the newer Italeri kits in this scale as competition, both of which have their own foibles. Can this new release correct those, and give us a nice Hawk T.1A out of the box? The box art is a little dull, and inside are eleven sprues of mid-grey styrene, two and a bit of clear parts, and a pair of small frets of Photo-Etched (PE) brass. There are also two decal sheets, a glossy painting guide, and the usual instruction booklet, with a card divider inside the box keeping some of the smaller sprues in place. First impressions are quite good, as the designers have certainly tried to pack plenty of detail in, and they have used a good degree of slide-moulding to achieve this, although this has introduced some additional seam lines here and there, which will need some careful scraping to make good. There is also some restrained use of raised riveting at the rear of the fuselage, which looks nice, but may fall foul of the sanding stick during building, so to this modeller is only really valuable if you can manage to avoid damaging them. There's always a few runs of Archer 3D rivet decals if you fail to keep them intact, so I'll not worry about it. The cockpit is the first task in building the kit, and it is well appointed with moulded in side consoles to the two-piece tub, separate instrument panels with moulded in raised dials and decals to finish off, twin control columns, but no rudder pedals (which probably won't be seen anyway), but there are some bits and bobs missing from the rear "parcel shelf" behind the back-seater, which is an accusation you can also level at other kits of the subject. Detail on the seats is nice, but you only get the early wedge-shaped head-boxes, so would need to spend out for a more modern iteration of the Martin Baker seat if you wanted to model a more recent article. Once complete, the cockpit and single part nose bay are inserted into the nose and closed up for posterity. The nose bay is a little shallow, but most folks won't notice that anyway, as it's quite dark in there. There is a bit of detail moulded into the sides that should come up nicely under paint however. The nose section goes back as far as the rear of the intakes, which is a requirement to maximise the use of tooling for all the variants they have planned. The rear fuselage closes around the back of the nose section, with an insert for the belly-mounted air-brake, and the front cockpit coaming added during the process. The intakes are single parts, with slide-moulding giving them plenty of detail all around, and a nice thin lip. There is a clear light part to add to each one, but they weren't fitted to all airframes, so check your references before you install them into the engraved spaces on the intake sides. The exhaust fits into a rear bulkhead, and although it is too short, it has engine detail moulded into the end. The canopy can be installed at this point, complete with the blast screen that fits between the pilots attached to the canopy. Some GS Hypo cement, or PVA would be best to fix that in to avoid clouding up the canopy, which seems quite thick on the sills, with a bit of distortion. There are PE rear-view mirrors provided, plus a small latch on the forward edge of the canopy for external opening. There are no references made to the det-cord pattern on the canopy top, and a representation isn't moulded in, but there are decals that are provided on the larger sheet to accomplish the task, and if you look carefully at the last two decal options, it is mentioned there, but not on the first option. Odd! The tail fin isn't integral to the fuselage halves, as there are differences between marks in fit and finish, and the two halves are glued together then added to the fuselage on two pins that fit into matching sockets. The fin looks a little short and/or blunt, but is actually taller than the Airfix offering, and both now look a little wide and short to my eyes. That's annoying! The horizontal tails are single parts that attach to the fuselage sides via a single point, just like the real ones. The wings will be the cause of a little sanding and trimming, because they have four fences moulded into them, some of which aren't needed for the T.1A, which generally sports only the larger outer one. One wing for all marks seems to have been tooled, but you aren't advised to remove the inner fences for this edition, even though you'll need to do so if they bother you. Comments have been made about the vortex generators being too far aft, but that might be an optical illusion caused by the excessive wing fences, or the fact that the wing span scales out correctly for an airframe with tip-mounted Sidewinders at 9.94m, when the Airfix kit is almost 10mm shorter in wingspan, which is about right for the basic wing at 9.39m. The wings look like they're about 10mm too wide if I'm correct. The vortex generators are actually closer to the leading edge than the Airfix kit, and are finer too. The lower wing is full-span, while the upper wings are split either side of the fuselage, with flaps and ailerons moulded into the wing. The flap actuator fairings are added to pairs of holes under the wings after they have been joined to the fuselage, but the main gear bays are inserted beforehand. The bay inserts are a single part each, and have wiring and ribbing detail moulded in, some of which is fictional, and they don't have the deeper inner section of the real thing. A lovely clear nose-light and wingtip lights are added here too. The landing gear has been moulded in halves to add extra external detail, but this will mean a seam to hide, although with some careful alignment, you do at least have some control over it. You will also need to remove some large ejector pin marks from the mating surface to achieve a snug fit, so test-fitting is the way to go. The nose gear leg has a single wheel trapped within its yoke, and the moulded-in hubs are shallow, while the tyre has a substantial sag to it, which isn't all that evident on the real thing unless it has been parked up for a while. The main gear also have sag moulded in, but this is more appropriate, and again the hubs are too shallow by far, having an almost hub-cap like appearance. CMK's wheel set will come in handy here for sure. The main legs are built from four parts, plus small legs that hold the captive bay doors at the correct angle, but you'll probably want to leave them off and paint them with the rest of the airframe exterior. The air-brake and actuator strut are shown open only, and although the brake is nicely detailed on the inside, the bay itself is a little simplified, and until I have fitted the parts together, it is difficult to say whether it will be easy to pose retracted as it is often seen when on the ground. A full set of pylons are included in the kit, which aren't frequently seen installed all at once, but they're there, and you can use them if you wish. You are supplied with the following ordnance and a diagram of which pylon they can be placed on, but you are better off looking for some actual photographic evidence rather than loading up regardless. 2 x AIM-9P with adapter rails 2 x AIM-9L with adapter rails 2 x LR-155 Rocket Packs 2 x M117 Iron Bombs 2 x Additional fuel tanks I do wish that companies (in general) would provide some training rounds for more typical real-world practice scenarios, but I suppose you could always take your knife to a "live" Sidewinder instead. Markings There are three markings options from the box, which have sufficient variation to please many folks, but I believe some of the roundel sizes are incorrect, so you'll need to check your references again there. The red centres of the roundels are also way out of register on my copy, which will stick out like the proverbial sore-thumb if applied to the model. From the box you can build one of the following: XX256 of No.2 Tactical Weapons Unit (No.63 "Shadow" Squadron) RAF Chivenor, 1981 wrap-around grey/green camouflage. XX341 of the Empire Test Pilots School, Advanced Systems Training Aircraft (ASTRA) Boscombe Down, 2000 Raspberry Ripple scheme in blue, red, white and grey. XX226 of No.4 Flying Training School (No.74 "Shadow" Squadron) RAF Valley, 2001 all-over gloss black with tiger head on the tail. Decals are a little below-par for Hobby Boss, and some of the yellow doesn't seem to have been under-printed with white, so will probably disappear if applied over any darker colours. The red is a little spotty on my sample, as well as being out of register to a fair degree, and the overall view under magnification is slightly fuzzy, but it's not so obvious at 1x. The smaller sheet contains all the stencils for the weapons, as well as two nice decals for the instrument panels, which should improve their look after being well soaked in decal softening solution to get them to settle over the raised detail. Conclusion Not the easiest review in the book, because from an advanced modeller's point of view the kit has some fairly difficult problems to fix in terms of shape as well as the smaller details. If built up out of the box you should obtain a reasonable replica of the aircraft as you can see in the tape-up pictures above, but the more critical eye will notice problems that they would either choose to address or go elsewhere. The apparent issue with the wing span doesn't bode well, but I would prefer corroboration one way or the other before waving my arms around in horror. The kit is best suited to the casual modeller who has no major concern regarding accuracy, and I'm sure it will sell well as such. All Hawk kits in 1:48 so far have their issues to a greater or lesser degree, but for the more detail and accuracy motivated modeller, it's a case of choosing which one you are prepared to work with, and I suspect the case for this one will be weak. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Nimrod R1 XV249 shot at Cosford by Rich Ellis
  23. Harrier GR.1 XV798. This harrier crashed in Germany and was used by Rolls Royce for testing an engine they were developing for a supersonic version of the Harrier. This airframe is now at the Helicopter Museum in Weston. Pics thanks to bootneck.
  24. These Images were taken when Harrier T.8 ZD991 was in open storage for Everett Aero at the former RAF Bentwaters.
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