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Found 5 results

  1. 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
  2. Hello all... I will be going for a classic jump jet here. In 1971 the USMC started operating the AV-8A Harrier, from Wiki.. "The AV-8A entered service with the Marine Corps in 1971, replacing other aircraft in the Marines' attack squadrons. The service became interested in performing ship-borne operations with the Harrier." Not quite sure which kit or markings i will be going with yet as this is technically a place holder. I will attempt to get the 1/72 Airfix kit, but I may fall back to the 1/72 Hasegawa kit. My guess is i will be going with VMA-513 as they are the only unit listed for 1971. Though I've studied both kits. Either will work but the Airfix offering has the Decal set i need. Really hoping i can find that one. Dennis
  3. For years I've been hunting Ebay for the 1/700 Dragon kit of Tarawa-class LHA. Unfortunately both original Dragon (Tarawa/Saipan/Peleliu) and Revell-boxed (Saipan) kits are fetching prices above 60 $, sometimes reaching even the three-digit level. And then some weeks ago at Scalemates I have found the assembly instruction sheet (in PDF) of Italeri 1:720 USS Nassau that I (and thousands of other people) thought to be the rebox of the crude 1970s-vintage Revell 1/720 Tarawa/Saipan kit. Then I compared the Italeri sheet with Dragon one and the conclusion shocked me totally: the 1/720 as stated on the box and instruction sheet cannot be true - this mistifaction has been done by Italeri perhaps only to "fit into" their line of 1/720 ships. And Italeri #530 USS Nassau can be easily bought for 20 Euros ! In 5 days such an opportunity appeared on Ebay and in next 3 days the kit in pristine condition (wrapped/unopened box) joined my stash. After opening the box you can find the sealed bag of plastic sprues labelled "Made in China by DRAGON" and all the sprues are identical to DRAGON 1/700 Tarawa-class ships. Even on decals set there's "1/700 USS Nassau" inscription and THIS IS THE TRUE... Nevertheless the kit features the airwing consisting of 4 AV-8B Harriers, 4 CH-46E Sea Knights and 2 CH-53E Super Stallions - the same aircraft are already standing on the deck of my 1/700 USS Wasp LHD-1 model by HobbyBoss. Wanting to differentiate these two amphibious ship class a little I decided to build the USS Nassau with her 1982 airwing. Of course 1982 means no AV-8B and no CH-53E. Moreover the aircraft supplied by Dragon/Italeri can be only called the caricatures of the original thing. So I dug my drawer a little to find several Trumpeter/HB aircraft surplus to fit the deck of USS Wasp and USS Nimitz. The lone AV-8B will be modified to represent the AV-8A, while two CH-53Es will be backdated to the CH-53D standard. Then I'd like to build 3 or 4 UH-1Ns using parts of SH-60s and (if patience allows) scratch-build some 2 or 3 OV-10 Broncos. So let's look at the Harriers: The main fuselage is almost the same. The nose must be shortened, the canopy lowered and the tailplane leading edge must be modified too. The biggest task however is modifying the wing - AV-8A had shorter span, more sweep, outriggers closer to the wingtips and the LERX must be omitted. Here you can see the AV-8A fuselage and the tailplanes after surgery (there's an unmodified AV-8B left on the same sprue): Then there are the Stallions: Here also happily the main fuselage is the same. The sponsons must be shortened, the third engine deleted (as will be one rotor blade too), the tailboom must be shortened and thinned, both vertical and horizontal tail must be shortened and the dorsal "hump" must be seriously modified. After all these operations cutting 0.8mm off each tail rotor blade and 1.4mm off each main rotor blade looks trivial. Here you have the modified CH-53D airframe next to the "stock" CH-53E also awaiting paint job: And here some old joke - a safety match just to remind you how tiny the 1/700 aircraft really are. To be continued Cheers Michael
  4. Taken at the Moffet Field Air Show, 1989. Nice sentiment on the intake... High tech canopy latch protectors. Wonder if that sticker would be legible in 1/72nd scale... Sven
  5. After a year when I have really struggled to find time for modelling, I have definitely been busy over the Christmas break! These are both based on the old ESCI model (still IMHO the best 1/72 Harriers), using both decal options from one box (one of these kits came as a dirty bag of bits without decals, but fortunately with all its parts!). First up, an AV-8A of the US Marines: And then a Matador - Toro, toro, see you tomorrow my son! When you can't decide what to build, build a Harrier, then build another for luck - Happy New Year all! FredT
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