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Two-Seat T-Harrier (T.2/T.2A/T.4/T.4N/T.8) 1:48 Kinetic Model The Harrier is an iconic (in the truest sense) example of what was possible when British Aviation was at its prime. It was a revolutionary design back in the 60s, and has seen many improvements and even a complete re-vamp in the shape of the Harrier II, which saw McDonnell Douglas get more heavily involved, giving the US Marines their much beloved AV-8B, and the British the Gr.5/7/9, all of which had new wings, massively upgraded avionics and improved versions of the doughty Pegasus engine, which was always at the heart of this legendary design. The Harrier is a difficult aircraft to fly due to the high pilot workload, and requires the best pilots to do it justice, which means that trainer variants are essential, as simulators can only offer so much realism, even now. The first trainers rolled out in the 1970s, and have been upgraded along similar lines to their operational brethren to provide as close to real-world training conditions as practical. The fuselage was extended at the nose, with a huge blister canopy encompassing both seats, with the instructor sitting substantially higher than their pupil to afford them a good view ahead, and a long, weighted "stinger" tail extention to equalise the centre of gravity with the single seater. Although it disrupts the sleek lines of the single-seat variant, the Trainers have a strange charm of their own, and there have been some interesting schemes, including the Raspberry Ripple and Qinetiq liveries over the years. The Harrier II trainers have the new composite wing, and are designated T.10/12. The Kit For many years modellers of the Harrier have been crying out for a good quality kit in this scale, and also the two-seat variants, with only a partial answer being forthcoming until now. Kinetic have put a lot of effort and research into creating models of the two Sea Harriers already the FRS.1 and FA.2, both of which we have reviewed in the past, and have been well-received for their overall level of accuracy. Now we have this new tooling, which has a substantial cross-over with the original, and sold out so quickly that we have only now received our sample for review from the second batch that have been commissioned. Something tells me this won't be the last re-pop of the moulds. This kit deals with the earlier "tin wing" Harriers before the introduction of composites, so the most recent variant is the T.8, and anything earlier, all from the same box. There are nine sprues in grey styrene, three of which are new, plus one that has been slightly tweaked for this edition. There are two sprues of clear parts, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a large decal sheet and the instruction manual. The big changes are forward of the engine intake "ears", but the rear boom is also extended for balance purposes, which helps achieve the ungainly look of the finished model, and that of course is exactly how it should look! The cockpit has two ejection seats with separate cushions and headbox details, plus slightly simplified PE crew belts and the pull handle between the pilot's knees. These are fitted into the stepped cockpit tub with rudder pedals, dual control columns, instrument panels that have separate painting guides, coamings, HUD and the big windscreen-within-a-windscreen that shields the pilots from ejection backwash in the event a quick exit is required. Detail in the cockpit is good, and will come up well once painted with a fine brush and some patience. In order to close up the fuselage the main gear bay boxes are built and painted, as is the bell-shaped intake trunking, having the front section on the nose gear bay attached to the underside of the cockpit tub, and the aft section to the fuselage sides. The rear bay is attached to the mechanism that allows the exhaust nozzles to rotate, which must be positioned opposite their exits before you can close up the fuselage. A choice of open or closed auxiliary vents are provided, which slot inside the intake lips, and the closed ones depict the characteristic gravity droop of the upper doors, which is as it should be. The wing is top mounted, with the anhedral moulded into the full width top panel, and the lower panels separate parts that bracket the fuselage sides. Separate flaps and their actuator fairings are provided, and although undocumented in the instruction booklet, these can be replaced by parts E1 to pose them dropped. Clear wingtip lights are supplied, which makes adding them a breeze, as their location would be a pain to fabricate your own. More good things! There is a choice of three tail fins, each with a separate rudder, and the elevators have a separate swash-plate and pivot lug for attachment to the fuselage, and the wing panel can be fitted nose-first, using a small lug at the front to find the correct location and alignment. There are no LERX to worry about on the older tin wings, and just a tiny PE mesh insert covers a vent at the rear of the cockpit spine behind the air conditioning. At this point the airframe is ostensibly complete, so spare a little time here to whoosh it around the room making suitable jet noises and ensuring you don't get caught doing it. The smaller assemblies are then built up, including the bicycle wheels, the canopy parts with some additional PE and plastic parts, plus a set of plastic rear-view mirrors to finish them off. You have a choice of laser or a pointy nose cone, which varied between airframes, as detailed in the accompanying chart, with another chart showing which tail stinger was fitted to which airframe to ensure you get both ends just right. Another choice of undernose inserts is made between T.8s and the rest, and the main gear can be fitted along with their respective gear bay doors, and a choice of small or large air-brake, which has its own chart of which one was fitted to which airframe. It makes a lot of sense to choose your decal option at the outset. Lumps, bumps, aerials and antennae are fitted on almost every spare inch of the airframe, plus an optional shoulder-mounted refuelling probe, PE stays for the side-opening canopies, after which you just need to decide what to hang under the wings and fuselage of this ungainly but beautiful aircraft. You have a choice of gun pods or strakes under the fuselage, which was always fitted with one or the other to keep the airflow from the engines diving under the fuselage too soon, and when the outer pylon is not used, a small cover is fitted instead. Kinetic are usually generous with their weapons, and here you a decent array too, most of which are on two identical sprues, with a few others knocking about on the others. The parts most fitted are as follows: 2 x 190 gallon fuel tank 2 x 100 gallon fuel tank 2 x Aden gun pod There are various other weapons on the sprues that would usually end up in the spares bin, as most training sorties would be flown with either a clean airframe, or with extra tankage as required. The trainer is technically combat capable however, so can carry other munitions should the need arise. Typically, this seems to consist mainly of Sidewinders of rocket pods depending on training requirements. Markings The decal sheet is A4 sized, and printed by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt/gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Design was carried out by CrossDelta, and includes a host of stencils that are covered on a separate page, plus ten options for different airframes and operators. From the box you can build one of the following: Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm T.8, ZD990/721, 899 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton, 2004-2005, RN Fixed Wing Standards Flight to April 2006 – gloss black overall, with black or grey tanks and winged fist on the tail. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, T.8 ZD605/720, 899 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton, 1996 – gloss black overall with outlined winged fist. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm T.8, ZD604/722, 899 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton, 1996 – Gloss black overall, with outlined winged fist. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm T.8, ZD605/718, 899 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton,1985 – Dark sea grey overall, with outlined winged fist. Royal Air Force T.4A, XW265/W 233 OCU RAF Wittering, 1992 – Grey green camo overall. Royal Air Force T.4A, XW266/51 233 OCU RAF Wittering, 1975 – Grey green camo over light grey undersides. Royal Air Force T.4A, XW272/Z IV(AC) Squadron, RAF Güttersloh, 1980 – Grey green camo over light grey undersides. US Marine Corps TAV-8A VMAT-203, MCAS Cherry Point, Late 1970s - Grey green camo over light grey undersides. Armada Española (Spanish Navy) TAV-8S 8a Esquadrilla (8th Squadron), 1988 – gull grey over white. Royal Thai Navy TAV-8S, 301 Squadron late 1990s – Gull grey over white. The intake roundels are sensibly broken into sections with separate parts for each of the blow-in doors to ensure good settlement into the shapes found there. I would have liked to have seen some decals for the instruments, but with a detailed painting guide for that area it's not a major problem, and even if it is, Eduard are bound to be along any moment now with a PE set that will give you all the detail you need. Conclusion We now have a rather nice Trainer Harrier in 1:48, and I for one couldn't be happier. Two of them is better of course, but a modern, detailed model was much needed. How long will tranche two of the mouldings last? Not long, at a guess, so if you're planning on getting one, I wouldn't hang around. I'm also getting the prayer mat out to wish for the composite wing 2-seaters. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of