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Paul A H

Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1 - 1:72 Airfix

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Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1

1:72 Airfix


harriergr1boxtop.jpg


The Hawker Siddeley Harrier is without a doubt one of the most famous aircraft to emerge from the post-war British aviation industry. Such was the leap in capability that it provided when it entered service in the late 1960s, it also became one of only a handful of post-war British aircraft to be used by the armed forces of the United States of America. The origins of the aircraft can be traced back to Air Staff Requirement 345, which called for a V/STOL aircraft for the Royal Air Force. Hawker Siddeley's proposal, penned by Sir Sydney Camm, utilised an innovative system of vectored thrust provided by a Bristol Siddeley Pegasus engine rather than separate lift jets or fans.

The resulting design survived the political upheavals of the time, including the cancellation of the supersonic P.1154 version, and entered service with the RAF on 18 April 1969. Once in service, many Harrier GR.1 squadrons were deployed to West Germany, close to the presumed front line in the event of the Cold War turning hot. Before long, the GR.1s already in service with the RAF were converted to GR.3 standard by the addition of a laser tracker in an elongated nose, ECM equipment and the uprated Pegasus Mk.103 engine. The first generation of Harriers were eventually replaced by a substantially redesigned version, developed in partnership with McDonnell Douglas. The Harrier GR.5, as it was designated, featured a larger wing and extensive use of composites throughout the airframe.

If anyone has speculated three or four years ago that Airfix would produce an all-new state of the art kit of the Harrier GR.1 in 1:72 scale, they would have been commended for their sense of optimism at best. That wish is now a reality though, as the first incarnation of this cold war warrior is now here. Inside the bright red top-opening box, which is adorned with the kind of excellent artwork that has come to typify the latest generation of releases from Airfix, are 89 parts spread across four sprues of light grey plastic and one small clear sprue. The mouldings are very nice indeed, with plenty of crisp, sharp detail. From looking at the major components of the airframe, I think it's now fair to say that Airfixs much discussed panel lines have pretty much reached the standard achieved by other leading manufacturers.

harriergr1sprue1.jpg


harriergr1sprue2.jpg


Having dispensed with the mandatory bit about panel lines, we can breathe a sigh of relief and take an in-depth look at the kit. The cockpit is comprised of a two-part tub, a four-part Martin Baker Mk.9 ejector seat, a control column, instrument panel and gun sight/HUD. Decals are provided for the cockpit instruments as the instrument panel and side consoles are devoid of raised detail. This is in contrast to the fuselage sidewalls, which feature nice, raised details. The cockpit fits inside the fuselage just ahead of a sub-assembly which combines the engine intake trunking and the nose gear bay. The large turbine blade for the Pegasus engine is moulded as a separate part, and very nice it looks too. The nose gear bay is really well detailed, and thanks to some clever moulding from Airfix, are not ruined by difficult to clean up ejector pin marks. The main gear and airbrake bays are moulded as a single part and are also nicely detailed.

harriergr1sprue3.jpg


harriergr1sprue4.jpg


Once the interior details have been assembled and painted, the fuselage halves can be joined. The horizontal tail is next. These won't take long to fit as the port and starboard sides are joined in the middle, meaning they just have to be trapped in place by a small plug. The vertical tail is moulded separately, presumably to make it easier to use the same sprues for the forthcoming GR.3 kit. The wings are comprised of a single upper span and separate port and starboard lower spans. The flaps and ailerons are moulded in place, albeit as part of the lower wing.

Turning to the engine intakes, two types of auxiliary intake doors are provided fully closed for in-flight and dropped for on the ground. As with the Sea Harrier kits, the jet exhaust nozzles are moulded in two parts; although this time they are split just ahead of the exhaust nozzles themselves, which will make clean up much easier. Nevertheless, I imagine one of the aftermarket producers will produce some seamless resin replacements for these parts before too long. The undercarriage parts are particularly nicely moulded, with the tyres all featuring bulges and flat spots. Seperate outriggers are provided in case you wish to finish the model with the wheels up.

harriergr1sprue5.jpg


harriergr1sprue6.jpg


harriergr1sprue7.jpg


A reasonable selection of ordnance is included, comprised of four pylons, a pair of drop tanks, a pair of Matra rocket pods and a pair of 30mm ADEN cannon pods. The clear parts are pretty good, although there is a little bit of distortion visible through the main part of the canopy.

Two options are provided for colours and markings:
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1 XV748, No.1 (F) Squadron, Royal Air Force, England, September 1970; and
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1 XV785, No.20 ® Squadron, Royal Air Force, Germany, June 1971; and
The decals, advertised on the side of the box as being printed by Cartograf, look excellent and include an extensive range of stencils.

harriergr1decals.jpg


Conclusion

The resurgent Airfix have really started to shift into top gear with their latest batch of releases, and this new Harrier continues that direction of travel. An outstanding level of detail has been included, and the quality of moulding looks great. The decal sheet deserves a special mention as it is superbly comprehensive. This kit should build up into an excellent model and it deserves to do well for Airfix. Highly recommended.




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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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One to add to my wishlist, definitely! How we're the instructions, BTW? Colour paint guide?

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I've been excitedly waiting for this review. But bought it anyway because I figured I probably would whatever the review said! It does look great to me, but I'm no expert! Look forward to building her up, I'm sure we'll start to see loads of great builds of GR.1's appear in the coming weeks!

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Got this yesterday and I agree with Paul, its a cracking kit.

I can confirm the instructions are up to the now usual high standard and do include colour guides.

Julien

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As per Julien's reply, the instructions are fine and the painting diagrams are in colour. I'm building mine at the moment and am very much enjoying myself :)

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Great Review of what looks like a great kit. Can't wait for one.

It's on my next order from Airfix. (Airfix kits seem to take ages to get to this side of the world. Maybe your cricket team could bring some with them to give us at least something to be cheerful about. The Vampire is still in rare supply in LHS's.)

Not wishing to "bowl under arm" but I think the large part of the engine seen from the intake area is the "Low Pressure Compressor Blades", with the "exhausts" much further back inside the engine. But I will accept the decision of the "review Umpire(s)".

Thanks for the review.

Lindsay L

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Great Review of what looks like a great kit. Can't wait for one.

It's on my next order from Airfix. (Airfix kits seem to take ages to get to this side of the world. Maybe your cricket team could bring some with them to give us at least something to be cheerful about. The Vampire is still in rare supply in LHS's.)

L

Lindsay, PM sent about trying Hattons of Liverpool for all new Airfix kits.. Great service.

Cheers.. Dave.

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Just got mine last night and agree it is a nice kit. I was amused at the instructions in section 6. Take a close look at the pilots face! Clearly has a smile and is wearing glasses! Is it a caricature of an Airfix employee???

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Time to sell my hasegawa kit?

No. Build it and use it as a paint mule. Keep the decals for the AV-8A which you know you're going to build from the Airfix kit... :wicked:

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Oh, dear... bad news for those ESCI hoarders. :rofl:

Not really, you wouldn't thinkthere was 30 years difference between the kits other than the cockpit

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I've got one of the ESCI AV-8A kits tucked away. Might dig it out and compare and may even build it alongside. Unless of course....

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Just got mine last night and agree it is a nice kit. I was amused at the instructions in section 6. Take a close look at the pilots face! Clearly has a smile and is wearing glasses! Is it a caricature of an Airfix employee???

I spotted that too, it's in the GR9 instructions too, guess it must be an 'In joke'

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This looks seriously good. I keep buying these new Airfix releases, and I'm not really a 1:72nd modeller. I guess there's a bit of nostalgia in there, as I bought and built the Gnat straight away without it getting stashed, and the Harrier GR.1 is a similarly nostalgic kit. If I see one in the shop It'll probably be leaving with me!

As for the Lightning when that comes out.......

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I have just brought two of these and I have to say I was impressed with both the moulding and the detail, just hope that when completed it is accurate, not that this means much to me as I am from the "if it looks right it is right" brigade, but will get aggravated by the rivet counters who spend ages telling you why the kit is not correct.and therefore a bad kit!!!!.

I especially like the three separate air intake door positions, fully closed, open or half and half, nice touch Airfix. Can't wait for the new GR.3 later in the year.

Doug S.

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Hi Paul,

nice review :clap: and I may just break away from my 1:144 themes to get this one.

We have a GR.1 at the helicopter museum :shrug: It was XV798 and was used as a static test-bed for a proposed supersonic Harrier - see image below.

I may just have to build that; or do a "what if" based on that!!

cheers

Mike

Look at the size of that new nozzle!

XV798_Harrier%20-%2004_resized.jpg

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I have said that i would wait until i move house (currently waiting for move date) until i get this kit but i might just have to order it anyway.

Can't wait to see the first completed builds of these appear on here....shouldn't be long.

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I must admit, this is one of the best Airfix kits I have ever seen !!!!

Job well done Airfix!!!!!!

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Hi Paul,

nice review :clap: and I may just break away from my 1:144 themes to get this one.

We have a GR.1 at the helicopter museum :shrug: It was XV798 and was used as a static test-bed for a proposed supersonic Harrier - see image below.

I may just have to build that; or do a "what if" based on that!!

cheers

Mike

Look at the size of that new nozzle!

XV798_Harrier%20-%2004_resized.jpg

The "PCB" or Plenum Chamber Burning Pegasus,IIRC.

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Hi Paul,

nice review :clap: and I may just break away from my 1:144 themes to get this one.

We have a GR.1 at the helicopter museum :shrug: It was XV798 and was used as a static test-bed for a proposed supersonic Harrier - see image below.

I may just have to build that; or do a "what if" based on that!!

cheers

Mike

Look at the size of that new nozzle!

XV798_Harrier%20-%2004_resized.jpg

Mike did a walkaround of this one if anyone wants a look?

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/70835-hawker-siddeley-harrier/

Julien

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