Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Mike

Sea Harrier FA.2 1:48

Recommended Posts

Sea Harrier FA.2
1:48 Kinetic


boxtop.jpg


The Sea Harrier FRS.1 was first used in the Falklands War in 1982, dispelling any doubt as to its effectiveness, and gaining a reputation as a formidable opponent. Ten years later a new and improved version in the shape of the FA.2 was rolled out, that had a number of systems upgraded to widen its weapons capabilities, more powerful engine, and a fuselage plug that extended the available internal space to accommodate the additional equipment. The most important addition was the Blue Vixen Radar, considered by her crews to be far superior to anything around at the time.

The Shar2 as it was sometimes known went on to take part in Bosnia, as well as the Gulf, but was retired prematurely in 2006, citing the lack of commonality of parts between it and the GR.7/9s in service with the RAF at the time. Further budget cuts saw the rest of the Harrier fleet retired soon after, and sold as "spares" to the US for a pittance, leaving the UK without a carrier force, and later without a carrier until the Queen Elizabeth and F-35 come on stream sometime in the future.

The Kit
We've been poorly-served for Shar kits in 1:48, having only the ageing FA.2 kit from Airfix, which although broadly accepted to be good enough in outline is lacking in detail, needing quite a lot of work to build a modern looking model. Kinetic's new kit is a thoroughly modern tooling, benefitting on first look from a lot of extra detail that just wasn't doable back then. It arrives in the familiar blue Kinetic box with a painting of a Shar2 on the front, and various reference photos on the sides. A look through the box shows seven sprues in a mid-grey styrene, plus one in clear, a tiny fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, and a large decal sheet. The instruction booklet appears to be portrait A4, but is landscape within, so be prepared for a 90o twist, or a stiff neck once you open it. The painting and markings diagrams are at the rear in greyscale.

sprue1.jpg

sprue2.jpg

sprue3.jpg

sprue4.jpg

sprue5.jpg


A quick comparison between the old Airfix kit shows the differences, although the fuselage is almost a carbon copy, but with a LOT more detail, and a different approach to installing the wings. I'm not implying plagiarism, merely a great deal of correspondence between the two kits, which is probably due to having been tooled from similar data-points. The fuselage plug has been correctly rendered as a step in the skin, as the FA.2s were just extended FRS.1s that were rebuilt to zero hours in batches. If you're wanting a new FRS.1, you might be interested to know that there are cut-lines engraved into the inner fuselage that mate up with the insert, so you just never know! The upper wing on the new kit is a single part, and has the extended tip of the FA.2, larger out-rigger fairing and the leading-edge kink between the two wing fences that's not present on the Airfix kit. The radome is also slightly shorter, and looks better when compared to photos, but you'll have to mask and paint the lighter grey tip freehand, as there is no panel line present this time around. The moulding shows evidence of a slight flaring of the edges where the two halves of the tooling come together, but these will be quick to succumb to the edge of a scalpel blade, although this will slow down construction a little as a result. There are also a few sink marks around, and a few of those will need attention as they are on visible surfaces, and there are also the innevitable ejector pin marks, although these have been kept to a necessary few through sensible design.

detail-cockpit.jpg

detail-nosebay.jpg

detail-fuselage1.jpg

detail-fuselage2.jpg


It's no surprise that construction begins with the cockpit, and there is plenty of detail packed into this small space. The tub has moulded in side consoles with plenty of raised details, and you have a choice of instrument panels, with one of two MFDs, although it's not made clear when you would use them. Separate rudder pedals and control column are also present, along with a two-part HUD that is made completely from clear parts. The Martin-Baker Mk.10H ejection seat is well detailed too, and has a central cushion that is flanked by side parts with raised rivets, a head-box topper, and pull-handle for between the pilot's knees for emergency exits, the tube housing the rocket motor for which is also depicted. The pilot sits right in front of the engine, and the rear bulkhead with moulded in detail attaches to the combined intake trunking/nose gear bay. The intake narrows to a circular profile via a short lip, and it appears that Kinetic's instruction guy has missed the part number (C3) off the separate engine front face, which has the prototypical ring toward the outer edge of the blades. It includes enough detail to fool the eye into believing there is an engine in there, which should satisfy all but the torch equipped viewer. The single main gear bay is built up from individual sides to maximise the moulded-in detail, and the rear air-brake bay is a single part with the thick ribbing moulded in to allow the brake to be posed open or closed, with the aid of a separate jack. These are placed inside the fuselage, which can be closed up after the stubs for the four vectoring nozzles is built up, along with its control linkage that ensures all nozzles move in unison. You'll need to be frugal with the glue here if you want to be able to VIFF your Shar after building, or simply use it to effect the desired angle before gluing them in place.

detail-intakes.jpg

detail-exhausts.jpg


At this point the intake lips with their blow-in doors are built up from an inner and outer skin, and a choice of closed doors for forward flight, or "drooped" upper doors when the engine is inactive. There are some sink marks present in the door part, so check yours and fill the depressions where necessary before you install them. Moving back, the nozzles are exceptionally nicely done, with lots of moulded in detail thanks to some clever slide moulding, leaving only a fine seam down the centreline to scrape away before they can be installed on the previously mentioned stubs. Three scrap diagrams show the correct orientation for three flight modes, in the form of horizontal flight or "cruise", Short Take-Off or landing (STOL), and of course vertical Take-Off or Landing (VTOL). The plates behind the hot nozzles are installed next, after which the wing is attached to the top slot that closes up the fuselage. As previously mentioned, the wing upper surface is full width, with the top surface of the fuselage moulded in, and the detail here is very well done, and captures the curve nicely. The lower wings are added before the assembly is placed on the fuselage, which manages to leave the modeller with three relatively short seams to deal with, but test fitting will of course make this task easier. At this stage the turtle-deck behind the pilot's seat is added, with the canopy built up later in the process, made up from separate windscreen and canopy parts.

Attention turns to the underside with the nose and main gear bays having their legs and doors added. The tyres are made of two halves that enclose a single piece hub, which follows suit with many other Kinetic kits. The bay doors are supplied with moulded in hinges, so should have a good solid attachment to the bay sides, and detail is again very good. You can pose the doors closed with little effort according to the instructions, but I suspect that the hinges will have to be removed. There are a host of antennae and sensors around the airframe, some of which require holes to be drilled in the fuselage in order to fit, and this extends round to the upper sides of the aircraft, making for a Shar that fairly bristles with them!

detail-wings.jpg

detail-outriggers.jpg


The rudder and main flying surfaces are shown as being assembled last for some reason, and these of course can be posed at your whim, but some suggestions for the aforementioned flight types would have been helpful. Check your references to decide whether you should use the extended or retracted flap parts for your particular aircraft in the pose that you have in mind. Speaking of flight-envelopes, there appears to be a little "gotcha" waiting for you with the outrigger wheels if you are planning on posing your Sea Harrier in flight. The instructions deal only with the single part outrigger wheels that are deployed, and although they are nicely moulded, with plenty of detail, they have two flaws. The first is easily remedied with a little filler, in the shape of a slight sink mark on the lower spats where the plastic is thickest. The second is not quite so easily fixed, because there are no parts in the kit that can be used without alteration to depict the wheels retracted into their housings for forward flight. In order to retract them, you will have to cut off some of the legs, and detach the leading edge cover, re-assembling them remains into the bay. It's not an impossible task, but one that could have been avoided. That's unless I've missed something along the way, and I'm sometimes easily confused! The fixed refuelling probe attaches to the port intake, and the canopy is well moulded, with a det-cord that breaks the canopy before ejection in relief on the inner face. The canopy has been moulded without slide-moulding, as it doesn't have the characteristic blown-style of later marks, which means that there's no annoying seam on the centreline, although one is depicted in the instructions! It fits on a separate rail part that some people seem to loathe, but as long as you're careful of your choice as well as quantity of glue, it should go together just fine. The windscreen is similarly well moulded with a raised windscreen wiper that might cause some consternation during the masking process, but it also has some nice delicate rivets, and the asymmetric fairing at the front that houses the wiper gear.

clear.jpg

Weapons & Fuel
No Harrier (or modern fast jet, for that matter) is complete without some additional tanks to extend its range, and/or some kind of war load, and Kinetic have been their usual generous selves as far as this kit is concerned. A full set of slightly bland pylons are included, with additional detail in the shape of separate shackles that fit into the bottom of each one, plus either a pair of belly strakes, or the 30mm Aden cannon pods that are synonymous with the mighty Harrier slung under the belly in their place. In addition are the following weapons for you to choose from:

6 x AIM-9 Sidewinder A2A missiles
4 x AIM120 AMRAAM Beyond Visual Range (BVR) A2A missiles
2 x Sea Eagle Anti-Ship Missile (ASM)
2 x Drop Tanks (Large)
2 x Drop Tanks (Small)

The adaptor rails and twin Sidewinder palettes are also included, so consult your references to come up with a likely load out for your Shar. A full complement of stencils is included for the supplied munitions, with their placement given on the stencils page that precedes the markings section at the rear of the booklet.

Markings
Kinetic have included three sets of markings in the kit, with one additional point. The third set of markings for the disbandment markings worn at the Yeovilton display allows you to portray them all, which is a handy option. All the aircraft codes and their respective squadrons are described with the aid of tables that relate to the scrap diagrams on the last two pages. From the box you can depict one of the following:

  • ZD613 "Satan 1" in Decommissioning scheme of 800 Squadron, Royal Navy, March 2004 – all-over Medium Sea Grey with red upper wings, tails and tail fin.
  • ZH809 Celebrating 25 years of Sea Harrier (since 1979) 899 Squdron Royal Navy Yeovilton, Oct 2004 – Royal Blue over White with FLY NAVY under the wings.
  • 800, 801 or 899 Squadron Disbandment aircraft Yeovilton 2004, and last HMS Illustrious Detachment, Nov 2005 – all over Medium Sea Grey.

decals.jpg

The decals have been designed by Crossdelta for Kinetic and printed by Cartograf, so quality isn't an issue. Register, sharpness and colour density are excellent, with all but the smallest weapons stencils legible with the aid of magnification.

Conclusion
A thoroughly modern tooling of this superb and much missed aircraft. With the exception of the out-rigger wheels, everything is there to make a good replica of the Shar in its final guise. There are a couple of sink marks, some ejector pin marks to fill, and some seam lines to scrape, but we're modellers so we shouldn't be too frightened of exercising our skills. Plus, Kinetic's designers have kept these to a pleasant minimum to keep us happy.

Am I being optimistic in hoping that those cut-lines inside the fuselage halves will mean we also get an FRS.1 to complement the FA.2 on our shelves? I do hope so.

Extremely highly recommended.

bin.jpg

Review sample courtesy of

luckylogo.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have started a discussion on the merits and demerits of the kit here, which we could hopefully build into a reference thread to super-detailing your Shar2. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks a really nice kit, I resisted the urge to pre order for Lucky model until I'd seen a review, but now I instantly regret that!

It's been mentioned before but the airbrake is the longer GR style. Also I believe they have the whole family of first gen harriers planned, or at least that was what was stated when this one was announced! The IP with only one MFHD is for the FRS1....

Great review boss!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

need it want it must have it.

My sentiments entirely. I might have to get more than one, actually :crying:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick question, does it come in the thin end opening box (like the F-5's and Alpha Jet) or the larger top opening box of the F-16's and Mirage's?

thanks

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick question, does it come in the thin end opening box (like the F-5's and Alpha Jet) or the larger top opening box of the F-16's and Mirage's?

thanks

Mike

The opening top of the Mirage/F-16

Stephen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The one time I forget to mention whether it was a top-opener, and someone needed to know! :doh::lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having seen this he other day its a great kit.

I really hope they do an FRS.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aaand another "must have " to add to the list.. this is not getting any better over the last months! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening top of the Mirage/F-16

Stephen

Ta!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have started a discussion on the merits and demerits of the kit here, which we could hopefully build into a reference thread to super-detailing your Shar2. :)

Does Shar 2 mind being super detailed ? LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends who it's by Terry. :D Preferably someone at least 5ft 9" and female. :bouncy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being an ex-navy man I am sure he has been "detailed" before :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends who it's by Terry. :D Preferably someone at least 5ft 9" and female. :bouncy:

Not that he's picky of course :rolleyes:

Seriously though - Shar2 used to work on these, hence his forum name. He's quite well versed in their shenanigans as a result :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just received my two kits through the post. What a beauty !…..easily Kinetic's best so far…..I thought they had upped their game with the Fouga Magister but this is even nicer. They seem to have overcome their fascination with large (huge !) ejector pins and everything looks very crisply moulded. I've only got as far as test fitting the fuselage halves and mainplane, and whilst it may not quite be up to Tamiya's standard for fit its very good all the same. I really like the slide moulded exhausts too…..no need for aftermarket here. I feel sure there are one or two areas that are not 100% accurate according to the Harrier experts but it looks good to me. All in all, looks very promising and wholeheartedly agree with Mike's review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MJW Models came up trumps with my copy of this kit yesterday - ah, hold on it's Sunday now, Friday. Anyroads, nice kit but still room for improvements. Had a quick rummage around in the box and the only two minor moans I can make are the lack of cockpit sidewall detail and what should be prominent weld detail on the exhaust nozzles is represented by engraved lines. Then again the closest we've had 'til now was the Airfix or ancient Tamiya kits so this is indeed a great leap forward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mike.

I'll wait for the FRS.1 as I've absolutely no interest in the .2.

I only hope they'll add some bombs on another sprue instead of AMRAAM (not cleared for used in the .1, am I right? A bit too much for the 50km range Blue fox).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mike.

I'll wait for the FRS.1 as I've absolutely no interest in the .2.

I only hope they'll add some bombs on another sprue instead of AMRAAM (not cleared for used in the .1, am I right? A bit too much for the 50km range Blue fox).

I am waiting for the 1 also, as no interest in the 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked one of these up second hand yesterday. Having seen what's in the box it's a shame I couldn't buy a couple as both the schemes are tempting. Belated thanks for the review Mike, I'll hop over to your reference thread now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×