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Harrier GR.1/GR.3 2-in-1 (K48060)


Mike
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Harrier GR.1/GR.3 2-in-1 (K48060)

1:48 Kinetic via Lucky Model

 

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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-design 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 carbon-composite 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 in the hovering flight mode especially, where the pilot has to control the throttle, direction of the airflow, and also make minor adjustments to its attitude and altitude with the use of puffer jets, even before having to do anything like fight or land.  The original Harrier to reach service at the very end of the 1960s was the GR.1, which still bore a quite striking familial resemblance to the prototype and the earlier Kestrel, having a pointed nose and relatively confined canopy that hadn't yet been ‘blown’ to improve the pilot’s ability to move his head around to gain better situational awareness.  The GR.3 had a more powerful engine, the peculiar looking laser tracker in an extended nose fairing, as well as many sensor, avionics upgrades and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM).  When the GR.3 was transported to the Falklands in 1982 to back up the new Sea Harriers, they were refitted with new pylons that could carry Sidewinder missiles with all the necessary cabling and avionics changes, so that it would be able to replace any SHAR losses if they were to occur, as until that point the Harrier was mainly used in the Ground Attack/Support role in the RAF.  With the re-development of the aircraft into the Harrier II, the anteater nose was phased out and the new composite winged GR.5 with massively improved avionics, engine and other systems took over the mantle.  For the most part, the general public don’t really see them as different machines, and the media’s constant reference to them as “jump jet” makes the corners of eyes twitch for those wot know.

 

 

The Kit

For many years modellers of the Harrier were crying out for a good quality new tooling in this scale, and Kinetic have put a lot of effort and research into making our dreams a reality, firstly with the two Sea Harriers, then the two-seat trainer Harriers in ‘tin-wing’ and later composite winged versions, all of which we have reviewed here in the past year or two.  Once the original metal wing had been tooled, the natural progression was to tool the early Harriers, which was always Kinetic’s stated intention, although we weren’t too sure on the order in which they would arrive.  Kinetic's new kit is a thoroughly modern tooling, benefitting from a lot of extra detail that just wasn't possible back when the older toolings were made. It arrives in the Kinetic Gold box with a rather nice painting of a GR.3 on the front with seven sprues inside in a mid-grey styrene, plus one in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, and a large decal sheet. The instruction booklet is in portrait A4, and the painting and markings diagrams are at the rear in greyscale.  Don’t fret though, as you can pick up colour copies from LuckyModel’s website.

 

Some of the sprues date back to the Sea Harrier FRS.1, with others coming from the trainer Harriers, plus a couple of new sprues including a new fuselage with optional LRMTS (Laser Rangefinder and Marked Target Spotter) nose parts, and of course the early single-seat fuselage.

 

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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, instrument panel, side consoles, rudder pedals and control column also present, along with a two-part HUD that is made completely from clear parts. The Martin-Baker ejection seat is well detailed too, and has two side parts with raised rivets, two seat cushions, a head-box topper, and pull-handle between the pilot's knees for emergency exits, plus the tube housing the rocket motor in the rear. 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, into which the engine front face is inserted, which has the prototypical ring toward the outer edge of the blades. The single main gear bay is built up from two sides to maximise the moulded-in detail, and the rear air-brake bay is a combination of four parts 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 are built up, along a 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 Harrier after building, or simply glue it at the desired angle.

 

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The exhaust nozzles are very nicely done, with lots of moulded in detail thanks to some slide moulding, leaving only a fine seam down the centreline to scrape away before they can be installed on the previously mentioned stubs, with the ribbed heat-resistant panel behind the aft "hot" nozzles.  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 flight, or "drooped" upper doors when the engine is inactive. There are some slight sink marks present in the door parts, so check yours and fill the depressions where necessary before you install them.  The wing upper surface is full width, with the top surface of the fuselage moulded in, with the detail well done that captures the curve nicely - there are two in the box, so ensure that you choose the right one.  The lower wings are added before the assembly is placed on the fuselage, as are the flaps and ailerons with their actuator fairings, PE wing fences in the leading edge, and clear wingtip lights.  The tail is completely separate, with single parts making up the elevators with separate swash-plates, and a two-part fin with separate rudder, all of which fit into the fuselage in the usual slot and tab manner, taking care to get the correct anhedral to the elevators.

 

The bicycle landing gear has tyres made from two halves that enclose a single piece hub, with one wheel at the front, and a twin set at the rear, with a couple of clear landing lights on the nose leg.  The bay doors are supplied with moulded in hinges, so should have a good solid attachment to the bay sides, and detail is again good.  The two outriggers are each single parts, and have detailed painting instructions next to them, which seems to be the case throughout the instructions, happily.  The nose has either the tapered cone nose with clear lights and pitot probe fitted, or the extended LRMTS with clear lights, moulded-in pitot and a PE panel with blade antenna on the top for one specific decal option.  There’s no clear option for an open “eye” for the tip of the nose, so if you’re going for that look, you’ll need to snip the tip and put some clear plastic in the hole and maybe some eyelids.  At the rear the tail faring is fitted with an insert on the underside, and a choice or curved or contoured tip, depending on your decal option.  There are a host of antennae and sensors around the airframe, some of which are optional depending on the decal variant, so take care when applying them.  The end result is a Harrier that fairly bristles with antennae! 

 

The canopy has been moulded without slide-moulding, as it doesn't have the characteristic blown-style of later marks, so there's no annoying seam on the centreline.  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, and don’t forget to apply the decal for the det-cord canopy breaker early on. The windscreen is similarly well moulded with a raised windscreen wiper, and also has some nice delicate rivets, plus the asymmetric fairing at the front that houses the wiper gear.  On the lower boat-tail fairing, there is a part in PE that can be applied if you are going to use your own decals, but it isn’t used with the supplied airframes.  Nice of Kinetic to think of us, and do check your references.

 

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 pylons are included, with additional detail in the shape of separate shackles that fit into the bottom of each one, plus the 30mm Aden cannon pods that are synonymous with the mighty Harrier slung under the belly, and a pair of strakes (D22) on the sprues just in case. In addition are the following weapons for you to choose from:

 

6 x AIM-9 Sidewinder A2A missiles

2 x Drop Tanks (Large)

2 x Drop Tanks (Small)

 

Plus these items that will end up in the spares:

 

4 x AIM120 AMRAAM Beyond Visual Range (BVR) A2A missiles

2 x Sea Eagle Anti-Ship Missile (ASM)

 

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A full complement of stencils is included for the supplied munitions, with their placement given on the markings section at the rear of the booklet.

 

Markings

Kinetic have included a generous seven sets of markings in the kit, and from the box you can depict one of the following:

 

  • Harrier GR.1 XV788/M – 1(F) Sqn., RAF Wittering, 1970
  • Harrier GR.1A XV788/M – 1(F) Sqn., RAF Wittering, 1970
  • Harrier GR.3 XV795/05 “The Intruder” – 1(F) Sqn. Belize City Airport, Belize, 1975 (LMTRS not fitted)
  • Harrier GR.3 XV787/02 “Hot to Trot” – 1(F) Sqn. Belize City Airport, Belize, 1975 (LMTRS not fitted)
  • Harrier GR.3 XV760/F -233 OCU, RAF Wittering, 1977
  • Harrier GR.3 XZ997/31 -1(F) Sqn., Operation Corporate, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • Harrier GR.3 XZ997/V IV(AC) Sqn., RAF Gütersloh, West Germany, 1992

 

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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 the first generation of this superb and gleatly missed aircraft.  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 shy of exercising our skills. Plus, Kinetic's designers have kept these to a pleasant minimum to keep us happy.

 

Extremely highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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30 minutes ago, Mike said:

Isn't it? I could live with a print of it :)

Me too - reminds me of a poster I had on my wall as a kid back when Harriers were the coolest thing in the air

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11 minutes ago, cmatthewbacon said:

It does look very like Adam Tooby’s work... is there any sign of a credit on box or instruction leaflet?

best,

M.

I thought the very same thing, actually :hmmm:That said, I've not had the common sense to actually look to see if there's a signature on the box :doh:

 

EDIT: Nope, doesn't seem to be any obvious attribution on the box.

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 Looking at those images a couple of thoughts come to mind.

 

The only stores that are going to be of use are the small drop tanks, the large drop tanks (rarely seen), the Sidewinders and the solitary 1,000lb bomb.  The Marta pods are of no value; one set, with three rows of projectiles, are not relevant to RAF Harriers.  The other set (also) depict a manufacturer’s trade show display with the foreparts of the projectiles protruding from their tubes, they should be fully enclosed in the tubes with frangible covers flush with the contours of the conical pod nose.

 

Early Harrier GR. 3s were externally almost identical to the GR. 1s; the mark of engine fitted determined the mark of Harrier, not whether the jet had LRMTS (Laser Ranger and Marked Target Seeker) and RWR fitted.  There was a thread on the forum covering visible differences, most of which centred around the intakes and vents on the engine access doors if I remember correctly.

 

There’s been discussion recently about the (lack of) provision of the LRMTS “window” in the nose.  The response from those who know is that the eyelids covering this would only be open if the laser was in use, being tested, removed or installed.  The only other transparency in the nose area is the window for the sideways looking strike/reconnaissance camera on the port side.  The forward RCV vent is located below the nose and, obviously, should not be glazed; there’s a ribbed sliding door just inside the opening.

 

It would have been nice for Kinetic to have included the type-specific reconnaissance pod for the IV(AC) Squadron option, but I’d rather have a kit with no pod than no kit at all.  Maybe either Alley Cat or Aerocraft will oblige.

 

The date given for the second 1(F) Squadron GR. 1 is too early, the toned down red and blue roundels didn’t start appearing until around 1973-‘74.

 

The tube on the back of the seat between the rails is the ejection gun, the rocket motor that gives the Mk, 9 seat, among others , its zero-zero capability is a series of tubes located below the seat pan with, if memory serves, an exhaust either side of the base of the gun.  I think that the rocket tubes are white whereas the gun is black or Dark Admiralty Grey.  For practical modelling purposes the rocket is completely hidden from view.  The Mk. 9 seat was one of the first to have only the seat pan firing handle, so Kinetic are correct n only providing the one. 

 

It’s nice to see the transfers for the fuselage roundels segmented to accommodate the blow-in doors; hopefully no more faffing about trying to cut along the door edges and failing to get a neat result.

 

This is a kit that I’ve been really looking forward to, having already acquired two of the 2-seaters (one with and one without LRMTS and with early and later markings).

Edited by stever219
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The Metro Hobbies website  -  https://www.metrohobbies.com.au/products/kinetic-48072-1-48-av-8a-harrier-usmc-plastic-model-kit  -  has sprue shots for the AV-8A which is due to follow very soon and looks like exactly the same parts as the GR.1/3 including the weaponry that I think dates back to Kinetic's FA.2 kit , very full decal sheet though.

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They're lovely looking kits which I pre-bagged ahead of my massive stash let-go (2/3rds of my aircraft). I've no idea when or even if I might get round to building them (reason behind my stash dump) but who knows. They look fantastic though, the review above was spot on.

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1 hour ago, Nocoolname said:

They're lovely looking kits which I pre-bagged ahead of my massive stash let-go (2/3rds of my aircraft). I've no idea when or even if I might get round to building them (reason behind my stash dump) but who knows. They look fantastic though, the review above was spot on.

That said... they probably wouldn't be harmed by the addition of some aftermarket parts, such as... Quinta Studio cockpit? Resin wheels, bays, nozzles, seat, engine and weapons? A load of PE? A brass pitot? Some more decals such as for the Transatlantic Air Race Harrier? Plus any other stuff?

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I suspect that the weapons fit sprues are multi-functional, Steve. It makes economic sense to produce one sprue with parts for several kits rather than multiple kit specific items. It’s been a long time coming and will look excellent displayed alongside Lightnings and bricks.

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1 hour ago, avro683 said:

I suspect that the weapons fit sprues are multi-functional, Steve. It makes economic sense to produce one sprue with parts for several kits rather than multiple kit specific items. It’s been a long time coming and will look excellent displayed alongside Lightnings and bricks.

Agreed Tony, but there’s a lot of “wasted” plastic in this kit, for example a complete wing set, which could have been avoided with some smarter mould design when the Sea Harrier was first conceived.  The Matra/SNEB pods though really do appear to be the result of poor research or communication.  I’m a bit fortunate in that I’ve got some Airfix Jaguars, Harriers, Canberras and Tornados that I can rob of some 1,000 lb bombs and SNEB pods (if I can find them in the Loft of Doom or, failing that I can just leave some of the pylons empty.

 

I still can’t wait to get my sticky mitts on a couple of these kits, re. our discussion earlier I rather fancy No. 1 (F) Squadron’s XV787 in wrap-around camouflage but with Light Aircraft Grey gun pods and no LRMTS or RWR.

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4 hours ago, stever219 said:

Agreed Tony, but there’s a lot of “wasted” plastic in this kit, for example a complete wing set, which could have been avoided with some smarter mould design when the Sea Harrier was first conceived.  The Matra/SNEB pods though really do appear to be the result of poor research or communication.  I’m a bit fortunate in that I’ve got some Airfix Jaguars, Harriers, Canberras and Tornados that I can rob of some 1,000 lb bombs and SNEB pods (if I can find them in the Loft of Doom or, failing that I can just leave some of the pylons empty.

 

I still can’t wait to get my sticky mitts on a couple of these kits, re. our discussion earlier I rather fancy No. 1 (F) Squadron’s XV787 in wrap-around camouflage but with Light Aircraft Grey gun pods and no LRMTS or RWR.

I thought that as well at first but then I noticed that the engine cover, separated on some kits, has been moulded as part of the wing. If some nice aftermarket company produced an engine the cover could be hacked off (very carefully 🙂) to enable said power unit to be seen in all its glory. The second wing gives the builder some security if they make a Horlicks during the the cutting process. Alternatively of course the Sea Harrier wing could be left out of the box completely.

Edited by avro683
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On 11/5/2020 at 1:15 AM, stever219 said:

The Marta pods are of no value; one set, with three rows of projectiles, are not relevant to RAF Harriers.  The other set (also) depict a manufacturer’s trade show display with the foreparts of the projectiles protruding from their tubes, they should be fully enclosed in the tubes with frangible covers flush with the contours of the conical pod nose.

That issue stuck out to me also! 

 

I agree though, looks like a very nice model of the Harrier. One for the wish list.

 

Terry

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On 11/14/2020 at 12:01 PM, Terry1954 said:

That issue stuck out to me also! 

 

I agree though, looks like a very nice model of the Harrier. One for the wish list.

 

Terry

There are two different types of pods supplied in the kit, there are two M155 Matra pods (18 tube SNEB rockets) and two Royal Navy No7 rocket pods (36 tube 2" rockets) The first would be correct for normal RAF operations, the second for RAF Harrier operations in the Falklands as the M155/SNEB was not suitable for carrier operations.  Unfortunately the noses of both types of pod are completly wrong showing the rockets projecting from the tubes. In real life the rockets could not be seen. you could try drilling out the noses from behind but how successful that would be I dont know.

 

Selwyn

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  • 2 months later...
On 05/11/2020 at 16:29, Des said:

The Metro Hobbies website  -  https://www.metrohobbies.com.au/products/kinetic-48072-1-48-av-8a-harrier-usmc-plastic-model-kit  -  has sprue shots for the AV-8A which is due to follow very soon and looks like exactly the same parts as the GR.1/3 including the weaponry that I think dates back to Kinetic's FA.2 kit , very full decal sheet though.

Correct, I have the AV-8A boxed kit and actually building an Operation Corporate GR3 from the parts.  It is even possible to add the ALE-40 ejector behind the air brake with a bit of fettling, using part D-28 which is actually meant for a SHAR.  Once complete, whichever variant you build, there will be lots of parts left on the sprues.  The instructions for building the GR3 I got elsewhere as a photocopy.

 

ColinA

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