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Airfix Sea Harriers FRS.1 and FA.2


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Sadly there are some basic errors in the Airfix instructions, so I hope this helps those of you who are building this kit out a bit and that what follows is not too late for many of you. Following these simple corrections should ensure you get the best from your model.

Building Instructions The changes needed to the colours given in the following stages of the instructions - using Humbrol paint references - are:

1. The seat frame should be Dark Admiralty Grey, use Dark Sea Grey 164 with a small dash of white added.

2. Use the 164 mix for the cockpit tub, instrument panel and control column below the handgrip. The centre of the seat headrest is matt black but its top should be Dark Green 163 like the seat cushions. As the kit's pilot wears WW2 vintage flying gear I won't mention the colours needed there, they are the least of his problems!

3. The colours of parts 2A and 3A depend on the scheme being modelled: for A and B paint them Extra Dark Sea Grey 123 overall, for C use Light Aircraft Grey 166. The same applies to the insides of parts 14B and 15B in stage 8, except that for scheme B, where the white undersides overlap up into the intake by approximately a scale 4 inches (10cm). FRS.1 intake interiors were only ever white on the 809/899NAS aircraft finished in the Medium Sea Grey / Barley Grey scheme in 1982.

4. Brand new heat shields should be a bright steel colour, but they soon tarnish and take on a sooty appearance. Use a base colour of Silver 11 and dry brush Matt Black 33 over them. The same applies to the rear nozzles in stage 6. Regrettably, all that nice detail on part 39B needs cutting back to just above the airbrake bay floor.

10. The inside colour of the airbrake part 38B depends on the chosen colour scheme: A - 123, B - White 130 and C - 164. All undercarriage legs should be Ghost Grey 127 as should the wheel hubs for schemes A and B. For scheme C the wheel hubs are 130. The upper section of part 47B should be 130, the lower is Silver 11. The white airbrake bay stains badly but not the inside of the airbrake. Correcting the undercarriage option drawings:

i) For a parked SHAR with the engine shut down, as would be the case if you've used parts 10B and 11B in stage 8, the main undercarriage doors, parts 16A and 17A, are usually shut; unless ground crew have opened them for maintenance reasons. However, the front u/c doors, parts 18A and 19A should be open. The airbrake will be open in both this and the next option.

ii) For an aircraft in the hover or one on the ground with pilot onboard and the engine running then this second u/c positioning option is fine; the only problem is that all the auxiliary intake doors would be open so you’d have to modify the lower doors on parts 10B and 11B to look like their dropped upper doors.

iii) This is fine for an in-flight SHAR, providing you keep the nozzles back. If you drop the nozzles you'll need all the auxiliary doors fully open.

11. As above for the wheel hub colours, though the inside of these mainwheels contain the brakes so their insides can be liberally weathered for brake dust, while their outer hubs can be liberally weathered for the debris they get coated in when in the hover.

14. AIM-9L bodies should be Ghost Grey 127.

16. The twin Sidewinder mountings should be 164.

19. The column of the yaw vane part 48A should be painted the airframe colour with the rear of the pivoting vane (the larger bit!) Silver 11 and the front 'stick' bit Orange 18.

Note 1: neither of the small black IFF aerials - by the yaw vane and ahead of the Doppler panel - are supplied in the kit. They are shown on the colour decal placement drawings and are easy to add.

Note 2: on the fuselage centre-line just aft of the forward nozzles the two holes are shown for the centre-line pylon, which is missing from the instructions but is provided on Sprue A, Part 28; albeit its top and bottom should be parallel - add some shim to correct this.

Finishing Colours and Markings Notes

The decal options are stunning, with three attractive schemes that depict well the major colour changes during the FRS.1s in-service life. A small error is the colour of the Doppler panel, decal 25, which is way too bright; so, carefully over-paint the yellow with Humbrol 94.

The excellent full-colour colour scheme and decal placement diagrams are very useful. There is one gotcha in them in that all the on the ground profiles show the airbrake closed. Please do not take the shades used in the diagrams as the colours of the actual paint finishes! When making 1:48th scale SHARs I always add a few drops of white 130 into the Extra Dark Sea Grey 123 paint to tone it down a bit for scale effect, otherwise it can look too dark, so recommend you do the same in this scale. Xtracolor's EDSG is even darker than Humbrol's! Note too that decals 41 and 42 are applied to the port side of both tanks, so the scheme's illustrations are correct. Referring to the colour scheme diagrams, use Humbrol 94 also for the lower parts of the outrigger legs, the front part of the fin mounted RWR aerial, the RWR aerial on the tailboom and the two radar altimeter aerials on the ventral fin.

FRS.1 XZ457/14, 899 NAS - Scheme A

The finish and markings given here depict XZ457/14 as she returned to the UK on 21st July 1982 after the Falklands War, rather than as she appeared during the conflict itself in May/June 1982. When she sailed south on HMS Hermes in April 1982, XZ457 was in the Extra Dark Sea Grey and White scheme, as in kit scheme B, coded VL/714 of 899 NAS. The white undersides, the Squadron's fin markings of a black and white winged fist and the ROYAL NAVY lettering on the fin were over-painted EDSG in the early days of the voyage. Photos show that the undersides looked just a bit lighter than the uppersurfaces EDSG; an effect you could try for on your model by adding a touch more white into the EDSG there.

To depict XZ457 as she looked on Hermes during the war itself you'll need to paint the gunpods 123 and not apply decals 90 and 91 to them. You'll also need to remove the kill markings ahead of the ejection seat marking, decal 1 and paint out the white lettering on the seat marking in decal 2, use Humbrol 60.

The writing on each side of the Doppler panel can be removed as these stencils were over-painted EDSG too. The front radar altimeter aerial on the ventral fin should be painted 133. The twin Sidewinder mounting was not carried by XZ457/14, so ignore the note about x4 AIM-9Ls under the Sidewinder decal placement diagram. The pylon adapter shown on all these drawings is the correct earlier type for 1982, so you'll need to modify the kit parts; I'd also recommend using two of the long 'winder rails provided as the shorter ones recommended for the single fit are too short.

The red X on decal 26 should be cut away from the line and placed on the aircraft's centre-line rather than offset to port. On both decal 16s cut the DANGER lettering from the rest of the stencil and remove the white parts ahead of the D and aft of the R. Then apply DANGER and the lower parts of the stencil separated by a thin EDSG line, one peculiarity of this FRS.1's markings. An omission is the thin yellow line carried by this aircraft near its wing tips along the shared panel line between the front of the upper outrigger fairing panel and the wing leading edge panel ahead of and outboard of the upper wing roundel. Remembering that this SHAR only carried 2 Sidewinders, you can use a cut down section of one of the yellow stripes from decal 40 for this. (See the photo below for all these changes.) On its return to the UK, the camera panel, where decal 30 goes, was a medium sea grey (165) replacement.

FRS.1 XZ451/VL/100, 700A SQN - Scheme B

The Sea Harrier Intensive Flying Trials Unit, in my opinion, had probably the most striking scheme worn by any of the early FRS.1 Squadrons: I love the hovering Marsh Harrier centred on the red and white A; the Rolls-Royce badges on the front nozzle fairings are a nice touch.

On this scheme the front nozzles should be painted 123 to match the upper surfaces, as in scheme A. Most photos of this aircraft show it fitted with strakes, parts 29A and 30A, rather than gunpods. If fitting gunpods then don’t use decals 90 and 91 on their sides. Both radar altimeter aerials should be painted 133. Also, with 700A no number was carried inside the airbrake so do not use decal 79. When 700A became 899 Squadron, the Sea Harrier Headquarters Unit and Training Squadron, XZ451 retained the 100 side codes and had a black 0 inside the airbrake, also carrying 899's famous black and white winged fist on the fin. If you're not making an 899 FA.2 then you could use the winged fist markings in that kit to ring the changes.

If fitting Sidewinders with this scheme then note that the versions carried in 1979/1980 were single mounted AIM-9Gs. These differed from AIM-9Ls in that they had white bodies and purely triangular front fins. Making these is a simple modification to the kit's 9Ls, just cut and sand down the front fins. The same modifications are needed for decal 16 for this aircraft.

FRS.1 ZA191/R/004, 801 NAS - Scheme C

The only problem here is that the serial number XZ191 was never carried by any Sea Harrier, oops! This SHAR should carry the serial ZA191. This time the front nozzles should be an unpainted stained metal colour. Photos of SHARs show some marked differences in the shades of these nozzles. A mix of 56 (Aluminium) 163 (Dark Green) with dashes of 33 (matt black) and 113 (rust) is one I've used to good effect.

In 1989 the SHAR fleet, including ZA191, would have carried the larger 190 gallon tanks for 99% of the time they operated rather than the 100 gallon tanks supplied in the kit. 190s are provided by Airfix in their SHAR FA.2 kits but, sadly, not in the FRS.1 kit.

A photo of ZA191 in this scheme - which it carried for some 7 weeks before being lost in a flying accident - shows that its rudder's chequerboard pattern lined up with the trailing edge of the rudder, rather than as depicted in the drawings and decals; a hard one to fix.

Once I have permission from copyright owners, I'll post up three colour photos of the three aircraft.

If you've stayed with me so far, grab another beer and good luck with your SHAR !



Edited by Skii
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Excellent, Nick. Many thanks. Too late for my present build, but it will definitely be used on the next.


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XZ457/14 History

First Flight 15th December 1979, pilot John Farley. On 2nd April 1982, XZ457 arrived on Hermes in the EDSG/White scheme as VL/714 of 899 NAS with the name LT CDR M BROADWATER in white under the starboard windscreen and with the 899 ‘zap’ on its starboard nose. After EDSG over-painting if became black 14 of HMS Hermes’s Air Group.

1st May, XZ457 armed with three Delayed Action 1,000lb bombs it was flown by Lt Andy McHarg, ‘Tartan 3’, for the raid on the airstrip at Goose Green which took place at the same time as the raid on Port Stanley; the return of the SHARs from both raids being immortalised by the BBC reporter, Brian Hanrahan, when he said: “… I counted them all out and I counted them all back.”

21st May, Lt Clive Morrell destroyed A-4Q Skyhawk 0660/3-A-307 of 3 Escuadrilla with an AIM-9L and damaged A-4Q Skyhawk 0665/3-A-312 of 3 Escuadrilla with cannon fire, this A-4Q being lost while attempting an emergency landing; both pilots, Capitan de Corbetta Philipi and Teniente de Navio Arca, ejected safely.

24th May, Lt Cdr Andy Auld destroyed two Daggers C-419 and C-430 of Grupo 6 with two AIM-9Ls; both pilots, Mayor Puga and Capitan Diaz, ejected safely.

By 14th June, XZ457 had flown 66 operational sorties, dropped three 1,000lb bombs, fired six hundred and eighty 30mm cannon rounds and three AIM-9Ls.

On 21st July it returned to Portsmouth on HMS Hermes with the addition of two white Mirage stencils above a white Skyhawk stencil below the cockpit on the port side. Both gun pods were overall Dark Green replacements from a Harrier GR.3. The camera panel on the starboard side was a MSG painted replacement (from ZA194). On 22nd July XZ457/14 was flown back to RNAS Yeovilton. XZ457/14 was the top-scoring SHAR from HMS Hermes.

XZ457 was converted to a Sea Harrier FA.2 in 1993. On 20th October 1995 coded 714 of 899 NAS it caught fire while preparing for take off at Yeovilton. It’s now preserved in the Boscombe Down Aviation Museum as an FA.2 painted in its early 1982 899 NAS colours.

These photographs of XZ457/14 venting fuel en route to Yeovilton on 22nd July 1982 shows the split upper-wing reaction control valve (RCV) warning markings (also applicable to XZ451/100), the yellow line markings near the upper wing roundels, the centre-line position of its ‘no step’ red X and the condition of its over-painted 899 and Royal Navy fin markings. Note too the black areas on the leading edge of the fin. (Photos: Phil Boyden via Dennis Robinson)





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ZA191/R/004 History

First Flight 4th December 1981, pilot Heinz Frick. On 2nd April 1982, ZA191 arrived on Hermes as --/718 of 899 NAS, with no VL base code or 899 badges on its fin just the ROYAL NAVY titles. After EDSG over-painting it became black 18, of Hermes’ Air Group.

1st May, ZA191 armed with three 600lb Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs) it was flown by Lt Cdr Rod Frederiksen, ‘Tartan Leader’, during the raid on the airstrip at Goose Green. Lt Cdr Frederiksen may have been the pilot who destroyed Pucara A-527 of Grupo 3 with one CBU.

9th May, Flt Lt David Morgan strafed the Argentine intelligence trawler Narwal.

16th May, Lt Simon Hargreaves strafed the Argentine supply vessel Bahia Buen Suceso, the aircraft being damaged by AAA in the starboard tailplane. A repair patch was applied, firstly a pale disc but by 19th July a square blue patch.

23rd May, Flt Lt John Leeming, with Flt Lt David Morgan in ZA192/92, strafed Augusta A-109A AE-337 until it crashed.

24th May, Lt Cdr Mike Blissett with Lt Cdr Neill Thomas in XZ496/27 loft-bombed the airfield at Port Stanley with VT 1,000lb bombs in a defence-suppression raid ahead of a low level attack by four Harrier GR.3s.

25th May, Lt Clive Morrell with Lt Cdr Neill Thomas in XZ455/12 loft-bombed Port Stanley airfield ahead of a Harrier attack.

31st May, Lt Clive Morrell flew this aircraft armed with two 1,000lb Paveway Laser Guided Bombs with Harrier GR.3 XZ989/07 flown by Sqn Ldr Peter Harris being used as the target designator. XZ455/12 flown by Lt Andy McHarg and XZ460/26 flown by Lt Cdr Rod Frederiksen accompanied them, both aircraft equipped with 1,000lb bombs. The target on Mount Usbourne was too close to British positions so a target in Port Stanley was selected. The results of the attack are not known, but indications are that it was decided that a Forward Air Controller (FAC) with a designator needed to be in place before the few valuable LGBs available could be used to best effect. This is the only LGB attack undertaken by a SHAR.

By 14th June, ZA191 had flown 71 operational sorties, dropping two LGBs and firing six hundred 30mm cannon rounds, sharing in the destruction of two ships and one helicopter. On 19th July it was flown from Hermes to RNAS Yeovilton before the ship docked at Portsmouth.

It later served with 899 NAS as 712 until 1983, moving to 800 NAS as 123 up to April 1987. It joined 801 NAS on 14th August 1989, coded 004. Less than two months later, on 4th October 1989, ZA191 hit HMS Ark Royal's mast during a flypast damaging the wingtip and RCV. Lt Simmonds-Short ejected safely over Lyme Bay leaving ZA191 to crash into the sea. It had flown for 1,717 hours.

One of the last photos ever taken of ZA191/R/004 shows her with the rest of 801 NAS outbound from RNAS Yeovilton to join HMS Ark Royal in the English Channel on 2nd October 1989. The nearest aircraft is another Falklands veteran ZA176. (Photo: Crown Copyright)




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Thanks for all that info & pics! I've got a Monogram AV-8A/GR.1 and an Airfix SHAR that I'm going to bash together, along with a whole bunch of aftermarket goodies, into a killer replica of XZ457.

I've always had something of a thing for the Falklands conflict, since I remember it so well. I was a an Air Force ROTC cadet going through field training at Plattsburg AFB, New York during most of the conflict. We used to get news updates daily about the goings-on.


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Love those pics of XZ457, haven't seen either of them before :)

This was my effort a few years ago

Nice result Skii, good work. And it also highlights how dark my EDSG has turned out. No, the new Airfix kit doesn't really bring that much more to the table, does it? A good decal sheet and some nice detail touches here and there, but overall it's not any better than the Esci/Italeri kit by the looks of it.


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Nice result Skii, good work. And it also highlights how dark my EDSG has turned out. No, the new Airfix kit doesn't really bring that much more to the table, does it? A good decal sheet and some nice detail touches here and there, but overall it's not any better than the Esci/Italeri kit by the looks of it.


Cheers Jeff, the Esci kit is a cracker but does have its flaws though, wrong seat, shallow cockpit meaning you will need to move the rear of the cockpit back 5mm to accomodate the correct seat, which then causes a weak join between the forward and main fuselage sections, decals aren't great and no MDC in the canopy ( which is forgivable for a 1/72 kit) Panel lines are very fine and laser sharp though !

The EDSG was Xtracrylics which has a nice glossy sheen - perfect for a hand-painted Hermes jet.

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am a bit disappointed from what i have seen of the new kit

the annoying thing is i let a couple of Italeri shars go in anticipation of the release

may still get one of each just to suck and see, but the panel lines are appalling imho and do the look of the aircraft no favours

the problem is that they spoil the lines where they go round compound curves if that makes sense.

yes i know they can be filled in but when manufacturers have been doing finely engraved panel lines for yonks now this is an unnecessary bit of nostalgia!

N.B. apologies to those that have built one already- this is NOT a dig at the lovely builds posted and if others are happy with the kit then that is cool.

Getting thin strips of Tamiya tape inside the intakes could be tricky what is going to be the best way of doing this please?

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XZ451/VL/100 History

First Flight 25th May 1979, pilot Heinz Frick. The first Sea Harrier delivered to the Royal Navy, to 700A Squadron at Yeovilton on 18th June 1979. It undertook trails with the IFTU on Hermes in October and November of that year. On 4th April 1982, XZ498 arrived on HMS Invincible as VL/710 of 899 NAS, complete with the 899 NAS ‘zap’ on its starboard nose. After EDSG over-painting it was given the roundel blue side number 006 in 801’s usual higher position and 16” high numerals; the other Squadrons used 12” high numbers.

1st May, Lt Cdr Nigel ‘Sharkey’ Ward strafed with cannon and damaged a Mentor (unknown) of 4 Escuadrilla; one of three mentors heading to attack HMS Brilliant.

1st May, Lt Alan Curtis destroyed Canberra B-110 of Grupo 2 with one of two AIM-9Ls fired.

2nd May, Flt Lt Ian Mortimer on a radar reconnaissance north west of the Task Force picked up Sea Dart control signals that indicated the presence of the Argentine fleet that was searching for the British fleet; circumstances kept them apart.

19th May, armed with Variable Timed 1,1000lb bombs XZ451/006 was flown by Flt Lt Paul Barton on a planned pre-dawn attack on some CAB601 helicopters on Mount Kent with Lt Cdr ‘Sharkey’ Ward in ZA175/004, Lt Cdr Robin Kent in XZ495/003 and Flt Lt Ian Mortimer in XZ498/005. Bombing through cloud, no helicopters were damaged.

21st May, flying XZ451 on a CAP with Lt Cdr Alisdair Craig in XZ495/003 and Lt Steve Thomas in XZ456/008, Lt Cdr ‘Sharkey’ Ward destroyed Grupo 3 Pucara A-511 flown by Mayor Carlos Tomba with cannon fire.

1st June, Lt Cdr ‘Sharkey’ Ward destroyed Hercules TC-63 of Grupo 1 with one of two AIM-9Ls fired and cannon fire; all seven crew on board were killed.

On 17th September it returned to Portsmouth onboard Invincible as the ship’s top-scoring SHAR.

XZ451 stayed with 801 NAS as 008 and 000 before joining 899 NAS as 712 in late 1986. It rejoined 801 in early 1988 as 003 before joining 800 NAS in March as 123. It’s last move was back to 801 in January 1989 coded 005. On 30th November 1989 as 005 of 801 NAS, XZ451 crashed near Sardinia; Lt Auckland ejected safely.

This photograph of XZ451/VL/100 was taken at RNAS Yeovilton on 2nd August 1979. XZ451 has neither tanks, gunpods nor outer pylons fitted; elliptical blister fairings replacing the pylons. (Photo Copyright: Robin A Walker)




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Hi Chaps,

Thank you for all your kind comments; it's down to you now to make the most of the kits; I look forward to seeing the Squadrons form! :coolio:

I must thank Phil, Dennis and Robin for permission to use the photos and also David Morgan whose photos of other SHARs during the conflict helped me so much with all of this.

Walrus, The best way I can think of with the tape is cut it into about 1/8" (2mm) wide strips and then apply in a couple of sections (upper/lower?) to get the edge line, then using tissue or similar to fill the area behind the line. I'm not an airbrusher so, hopefully, someone else may be able to help with this one too.



(P.S. I may be off line for a few days with some things in Lancs to sort out. Keep the questions coming and I'll reply later in the weekend.)

Edited by NG899
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i ain't an airbrusher either Nick :D

but that has reminded me of a technique i use sometimes that may work

(not havin' a good day is why i didn't think of it)

if i do as you suggest- then apply tape behind it

remove first lot of tape


will be fiddly but it's all i got right now :lol:

thanks for the prompt

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Here's a quick(ish) review of the new Warpaint No.75 on the BAe Sea Harrier which some of you may have bought as a reference for your Airfix kits.

Again, it's another time when it's hard to be in my seat as Harrier SIG Leader. There are some really good photos in here and the text is not bad. But from a modeller's perspective, while the photos are very useful, the profiles and scale drawings which one would really love to be able to rely on as being 95% accurate are not. Despite being great to look at from normal reading distance, I'd rate neither the drawings nor profiles based on them as no more than 65% accurate in terms of the airframe details.

Compared to the high standards the other Warpaint books I had bought had reached - ranging from the Fairey Swordfish through the Vickers Wellington, DH Hornet and Hawker Typhoon, to the MDD F-4K/M and many others, I was very disappointed with Warpaint 74 on the Hawker P.1127, HS Kestrel and Harrier Mks 1-4. I was really hoping I’d be much happier with the Sea Harrier Warpaint and I have to say that I am in parts but, mainly, I’m not.

As Warpaint books are considered by many to be primary references, what is said below is based on what I can see in the book, or in many cases, don’t see; and is my honest opinion on its value as a reference for modellers.

High points There are some excellent photos in the book many of which I’ve never seen before and the vast majority of which are in colour and printed reasonably well considering the originals will have been either transparencies or colour negatives; although the reproduction on some could be a lot better. Highlights include:

• FRS.1s XZ454/N/250 and XZ460/N/253 of 800 NAS which both show their airbrake numbers of 0 and 3 to be red, not black

• A port front quarter shot of FRS.1 XZ492/23 of Hermes Air Group back at Yeovilton in mid 1982

• Two good photos of FRS.1 ZA175/VL/717 in 899’s 50th Anniversary Scheme

• FA.2 XZ440/009 of 801 NAS with 801’s Omega badge aligned with the ground rather than the RN lettering

AMRAAM carrying photos of FA.2s of 800 NAS - ZH 803/R/128 with fuselage carried AMRAAMs and empty twin Sidewinder rails fitted plus a dark sea grey overall 190 gallon tank (a very nice option for the Airfix FA.2!) and ZH804/R/125 with four AMRAAMs.

• FA.2 ZE690/003 or 801 NAS as a static display aircraft at an Air Show (Yeovilton?) carrying an AIM9 ACQN round on the starboard outer pylon and a dark sea grey Sea Eagle drill round on the inner pylon. I’d say the photo was taken quite early in the FA.2s time with 801, so probably in 1993-1994. (It’s a pity the caption gets the aircraft serial and Squadron identity wrong!)

Kev Darling’s text seems reasonably on the mark, from the few small passages I’ve read. It’s good to see some Indian Navy aircraft depicted in the photos. Also in the highs should be the 36 colour side profiles, the all-colour 4-view, plus scale plans but, very sadly, they aren’t.

Low points Oh, ‘eck, not again! Despite a fellow SIG member having sent copious correspondence to his friend, Richard Caruana, to correct RC’s 1st generation UK Harrier drawings which appeared in SAMI some months ago, why oh why does Mr Caruana still make some basic errors in what otherwise are most visually attractive profiles? While 11 Falklands aircraft have profiles, it’s a shame that no profiles have been included of the 809 NAS aircraft that sailed on HMS Illustrious. Things to be very careful of in the Colour 4-view and Profiles include…

Inside cover: the 4-view of ZD613/R/122 ‘Satan 1’ - on the colour scheme the upper surface is missing the black no step lines and crosses; the red portions on the tailplanes go too far back on the chord; the pilot’s name under the cockpit is missing and there are no gaps in the underwing red flashes for the inner pylons. It has an FRS.1 wing with the leading edge dog tooth! This aircraft carried GPS so did not have the pale yellow Doppler panel ahead of the front undercarriage bay. Finally, the ALE-40 chaff/flare dispensers are incorrect.

Page 3, early FRS.1s - all should NOT have…

- FA.2 wing leading edges and wing root IFR probe illumination lights; the latter were never fitted on the starboard side and were first noted on the Medium Sea Grey / Barley Grey 809 NAS SHARs.

- The FA.2’s natural metal static discharge panel under the port windscreen and two small circular panels by the yaw vane - the FRS.1 only had one there.

- Small access panels on the port side of the fin which should only be on the starboard side.

- 100 gallon stencils on the starboard sides; the tanks were not handed, the stencils only ever being on their port sides.

- Sidewinder rails the likes of which I haven’t seen before and some odd angles on the serial numbers!

- Also, all the 899 aircraft have the FA.2 style of winged fist marking and not the early style as per the photo on page 6.

- XZ495/N/005 should have an AIM-9G Sidewinder, so the front fin shapes are wrong as is the head colour which should be a dark metallic green.

- XZ453/105 is missing the Rolls-Royce badge, a 3(F) Squadron zap on its starboard front nozzle fairing and the name FLT LT A R PENFOLD from under the cockpit behind the ejection seat triangle.

Pages 9 and 15, the above comments also apply to the FRS.1s on this page, plus…

- XZ496/27 has a natural metal front nozzle and not the medium sea grey one it should have, as mentioned in the caption.

- While looking like AIM-9L Sidewinders the colours are wrong on them all; AIM-9Ls had Ghost Grey bodies and dark metallic green heads.

- After over-painting Extra Dark Sea Grey neither the lower black nozzle rotation markings not the fuselage trestle markings would not have been re-instated in pale grey; often only the later were re-instated in black, though on some aircraft the wielders of the 3” or 4” brushes do appear to have tried to paint around rather than over these markings, certainly the trestle bars.

- The same comments apply to the Medium Sea Grey / Barley Grey FRS.1s on page 15; these aircraft did not have pale red no step markings and crosses on the engine covers between the wings

- XZ455/000 did not have a pale grey ROYAL NAVY on the fin when with 801 NAS.

Page 17, the technical details leave me a bit concerned, there was no difference in span between the FRS.1 and FA.2’s wings and the FRS.1’s fuselage was only longer if one includes the pitot.

Page 23, comments about serial number angles, Sidewinder pylon shapes and AIM-9 colours apply. It would have been good to see some 190 gallon tanks being carried, say in the second and third profiles. Stencil markings were black, not pale grey on the UK FRS.1s and FA.2 XZ439 - it’s a shame that the missile launch markings this SHAR carried are not shown. On FRS.51 IN608/608, the upper surfaces’ red (pale red) markings should be orange.

Page 29, comments about serial number angles, Sidewinder pylons and colours apply. The tank on ZD615 should be dark sea grey, even though it looks green!

(As I’m focussing on SHARs I’ll not mention the T-birds on page 30, not comment on the scale drawing.)

Page 29, the same comments about serial number angles, Sidewinder pylons and colours apply; as does the comment that some of these SHARs should have the larger 190 gallon tanks fitted. Sadly, this page has printed badly out of register on my copy of the book.

The Centre-Spread Scale Drawings…

FRS.1 Port Profile - As mentioned above, it should not have FA.2 wings, with their additional wing fence and dog-tooth faired over! Also, the natural metal static discharge panel under the port windscreen at all, nor the two small circular panels by the yaw vane - the FRS.1 only had one there. The raised forward fuselage vent under the wrongly shown static panel should be higher, as per the position on the starboard profile. The pitot shape is wrong; see the photo on page 11. Something looks wrong with the IFR probe’s head. The prominent rectangular panel aft of the rear nozzle is wrong; it’s also wrong in the starboard profile. There should not be a circular panel on the fin leading edge below the RWR fairing, nor should there be a small rectangular panel on the fairing ahead of the front nozzle on either side of an FRS.1.

FRS.1 Starboard Profile - Again, as mentioned above, it should not have FA.2 wings, not the IFR probe illumination light! Also, the small access panels on the port side of the fin should only be on the starboard side. The vent behind the GTS/APU intake on the forward engine covers is missing (but it’s there on the FRS.1 upper plan view and the FA.2 profile) and the windscreen wiper fairing is not deep enough. The windscreen wiper fairing is too small.

FRS.1 Upper Plan View - The yaw vane should be mounted on the centre line and the small IFF aerial by it should be offset to port - swap their positions relative to the C/L. There should be two small circular vents behind the canopy, the starboard one is missing. The protruding pressure vane is missing from the starboard cockpit side in all plan views. The IFR probe light is missing from the port wing root.

FRS.1 Underside View - The lower anti-collision beacon should be just offset to port and not on the centre-line.

FA.2 Starboard Profile - As per the FRS.1, regarding the removal of the small fin access panels, IFR probe light and ‘wiper fairing. The upper anti collision beacon appears to have slipped backwards; it should be where it is on the FRS.1. The big problem here is that Mr Caruana does not appear to understand that the FA.2’s rear fuselage plug pushed everything - including the airbrake! - backwards in relation to the main undercarriage doors. So, on these drawings, the FA.2 port profile and on the FA.2 underside view used inside the front cover for ZD613, this area is totally WRONG! While the radome join line angle looks right, the radome itself does not look symmetrical along a central datum at 90º to that join line. Note that the oval blister on the panel ahead of the front nozzle was only carried by a few FA.2s - check photos! On both marks’ starboard profiles the F.95 camera window should be in the same place.

FA.2 Upper Plan View - Apart from the fact that it has an FRS.1’s wing leading edge fitted!… Again, the yaw vane should be mounted on the centre line and the small IFF aerial by it should be offset to port - swap their positions relative to the C/L; and, there should be two small circular vents behind the canopy, the starboard one is missing. The forward GPS disc is missing behind the canopy where it would replace the starboard UHF aerial. The impact of the fuselage plug where the wings are faired into the fuselage is wrong. The IFR probe light is missing from the port wing root.

FA.2 Port Profile - As per the above comments for the starboard side. Nowhere are 190 gallon tanks depicted.

The In Detail photos…

It’s a real pity these are not in colour, especially considering that they show cockpit and bay interiors.

3, 5, 6, 7 and 11 - Personally, I cannot see the value of these photos. 3 is a nice shot but would be better used elsewhere; being a low angle it doesn’t help diorama builders with lashing chain locations very well. 6 would have been better if it showed the whole nose area.

Photos 12, 14, 15 and 18 are useful and 17 would have been if one could work out the orientation.

Even more fundamentally, there are some great howlers in these pictures and their captions, so please especially beware of…

10. This is not an FA.2's cockpit, it’s probably that of a GR.7 or front office of a T.10 !

13. This is not the airbrake bay. I think it’s the area below the rearmost engine bay panel between the wings based on the fact that the dark oval bottom right looks like the upper antic-collision beacon.

16. From the headbox and sloping ‘shoulder’s below the ‘box, this is not a Martin Baker Mk10H; it looks more like a Mk.9 variant to me.


I paid £12.50 for my copy and will use it as a reference source for some of the great colour photos it contains; on that basis I can recommend it.

For the scale drawings and colour profiles - which a lot of work clearly went into, but not enough - I cannot recommend this book to anyone who wants accuracy. As with the P.1127 - Harrier Warpaint, I have to consider this to be another opportunity missed. 6/10

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks Dave, nice photo, again! What was the serial of 715 at that time?

Indeed, the split RCV warnings were a peculiarity of XZ457 and one (maybe two) other SHARs at the time of the Falklands War. Without pictures of her pre-war it's possible that they were a simple attempt with a 3" brush and a tin of EDSG to leseen the white visible on the upper surfaces when the SHARs were toned down and given the overall EDSG schem on the journey south. Indeed, XZ455/12 of the Hermes Air Group had its upper RCV markings overpainted completely.

Post war, the standard one-piece markings were re-applied and seem to have stayed fairly standard on the fleet.

HTH anyone with more questions on this.


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Nick, can't remember the serial of 715, but will have a look through my other photos to see if I have a side view of her.

Edited to say I found it, XZ457.

Edited by Shar2
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Hi Dave,

Ah! Hermes' top Falklands scorer courtesy of Andy Auld and Clive Morell as black 14. The photo was taken in which year?



(P.S. Sunbury, eh? I played cricket for many seasons for Richmond Town and then Kempton CC at the end of Kempton Ave... A nice part of the [small] world.)

Edited by NG899
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The photo was taken at Farnborough Airshow 1988. I was part of the Sea Harrier display team for which I believe we had 6 cabs there for the week. We did get a great view of the then new visitors the Mig 29 and AN 124, (which had an unstart in on of it's engines). This required a new engine to be brought in by an AN-22 of which I have some nice photos. We were even allowed to sit in the MIg 29, as long as we allowed their crew to sit in one of our SHAR's which required the removal of some sensitive cockpit instruments.

Edited by Shar2
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