1/72 Hawker Siddeley AV8A Harrier


The successful introduction of the Harrier into RAF service attracted the attention of other countries for export orders.  The largest of these was the US Marines Corps, who generated a bit of fuss at the time for selecting a non-US design.  Able to provide close support for troops when they land and to be able to operate from the decks of smaller ships than the large conventional carriers operated by the US Navy, it again proved itself in operation.  Indeed, that has led to the US Marine Corps still using the upgraded AV-8B Harrier II through to the present day. 

The model itself is very nicely done, with all the extra detailing we now expect with the new generation of Airfix kits.  Completely re-tooled there is no attempt to make the exhausts moveable, though there is the option of what angle you choose to fit them at.  A neat cockpit tub, including a transfer for the instrument panel.  The intakes have detail, even with the large front fan of the Pegasus engine visible within the fuselage.  There are other choices to be made during the build process beyond just the position of the exhaust nozzles.  A pilot figure is included so you can add him or not and the canopy fitted open or closed.  Undercarriage can be up or down, the airbrake open or closed and there are more options for the underwing stores you want to fit.  It is a different selection of stores in this one to their GR.1 kit, providing appropriate pods for the USMC.  Making mention of the main undercarriage wheels for a moment, nice to see how Airfix are making them with the 'flat' on the bottom of the tyre to simulate the look of the weighted aircraft sitting on the tyres.

Two options for colours and markings.  One is a camouflaged machine with markings for the USMC, specifically with VMA-513 based at Misawa Air Base in Japan in 1976.  The other an AV-8S Matador, which is grey coloured with white undersides, operated by Essla 008 of the Arma Aerea de la Armada from Rota Air Base in Spain during 1982.  As with their other new Harrier kits from Airfix, there are also a lot of airframe stencils provided for on the transfer sheet, and a separate sheet in the instructions to show where they all go.

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