by: Andy Brazier [ ]
History Developed in the 1960s as the first truly successful V/STOL combat aircraft, the Hawker Siddeley Harrier proved a revelation upon entering service in this, its earliest form, the GR.1. Despite a difficult development period, the Harrier GR.1 matured into an effective close air support machine.
Based predominantly in West Germany to face any potential Eastern Bloc threat, the Harrier force also saw some service in Belize, as well as various goodwill tours around the globe. While the GR.1 never saw any combat, the next version, the GR.3, proved the Harrier's reputation.
In the boxAirfix have packed the 4 grey plastic sprues and one clear sprue, along with a set of instructions and one decal sheet in a top opening box, with a painted picture of a Harrier lifting off vertically.
The sprues are packed in a sealed bag with the clear sprue in their own bag within the main bag.
The parts have no flash, a few injection pin marks do abound, but they do seem to be in places where you wonít have to worry too much about them.
The plastic has no imperfections in it, and is a matt grey colour, and does look as though it has had primer applied.
Externally detail for this kit is beautifully done with recessed panel lines and moulded on vortex generators on the wings.
Various lumps and bumps along with bleed vents have been incorporated into the moulding.
Internal details for the cockpit is pretty hit and miss with the bang seat quite well detailed, apart from the lack of harnessís which are supplied, but are moulded onto the pilot figure that comes with the kit. The cockpit tub has moulded on lumps to represent the foot pedals on the floor.
The instrument panel and side panels are blank but decals are supplied for the instruments. The rear cockpit wall has some raised detail and does look pretty good.
The large air intakes have internal parts to represent the inside of the intakes and ends with a very nicely moulded fan.
The exhaust nozzles of which there are four, are made up of two parts each, and can be fitted into one of two positions. The exhausts are fairly nice renditions but the slats are not that deep.
The air intake parts also have the nose wheel bays as part of the build sequence and the detail of these parts is very nice, with various spars, lines and servos moulded onto the two parts. Separate wheel bay doors are supplied along with a one piece moulding for in-flight mode, if you wish to model the kit in that configuration. The centreline wheel bay has the doors moulded shut, which is correct for this aircraft whilst sitting on the ground and in the process of landing and taking off.
The undercarriage legs are pretty well detailed with moulded on oleos. The wheels are one piece with some great detail for the hubs. The tyres are weighted.
Two pairs of outboard wheel riggers are supplied; one set depicts the aircraft on the ground with the other set for the in-flight mode that you can model. No stand is supplied for the kit for the in-flight mode but Airfix do sell them separately.
The large airbrake can be modelled in the open or closed position, but the instructions do state that the airbrake cannot be fully open when the wheels are down. The detail for the inside of the airbrake is very good with spars, but the airbrake itself does have a injection pin mark on the inside face, which will have to be dealt with.
Weapons supplied for the kit are the two Aden cannons which are slung under the fuselage, two rocket pods, and two fuel tanks.
The clear sprue holds the two piece canopy, which can be modelled open or closed, and three navigation lights. The parts are thin and crystal clear.
Instructions and MarkingsThe instructions are printed in a A4 size booklet, in the typical black on white line drawings. The build sequence takes place over a surprising 45 steps, and internal colours for the Humbrol range of paints are given. Several icons are included in the build sequence for removing, filling or optional parts.
The painting and decaling guide for the two aircraft is in full colour, with an additional black and white page for the stencil decals.
Decals are supplied for two aircraft, along with stencils. The decals are in register, have a little carrier film around the edges and have matt finish.
Two British aircraft can be modelled,
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1, No.1 (F) Squadron, Royal Air Force Wittering, England, September 1970.
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1, No.20 (R) Squadron, Royal Air Force Wildenrath, Germany, June 1971.
ConclusionAirfix used to be the top dog around, then things went south for a few years whilst the company got sold, put in administration, re-sold and generally palmed off to whoever could be bothered to buy it. Now under Hornby, they are fighting back at the Edditamigawaboss, and long may they continue.
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