by: Tim Hatton [ ]
For an aircraft that was as revolutionary as the Harrier it was thought necessary to introduce two-seat Harriers for training purposes. The body of the T Harrier was stretched and a taller tail fin added making for a very attractive looking aircraft. The RAF trained in the T.2 and T.4 versions, while T.4N and T.8 were training versions the Navy's Sea Harrier, with appropriate fittings. The US and Spain flew the TAV-8A and TAV-8S, respectively. The Spanish sold their remaining TAV-8S to the Royal Thai Navy.
The now familiar blue coloured top opening box contains just over 280 parts. Itís written on the box lid and Iím going to take their word on that one. All the sprues are either bagged individually or in pairs. The overall treatment of the surface of the plastic is very good indeed. The look of the recessed panel lines and fasteners is excellent and consistant and there is raised detail were required. There is a little flash here and there, but nothing that a few swipes with a sanding stick wonít cure. The sprue attachment points are pretty thin, which should result in little or no damage to the parts when removed. Overall the shape appears very good indeed and certainly looks like a two seat Harrier.
The cockpits are made up from eleven grey plastic parts and two clear for the HUD screens. The principal part is a tub with some raised detail on the side consoles. To this is added the two rather good looking instrument panels again with raised detail. There are a couple of detailed drawings in the instructions to help you paint the instrument panels. But the paint references are for Ammo by Mig so you will need to do some cross referencing if they are not your paint of choice on page two of the instructions. The two part HUD is added on top of the instrument panels. Rudder pedals, flight control sticks, a rear bulkhead and a clear plastic blast screen finishes of the cockpit build. The detail on the rear bulk head looks pretty good with boxes and cabling. The two ejector seats have a good likeness to the Martin-Baker Mark 10H. They are each built up from six parts, and there are non-coloured photo etched harnesses to fit.
The three part canopy looks very good, clear and well formed. Care is required as the front canopy needs plastic and PE parts attaching and the rear canopy has a couple of plastic parts that need to be attached. The canopies can be displayed open, they hinged on the right and Kinetic has thoughtfully supplied four photo etched parts to simulate the stop cords. The thin cord of explosive is moulded into both canopies. The detail on the windscreen is well done and includes a windscreen wiper.
The fuselage is split vertically and the vertical tail is separate. There are three vertical fins to choose from depending which version you are building. The rudder is a separate one piece item. There are two choices of tail fairing: one with RWR and one without. At the other end there are two choices of nose cone, one of which has a laser designator. The unusual nature of the undercarriage should not cause any tail sitting, so no ballast is needed at the front. There are a few pieces to put in place before the fuselage halves are joined. They include the cockpit, the primary engine fan and mounting, forward and the rear under carriage bays and the air brake bay. The four nozzles are designed to be movable synchronically, so the mechanism needs to be fitted as well. I built the earlier release of the Sea Harrier FRS.1 and unfortunately I could not get it to work, so I would ignore it and just glue the nozzles in place. Although be warned I did try to add the nozzles after all the painting was completed and found they were really difficult to fit. The detail on the one piece slide moulded nozzles is good, but there is a slight mould line and flash to eradicate. The blast screens for the rear nozzles are separate parts. The massive air intake for the Pegasus 104 turbofan engine is separate. It is made up from an outer panel, an inner panel forming the intake wall and the auxiliary intakes doors. The doors are moulded together, but there is the option to display them open or closed. The primary compressor fan looks pretty good too. There is the option of adding a refuelling boom as well. There is a slight sill to the rear of the gap where the wing goes, which should make fitting of the wing easier.
The upper wing is thankfully one piece, so the modeller does not need to worry about setting the anhedral. Interestingly there are two sets of wings included, so make sure you are using the correct ones. The correct wing is on sprue ďIĒ and the only difference I can see between the two sets are additional vortex generators and a different leading edge. The separate flaps can be displayed dropped or in a neutral position. There are two sets of actuator housing to aid you to set them at the angle of your choice. The detail in the bays for the outriggers on the lower wing is also rather nicely done. Little details like that really highlight the quality and thought that has gone into this release. The stabilisers are both one piece items although the attachment points to the actuator are slight.
The detail in the bays is very good indeed and will please the majority of modellers. The nose leg is made up from two parts plus two clear parts for the lights and the rear leg is a single piece. The wheels have separate plastic tyres that fit around the nicely detailed hubs. The inside of the gear doors are detailed too. The outrigger legs are amazingly one piece and even more amazingly they look very good with excellent detail. The instructions show that the kit can be built with the undercarriage retracted.
You can count on Kinetic being very generous with ordnance and this release is no exception. Unfortunately most of them will end up in the spares box. All that is fitted to the T Harrier are the under fuselage gun pods and the 100 and 190 gallon fuel tanks. If you donít want to spoil the look of the T Harrier with weapons then you will need to fit the strakes under the fuselage. The pre made holes on the under surfaces of the wing will need to be filled in as well. Ordnance included with this release are:
●2 x 30mm Aden cannon pods
●6 x AIM-9 Sidewinders.
●4 x AIM-120 AMRAAM
●2 x Sea Eagle anti ship missiles.
●4 x Matra pods with 18 rockets
●2 x Matra pods with 36 rockets
●1 x Mk 17 1000lb bomb
●2 x 190 gallon fuel tanks
●2 x 100 gallon fuel tanks
The tips of the rockets in the Matra pods are worth mentioning, they look exceptional for injected plastic, but unfortunately they are not appropriate for this release.
The large decal sheet is designed by Crossdelta and printed by Cartograf. The quality looks superb: each decal has very good colour density, registry and with a minimum of carrier film.
There are ten marking options including the T Harriers of the Fleet Air Arm, USMC, Armada Espanola and Royal Tai Navy. Option 1 is the stencil guide.
2. Harrier T.8, ZD990/721, Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, RNAS Yeovilton, 2004-2005
3. Harrier T.8, ZD605/720, Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, RNAS Yeovilton, 1996
4. Harrier T.8, ZD604/722, Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, RNAS Yeovilton, 1996
5. Harrier T.8 ZD605/718, Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, RNAS Yeovilton, 1985
6. Harrier T.4A, XW265/W 233OCU, Royal Air Force, RAF Wittering, 1992,
7. Harrier T.4A, XW266/51, Royal Air Force, 233OCU, RAF Wittering, 1975,
8. Harrier T.4A, XW272/Z, Royal Air Force, IV(AC) SQN, RAF Gutersloh, 1980,
9. TAV-8A USMC Marine Corps, VMAT-203, MCAS Cherry Point, Late, 1970
10. TAV-8S Armada Espanola (Spanish Navy), 8a Escuadrilla (8th Sqn), 1988
11. TAV-8S, Royal Tai Navy, 301 Squadron, Late 1990s,
The twenty three page manual has black exploded line drawings describing the build process. There are many illustrations showing detailed views of some of the more complex structures. The paint and stencil placement guides are in grey tone. They are adequate and certainly not ideal, but would be much better if in colour. Paint references are for Ammo Mig, but these can be cross referenced on page two with Vallejo, Mr Color, Humbrol and Tamiya paints.
This is another fine looking release from Kinetic Models and it is the only plastic injected two seat Harrier in 1/48 scale on the market. I like the way that Kinetic explore certain aircraft such as the Mirage III/5, F-18, F-16, etc. Thankfully Kinetic has created a user friendly model devoid of generic parts that can be built into numerous versions. There are parts that are common to some of the other Harriers Kinetic Models has released, but the all-important fuselage has been created in as few parts as possible. The build of the Sea Harrier FRS.1 in my view was pretty straight forward; I canít see why this kit should be too much different. The only thing I would question about the kit is the attempt to synchronise the nozzle movement using plastic parts.