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Harrier / Sea Harrier Detail Set



Heritage Aviation

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Catalogue Number: HAAC 48002
Scale: 1/48 scale
Contents and Media: 14 parts in butterscotch-coloured resin
Price: USD$17.99 from Linden Hill Imports
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Addresses some serious problems of the Airfix kit; depicts dropped auxiliary  intake doors; perfectly cast (ie no imperfections); simple assembly - replaces kit parts
Disadvantages: Imposing casting blocks; Airfix kit will still need some help in other areas.
Recommendation: Recommended as an essential aid to building an more accurate Airfix Harrier or SHAR


Reviewed by Brett Green




Airfix should be applauded for venturing into the otherwise barren territory of 1/48 scale post-war British military aircraft. However, the inconsistent quality of their kits over the last decade has been widely noted. For example, the Spitfire 22/24 and Seafire kits are up to the standard of current Japanese releases, but the Buccaneer has earned a fearful reputation for its fit problems.

Airfix's original 1/48 scale Harrier and Sea Harrier date back to the early 1980s. The outline of these kits was accurate but panel lines were raised, detail was sparse and fit was far from perfect. In 1997, Airfix released a Sea Harrier FA.2. In common with the real aircraft, this kit was an updated version of the earlier Airfix FRS.1 release. The result was a hybrid model with finely engraved panel lines on the fuselage, but raised panel lines on the wings and tailplanes. New fit problems were introduced too, especially around the intake join. 

Heritage Aviation have addressed the worst of these problems with their 1/48 scale Harrier/Sea Harrier Detail Set. This set is designed for the Airfix kits.

Heritage Aviation's Harrier/Sea Harrier detail set comprises 14 parts in butterscotch coloured resin. The contents include replacement intakes, jet nozzles, main wheels, tailplanes and drop tanks. The intakes are the highlight of the set. Dropped auxiliary intake doors are a feature of these parts. These doors are almost always open on unpowered Harriers. 

The tailplanes are also very useful. They feature scribed panel-line detail and vertical rubbing plates that are missing on the kit. Check your references and take care not to damage these rubbing plates when removing the parts from their blocks - they do look like resin waste! 

The jet nozzles, drop tanks and main wheels are also major improvements compared to the kit parts.

All parts are nicely cast with no pinholes on the surface or waste material. However, they are cast onto big solid resin blocks. Patience and a fine razor saw will be essential to successfully remove these blocks.  



I was curious to test the fit of these parts against the Airfix FA.2 Sea Harrier kit.

I dipped one intake in water (to eliminate airborne resin dust) and used a fine razor saw to remove the part from its block. There is no gap whatever between the block and the mating surface of the intake, so I took special care to keep the cutting edge of the saw hard pressed against and parallel to the block.

I stopped regularly to check that my cut was even, and to remove the resin slurry from the cut. Less than ten minutes of patient sawing freed the intake from its block.

One front and one rear jet nozzle is moulded to a single casting block. I cut this bock in two so that I would not accidentally damage the second nozzle while cutting the first. Removing each of the nozzles was a fast task.

The intake and nozzles were cleaned up and lightly sanded before being test-fitted to the Airfix FA.2 Sea Harrier fuselage. The picture below shows that even without glue the fit of the nozzles is excellent, but a little packing may be required at the top of the intake where it meets the fuselage side. I will also thin the fuselage where it meets the back of the intake. This area can be plainly seen through the dropped auxiliary intake doors.

Once these minor adjustments have been made, the new resin parts will greatly improve the kit.






Airfix's 1/48 scale Harrier kits have a number of good points. They are accurate in outline and they are also the only game in town if you want to build a British Harrier/SHAR. 

Heritage Aviation's detail set will improve these kits in areas that really do need help. It should also be noted, however, that the cockpit in the Airfix Harrier/SHAR kits is very bare, and will benefit from scratchbuilt detail or an aftermarket set.


Thanks to Linden Hill Imports for the review sample

Heritage Aviation Products are available from Linden Hill Imports' website

Review and Images Copyright 2001 by Brett Green
Page Created 27 November, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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