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AV-8B Harrier



S u m m a r y

Catalogue No. & Description Hasegawa Kit No. D19; AV-8B Harrier
Price: 1000
Contents and Media: 9 sprues light gray plastic; 1 sprue clear plastic; decals; instructions 
Scale: 1/72
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Long-anticipated subject; nicely engraved surface details; optional intakes; inlet doors molded open; ordnance included.
Disadvantages: Basic cockpit detail; slight mold line on "bulged" canopy; speed brake closed; poor nozzles; incorrect camouflage callouts; suspect ordnance chart.
Recommendation: Recommended 


Reviewed by Lance Braman


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Hasegawa has finally answered a few prayers and provided us with a new Harrier to modern 1/72 scale standards. The kit is in many ways a real improvement over the previous best, the Airfix/Heller kit, and in other ways a disappointment. First, the high points.

Upon opening the box you will find 9 sprues in a hard, light gray plastic, one clear sprue and some poly caps for the nozzles. This gray plastic is a bit harder than what I have seen in other recent Hasegawa kits. Maybe they changed the formula again. 

The canopy is made with a "sliding mold" that accurately reproduces the outwardly bulged shape, but leaves a slight mold line on both the canopy and windscreen. Should be no problem to polish out. 

The parts have nice recessed panel lines, and a quick test fit of some of the major parts revealed no problems. The LERX are molded as a separate piece along with the engine doors, opening the way for the bigger LERX in a future NA or B+ kit. Hooray! The cooling inlet in front of the vertical stabilizer is also a separate piece, and the longer version is also included.

The nose cone is separate as well, leading the way to the other versions (the GR 5 is supposed to be out in June). The cockpit is basic, but includes an almost passable Stencel seat. Decals are provided for the panels.

Auxiliary inlet doors are molded in the correct open positions for a bird sitting on the ground - another first in this scale. Strakes and guns are included, PLUS (a minor but important point in my book) the LIDS fence can be built in the correct configuration for either version! Sidewinders and drop tanks are included, as well as a centerline pylon (part 14), but this seems too tall to fit right. Markings are for two birds in the all-gray scheme: one each from VMA-223 and VMA-542.

Now for the bad news: Hasegawa inexplicably left the speed brake closed, and didn't even mold the small raised strakes on the outer edges. The speedbrake is ALWAYS open when the gear is down. Modeling the plane in flight would simplify the problem (you'd just have to add the strakes), but the outrigger doors are molded as part of the lower wing half, complicating this option a bit. OOPS number 2: the hot nozzles (the back ones) are the worst representations of Harrier nozzles I have ever seen, bar none! They are molded with the open end a solid blank, with a slight raised lip and two slight ribs to indicate the dividers inside. Sure, you can't really see this anyway on the built model unless the kit is upside down or you lower your eye level a whole lot, but Hasegawa did a respectable job on their older Harriers, so why they chose this way is a mystery to me. I recommend replacing these parts with nozzles from another kit - ANY other kit.

Other minor points to watch are: the temperature probe molded on the starboard side of the vertical stabilizer. Sand it off, this is only on the port side. Also, Hasegawa molded a small square panel just in front of the cold nozzles on both sides. Remove the one on the starboard side by filling and sanding. I'd recommend sanding down the formation lights as well. These are flush assemblies on the real plane. Trim off the radar altimeter antenna just in front of the strake under the tail. This should be a flat plate. And fill in the holes on the outrigger fairings. These are for the British Sidewinder pylons and are not present on Marine birds.

The paint instructions are also wrong. They call for 36375/36320/35237 (?!?). There is NO WAY this is right. The original 3 tone scheme was 36375/36320/36118, and is now (correct for this kit) 36320/36231/36118. The only way you should have 35237 around this kit is if you are building a VMA-231 DS bird.

The external stores chart is also highly suspect. It calls for more AGM-65s and Mk. 20s than I remember as being possible according to the pilot's manual. Refer to the chart in my article about correcting the Monogram Harrier.

Overall, for 1000 yen I think this kit is a good deal. Hasegawa's treatment of the nozzles and speedbrake are disappointing, but correctable. If you have an extra Harrier kit about, use the parts from that one. But set that ill-fitting Airfix aside (and if you are doing the Italeri, for goodness sakes stop now and use it for kindling) and get this kit!


Review Copyright 2001 by Lance Braman
Page Created 06 May, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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