With the Royal Navy doing away with its carriers that could launch and retrieve conventional aircraft, the Sea Harrier and helicopters where the only aircraft that the Royal Navy could use to project air power around the globe and also be used for offence and defence in times of conflict. The banking crises that rocked the globe then struck and short sighted decisions by government to save money, saw the Royal Navy lose its sea harriers and aircraft carriers. Two new aircraft carriers, 1 built and 1 in bits, designed for an aircraft that currently does not work is why I call the decision short sighted. On a lighter note, the harrier provided sterling service over its career from the late 1960’s, and was even taken on by the US Military as a close support aircraft for the US Marine Corps. The Harrier proved its metal in the Falklands War and was still proving itself in a combat role when the axe fell. The Sea Harrier FA2 was the swansong for the harrier in service with the Royal Navy, and is the model covered in this review from Kinetic Model Kits
The model is packaged in a card tray and lid, the tray performed its task well, but the lid had come apart. I mention this because at this time most modellers purchase models online, postal services do not have the best records when it comes to look after parcels in their care, indeed this model when it arrived was looking a little sorry for itself, but in fairness arrived with the model parts intact. Inside the battered box I found;
- 7 grey sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- 1 photo etched fret
- 1 large decal sheet
- An instruction booklet
When I first opened the box my thoughts were ‘ there must be more sprues than this’ but no everything was present and attached as should be. The sprues are packed either singly or in pairs, inside re-sealable plastic bags which have done their task well. An inspection of the sprues resulted in finding some cooling/flow lines that had not effected the finish of the mouldings and some very light flash in a couple of places. I did read a few previous reviews of Kinetic Model Kits
in order to get some idea of the highs and lows of this company, one thing mentioned is shrink marks, I looked very carefully for this issue and I am pleased to announce that I found none at this time.
So far I am very pleased with what is in front of me.
The cockpit of the model is acceptable if a little barren in places, with the ejector seat perhaps being my least liked aspect; don’t get me wrong it is not bad, but I felt that it could so easily have been better; however taking into account the price of the model and not including the postage I would class it as acceptable. There is no harness detail moulded with the product and so the after-market may need to be trawled depending on your desires. You are provided with 2 control panel options in the kit (C18 and C19), I would suggest C19 is the most accurate or at least the most commonly used after a search of online images.
This is one area that I am not so keen on.
There are a few parts that need to be assembled and added before the fuselage is closed up. Ares such as the wheel wells, air brake, compressor fan and intakes. I am quite pleased with these areas of the model, there is some nice detailing that can be easily further enhanced if wished. Those modellers that like to play with their builds get the ability to swivel the jet exhausts all at the same time due to a couple of simple mouldings. The air brake assembly can be displayed either in a deployed or retracted position and has nice detailing present.
Modellers always want more, but I feel Kinetic Model Kits
have struck a nice balance here and covered the essentials well.
The fuselage of the model has nicely recessed panel lines with good detailing in the form of riveting and screws. Checking the fuselage against images I took of an FA2 at Yeovilton, the panel lines appear pretty damn good, and while my images do not show all of the panel lines what I have seen leads me to believe that Kinetic Model Kits
has done a good job of an aspect that is easy to get wrong. Another aspect of this area is the intake housings, these are quite complicated on the harrier and again Kinetic Model Kits
appears to have done a good job. The four directional jet nozzles have some interesting detail which I cannot confirm as accurate or not; however Kinetic Model Kits
has done a nice job of the heat shield. Another plus for this area of the model is the way that some detailing that would be hard to clean up if split, has been moulded as a cut out on one half of the model. This approach has enabled the mouldings to be kept nicely slim and make the modellers life easier.
Another positive area to the model in my books.
The undercarriage appears to be accurate form what I can see. The front leg of the undercarriage is split in half which can make any filling and clean up that is needed more difficult than it needs to be. The tread detail on the tyres is lacking in my opinion, but I will have to wait until the model is assembled before being able to be 100% sure of that, the rear wheels also suffer the same. The out riggers have been moulded as a single part and this I feel has resulted in over simplification of these structures; otherwise these areas are nicely detailed.
From what I have seen of Kinetic Model Kits
this area could be better.
Flight Surfaces and Controls
The wings of this model have been approached in a good way with the upper portion supplied as a single moulding with good detail and recessed panel lines. Another good thing about the wings being supplied in this way is that the angle of the wings is well replicated. The lower halves of the wings also have good detail on them, the hard points on the wings are already opened up and so if you want to show a clean aircraft some filling will be required. The rear horizontal stabilizers have been well replicated and I like the fact that the swivel points are supplied as separate parts; despite liking this approach I do have concerns about achieving the correct angle of the stabilizers. All of the control surfaces can be positioned according to your tastes.
Well done Kinetic Model Kits
, I like your thinking and presentation here.
The canopy packaging is worthy of special mention as Kinetic Model Kits
has built up areas at each end of the mouldings to prevent crush damage. The clear canopy can be depicted in an open or closed position and has a good representation of the explosive cable for blowing the canopy during an ejection of the pilot. Clarity of these parts is good and distortion minimal.
Another plus point for the model.
The weapons and pylons supplied with this model are quite nicely detailed and a light wash should make the details pop. The weapons included with this model are;
- 6 x AIM-9 Sidewinder
- 4 x AIM-120 AMRAAM
- 2 x Sea Eagle Missile
- 2 x 190 Gallon Drop Tanks
- 2 x 100 Gallon Drop Tanks
A nice selection of ordnance and display options here.
The instruction booklet guides you through the build using black and white line drawings. Despite construction being complete in only 11 stages, none of those stages should overly tax the modeller. Some of the line drawings themselves are not as clear as they could regarding the exact position of parts, I do not believe it will prove a major problem. Care will need to be taken with the parts needed for some of the sub assemblies as the parts are not always clearly mentioned which should keep you on your toes. I am very impressed with the instructions when it comes to the painting and placement of the decals, with these two areas getting half of the instruction booklet dedicated to them and as such should make this area of the model easy to get right. You are provided with four finishing options for this model which are;
- ZD613 ‘SATAN 1’ in decommissioning scheme of 800 Squadron, Royal Navy, March 2004
- ZH809, celebrating 25 years of flying the Sea Harrier (Since 1979) 899 Squadron, Royal Navy, Yeovilton, Oct 2004
- 800 Squadron, Royal Navy, at disbandment, Yeovilton, 2004
- 899 Squadron, Royal Navy
The last two options here also provide finishing options for a number of aircraft in those squadrons.
The construction aspect of the instructions could be improved; however top marks to Kinetic Model Kits
for the painting instructions and especially the decal options.
This being the first time I have physically looked at a model offered by Kinetic Model Kits
, I was unsure what would confront me. I have to say that overall I am fairly pleased with what is offered here. Detail is for the most part good, if not as crisp as I would like. Accuracy of the panel lines appears to be very good and should please most. If I could improve one area of this model it would be the cockpit as I cannot shake the feeling it could be much better, I will just have to wait and see what it looks like when some paint is thrown it. If you want a Sea Harrier on your shelf, you may want to ‘jump’ at this one as it is good for the price.
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