The Hawker Siddeley Harrier is a legend in the history of aviation. It is a milestone. If there is anything that Britain should be proud of, that is the Spitfire for WWII and the Harrier for modern days. With that said, it is clear that Harrier is something that we should have in all scales. And we do, although not all the important variants and not everything is modern tooling. Just the contrary.
The Twin seater Harrier is something that was missing from the 1/48th scale scene and was in the minds and dreams of many modelers. It is ugly, elongated and mean looking jet and that specific charm only adds to the urge to add that to your scale model collection.
So after years of waiting, wondering – who is going to release it – and hoping, there we go: Kinetic
T-Harrier in 1/48th scale.
Box and Boxarts
The standard boxing for the Kinetic
kit is what we get with this release. It is in blue, with yellow and white letters. There is info on one of the sides that we get 280 parts, 4 different countries’ insignia, Cartograf decals and measurements of the assembled bird.
On one of the sides there is a section with all the variations included, presented as small profiles. That includes short description for each airplane, but for that we will talk about later in the article.
Boxart is – at least in my eyes – astonishingly beautiful. A glossy black Royal Navy T.8 Harrier, that is flying in a high-altitude mission /for a Harrier that is/. Its intake shows clearly a high-spinning fan blades, reminding for the heart of that VTOL – the Pegasus engine. Another Aviation miracle. It almost looks as a photo, and somehow has a soul embedded in it. A perfect box for any model collector. A great packing, tempting from the first glance and asking to be bought.
This is one of the letdowns once you get to look inside of the kit. As with previous releases, Kinetic
dropped the ball with their instruction sheet. It looks to me as a A3 printed black and white paper, folded in the middle, creating an A4-like paper booklet.
That includes a simplistic instructions, which I can compare only with old and obsolete Czech models from the Communist era of the country. Far from what one can expect from a 21st century kit. The most horrifying thing is that the color schemes are not in color. They are – again – in Black and White.
That is offensive for the intellect of the modern modeler the least. What I believe Kinetic
should’ve done, is to offer a QR code or a link, where you can download proper instructions and use them with ease. If not the whole sheet, at least the color schemes. With what we have here, and without any additional references, this kit is doomed to be painted according to the modeler’s fantasy limits.
That is a major flaw for Kinetic
and the last time I saw that was with their Hornet. I hoped that won’t happen again, but I was obviously wrong. If someone from Kinetic
is reading this: Go green, offer decent color sheet and maybe instructions too – make them available for download. Many people use PC or MACs in their modeling rooms, tablets too. Whatever you do in that direction would be better that what you offered inside of the box of this Harrier.
Once you open the lid, the box is full, but now overly crowded. There is room for everything and it is not one of those boxes, that once you unpack, you cannot arrange back and close. Nope. Here everything is neatly organized, but I believe the plastic bags that holds the sprues are way too big and that is a waste of material. Not that I complain, but it would’ve been better to spare some plastic bags and give us colors in the color’s schemes instead, right?
The detail is very good, panel lines are deep enough but not too wide. Rivets are beautiful and what I consider a slight miss, is the fact that there are many more to be added. Kinetic either missed the opportunity to make rivets all over, or left that door open for the super-detailing fans and riveting-tool makers.
The engineering is sound. Not too many parts, nor too simplistic. The small details are good in texture and looks. Antennas are relatively thin and pieces like seats, cockpit elements and gear details are more than decent. As we all know those are weak spots for many models and they often beg for resin substitutes provided from the aftermarket companies.
Plastic is good ol’ Kinetic
material, known and loved by many. It is easy to work with that, you can alter some of the appearance and overall – it is very good looking. There are minor questions about the texture, but that can be easily fixed with the right primer.
The canopy of the T-Harrier is the most distinctive thing about the plane. It is huge and bulgy. The silhouette of the jet is defined by it. Here Kinetic
made good effort to replicate the thing properly. The exploding cord is embedded into the plastic and it looks very nice. No decals are needed for that, thank god!
The lines are good, the parts are attached to the sprue cleverly, so no damages to happen while removing them.
There are flaws of course. There is wrong edges here and there. The front windshield wiper is sitting not on the frame but on the window, leaving a gap which will be a nightmare to be masked and painted. There is no interior bulges, so the interior masking will be difficult. And that is needed, since every T-Harrier shows clearly interior sealing quite vividly and it is part of the charm of the whole thing.
However I can comment in generally positive way about the clear parts. There is bending of the light and they are not as good as Zoukei-Mura’s 48th scale canopies, but they are not bad as Revell either. Everything is OK here. Acceptable.
No masks are packed in the kit for the canopy, but DN Models
do sell a set for the canopy, wheels and RN and RAF insignia, which can be found here
Decals,PE and Variants
Photo-etch sheet is small. It is there mostly to say that there is a PE set in the kit, rather than being something worth having. Hopefully that too was done on purpose and soon aftermarket companies will give us what we want – larger and complex photo-etch details for the interior and exterior. I saw a member of Eduard’s team holding a T-Harrier last December. Maybe it will happen rather soon.
Decal sheet is beautiful and very seriously done. It is made by Cartograf and designed by Crossdelta. Heavy hitters in the business. That was wise decision from Kinetic
. Contrary to the photo-etch of the kit, the decal sheet is about A4 in size and features everything that you might want. Except if you don’t decide to go for a version that is not included.
The colors are spot-on. Not too bright, nor too pale. The decal film is very thin, almost invisible. The only letdown here, is the missing guidelines for application of the large insignia. That is an instruction’s miss more or less. But we talked about that already. It is nothing that any decent modeler won’t be able to cope with. My admirations for the decal sheet, Kinetic done good job with it.
The sheet provides for 10 versions. They are mostly British ones, and that is understandable. However, a room for interesting subject is left, including US Marines, Spanish Armada and surprisingly – Thai Harriers from the late 90s. That last ones has Thai letters which look beautiful on the decal sheet.
This is what we get with K48040:
- 1. Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, ZD990/721, RNAS Yeovilton, 2004-2005, Harrier T.8
- 2. Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, ZD605/720, RNAS Yeovilton, 1996, Harrier T.8
- 3. Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, ZD604/722, RNAS Yeovilton, 1996, Harrier T.8
- 4. Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, ZD605/718, RNAS Yeovilton, 1985, Harrier T.8
- 5. Royal Air Force, XW265/W 233OCU, RAF Wittering, 1992, Harrier T.4A
- 6. Royal Air Force, XW266/51 233OCU, RAF Wittering, 1975, Harrier T.4A
- 7. Royal Air Force, XW272/Z IV(AC) SQN, RAF Gutersloh, 1980, Harrier T.4
- 8. USMC Marine Corps, VMAT-203, MCAS Cherry Point, Late, 1970 TAV-8A
- 9. Armada Espanola (Spanish Navy), 8a Escuadrilla (8th Sqn), 1988 TAV-8S10. Royal Thai Navy, 301 Squadron, Late 1990s, TAV-8S
My overall conclusion is that this kit deserves 85 to 90% rating. I know, I have mentioned a lot of flaws up there, but this is a kit that we waited for a long time and now finally it is here. Anybody can get additional literature and paint it properly. Instructions, even though mediocre, holds the most important information so they are usable. Even with perfect color schemes, a true modeler will always check for any additional references.
The missing rivets here and there can be done with any $10 riveter and a lot scratch cables can be added to the already nice cockpit. That goes for the wheels as well. Painting a scale model in glossy black and put decals all over would be a challenge, but for those who don’t want to risk it, there are other options included. More than enough.
I believe the kit will be a hit, even though not being at the level that Zoukei-Mura set with their 1/48th scale Phantom. And the Harrier is in that same category after all. But is not bad at all. I will enjoy it to the maximum. I hope you will too!
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