by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The Sea Harrier FA.2 is a modified Sea Harrier FRS1. The FA.2 was originally given the title FRS2 but was changed to the FA.2 to more correctly denote its fighter/attack role, as it was employed in the air defence role to protect the carrier fleet.
The FA.2 first flew in 1988 and entered service in 1993. 56 aircraft were built for the Royal Navy, with most being conversions of the earlier FRS1.
Armed with the Raytheon AIM-120A AMRAAM medium range air to air missile, and AIM-9M/L Sidewinder air to air missiles for close range combat.
The first of the three Sea Harrier squadrons was decommissioned in March 2004 with the last squadron, 801 NAS, decommissioning on the 29th March 2006. The FA.2 remains in service with the Indian Navy.
Xtrakit's are Hannants own brand of model kits, with this kit being manufactured for them by MPM.
Packed in a rather large sturdy cardboard box, the kit has 2 sprues of grey plastic and one sprue with the clear parts on. The 66 grey injected plastic parts are free from flash and pin marks are few and far between, with none detectable on any parts that would show.
Interior detail wise, the kit is a little basic, with the ejection seat, control column and an instrument panel, having some faint raised detail moulded onto the parts. No seat harness's are supplied, so adding your own would improve the look a bit. Internal wheel well detail is non existent, but considering the size of the wells in this scale a lot won't be seen anyway. The engine duct has a moulded on fan and adds a little depth inside the the air intakes. The engine exhausts on the other hand are hollow, but well moulded, but you will get to see a empty fuselage through them. Blocking them off should be pretty simple with some plasticard and would take care of that problem.
The undercarriage and outrigger legs are near enough moulded as one piece, with just the wheels to glue on, and a couple of other parts for the nose wheel.
External detail for the kit has the fuselage and wings with some very fine recessed panel lines. In fact they are so fine that they might even get lost under a couple of coats of paint.
The nose/cockpit section is a separate part, which might indicate different versions of the Sea Harrier will become available.
The only external stores that come with the kit are a pair of fuel tanks. Additional weapons could be added as 2 more under-wing pylons are included with the kit, so raiding the spares box or buying some A.M weapons will be needed.
The clear parts are blemish free and have the frames moulded onto the parts.
Instructions and decals
The instructions are printed on a A4 size sheets which are folded in half. One page is a single sheet about A5 size which has the annoying habit of falling out. The build sequence is pretty logical and straightforward. Internal colours, for Hannants own Xtracolor range, are given along the way, with the colour name also given, so other manufacturers equivalents should be pretty easy to find.
The decals are in register and look nice and thin. A couple of the stencils have quite a bit of carrier film around them but on the whole most of them look great. There is quite a few stencils adorning the aircraft and these have been reproduced well for a kit of this small size.
Painting and markings
Markings for three aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm are given, which are
Sea Harrier FA.2, ZE690, No 713, 899 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton, 2004.
Sea Harrier FA.2, XZ440, No127, 800Squadron, HMS Ark Royal, 2002.
Sea Harrier FA.2, ZH806, No 007, 801 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Invincible, 2004.
All the aircraft are painted in the Medium Sea Grey schemes.