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Sea Harrier FRS.1 Kit

Kinetic 1/48 Sea Harrier FRS.1 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2015 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject Sea Harrier FRS.1 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48035 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice details and lots of subject options Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look

Sea Harrier FRS.1 Kit
Sea Harrier FRS.1 Kit
Sea Harrier FRS.1 Kit
Sea Harrier FRS.1 Kit
Sea Harrier FRS.1 Kit

In the early 1960s, Britain was feeling budgetary austerity and the military services were likewise downsized to meet their goals as well. One of the casualties was the new class of aircraft carrier to replace the older carriers like the HMS Ark Royal. Instead, the Royal Navy was able to take a page from the Russians and develop a smaller carrier that would embark rotary wing and VSTOL fixed wing aircraft. By that time, the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 (which would lead to the RAF Harrier GR.1) had demonstrated its capability to operate from the deck of the Ark Royal.

The Sea Harrier (Shar) was similar in design to the RAF's Harrier, but it would also have an air-to-air capability which made all-round visibility essential. The Shar featured a raised cockpit with bubble canopy plus a different nose that housed the Blue Fox radar. Engineers also figured out that adding a ski-jump to the front of the new class of carriers would allow for a greater payload to be carried aloft. The Shar entered service in 1980 and were embarked aboard HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes.

When Britain responded to the Argentine seizure of the Falklands Islands, the Royal Navy dispatched a task group that included RAF Harrier GR.3s for strike support, leaving the Shar to maintain air superiority over the task group and the islands. However the Shars were not aboard when the task group departed the UK. The Shar was only armed with the early Sidewinder at that time and these aircraft were quickly upgraded to carry the AIM-9L and have head-on kill capability. The Shars caught up with their carriers at Ascension Island after air-to-air training against the Mirage III in France which gave the Shar pilots the needed dissimilar combat experience against the Argentine Air Force's own Mirage IIIs and IAI Daggers. The Shar and its crews held their own.

If you've been following the development of Kinetic's 1/48 Sea Harrier FRS.1 kit, you've seen their attention to detail to make sure they got this kit right. This kit nicely compliments the FA.2 released previously. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched parts (duplicate weapons parts tree not shown).

Among the features and options of the kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Nice ejection seat which will need aftermarket pilot restraints
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of open or closed intake blow-in doors
  • Interlinked nozzles will all rotate together
  • Positionable speed brake
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable flaperons
  • Positionable stabilators
  • Positionable rudder
  • Landing gear hubs are molded separately from tires for ease of painting

The kit provides a nice selection of external stores including:

  • 2 x 100 gallon external fuel tanks
  • 2 x 190 gallon external fuel tanks
  • 6 x AIM-9L Sidewinder
  • 4 x AIM-120 AMRAAM
  • 2 x Sea Eagle anti-ship missiles
  • 2 x Matra 36-shot rocket pods
  • 4 x Matra 18-shot rocket pods
  • 2 x bombs

Check your references to see what weapons and configurations were used for your subject. For example, the instructions provide an option for dual-rail launchers for the AIM-9L, but these were not yet available during the Falklands War.

This release provides over 50 (!) marking options:

  • FRS.1, XZ450, 50, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ451, VL/100 / 710 / 68 / 006, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82, Lt Cdr N.W. Thomas
  • FRS.1, XZ451, 006, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ451, 000, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1983
  • FRS.1, XZ452, VL/101 / 711 / 69, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82, Flt Lt P.C. Barton
  • FRS.1, XZ452, 007, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ453, VL/105 / 715 / 72, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82, Flt Lt A. Penfold
  • FRS.1, XZ453, 009, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ455, VL/102 / 712 / 70, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82, Flt Lt P.C. Barton
  • FRS.1, XZ455, 12, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ455, 000, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ455, 712, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1988
  • FRS.1, XZ456, VL/103 / 713 / -, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82
  • FRS.1, XZ456, 008, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ457, VL/104 / 714 / 71 / 14, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82, Lt Cdr M. Broadwater
  • FRS.1, XZ458, H/124 / 61, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1981/82, Lt Cdr M.S. Blissett
  • FRS.1, XZ458, 007, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ459, H/125 / 62 / 25, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1981/82, Lt Cdr G.J. Ramsay
  • FRS.1, XZ460, H/126 / 63 / 26, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1981/82, Flt Lt E.H. Ball
  • FRS.1, XZ491, 251, 801 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ491, 002, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ492, H/123 / 60 / 23, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1981/82, Lt Cdr A.D. Auld
  • FRS.1, XZ493, N/001 / 65, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1981/82, Lt Cdr N.D. 'Sharky' Ward
  • FRS.1, XZ493, N/001 / 65, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1981/82, Lt Cdr N.D. 'Sharky' Ward
  • FRS.1, XZ493, H/123, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1983
  • FRS.1, XZ494, VL/106 / 716 / 73, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82, Maj W. McAtee/USMC
  • FRS.1, XZ494, 16, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ495, N/003 / 67 / 001, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1981/82, Lt H. Slade
  • FRS.1, XZ496, H/127, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1981/82
  • FRS.1, XZ496, N/002 / 66 / 27, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1981/82, Lt Cdr D. Hamilton
  • FRS.1, XZ498, N/005, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1981/82
  • FRS.1, XZ499, 99, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, XZ500, H/130 / 64 / 30, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1981/82, Lt M. Hale
  • FRS.1, ZA174, 000, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZA175, N/004, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1981/82
  • FRS.1, ZA176, 76, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZA176, N/01, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1983
  • FRS.1, ZA176, R/007, 1989
  • FRS.1, ZA177, 77, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZA190, 009, 801 Sqn, HMS Invincible, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZA191, 718, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, 1981/82
  • FRS.1, ZA191, 18, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZA192, 92, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZA193, 93, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZA194, 94, 800 Sqn, HMS Hermes, 1982
  • FRS.1, ZD614, 004, 1992
  • FRS.51, IN603, 603, 300 Sqn, Indian Navy, 1983
  • FRS.51, IN607, 07, 300 Sqn, Indian Navy, 2005, 'Simba'
  • FRS.51, IN608, 42, 300 Sqn, Indian Navy, 2005, 'Cougar'
  • FRS.51, IN613, 39, 300 Sqn, Indian Navy, 2005, 'Lion'
  • FRS.51, IN616, 40, 300 Sqn, Indian Navy, 2005, 'Puma'

Odd the things you'll find online. ZA176, aftier it served as a combat replacement aircraft to the Hermes and then over to Invincible in 1982, the aircraft was out on an overwater flight and the pilot became lost. With only a minute of fuel remaining, the pilot successfully made an emergency landing on the deck of an unsuspecting cargo ship.

This is another very nice release from Kinetic and the variety of detail and marking options will allow you to capture the aircraft in a variety of timeframes before it was replaced by the FA.2. You'll also see in the images that parts from the FA.2 are also included in the kit since the subject shares many of the same parts.

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!

References:

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