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Harrier

Sword 1/72 Harrier T.2/TAV-8A Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2012 Manufacturer Sword
Subject Harrier T.2/TAV-8A Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72061 Primary Media Styrene/Resin
Pros Easy multimedia kit Cons See text
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $36.99

First Look

Harrier
Harrier
Harrier

The Harrier first started as the P.1127 Kestral, which was the early concept for a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) tactical aircraft. First flown in 1960, the aircraft was powered by a new turbofan engine, the Rolls Royce Pegasus and engine thrust alone lifted the aircraft and accelerated it into forward flight using four vectored thrust ducts. Evaluations of the Kestral led to an improved airframe that became the Harrier GR.1 in the UK and AV-8A in the USMC. Incremental improvements to the GR.1 included a laser rangefinder, electronic warfare equipment, and additional weapons capabilities, this version being designated GR.3.

Of course there was no suitable trainer surrogate for an aircraft as complex to fly as the Harrier except for another Harrier. In this case, Hawker Siddeley produced the Harrier T.2 for the RAF in order to transition perfectly normal pilots into the aircraft. In forward flight, the Harrier behaved as any other tactical aircraft but when the aircraft did the unnatural act of hovering or at least using vectored thrust to shorten takeoff and landing rolls, it would take some new skills to know when you're on the bubble and when you're about to have the lift pulled out from under you. The USMC also needed the trainer to transition its own pilots into this new form of flight and this version was designated TAV-8A Harrier.

Sword has released a new-tool kit for the two-seat Harrier in 1/72 scale. This kit represents the T.2, T.2A or TAV-8A variants of this unique aircraft. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on two parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts and one resin part. According to the instructions, the kit also comes with a color-printed set of photo-etched details but were not present in my sample.

Among the features and options:

  • Detailed cockpits (using the photo-etch)
  • Auxiliary intake doors are molded closed - no option for open (running) or drooped (shut-down)
  • Positionable nozzles
  • Choice of ventral gun pods or strakes
  • Positionable stabilators
  • Positionable speed brake
  • Positionable lift fence
  • Optional drop tanks

The upper wing part has the left and right halves of the wing and fuselage fairing which makes the job of setting the anhedral wing angle a non-problem.

Techmod decals are provided for three examples:

  • Harrier T.2, XW266, 233 OCU, RAF, July 1975
  • Harrier T.2, XZ145, 3 Sqn, RAF Wildenrath, WGER, 1976
  • TAV-8A, 159382, VMAT-203, KD/04, USMC, USS Roosevelt, 1976

The decal sheet has a complete set of airframe stencils in addition to all of the subject-specific markings.

This looks like another nice kit from Sword and should go together nicely in the hands of the experienced modeler.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!

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