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AV-8B Harrier

Monogram 1/48 AV-8B Harrier Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2014 Manufacturer Monogram
Subject AV-8B Harrier Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5448 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice kit, simple build Cons Landing gear (see text)
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

AV-8B Harrier
AV-8B Harrier
AV-8B Harrier
AV-8B Harrier

The second generation Harrier started as a joint UK/US program though budgetary constraints led to the UK's withdrawal from the program. McDonnell Douglas took on the program of wrapping a more capable Harrier around a more powerful version of the Rolls Royce Pegasus engine. Among the improvements were a larger wing with two additional weapons stations, improved range, improved avionics, raised pilot seating for better all-round visibility, and more. The AV-8B has seen combat in both Iraq wars as well as in Afghanistan and Libya. Additional capabilities were added to the Harrier in later production blocks and airframe updates to keep the aircraft combat effective until the F-35B is available.

Monogram was the to produce the AV-8B in 1/48 scale back in 1987. Like most of the kits in Monogram's range, this kit is a nice blend of detail versus simplicity. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented four parts trees plus one small tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in the box:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Optional pilot figure
  • Positionable canopy
  • Auxiliary blow-in doors in shut-down position (tops open)
  • Positionable nozzles
  • Positionable speed brake
  • Positionable stabilators

Options for external stores include:

  • Mk.82 Snakeyes
  • AIM-9 Sidewinders
  • External fuel tanks

One of the minor bugs in this kit are the landing gear. If you glue them all in place as shown in the instructions, the kit will not sit on the rear centerline strut. The easiest time to do is to wait until the model is nearly completed to install the landing gear and adjust the positions of the outriggers (weight/flatten the tires) as well as the height of the main gear to get the kit sitting properly. It has been a number of years since the last time I built this model, but it is a straightforward fix.

While this kit has been eclipsed by the Hasegawa late versions of the aircraft, this remains a good choice for rendering an early AV-8B should your project want an aircraft early in its operational life. There are still a number of aftermarket details available to please the AMS modeler. I believe this kit has been reissued a time or two but are still available (and inexpensive) at kit swaps and even on eBay.