Anigrand 1/144 Nimrod MR.2

KIT #: AA-4036
PRICE: $88.00 MSRP
DECALS: Several options
NOTES: Resin, includes HC.3 Merlin, P.1185 Harriera and BN Islander kits.


The Nimrod is – or was – a really cool maritime patrol plane. Designed, built and flown by the British, it never had any export customers. It had long range, and with upgrades over time it remained relevant up to the modern era. As with other military recent capabilities in the UK forces, its real demise was cost. The MRA4 version was deemed too costly to proceed with and was finally cancelled when it was nearly a decade behind schedule and nearly 800 million pounds over budget. And then, much to the chagrin of British plane fans everywhere but perhaps to the relief of the country's struggling economy, the MR2 fleet was phased out ahead of schedule at the end of 2010. Another Nimrod variant, the AEW version, had suffered a similar fate to the MRA4 and for similar reasons. In its heyday, though, the Nimrod patrolled British waters through the Cold War. The references section has a link to a great documentary about it.
Typical of Anigrand’s 1/144 kits, this one comes with three bonus models. The Merlin HC.3 helicopter is a new-ish NATO large tactical helicopter used by the Brits and (in various forms) quite a few European and other militaries. It comes in two main versions – the army one depicted in this kit and a maritime version flown off the back of Royal Navy (and other countries’) frigates. The Britten-Norman Islander is a small twin prop utility aircraft that has served many a small airline in inaccessible places. You can make a regular Defender or a 1980s prototype AEW variant that came with a bubble nose for a search radar. Last, the kit includes a paper project – the P.1185. This was to be a supersonic version of the vertical take off and landing Harrier. That comes with a pair of Sidewinders for each wing as well as, somewhat bizarrely, some Red Top missiles (the kind used by the Lightning interceptor). I'll replace those with some AMRAAMs and do a whiffer.
I was really pleased to receive this. It looks very cleanly moulded, has panel lines that are probably a bit overdone for the scale, but if you're worried you can probably fill them a bit. For a resin kit - and this is only my second one ever - it seems to be well made and hopefully will go together without too much stress. The surface seems smooth and hopefully won't require too much extra effort.
The Nimrod has two fuselage halves with a little opening where the cockpit is. The floor is built in and there are two seats but that's it - it's 1/144 so this is no less than you'd get from an injection moulded kit of a plane of similar size. You can't open the weapons bay (without surgery, that is). There is a transparent bubble for the wing-mounted searchlight.
The Nimrod looks great but Anigrand's wonderful practice of adding "secret" kits to the packages in their "Huge-Bird Collection" real adds value to the (admittedly fairly pricey) box. The Merlin HC.3 chopper is great, nicely moulded and with fine rotor detail. The other two little kits are cool too - a twin prop Britten Norman Islander with optional radar bubble nose, and the P.1185 supersonic Harrier (aka AV-16A). The latter is really cool - a very obscure aircraft design (it never flew) which was planned to upgrade/replace the regular Harrier. See the links in references to see the original patent filed in 1982 to protect the various technology upgrades (notably a special door that enabled the airflow to facilitate VTOL, at the same time as the engine could get the plane to Mach 1+). It comes with a pair of twin rail Sidewinders with very petite fins, and bizarrely a pair of Red Top missiles (these were early British heat seekers used on Sea Vixen and Lighting which, I believe, were not in the same league as the Sidewinder, especially by the 1980s). Note that the little kit seems to have drawn from the patent diagrams; there are other renderings on the internet that look different.
You could probably use the twin Sidewinders on your Nimrod too, as seen in the Falklands War.
Decals are very basic and there are not really any instructions on how to use them. Actually, I am a bit confused by the decal sheet, so much so that I thought I'd been given the wrong sheet (I checked, I hadn't). It has a tiny XV236 Nimrod serial, so small you need a magnifying glass to see it (but it is there). Other than "hemp" for the Nimrod and generic colours for the others there aren't really very useful painting instructions either. But if you're making a resin Nimrod from Anigrand, this isn't your first day in the hobby. Chances are you can find a few pictures on the internet and work out how to deal with the decals. 
To save you the hassle I've linked a few relevant ones below.
So far as I know this is the only 1/144 Nimrod readily available. I'm convinced it's the only Islander Defender and P.1185, though I bet Revell has done, or will do, a Merlin. It looks to me like a beginner to resin kits could get this done. Practice first on the little kits!


Preview is courtesy of my private banking relationship with Visa...

Richard F

October 2014

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