KIT: Matchbox 1/72 Sea Harrier FRS.1
KIT #: PK-52 (1982)
PRICE: Currently out of production
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Victor Scheuerman
NOTES: Minor changes from PK-16 (1974) molding


Evolved from the R.A.F. Harrier the ‘Sea Harrier’ meets the Royal navy Requirement for a Fighter-Reconnaissance-Strike Aircraft. The machine has a completely new operational equipment including Blue Fox Radar and a Digital Navigation System. The avionics are 90% changed from the R.A.F. machine and the weapons system has been updated. The basic fuselage, fin, tailplane and wings of the Harrier have been retained, but the front fuselage and cockpit have been modified giving the Sea Harrier a different appearance. Sea Harrier entered service with 800 Squadron in April 1980 and machines have been sold to the Royal Indian Navy.

 (Thanks to the kit instruction sheet.)


Matchbox’s Sea Harrier kit differs from PK-16 with a new nose, nose probe, RWRs on the fin and the tail cone, new forward fuselage and canopy. The kit comprises 64 parts (six are not used and these are the bodies for the Matra rocket pods and its wing pylon – the heads are not included in this boxing) that are cleanly molded but does feature their heavily engraved panel lines. The kit’s very basic cockpit consists of a well-done pilot, a seat ‘shape’ that also doubles as the aft bulkhead, and aft decking behind the seat and a coaming with no instrument panel at all. As the Harrier’s gear doors are closed except during gear cycling, the two small openings to accommodate the landing gear legs are legit. The gear legs and tires actually look good, but the two small doors that attached to these are too thick. If desiring to pose the model in flight, two extra outrigger gears that are retracted are included.

 External stores are limited to the wing hard points and to occupy the four separate pylons, two adequate (two-piece) British GP bombs and very poorly done Sidewinders are included. As there are no gun pods or center pylon included, the two strakes are.

 Matchbox has engineered the kit so that the four fuselage nozzles can rotate that should appeal to the younger builders while the missing auxiliary intake doors on the separate intakes will not be appreciated by the adult builders.

 The assembly is covered on a white single sheet in well-illustrated steps with the detailed colour notes offered at the end. As this might be a Revell Germany boxing (they purchased the Matchbox Kit Division in 1990), the excellent decal locations and colour guide is offered on this sheet and on the back of the box in colour.

 Kit decals look excellent. The first option is an overall Dark Sea Grey SHAR from 800 Squadron, HMS Illustrious and this is in both low-viz national and unit markings. A SHAR of 801 Squadron is the second option and this is done in high-viz national and unit markings and this has the white bottoms that it carried while on HMS Invincible in 1981.


There is a better 1/72 scale Sea Harrier on the market. However, don’t totally discount this basic kit. With some minor external work like dealing with the missing auxiliary intake doors and heavy engraving, it can be made to look adequate and with some further work, it will not embarrass your display. A previously built kit in Falkland War markings that I got a little carried away on is included. 


   The Encyclopedia of Matchbox Toys, Charlie Mack, Schiffer Books

Victor Scheuerman

September 2007

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