Hasegawa 1/72 AV-8B Night Attack






Two Aircraft


Scott Van Aken




It is no surprise that the USMC has found the Harrier to be a very potent and usable aircraft. The Marines like to have all of their assets work in conjunction with each other and have minimal reliance on any outside sources. If you realize that the basic job of the Marines is to be the initial assault wave  and to be able to hang on long enough for a larger but less mobile force (i.e. the Army) to arrive, then it makes perfect sense.

When the Harrier was initially developed, one of the most keen adherents to the type was the US Marines. At last here was an aircraft that didn't need a landing strip and could be right in there with the front line troops to deliver support where needed. No long delay in transit time from a fixed base. No need to have the Navy give air support (horrors!).  The Harrier could provide both ground attack and anti-air capabilities all in one package and be able to operate from the decks of the helo carriers.

When the second generation Harrier was being developed, the Marines had LOTS of input as to what was needed. Basically more power and a larger lifting capability (more hardpoints). They got both in the AV-8B. Of course, some of the wanted goodies (like an infrared targeting system) had to wait for funding. When it came, the night attack version was produced. Along with this was again, more power (which never hurts), but in most respects, this is the same aircraft as the earlier versions and is currently in fleet -wide use.


I'm going to take the cheap way out on this one and refer you to the previous AV-8B kit preview to see the bits and pieces. The reason is that 97% of all the parts are the same. The only difference in this one is: 1) a different LEREX section with more intake scoops, 2) a longer lower fin air scoop, 3) a new upper nose sensor, and chaff/flare dispensers on the upper rear fuselage. That is it. Of course, the decals are different. You have to do something to justify the $6.00 increase in price from the base kit. I have noticed that almost ALL of the smaller 1/72 Hasegawa kits that are the 'special boxings' are $16.98 MSRP. When did you ever think that a run of the mill 1/72 kit would run $3.00 shy of a twenty? Times definitely change.

All comments regarding the early kit apply to this one. What is really different are the decals. This particular sheet covers two different units from the earlier kit. The boxart aircraft is from VMA-311 'Tomcats' and has a very nice set of tail markings on a black fin. This particular scheme is from April 1998. Included are a set of alternate markings with the rather fangy sharkmouth from May of 1999. I'd be willing to bet that many will go for that scheme. The tail code of this and the other scheme are not those of when they are back in the states, but are the same as the HMM unit (that's a helo deal) when they are deployed. The other markings are in the same colors minus the black tail and are for VMA-513 in July of 1998. This one also has a sharkmouth, but it is considerably subdued from the VMA-311 version. Both of these squadrons are home based at MCAS Yuma (unless they have moved recently) and so are generally to be found on Pacific Fleet ships.



This kit is just as super as the previous releases of the AV-8B/Harrier GR.5/7 that have been done. Those who like the aircraft will find little to fault with it and I'm positive that there is an AV-8B plus as well as the next GR version to come. And of course, there will be an Italian and Spanish Harrier boxing!

Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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