Hasegawa 1/72 Harrier GR.5
Having produced the first operational VTOL fighter/attackaircraft, Bae left it up to McDonnell/Douglas to come up with the next step inthe Harrier evolution. The USMC needed an improved aircraft to replace theAV-8A/Cs they were flying. Basically, it needed longer range and greatercarrying capabilities. This was done by increasing engine power, wing area andfuselage length. A larger cockpit was also given to the new AV-8B.
Across the pond, the RAF was also looking forward to a newHarrier. Bae had a great deal of input to this new plane as it was going to beco-produced in the UK as well. Naturally, the RAF had some different things itwanted on the plane, however the two airframes are nearly identical. The RAFwent for a rangefinder nose and an additional pylon on the outrigger wheel forSidewinders. It also uses a different underfuselage cannon from the USMCversion.
Those of you with sharp eyes will say 'hey, that's the AV-8Bsprues. What are you trying to pull?'. Actually, there are very few differencesin the kit plastic so I decided to save a few kilobytes of web space. There is adifferent sprue for the nose cone, the additional Sidewinder pylons and for thecannon. That is it. Everything else is exactly the same. I can imagine that whenHasegawa does a GR.7 and GR.9, that there will be even fewer differences fromthe GR.5 kit! If you don't think these variants won't be done in the next yearor so, then you don't know Hasegawa very well!!
As with all the modern jets in 1/72 that I have built fromHasegawa, this one comes with a fair cockpit, using decals for instrument andconsole panels and an OK seat. It really needs a replacement resin cockpit toliven it up, though I'd bet an etched brass set from Eduard will soon bereleased. Personally, I prefer resin over etched brass. Airwaves does make someproper bang seats for the GR.5 and it is recommended.
The rest of the kit is just fine and has drop tanks, cannon andtwo Sidewinders. That leaves four pylons empty so you'll have to dig up the ordnancefor those out of the spares box or somewhere else.
The decalsheet is quite complete with the usual myriad of stencils and warnings. Twoaircraft are on the sheet, both in the early scheme of NATO dark satin greenuppers with Lichen green undersides. Both of these colors are in the Xtracolorline or you can use the mixture given in the instructions. The two aircraftshown are ZD 410 of 3 Sq as shown on the box top, or ZD 351 of 1 Sq. The 1 Sqbird is actually quite boring with only a serial, fin number, and tiny unitbadge on the nose. However the Cold War was still going strong when these planeswere operational so it is understandable. For aftermarket sheets on the HarrierGR.5, I only know of Modeldecal sheet 100 that has two very similar planes tothose in the kit as well as one from 233 OCU.
It looks like Hasegawa has another winner here. You can start tooff-load your old Airfix Harrier kits!
Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!
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