Tamiya 1/48 Sea Harrier FRS.1

KIT #: 61026
PRICE: 69$
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Francisco Santoro

Condor Decals 48047


The Sea Harrier is possibly the Royal Navy´s most famous aircraft. It originally flew in 1978, and became famous for its battles during Guerra de Malvinas, protecting the Royal Navy’s Task Force against Argentinian A-4 Skyhawks and Mirage IIIEAs.

Its main novelty, compared to other aircraft, is its ability to take off and land vertically, negating the need for concrete runways, thanks to the aircraft’s pivoting exhausts.

Total production run was of 98 machines, including the single prototype. Major users were the British Royal Navy, and the Indian Navy.


The Tamiya Sea Harrier was released a year after Malvinas, in 1983. As such, the kit is a vintage of its time, with a barren cockpit, a decal for the instrument panel, raised panel lines, and playable features like an opening engine cover, and movable exhausts. The plane is molded in light grey, and hard plastic. The model has four sprues, three in grey and a single clear one. Decals are offered for three Sea Harriers, one based at Yeovilton, and two serving on aircraft carriers Hermes and Invincible. The three are painted in Extra Dark Sea Grey uppers and white lower surfaces.


I started by painting as many parts as I could on the sprues. Then I built the cockpit, which was subsequently painted in Light Grey (Revell 76). The seat was painted light grey with brown and black details. The fuselage was also painted light grey where the cockpit would go. Once the paint had dried, I dry fitted the fuselage halves, and then added the cockpit to the left side (the left half has a pin where the cockpit is glued). The engine was then assembled, trying to fit the moving arms of the exhausts free of glue, so I could try to move them once the plane was finished. After that, I glued the fuselage halves and added the intakes. Once the glue on the fuselage had dried, I glued the Aden 30mm cannon pods and glued the speedbrake in the closed position.

While the fuselage cured, I glued the wings and taped them together. A short dry fitting time showed the right wing fitted without gaps, while the left one would need filler. After that, I glued both wings to the fuselage, and then I added the horizontal stabilizers.

Next step was to add the engine cover. Dry fit showed i´d end up with a horrid step, and gaps, if I glued the cover as is. I decided to add four slivers of sprue onto each attaching point, effectively eliminating the former step.


I used Vallejo’s plastic putty to fill the most obvious gaps, such as the ones on the fuselage, engine cover and wings. The model was then wiped with IPA before painting. My Sea Harrier would be a veteran of 1982, so I chose Condor Decals set 48047 “Guerra de Malvinas 3” in 1:48. This sheet came with options for three different Sea Harriers. The entire model was painted in Extra Dark Sea Grey (Revell 79 Greyish Blue), and then glossed. Since the wings already come with open holes to glue the supports for the fuel tanks and missiles, I decided to cut the lower wing decals in half, and applied them. The decals then received some brushes with Microsol. Once the decals had cured, I matt coated the model.

I painted the Wheel Wells matt white, added the fuel tanks, missiles, landing gear, gear doors and canopy. Like that, I could call my first Sea Harrier finished.


This kit is ancient, and has been effectively replaced by the Kinetic offering. The only way this kit can compete with the modern tooling is by checking prices, since it’s 40$ cheaper than Kinetic’s. As such, consider buying this kit if you enjoy quick builds and like detailing them.

Francisco Santoro

2 November 2023

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