Hasegawa 1/72 AV-8B Harrier II Plus "VMA-223 Bulldogs"
KIT #: 00747
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Reissue - 2004 release


Marine Attack Squadron 223 (VMA-223) is a United States Marine Corps fixed wing attack squadron that consists of McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier II (V/STOL) jets. The squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 14 (MAG-14) and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW). The squadron uses "Stone" as its radio callsign.

VMA-223 was formed at MCAS Ewa, Hawaii in May of 1942, initially flying the F2A Buffalo but soon re-equipped with the F4F Wildcat. After a short period of training they were sent to the South Pacific being the first fighter squadron to be committed to the Guadalcanal campaign at Henderson Field on 20 August 1942. Since then, the squadron has been involved in most of America's wars with the last major combat tour being Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012. The unit still flies the AV-8B and is slated for the F-35 in 2027, by which time their Harrier IIs will be truly worn out. 


I'm not sure just how many times this kit has been reissued, but each one has come with  recent markings from the various units flying the type. Today, this is good as Hasegawa's 'new' decals are as good as anything you can get from aftermarket. Please note that I took the lazy way out and used the standard AV-8B sprue image. Only difference is the inclusion of the plus nose and the scabbed chaff/flare pods. Being a twin pack, you get two complete kits and two complete sets of decals, which is nice if you want a lot of spares!

The moldings are in excellent shape; still nice and crisp with no flash. Ejector pin marks are, as is often the case, on landing gear legs, one side of the pylons, on missile bodies and the inside of gear doors. Cockpit is nicely done for this scale, with decals for the side consoles and main instrument panel. A somewhat basic seat is provided. Intakes are molded with the upper bleed down doors in the open position, as is the norm when on the ground.

Polycaps are used to allow the exhaust nozzles to be rotated. The main gear doors are properly shown in the closed position. One has a choice of lower fuselage guns or strakes. A pair of Sidewinders is provided for the outer missile pylons and fuel tanks for the inner wing pylons. Any other ordnance will have to come from the usual weapons sets. A two piece canopy/windscreen is provided so the cockpit can be more easily displayed.

Instructions are typical for Hasegawa and are well done with Gunze Paint references. I have my doubts about the colors for the camouflage as Hasegawa calls out 35237/36320/36375 for the three greys. I'm pretty sure the darker shade should be 36118. Decals are superbly printed and provide markings for two of the unit's aircraft in 2002. One is the squadron' commander's plane and the other a standard line bird. This is another kit that I bought from Kitlinx that turned out to be 'used' as the sprues, other than the clear bits and decals, were loose in the box.


For many modelers, one just cannot have enough Harriers and this is a kit for them. I've built a Hasegawa Harrier or two in my life and found them to be pretty straightforward builds.

April 2024

Copyright ModelingMadness.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission from the editor.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page