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Hasegawa 1/72 scale AV-8B Harrier II

Manufacturer: Hasegawa, distributed by Marco Polo Import, Inc., 532 S. Coralridge Place, City of Industry, CA 91746, 626-333-2328 www.marcopoloimport.com
Kit: No. D 19
Scale: 1/72
Price: $10.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 89 parts (4 vinyl), decals
Pros: Accurate, good fit, bulged canopy, blow-in doors "dropped"
Cons: Rear exhausts have no relief, ventral speed brake molded shut, no bombs provided
The McDonnell Douglas/British Aero-space AV-8B Harrier II is a second-generation design with greater combat capability. Entered into service with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1984, the AV-8B Harrier II equips eight Marine squadrons today. GR.5 and GR.7 versions serve in the air arms of Italy, Spain, and the UK.


Hasegawa's kit exhibits fine recessed panel lines and good detail. Mold seams on the canopy and windscreen indicate Hasegawa's attention to the proper bulbous cross section; the seams were easily removed with fine sanding sticks.


The 12-step illustrated instructions show a logical assembly sequence and include a paint and decal guide and a parts map. Also included is a weapons configuration table. Hasegawa provides only two external fuel tanks and two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, but other ordnance is available separately.


Assembly is straightforward - I didn't have to alter parts for a good fit. I like the way Hasegawa molded the upper wing surface as one piece while the lower surfaces were molded in two. The wing assembly fit well to the fuselage. The mounting pins for the horizontal stabilizers mate with each other, and if attached carefully, allow the surfaces to be moved.


The two sets of exhausts mount to axles via vinyl, and can be rotated. Seams in the exhausts need to be cleaned, and the rear ones are not hollow. Each intake is molded with the top three blow-in doors open, a typical engine-off pose. However, the ventral speed brake (which is usually open when the airplane is on the ground) is molded shut.


The only filling I had to do was between the wing and the leading edge root extension (LERX, part No. J1), and the mounting holes for the British pylons on the outrigger fairings.


The only options are for the substitute lateral strakes or the ventral gun pods (actually, there is only one gun - the other pod carries ammunition). Markings for VMA-223 Bulldogs or VMA-542 Flying Tigers are provided on the decals (the instructions erroneously label the latter "VMA-452" - the decals are correct). The decals went on well with Solvaset.


My Harrier measures accurately according to the drawings in Don Linn's AV-8 Harrier in Detail and Scale. The model took about 15 hours to build and I recommend it to modelers of all skill levels.

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