FA2 - 800 Naval Air Sqn, HMS ARK ROYAL, Royal Navy. 2004.
Airfix Club special edition - 800 Sqn decommissioning scheme
In 2004, prior to disbanding then re-forming on the GR.7 Harrier II, 800 Sqn decorated one of its Sea Harrier aircraft in this flamboyant decommissioning scheme, nicknaming it "Satan 1".
Italeri with Model Alliance resin conversion, Italeri AMRAAMS & decals.
Hasegawa with Heritage resin conversion, Airfix AMRAAMS, scratch drop tanks & modified Model Alliance decals.
801 were the final SHAR squadron, reluctantly and prematurely decommissioning in April 2006. To reflect their role as the final RN SHAR operators, for their last commission, embarked onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, they added an Omega symbol to the traditional 801 trident & wings tail marking, in much the same way as 892 had done with their Phantoms 30 years earlier.
Hasegawa with Heritage resin conversion, scratch drop tanks, Airwaves etched ladder & Model Alliance decals.
899 were the headquarters, reserve & training squadron for the SHAR fleet, based ashore at RNAS Yeovilton.
ESCI out the box, with Hasegawa refuelling probe.
The Medium Sea Grey topsides/Barley Grey undersides Air Superiority colour scheme for the FRS1 was short lived, and was only applied to 809 & 899 Sqn aircraft during the Falklands conflict. Ten years later, an all-over MSG scheme would return as standard for the SHAR FA2.
... And a link to a picture of the real thing: 899 Squadron SHAR
Hasegawa with scratch windscreen and twin pylon.
Although originally an 899 Sqn aircraft, this one was integrated with the INVINCIBLE Air Group under 801 Sqn. Note the double sidewinder rails (not a success and discontinued after the war), kill markings and the white parts of the peacetime roundels overpainted in blue.
ESCI with Modeldecal decals.
These markings reflect the immediate post Falklands period, when 801 re-applied simple squadron markings. Note the unusual side number of this aircraft, "000" and the standard low visibility roundels.
ESCI with Hasegawa decals. Link to build page
These markings also reflect the immediate post Falklands period. 809 Sqn had been split between 800 and 801 (in the same way as 899 Sqn), but then reformed as a separate unit and returned to the UK onboard HMS HERMES after the Argentine surrender. After a quick maintenance turn-around, they redeployed back to the South Atlantic onboard the newly complete carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, as relief for HMS INVINCIBLE which had remained in-theatre to provide air defence of the newly liberated islands.
Fujimi with scratch canopy, Italeri Magics & Italeri decals.
The Indian Navy is the only other operator of the SHAR, flying them from the (ex RN HMS HERMES) INS VIRAAT. Instead of Sidewinders, the French Matra R550 Magic missile is carried. This is the BAe delivery scheme; the english language "Navy" titles were subsequently repainted in Indian script on the port tail and the cougar symbol moved to the nose. Indian SHARs were later repainted in an all-over low-viz medium grey scheme and are currently (2007) undergoing an upgrade programme (similar to the FA2) providing a new Israeli sourced radar and BVR missile.
ESCI with Modeldecal decals. Link to build page
This particular aircraft survived the Falklands war, but crashed in 1984 in the Scottish Highlands, following a bird strike and engine fire. Fortunately there were no casualties.
T4N - 899 Naval Air Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton, Royal Navy. 2002.
Sword - built entirely out the box.
The Sea Harrier HQ Squadron at Yeovilton operated a small fleet of 2-seat Harrier T.4Ns for training purposes. In 1992, a Sea Harrier and a T.4N, were decorated to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of 899 Squadron's founding in 1942.
Modified Heller Bobkit (putty nose & reprofiled wing tips/tail/boom with Model Alliance decals.
899 Sqn's Harrier T4s were subsequently upgraded with FA2-style cockpits to become the T.8N. Originally painted in Dark Sea Grey (with a dummy black nose radar) the T8Ns evnetually adopted the standard UK high-viz Training scheme of overall gloss black.
.... and the real thing - Yeovilton 2003
Many more to come - watch this space !