BAe Sea Harrier FRS.1
Selected WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:
Between 2009 and 2015, I have set myself a general modelling theme based on selected 70th Anniversaries from WW2.
In Europe, the end seems near. Much of France and Belgium are liberated, and the Germans are falling back toward the Ardennes.
In the east, the Red Army’s advance through Poland seems unstoppable.
2 Sept 1944 -
8 Sep – London sees its first ballistic missile attack as a V-
12 Sep -
13 Sep -
15 Sep – US Forces land on the Island of Pelelieu.
17 Sep – Operation Market Garden – Allied paratroops attempt to storm the Rhine in
a surprise air assault and capture several bridges including Arnhem and Nijmigen.
However although the landings are a success, a lack of follow up support means that
the advance cannot be sustained and by 26th Sept Allied forces are withdrawn. 30
800 Sqn, HMS EMPEROR, Task Force 88,
Operation Dragoon, Southern France,
15 August 1944.
August 2014 saw the 70th Anniversary of the Allied landings in Southern France, Operation Dragoon. The forces landed during this operation were almost entirely US and French, however the immediate air cover came from Allied Task Force 88, the air component of which was almost entirely provided by the RN's Escort Carrier force.
Dragoon was immensely successful, building on the experience of previous landings in Normandy and the Pacific to conduct a textbook partly opposed amphibious landing. Within a month the all southern French ports were in Allied hands and receiving much needed supplies directly from the US (making up for the problems capturing the port of Cherbourg in the North).
Background Image: ILLUSTRIOUS at sunset in Lisbon, shortly after the incident in December 1984 when XZ458 was lost
Hasegawa’s 1/72 Hellcat is excellent; whilst there are more modern kits available nowadays with possibly more detail, this one remains perfectly acceptable for the vast majority of modellers. It has no real foibles, although there are a number of parts that need to be chosen or modified to ensure the right combination of engine exhausts, radio masts and cockpit windows for the variant you wish to build.
Hasegawa often re-
The markings are a bit of an oddity -
Have a look at my "RN Props" pages for details of my other WW2 Naval aircraft models
800 Sqn, HMS ILLUSRIOUS,
JMC, West Coast of Scotland, Autumn 1984.
ESCI’s Harrier kits first appeared in the early 1980s and were widely hailed as
setting a new standard of finesse and accuracy for 1/72 kits. Now, over 30 years
later they have been re-
They are not without fault though and I have undertaken some simple corrections to this kit, using scratch built parts, bits from other kits and aftermarket accessories to correct the very poor ejector seat (using a Pavla resin replacement), underwing tanks (replacements from the Sword T.4N kit), boarding ladder (from the Hasegawa kit), as well as a scratch built plug for the after canopy and paper RBF tags. Unfortunately my resin replacement intakes with open doors suffered an accident and had to be abandoned.
Same squadron, different aircraft and different ship, 40 years later!
August 2014 has seen the final decommissioning of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, the last of the Royal Navy’s hugely successful Invincible Class aircraft carriers (formerly known as “Through Deck Cruisers” for domestic political reasons). Spookily enough it was exactly 30 years ago, in August 1984, that I joined “LUSTY” as a young trainee officer, following completion of my Engineering Degree.
Just before joining, I built my very first ESCI Sea Harrier kit, as a return to the model making hobby after about a 6 year break where girls, cars, boats and educational studies assumed rather higher priority. As I built the kit, I was amazed by the improvement in fit and detail compared with those kits I had known before. Now 30 year later, to mark ILLUSTRIOUS retirement, I have built another, this time in the markings of an aircraft that was onboard the ship at the same time as I was.
This particular aircraft came to a premature end on 1st December 1984 after a bird
strike caused an in-
Prior to its demise, XZ458 had seen a busy career with no less than 45 combat sorties during the Falklands war with 809 and 801 Squadrons in INVINCIBLE, then back to the Falklands post war with ILLUSTRIOUS and 809 Sqn.
The kit generally goes together without problems and certainly needs no filler. However, in every example of this kit I have built, the port intakes have been a poor fit, and this one was no exception. The two parts of the canopy will only fit together if you position the first part very accurately and getting all the wheels to touch the ground at once is almost impossible. I also replaced the vulnerable nose pitot probe with a steel pin for strength. This 1990s ERTL issue is also moulded in a strangely soft and bendy plastic, which made cutting and tidying up some of the smaller parts much easier than usual.
Decals are not the ones supplied in the box (those have been used on one of my other SHAR builds), but a combination of a Modeldecal set and some other spares in order to represent this particular aircraft.
Approaching the stern of ILLUSTRIOUS with one of 800’s SHARs on deck.
About to launch.
Have a look at my "Harriers " pages for details of my other Sea Harrier and land-