Buried under the snow, I found a nice surprise on my doorstep Saturday. The new Airfix Sea Harrier FRS.1 and F/A.2. The FRS.1 was immediately dispatched to the closet of no hope, but the F/A.2 was torn into with relish. I've been waiting years for a divine scale SHAR2 that was actually buildable and after spending too much money on resin conversions for the ESCI and Hasegawa Sea Harrier kits and the horrid Xtrakit rush job (and I passed on the Special Hobby kit which was the Xtrakit model with additional detail parts), I think this one will actually get built.
In typical current Airfix style it is a simple kit with deep panel lines, and decent moldings. The moldings are not quite as crisp as the recent Spitfires and Hawks and the plastic is softer. (Looking at the side of the box, these kits were molded in India, rather then China. I think that is a first for me...a model injected in India.) The good news is that all the F/A.2 mods are included. The longer fuselage with the new nose are captured well. The fin mounted pitot tube is included, even if it would be best to replace it with a length of metal for strength. The wings also have the necessary F/A.2 modifications.
Cockpit detail is a tub, instrument panel with combing, but no heads up display, a stick, a rather small seat and a World War two style pilot. (Oddly the Spitfires had a jet pilot...oh...oh...) I planned to fit an Aeroclub white metal Martin Baker Mk.10 seat, but there is not enough room in the tub and the white metal seat is way too tall. Decals are included for the panel and consoles as there is no raised details.
Weapons include Aden gun pods, the larger F/A.2 tanks, dual Sidewinders, AMRAAMs, and Sea Eagle anti-ship missiles. (I don't think the F/A.2 carried Sea Eagles.) Sadly, while the boxart shows the fuselage mounted AMRAAMs, the pylons are not included in the kit. Bummer.
The airbrake may be position opened or closed, and both open and closed auxiliary intake doors are provided. (These should be open on the ground, though most kits mold them closed) There is some detail inside the landing gear wells, but also some injection pins molded into the detail. Also included is a nice engine fan for the intake. The exhaust nozzles are molded in two pieces each and may be difficult to make look good if the fit is anything other then stellar. The main gear wheels are slightly over bulged for my taste. The canopy looks clear and well molded, if a little thick.
Decals are provided for 800, 801, and 899 Squadrons Fleet Air Arm in overall Medium Sea Grey. The decals look very well printed, and stenciling is included. As is becoming the norm, a full colour decal placement sheet is included for each option.
I'm too lazy to get some sprue shots, but you can find theme here and here.
Again, we have a nice buildable new kit from Airfix. Yes it could use a little resin and photoetch for additional detail, but for a reasonable price a nice base is provided out of the box. It is not state of the art, but it does seem like it will be a quick build. It surely beats the socks off the competition.