Price around: (varies greatly depending on where you are ordering from and delivery location – in the UK right now around £100.00GBP)
Review with Andy Firth
Here’s a little bit of background on the type
The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family. Capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), the aircraft was designed in the late 1970s as an Anglo-American development of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational V/STOL aircraft. Named after a bird of prey, it is primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance. The AV-8B is used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Spanish Navy, and the Italian Navy. A variant of the AV-8B, the British Aerospace Harrier II, was developed for the British military, while another, the TAV-8B, is a dedicated two-seat trainer.
The project that eventually led to the AV-8B’s creation started in the early 1970s as a cooperative effort between the United States and United Kingdom (UK), aimed at addressing the operational inadequacies of the first-generation Harrier. Early efforts centred on a larger, more powerful Pegasus engine to dramatically improve the capabilities of the Harrier. Due to budgetary constraints, the UK abandoned the project in 1975.
Following the withdrawal of the UK, McDonnell Douglas extensively redesigned the earlier AV-8A Harrier to create the AV-8B. While retaining the general layout of its predecessor, the aircraft incorporates a new wing, an elevated cockpit, a redesigned fuselage, one extra hard point per wing, and other structural and aerodynamic refinements. The aircraft is powered by an upgraded version of the Pegasus, which gives the aircraft its V/STOL ability. The AV-8B made its maiden flight in November 1981 and entered service with the USMC in January 1985. Later upgrades added a night-attack capability and radar, resulting in the AV-8B(NA) and AV-8B Harrier II Plus, respectively. An enlarged version named Harrier III was also studied, but not pursued. The UK, through British Aerospace, re-joined the improved Harrier project as a partner in 1981, giving it a significant work-share in the project. After corporate mergers in the 1990s, Boeing and BAE Systems have jointly supported the program. Approximately 340 aircraft were produced in a 22-year production program that ended in 2003.
Typically operated from small aircraft carriers, large amphibious assault ships and simple forward operating bases, AV-8Bs have participated in numerous military and humanitarian operations, proving themselves versatile assets. U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf named the USMC Harrier II as one of several important weapons in the Gulf War. The aircraft took part in combat during the Iraq War beginning in 2003. The Harrier II has served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan since 2001, and was used in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya in 2011. Italian and Spanish Harrier IIs have taken part in overseas conflicts in conjunction with NATO coalitions. During its service history, the AV-8B has had a high accident rate, related to the percentage of time spent in critical take-off and landing phases. USMC and Italian Navy AV-8Bs are to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, with the former expected to operate its Harriers until 2025.
A note from Geoff
You’ll be very pleased to know that we have 2 full builds scheduled for definite and possibly a third too, so keep an eye out in What’s New for the first of these great projects.
Just as Andy says, sometimes you just can’t ignore important releases like this and the forthcoming Honk Kong Models (HKM) Avro Lancaster in 1:32 is another example and we are planning at least 2 builds of that too :)
Over to you Andy…
The HobbyBoss kit
Sometimes a kit comes out that can’t be ignored and cries out to be bought. Sadly this is the predicament I find myself in at the moment.
I had to all intents and purposes lost my modelling mojo and had completely gutted the modelling room and consigned everything to the shed.
Then this beast came along and I had to have it. I give you the HobbyBoss 1:18….yes 1:18 AV8B Harrier II.
This has been around in a different guise for a few years as under it’s shiny new box it is basically the Merit Harrier with a few extra bits thrown in for good measure. HobbyBoss took the Merit lump and kitted it for themselves.
I had read a few small reviews and comments saying that it was a piece of crap and no one should bother with it. At this I had a few worries but once the kit arrived and I went though the sprues I was pleasantly surprised.
Yes it has its problems and inaccuracies but on the whole it’s well worth having. I’ve said this before and I’m gonna say it again. We are modellers, not assemblers. We should be able to correct most problems a kit throws at us with a little skill and patience.