1:48 Editorial Comment Harrier RAF Aircraft Royal Navy Sea Harrier Tamiya Thought for the day...


Have you ever thought that that ancient tool would be a good investment? Then you are not alone…


“Well, what was I to do? The desire was there, I had a few coins in my bank account and at that price, it would be silly to miss out on the opportunity to grab a kit that hardly ever seems to appear for sale”

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Mornings can be summed up in one word: panic. The alarm goes off, my wife jumps out of bed, makes her breakfast, gets dressed and then rushes for the door as she shouts “bye love, see you later”. It’s always the same commotion and almost always involves me keeping out of the way, checking my phone for the latest nonsense Online, seeing what my friends have discovered overnight and then checking my own personal, Facebook news feed.

This morning was no different. So I grabbed a cup of lighthouse tea (close to water), powered up my phone and scrolled through the lengthy accumulations of stories, jokes and modelling posts that form the basis of my Facebook feed and elsewhere. There, amongst the individual updates, was one on the Tamiya Model Magazine page that caught my eye. A modeller had shared scans of a 1971 Tamiya catalogue and there in plain sight, was a full-page description of their soon-to-be released, 1:48 Harrier GR.Mk.1…


Now, as everyone knows, I’m something of a Harrier fan and have built a few over the years, including this kit. I’m sure that I bought an example whilst on holiday in my early teens and then, when Tamiya reworked the moulds post 1982 to create their rather unsatisfactory Sea Harrier FRS.1, I bought that as well. My GR.1 was converted into a GR.3 I seem to remember, but was never fully completed and then binned. My FRS.1 was on the other hand finished, but then destroyed by my woodwork teacher at school, who announced during a display that he was putting on that “these kits are really fragile, aren’t they” before trying to glue the undercarriage back on with a hot glue gun and the kind of shaky hands that only old age and too much Guinness can cause. Suffice to say that I was in no mood to display this gluey mess, so it too, ended up in the bin (as to my woodwork teacher, I have no idea what happened to him…). Two kits, two failures — of sorts — and nothing to show for it but memories and this rambling Blog entry.

Anyway, getting back to this morning’s update, the sight of the page from the catalogue was enough to pique my interest once more, so I shared the image and rashly announced that I would love to have this kit once more, which I put down to a lack of sleep, dropping sugar levels and a burning desire to make my Online friends laugh with a statement that was as bold, as it was ludicrous. Now, anyone that has seen the Tamiya Harrier(s) will know that they aren’t really very good kits, to put it mildly. Nicely moulded and for their time welcome and somewhat ground-breaking, today they are seen as something of an throwback, each being remembered more for odd shapes and missing details than delicate moulding and an accuracy of outline. Still, I was overwhelmed by feelings of nostalgia and much like Frey Bentos steak and kidney pies, candy shrimps and glam rock, a desire to see if they were as much fun as I remembered them to be overwhelmed my still sleepy senses and so I went a huntin’ and I had not yet left my bed…

The thing about the Interwebz is that it’s very easy to search for something that is long-gone and so I excitedly typed “Tamiya 1:48 Harrier” into my search engine of choice and hit return, not really expecting anything to appear other than foggy memories and disappointment. Imagine my surprise then when the top result was for a current EBAY listing! Hurriedly,  I clicked the link (why I was in such a hurry is still a little beyond me, after all, who the hell, other than me, wants a 40 year old Harrier kit at 8 o’clock in the morning?!) and there in glorious Technicolor, was an image of a first generation release of the kit with a price of £15, postage and packing included. Well, what was I to do? The desire was there, I had a few coins in my bank account and at that price, it would be silly to miss out on the opportunity to grab a kit that hardly ever seems to appear for sale. Well, that was it: Paypal engaged, the kit was ordered and it will shortly be on its way to me, post and packing thrown in. I love a bargain.


I’m not sure though, that this was such a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I really want the kit, but I’m now wondering when I will get around to it and with everything else that I’m scheduled to do in 2017, spare time might be some way off, if available at all. Ah, what the hell! I will soon have this kit again and then I can then decide if it is worth the aggro and the fifteen quid that I shelled out on it. Given its well-known issues, the idea of correcting the parts and then adding additional detail is a bit of a stretch, but it may be worth putting together and painting it as if built in 1971, though with the addition of airbrushes, modern paint and some new decals – look, I’m not a masochist! We’ll see.

So I now have another ancient Harrier to go with my three Revell kits, another Airfix 1:24 offering and the raft of more modern tools that are there to satisfy my need to build this aircraft in miniature. I think that that is enough now – I surely can’t need any more. What’s that, Kinetic is due to release a two-seater and what about the Tamiya Sea Harrier. No, no, no! Oh, what’s that? Tamiya Sea Harrier, £15, free P&P? Oh hell…

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I'm formerly the editor in charge of Military In Scale magazine and latterly, Model Airplane International. Editing duties to one side, I'm now a full-time modelmaker with Doolittle Media, working to supply modelling articles and material for a number of their group titles, including MAI and Tamiya Model Magazine International. I'm also an avid fan of Assassin's creed, Coventry City FC and when the mood takes me, a drummer of only passing skill. Here though, you'll find what I do best: build models and occassionally, write about them!


  1. David Robbins Sr

    Just as bad. I saw two 1/32 Revell Gr 1 Harriers. I was sorely tempted to buy them. Tigger models has a Sea Harrier conversion l can use on one. Which brings me to the school of thought l been having. Right or wrong l think modelers are in two camps, old school modelers like you and me and what l call assemblers, modelers who want perfect models that have all the details that fall together. The latter is fine just you miss out on the fun taking something less then perfect and creating a model that wows people. Back to the Harriers l saw, l am now kicking myself for not buying them


  2. Bob Norgren

    Yep, agree. Being able to find and instantly buy almost any kit made during the past 60-something years is pretty dangerous to both the stash and bank account. Hitting the Buy it Now button gives a thrill that probably fills the same receptors in the brain as does pulling the slot machine lever.


  3. I had it in my mind at one time to at least own, if not build, the entire catalogue of early Revell 1/32 scale kits – the “classic” collection. Most of them have been replaced by newer, better offerings, and the entire idea seems redundant now when viewed logically. And yet, I still want those kits! It is indeed a sickness.


  4. Old kits are just what the doctor ordered for me. I grew up on a steady diet of monogram, Airfix and revell kits. It’s an insidious disease and grows rapidly in the body. I want all of the Airfix,matchbox and frog model kits.


  5. Well I love old kits and re-issues. Simply because these were stuff that I wanted as a lad and nostalgia, I buy em whem I see em, flashes and all . LOL


  6. Andrew Redman

    This sounds very familiar to me, as I have been modelling now for 50 years. I have a lot of memories of a lot of models that I have made as a child. I made one a week back then and a stash is something I actually did dream about. I used to buy the Airfix catolgue each year and pour over the photos of the kits and tick them off as I made them.
    I have resisted buying a lot of the the big old kits that I did make but they certainly were the practice that made me the modeller that I am today. 100’s of kits with basic tools.
    Thanks for posting this.


  7. Harold Cline

    Spencer: So, I ask myself why I have three of the 1967 molding of the P-51B and P-47D in 1/48 by Monogram? Two of the Mustangs are close to painting. Why? I am thankful I am not the only one with this nostalgic, self-defeating longing to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. I’m doing the F-80 to, but at least it’s shaped correctly. I actually bid on the Tamiya Sea Harrier last week, but was outbiden within 48 hours. Releaved after I found out about the Kinetic kit which I didn’t know existed. Want to build David Morgan’s #77. Have to wait for next month, already spent my allowance on antique kits that require twice, if not three times as much work as a modern kit. Why do we do this to ourselves? Cheers.


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