Wednesday, 10 September 2014


For a (slight) change, instead of another post about collecting diecast model helicopters, here’s the latest on my growing collection of Harrier jump-jets. 

My favourite airplane since childhood, I remember reading magazine articles about the original Hawker Siddeley aircraft, way back in the early 1970s. At the time, it seemed to me this was a sci-fi innovation, an S/VTOL jet fighter that could fly like something from one of Gerry Anderson’s genre TV shows.

The first seven planes I bought are in various scales. The all-blue version is a BAe Sea Harrier FRS mk.1 (circa 1982), an inexpensive but highly detailed Amercom model at 1:72 scale. My set of three Matchbox editions have (left to right) US Marines, RAF, and Royal Navy markings/ colours, but - of course - these are big-wheeled toys and not especially accurate models of the aircraft.

The silver-coloured Harrier II is another RAF variant, and the model is produced by Del Prado at approx 1:100 scale. The plane tagged as ‘NASA 719’ (on its tail-fin) is a Harrier AV-8C, one of two such aircraft used for testing and training purposes at the Ames Research Centre. This model was made in 2005 by Corgi, approx 1:100 scale, as part of their ‘100 years of flight’ range. There’s also a 1:72 scale edition of this, but (at £40 boxed!) I simply can’t afford to buy one. 

Finally, I have a large version of the AV-8 Harrier (built by McDonald Douglas for the USMC) at 1:40 scale. This model is 14 inches from nose to tail, with a wingspan of nine inches. Bought unboxed/ second-hand, the model has clearly had a bit of shelf wear, but it’s only been on display, not played with, so its condition is still very good. 

There are no manufacturer’s details on the model, but I found out that it’s made by Toy Zone, as part of their Air Power range - military replica series.

No comments: