- Published on Friday, 30 December 2011 00:02 Robin Jenkins
Catalogue # ZTZ032/047
Available direct from Zotz Decals for $25.00
The second generation vertical/short take off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft, the Boeing AV-8B Harrier II, has seen widespread military use since its introduction in the mid-1980s. Developed as an Anglo-American development of the original Harrier, it has seen service with the USMC, Italian Navy, Spanish Navy and with the RAF and Royal Navy as the British Aerospace Harrier II.
The airframe has a very distinctive shape (below) and has been a common site in many of the conflicts that NATO or the USA have been involved in during the last 25 years. The modelling fraternity have been well served in recent years with good kits of the subject; Hasegawa have some very nice 1/48 offerings, Airfix's recent 1/72nd Harrier GR7a/GR9a, reviewed on this site, is a sublime little kit and 1/32nd fans are served by the offerings from Trumpeter.
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:United_States_Marine_Corps_AV-8B_Harrier_II_hovering.jpg, - photo by D. Miller
There have not been that many aftermarket items for the large Trumpeter kits. For those looking for something a little different markings-wise, Zotz Decals have released this new set covering aircraft from 3 different nations, all with interesting schemes. These 3 schemes are shown in profile below. As will be seen, a lot of background is given by the manufacturer on the aircraft and the schemes carried.
These profiles are backed up by a set of very clear stencil placement diagrams (above). Taking each of the schemes in detail in turn:
Spanish EAV-88 Plus Matador, based at Rota, Spain, cleared for take-offs and landings aboard the Principe de Asturias aircraft carrierUSMC AV-88B II Plus, 165421/WE-01 of the VMA-214 "Blacksheep". This is a demonstrator from 2010/2011, commemorating the WW2 Medal of Honor-winning pilot Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, who lead the squadron when they flew F4U Corsairs against the Japanese (both below)
Italian AV-8B Plus, GRUPAER Sea Wolves, based in Grottaglie in South-East Italy (above)
To complement the main decal sheets, there is also a supplementary sheet carrying further stencilling and other airframe markings (below)
All of the sheets showed excellent colour saturation and perfect register.
Finally, I should perhaps mention that a modelling friend of mine has just used this sheet to complete a 1/32 Spanish Matador and he has told me the decals performed flawlessly, apart from the yellow on the national markings not being as dense as the rest of the colours. Modellers using this scheme may wish to consider spraying or painting a pale background where these markings are to be placed to avoid any colour showing through.
So What Do We Think?
A really interesting trio of schemes, well-researched an executed; my personal choice would be the Italian aircraft. At the current price, they offer fair value for money.
A well-executed and researched set of decals