- Published on Sunday, 19 February 2012 00:01 Nick Mayhew
1/32 Harriers Over Albion – GR.7 in RAF Service
Catalogue # ZTZ32-046
Available from Zotz Decals for $25.00
Today I have pleasure in reviewing a set of decals from Zotz. Over the past few years they have made decals covering a wide variety of subjects in differing scales – everything from 1/72 Lancasters to 1/32 MiG-21s. Their decals are often extremely colourful and esoteric, and whilst the Harrier in RAF service is fairly mainstream, Zotz have put together a set with some excellent nose art and squadron insignia.
One of the most easily recognisable jets of the modern era
Emotively entitled "Harriers over Albion", this set covers the Harrier GR.7 in RAF service; for those unfamiliar, Albion is possibly the earliest term for Great Britain, and is particularly associated with England.
The Harrier in its rightful place! Here onboard HMS Ark Royal (that's being scrapped too)
The GR7 is one of the second generation Harrier II family, which also recently took its place in myth and legend when the British Government decided to 'retire the airframe from service'. At least we can keep the thing going in 1/32 scale, where Trumpeter brought out a new tool GR.7 last year (kit#2287).
A most depressing sight
The set has markings for six different Harrier GR.7s based in the UK, Norway, Kandahar and Kuwait, all flown by the RAF. The markings guide is printed on two cards, one of which has the Harrier artwork on the front. Each aircraft has a side on profile, which also indicates stencil placement. Five are in two-tone grey finish, whilst the Norway aircraft also has a strong white distemper added to the sides and upper surfaces.
I have seen Zotz decals in the flesh before - I have a few sets in the stash - and this one is no different in that the print quality is very good indeed. The colours are sharp and full, and both stencil writing and unit insignia are clearly defined and in good register. Carrier film is minimal – you really struggle to see that it is even there.
National insignia are provided, but seeing as there are only two fin flashes, I guess this caps you out at one aircraft, unless you use kit decals. Six roundels are present, and from what I understand should be on port wing upper surface, and starboard wing underside. However, the Norway aircraft shows the upper wing roundel in the top view, but not in the side profile; since it is not mentioned in the accompanying text for this aircraft, I am not sure whether this is intentional, or an error in the artwork.
An extensive range of stencils is also provided, but given the number and variations between some of the aircraft, there will only be enough for one complete airframe from this decal set. Again, not really a problem given you should get these with the kit decals. There are a couple of nice close-ups of Harrier landing gear and engine intake fans showing precise decal placement. You get two full sets of fan blade numbers, which tells you that might be a tricky operation!
There is a second smaller decal sheet with further stencils, including those for the canopy. Three of these are provided, and they are of excellent quality – absolutely zero carrier film – and will really top your Harrier off.
View from inside the cockpit
The aircraft covered are as follows:
- ZD407, Flight Lieutenant C.P. Roger, 20 (R) Squadron, RAF Wittering, RAF Harrier Display Team 2004/2005
- ZD404, Flight Lieutenant Dan Johnson, 20 (R) Squadron, RAF Wittering, 1999
- ZD408, 20 (R) Squadron, Operation Telic, Ahmed al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, 2003
This aircraft has a nice looking shark mouth and eyes under the cockpit.
- ZD737 "Michelle", 1 Squadron, Operation Herrick, Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2007
The Michelle in question is Michelle Marsh, glamour model and Page 3 Girl, who visited troops at Kandahar that year. Her evocatively posed silhouette is accompanied by writing which my naked eye cannot discern, but my camera macro lens did pick out; both writing and silhouette seem to match the pictures of the real thing. Excellent attention to detail.
Tiny writing, but it's all there.
Miss Marsh does the honours!
- ZD404, "Lucy", 1 Squadron, Operation Herrick, Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2007
Lucy is Lucy Pinder, another glamour model, who also made the trip to Kandahar. I have struggled to find a picture of this nose art, but the writing once magnified reveals it is signed "Wve & Kisses..." etc – I presume this should have been "Love & Kisses"? But whether this is Miss Pinder's attention to detail or that of Zotz, I cannot at this moment say. I would not worry that much, as you really do need a magnifying glass to read it, but now I know that it's there, I must admit it does bug me a bit.
- ZD379, 1 Squadron, Exercise Snow Falcon, Bardufoss, Norway, 2004
This will look quite striking in two tone grey plus white; remember to check roundel placement on port wing (see above).
So What Do We Think?
An excellent quality decal set with some very fascinating nose art on two of the subjects, and another with a striking camouflage scheme, this decal set is a must if you like your Harriers.
With thanks to Zotz Decals for the review sample.