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Big-Ass Vehicles: The HM Armed Forces Fast Attack Jet Revisited

Almost 4 years ago exactly, I brought home my first vehicle from UK line HM Armed Forces. As excited as I was, I don’t think I could’ve predicted just how much enjoyment this plane would give me.

The first look I had shared with you guys back in May 2014 hereWas among one of the first serious looks at this vehicle I had ever come across. A few Madelman collectors, some Sigma 6 collectors over at HissTank.com, and a few random pop ups here and there, but not nearly the kind of coverage I would have expected- I still can’t believe something like this, available around 6 years by that time, had skimmed under my radar. It’s a fighter jet that can fit a 6″ figure without breaking a sweat, and somehow only a lucky handful of collectors had found that out.

So, as time passed, I would always come back to the Harrier. I picked up a second, then third, then fourth. I decided a pair would be USMC AV-8Bs, one would be a Falklands Harrier (still need to finish that one), and another that we’ll talk about later.

They are truly excellent toys out of the box. Gradually, I added some features,  changed some pieces, and so on. I ordered lots and lots and lots of decals from Cobrastickers.com. It took many forms, from pseudo-real to anime inspired to finally a nice toned-down low vis set of modern Marines-inspired decals finished it up. In my time of trial and error, I started to form a “mission profile” for my Harriers, and it of course tied back to GI Joe.

As a kid, one of the odd things that I always tried to explain in my “personal canon” was where the Joe’s got their air support. A F-14 Tomcat costed 38 million dollars to procure, and that’s before we get to whatever suite the Skystriker upgrade would add to it. Were the Joe’s ‘strikers on loan from the Navy? It would be tough for a special task force to get their own “air force”- even the Army gets into it with the USAF over what they can and can’t operate. The Air Force would piss themselves over a unit having their own interceptors.

So, my Harriers are part of a fictional USMC attack squadron, let’s call them the VMA-118 Tomahawks, for homage sake. In my little canon, these comprise a dedicated Joe support squadron the Marines contribute to the unit. These Harriers luckily don’t have to be completely accurate, so I can let them have things like dual 20mm cannons and matra rocket pods, since they would be outfitted to whatever the Joe mission specs would be. If I ever figure out how to make a USS Flagg dio, I would reimagine it as a Wasp class rather than the Nimitz class- I can much more see the Navy dedicating that type of carrier to Joe ops, much like they do in reality with the Marines.

The mods that these Harriers slowly accumulated include the 6″ sized seat, stick and throttle controls, weapons rails for different ordinance, and LED wing lights. Recently, an “aha” moment got me adding glow in the dark marker strips to the nose, tail and shoulders.

The exposed barrels on the cannons is a “Joe-style” indulgence, since the real 25mm GAU-12 pods have fairings over them, but it lets me plug in those old War Machine fire effects.

Since that first article, I have annoyed my friends constantly with little updates and pics of them. A couple of them got some of their own- Stonewall has his own fighter wing. And again, I tell you, the rest of my friends, you need to procure at least one of these if you can. They are worth the effort.

And that’s even if you’re not a militaria guy. Any of you kids play GTA V? You might be familiar with the “griefer’s” old buddy the Hydra.

Like a lot of Rockstar vehicles,  the Mammoth Hydra is a hodge-podge of a couple real world vehicles,  in this case it’s mostly Harrier with a pinch of F-35 thrown in. All that I did was add the twin tailfins and the somewhat silly rear afterburner nozzle. I changed the ordinance to match the non-specified missiles of the game model, and then gave it a hammered paintjob- it is a war surplus plane, after all.

So, here we are, four years later, and I’m still in love with this toy. I have amassed an impressive array of vehicles, even the mythical Fairland toys Raptor, and these are the ones I play with most. My only gripe these days is how much I wish HMAF had continued. I can only imagine some of the other planes they might have done. A Typhoon? A Tornado? A BAE Lightning??? All I can do is hope they come back to the line someday.

I’ll be here waiting, with my credit card and custom forms at the ready!

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