Hardware Guidelines for Coordinating Node

With regards to coordinating nodes as described here: How to use a load balancer with Elasticsearch?

What is the recommended resource allocation? Obviously that varies a lot dependent on a huge number of factors, but there are ballpark estimations for the other types of node (4 gigs of RAM a core etc).

Start with 4GB RAM, 2-4 cores.
You don't need much disk space, just enough for the OS and install.
You can run >50% heap for these, as there is no off heap file caching that Elasticsearch would leverage. I wouldn't go >75% though.

So would it be sane to do something like have 3 designated data nodes with a designated master / coordinating node sitting in front of them?

No, see https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/elasticsearch/guide/2.x/important-configuration-changes.html#_minimum_master_nodes

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