1/48 Tamiya BAe Sea Harrier FRS.1 – Build Log

19th May 2014

“SHAR build, week 9. This is taking a little longer than I first anticipated…” 😉


Work this week has mainly involved trying to get the plastic to a point where it can take some kind of paint. Any paint. Primer would be great. In fact I’m tempted to spray it with air so I can imagine what it would be like to have a finished fuselage 😀


Sorry, right – moving along…


Next up is the pitot tube for the nose. The pitot tube on a Harrier is actually part of the weapons systems allowing the pilot to use it to joust against bandits should he run out of traditional  ammunition.

Now one thing is guaranteed, if I fit this to the Harrier and if I’m really careful with how I handle it, it will survive right until I’ve almost finished painting, decaling and weathering and will then get snapped off just as I thought I’d made it.





So to prevent it getting snapped off, I cut it in two.





Then cunningly fashioned a hole into the mounting boss with a 1mm drill so that I can attach the boss to the fuselage, and glue the pitot tube in right at the end after it’s all been painted.


…then I can snap it off as I go to put it in the glass cabinet 😉




Here’s the pitot tube boss glued in place and filled…




Onto the horizontal stabilisers…

On the SHAR these are very smooth with little in the way of discernable surface detail. The kit has them with quite fine raised panel lines, so I decided to convert them to very fine engraved panel lines. Just to add a little interest to the surface.

Incidentally the stabilisers are quite nicely moulded, only two very small ejector pin marks underneath that easily sand out and very thinly moulded. Ok that’s all the praise I will heap on this kit.




Meanwhile back on earth…

The horizontal stabilisers are supposed to attach into a hole in the rear of the fuselage where you can glue them together so that they rotate in the hole.

Stuff that, they’re getting glued rigid 😉

The problem here is that the pins that the stabilisers rotate on are very slack in the hole so that it’s very difficult to get them to sit in their final position while being glued.

To get around this I put a little styrene sheet shim in the hole to pack the stabiliser spindle to the top of the hole. This held them in the correct place while the glue set.





Do you remember that I mentioned the SHAR has one or two (or fifty) air intakes?

Well, while going through the instructions and sprues making sure all the various widgets were attached to the fuselage before painting I found two more bloody intakes! 😉

As could be expected they were solid lumps of plastic…





A quick going over with a round mini needle file soon got them open for business…





And here they are fitted in place.

Wouldn’t want the Harrier to run out of air! lol 😀




And at last – PAINT!


Yes my friends, I reached a point where paint could be applied to the fuselage 😀


A very thin coat of Tamiya Dark Sea Grey was applied as primer to highlight any further filling/sanding that would be required.

As it was there wasn’t too much filling required, but then again I have spent ages sanding it without primer to get it this far!

Here you can see the remaining sanding with dabs of Mr Surfacer 500 applied (lighter grey patches)…




And the underside – again not too bad 🙂



The underside actually wasn’t all that straight forward…

A couple of weeks back I was showing the SHAR to my 8 year old boy when I dropped it. It hit the leg of my bench with a thwack and one of the intakes cracked along the glue line. No probs, glued it back in place and applied a bit of filler.

However, just before priming I noticed a step in the centre seam of the underside between the Aden canons. Strange I thought, I had spent ages sanding and polishing this seam to be as flat as a snooker table. The I realised that when I dropped it I had also cracked open the seam on the underside :'(

So I had to do a bit of re-gluing and minor filling to get it back up to scratch.



Anyway, the Mr Surfacer was left to cure overnight and then sanded back and polished.




It took 5 rounds of minor filling, sanding, re-priming before I was happy with the end result. A lot of work but hopefully it will pay of in the finished article!

The tricky thing with a badly moulded Harrier is that it has so many compound curves it makes it very hard to see what you’re doing. On a flat surface, or even one with just one curve it’s not too bad to sand and see whether it’s flat. When you have the Harrier which has curved curves it’s a different matter.



Here she is primed and ready for actual painting 😀




First off, the cockpit area is blacked up quite heavily to lend opaqueness to the canopy frame. The frame was first sprayed with grey so it’ll look grey on the inside which was what I was after.

Then onto some pre-shading with Tamiya flat black.

The SHAR in ’82 warpaint was painted all over in Extra Dark Sea Grey, and when you look at them in reference photos they are very grey and plain. So the pre-shading here is going to be mostly covered over, just allowing a slight variation in tone to try to reduce the slabiness of the finished model.

It’s going to be a bit of artistic license here to try to achieve a scale effect and make it look more convincing.

So I’m hoping for a little pre-shading to come through and not for it to look like a worn out Tomcat 😉




I’m also going to be doing a small amount of chipping on this one.

Here’s a reference shot taken as a still from a Falklands War documentary video. You can see a fair bit of wear on the main intakes and on the external fuel tank.

This looks like it has chipped back to bare metal, but people that work with these jets always say that chipping is only ever allowed to get down to the primer or is quickly touched up to prevent corrosion.




So in order to try to be as true to life as possible I’m going to do chipping down to primer.

The areas that I might end up chipping have been given a going over with a mix of approx. 70% Tamiya Cockpit Green (XF-71) and 30% Tamiya Yellow Green (XF-4).



I’ll leave that lot to dry for a bit before I hit it with the L’Oreal and then the top colour 😀


Next job – definitely more paint haha 🙂

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Cheers - Rich

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