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

24th May 2014

Ok, this is getting really fun now and the build is positively jetting along 😀

The first top coat has gone down, for this I’m using Tamiya Dark Grey XF-24, which is a pretty good match for Royal Navy Extra Dark Sea Grey (EDSG). Credit to the Harrier SIG for listing the Tamiya equivalent for EDSG.

I’m spraying with very thin paint – I usually like to use well thinned paint as it’s less likely to cause a nightmare of a finish and it’s easier to build up an interesting tone to the paint. I find when spraying with the paint too thick it’s all to easy to layer it on so fast that you lose sight of the shading below – bang and the dirt is gone as Barry Scott would say…

As you can see the pre-shading is looking strong here, as tempted as I am to decal it and call it done at this stage I must press on 😉



Another angle of the same stage of completion, you can see the plastic shining through the top coat it is so thin…




Another coat of XF-24 and it’s starting to get there now. The pre-shading is slightly more prominent in real life than in the photo, at this stage I left it for 20 minutes to dry off a bit and to let my eyes reset.

I always find that after a short time you can’t see the wood for the trees as it were, or put another way, you can’t see the paint for the pre-shading. Having a rest from the model and looking ta it with fresh eyes lets you instantly see whether you need to keep toning it down, and where you need to tone it down.




Back after a quick tea break, the pre-shading was a little bit strong in places, so it had another dusting of XF-24 here and there, and finally a drop of white was added to the XF-24 and a very mild bleaching was done along the spine and wing centres. It’s very subtle, but that’s what I’m after here. I want the effects to be so subtle that they are just not quite perceptible, I don’t know whether that will be the end result, but that’s the intention 😉




All that matt paint left a slightly rough finish, the finished SHAR will have a gloss finish so I’m going to smooth the finish between coats so that the roughness doesn’t build up.

Here she’s had a light going over with the blue side of a Flory polishing sponge, with 8000 grit micromesh used to get into all those hard to reach areas – especially underneath.




And with that, the top coat is pretty much complete.



Next up was the chipping. This turned out a bit average to be honest, I didn’t get enough hairspray down and the top coat stuck to the primer below. Having said that I’m happy with the result although the photo below doesn;t really capture how it looks.

There is chipping around the main intake and the fronts of the pylons, and the leading edge of the wings have been worn through to the primer.

Again, I’m aiming for subtle with this effect so the fact that it doesn’t show up on a photo taken on my phone is no bad thing – it should all come good at the end under decent lighting and on a decent camera (honest ;)).




Next up was the nose. This was a simple masking job followed by a coat of Tamiya Flat Black (XF-1) followed by a little blow over with Tamiya Rubber Black (XF-85) along the sides of the nose to try to give it a bit of  variation.

Hopefully it won’t notice – in which case it’s doing it’s job 😉




Next is to paint the RWR receivers on the tail. Here’s the tail masked and ready for paint. It looks  bit overkill on the masking but I had to come in from all kinds of angles and it was easier to just tape some kitchen roll over the rear section that faff around trying not to get overspray on it…




The instructions call for a mix of Tamiya Buff (XF-57) and Lemon Yellow (X-8) for the RWR transducers. I don’t have Lemon Yellow but flat yellow is a pretty close match so I used that instead. It turned out slightly less yellowey than the photo suggests so I’m happy with the colour.



With the main colour applied and some of the fiddly bits painted I decided to give it a coat of Klear and crack on with the decals. (There was still some detailing to do paint-wise but that can wait)…

My intention was to use the kit decals, supplemented with some Xtradecals from my decal stash. As I mentioned at the start of this thread the real SHAR got a coat of warpaint on-board ship as they steamed for the Falklands.  Pretty much every white surface on the SHAR got overpainted with Extra Dark Sea Gray or Roundel Blue.

So for the roundels I intended to use some low vis RAF roundels I had a decal sheet for.

Now it turns out that the aircraft side numbers which are usually white, were also overpainted. I believed the numbers to be black so I started to look for a suitable decal sheet of black numbers that I could purchase. While I was looking for the number decals I came across a set of decals on Hannants website that are 1/48 decals by Xtradecal (X48058) that gives all of the decals used on all of the Harriers (RAF & FAA) during the Falklands Conflict.

Decision made, rather than buy a sheet of numbers for a few extra quid I could buy an entire aftermarket decal set. Given the time I’ve invested in this kit so far it seemed like a small price to pay.

What a great decision too! The decals are much more detailed than the kit ones, and what’s more they come with 3 sheets of instructions and information including a complete list of all Harriers that flew in the Falklands, along with their serial numbers, who flew them, which aircraft they downed, what size and colour of side numbers etc…

So if you’re building a Harrier from the Falklands Conflict, I can’t recommend this decal set enough!!!

The only drawback is that the roundels look a bit “dayglo” and the roundel blue used for the side numbers is also a bit bright, but that should be easily toned down with post-shading/weathering.




Ok, I’m going to skip around slightly here a little bit…


The SHAR got a couple of coats of Klear, was left overnight to cure and then came a mammoth decaling session. It took me ages (hours) to get the decals on, but they went down well and the decals responded well to Micro-Sol.

I’ll put up a photo of the finished decaling at the end – so bear with me 😉


After decaling another couple of coats of Klear went on, and then I finished off a few more paint details such as the black sections on the tail, wing tip nav lights and centre fuselage nav light.


For the black sections on the leading edge of the tail I masked up the curve using Tamiya tape that I cut to 1.5mm widths. I don’t have any thin masking tape like Jammy Dog tape and find it just as easy to cut a strip with a knife and straight edge as required…

Once the curve is masked in with a thin strip of tape, it’s easy to mask off the rest with bigger bits of tape.




I messed up a bit with painting the black stripes, first time I sprayed them with a really thin mix of Tamiya Rubber Black, but once the masking was removed they didn’t show up very well.

So, I re-masked the stripes again and this time used a thicker mix of Tamiya flat black. I didn’t just blat the paint all over, I tried to keep the black to the lower edge of the black area, and the left and right edges in order to create a little bit of tonal variation.

I never like to paint anything a single tone of colour, I think the more you can vary the tone as you go, no matter how small the area, it all adds to the interest of the finished model…


And here we are with black strips applied (and this time they’re visible ;))




And as promised a shot of the progress so far…

Note that the roundels have been printed to simulate the fact that the white areas were painted over with blue on the way to war. They look a bit bright and vivid but I intend to tone them down a bit.


At this stage she’s been pre-shaded, top coated, Kleared, decaled, paint detail added, and Kleared again.



I’ll leave her over night for the Klear to solidify, and then it’ll be time for a coat of Flory Dark Dirt wash.

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I write this blog for fun, to share what I've learned, and to share my builds with you. If you like what you see here please leave a comment, and head over to facebook and like my page!

Cheers - Rich

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