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

15th June 2014

I got a little burned out on this build after the last update, nothing major just started feeling things were getting a bit tedious what with each and every part of the kit needing serious TLC before it could be finished.

So rather than risk rushing things I took a week out from it (to do my 1/144 tornado) and am back with full mojo ready to get her finished off. The last thing I’d want to do at this stage is make a stupid mistake through rushing it 🙂


With that, here’s a shot of the final bits remaining to be finished off and attached…




I reckon undercarriage and weapons has to be my least favourite part of a build, it’s like getting to the bottom of the chocolate box and all you have left is Coffee Creams.

The bits on the left have had a coat of Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey and on the right I have used XF-80 Royal Light Grey.



For the drop tanks I’m going for a “triple chip” weathering system. I know that sounds more like a type of ice cream so my apologies if I’ve made you hungry…

For the triple chip I’m going to spray the tanks with metaliser to look like aluminium. Then they’ll get a coat of yellow chromate type primer which I will chip back to the metal. Finally they’ll get a top coat of Extra Dark Sea Grey which will also be chipped revealing a mix of primer and bare metal.


This is the look I’m going for (very second hand).




Here’s the tanks with a coat of Mr Metal Color Buffable Stainless Steel. They’ve also had a coat of Humbrol Matt Cote to seal them in before applying hairspray for the chipping.



After the hairspray had dried I gave it a coat of primer. This is a mix of 50% Tamiya Cockpit Green (XF-71) and 50% Tamiya Yellow Green (XF-4). To be honest it would have been better as 70% Yellow Green and 30% Cockpit Green – but its close enough seeing as most of it will be obliterated…



When dry (after about 30 minutes) I wetted the tanks with tap water and started chipping with a cocktail stick and stiff brush. Again I didn’t get enough hairspray down so the primer stuck to the metaliser somewhat.

A bit of brute force got the effect I wanted though. Most of this will be covered up so I’m not too worried how it looks at this stage.



Next I applied more hairspray (a lot of hairspray this time), hard to describe how much but enough to support a stout Mohican is probably the measure of it.

This time the chipping was much easier. Actually too easy, most of what you see below was done by gentle brushing with a stiff brush. But this is exactly what I was after.

It might look a bit over the top, but ton be honest I allowed myself a little artistic license here (seeing as the rest of the model is just dark grey).



Next up was the Sidewinders. On the SHAR they managed to get hold of the AIM 9L which gave them the ability to lock on from a frontal aspect as opposed to the earlier version they were using that was rear only.

Even the Sidewinders needed a fair bit of titivation. Raised panel lines, ejector pin marks and seams needed to be taken care of before painting.

On the lower one shown below I have cut off the nose ready for replacement with PVA glue to simulate the transparent seeker head.



One thing I have been toying with for a couple of weeks is adding some light streaking to the fuselage.

What I really wanted to achieve was some streaking from the wing vortex generators. I want the SHAR to look a bit like it’s sitting on a rainy sleety deck under a grey sky waiting for the off.  With this in mind I wanted to simulate water runs and general wet weather on the fuselage rather than dirt and smoke. Although I also couldn’t resist a certain amount of dirt on there 😉

I played around with pigments. White chalk pastel dust looked great until it was clear coated at which point it just vanished. Same with white Mig Pigment. I tried fixing it with alcohol (but that just gave me a head-ache and made me want to sing songs about goblins), also tried fixing with white spirit but that didn’t work. I didn’t try Mig Fixative – maybe will get some in the future.

So what I settled on was to airbrush the streaking on with Humbrol Matt Cote.

The surface of the SHAR is very glossy (as it was during the Falklands conflict), so Matt varnish could be used to provide weathering effects. The downside is that it’s a bit of a one-way street and if it goes wrong it is harder to put right. As opposed to using pigments where you can blend them as you go and if you get it wrong they can be (pretty much) wiped off and started again.


What I went for was t0 cut a slender V – shaped slit in a bit of thin plasticard, and hold this over the area that I wanted a streak and lightly spray Matt Cote over the slit.


Below you can see the port wing with some streaking from the vortex generators. This turned out quite well.



Buuuut, I started on the starboard wing and overcooked that one. Far too heavy and far too uniform :'(



I managed to knock it back a bit by going over it with Klear, micromeshing it back a bit (4000 mesh) and also blending it in with a little XF-24 Dark Grey (well thinned).

Looking much more believable now 🙂



Being in the final stages of completion it was time to sort out another little problem…














When I unmasked the canopy, despite having been very careful during the build to avoid dust and crud I found a dirty great bit of WHITE plastic swarf right in your face in the back of the canopy :'(


After a bit of head scratching I decided to drill a hole in the front wheel well under the rear of the seat, and feed in a bit of plastic coated Kynar wire.

There was a big risk here of simply adding a few more tufts of swarf to the interior – so I was very careful to make sure the swarf from drilling stayed outside the cockpit…



Gotta say it worked like a charm, and the wire could easily be manipulated to the location of the offending swarf to winkle it out of place….



And as Barry Scott would say – bang and the dirt is gone!


Well, that almost wraps it up for this one chaps!


The gear is now on, and only the Sidewinders, Pitot Tube and a few Antennae still need finishing.


The next post on this one will be the final reveal.



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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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