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

4th April 2014

I’ve been working on the SHAR on and off for the past week or two. To be honest the kit is so basic and lacking in detail that I’ve found it difficult to get any real momentum with it. It’s not like I can just paint a part and then fit it because either there is no detail to paint, or the part just doesn’t fit. Or if it does fit it won’t look right.

Anyway, enough complaining 😉

Since the side walls of the cockpit were so plain, and since I’m trying to build OOB (Out Of the Box) without manufacturing anything I decided if you can’t make it, fake it.

Using some Humbrol Enamels and a fine brush I faked in some side wall detail by painting in sidewall structure, bracing and knobs.

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The canopy is like a magnifying glass with plenty of distortion, so hopefully my fakery won’t be visible enough to be massively scrutinised…

By the way, you can see in the photo below there’s a big distortion running diagonally from top left to bottom right of the canopy, it looks like a wavy bit in the glass in the centre of the photo. I had a stab at getting rid of this later on…

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From the other side it’s the same story, the canopy glass is quite distorted – so the insides won’t be very visible from this side either…

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And if Sharkey is placed inside you can see even less of it. I’m going to make it look reasonable in there, but bear in mind much of it won’t be seen.

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I got the cockpit tub painted up, a bit of Tamiya light grey dry brush over the side consoles and detail picked out with Humbrol enamels and a fine brush.

The cockpit has just had an ink wash over it here, it looks a bit blotchy on the floor but I’m happy with this because a) it won’t be seen and b) if part of it is seen the grubby look will add to the wear and tear.

Also made a start on the seat (what a pile of old pants that is). A light dry brushing with Mr Metal Color Aluminium and some fake detail started to be added with enamels. I’m going to tart the seat up a bit more before I call it done, but really they couldn’t have moulded a more basic looking seat if they’d modelled it wearing welding mitts.

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Next up was to close up the fuselage. Please note the shiny new pegs! These aren’t just any old cheap pound-stretcher pegs either – they are the pucker item from Wilko’s. Quite literally no expense spent.

The fuselage went together really well (credit where it’s due), I glued the upper seams first…

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Then after an hour I did the bottom. The wings have been dry fitted here so that I can balance it on it’s back more easily (and so I can look at it with one eye open and pretend it’s a real one if I’m honest) 😉

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With the fuselage closed up, next is to close up the engine. I added a few thin plasticard shims to the mounting tabs otherwise the engine bay cover will sit too low. It’s easier to sand the engine cover down to fit the fuselage than to try to build it up with filler…

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The engine cover sitting in place ready for a bit of Mr Cement S and some plasticard to fill the gaps…

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Here’s a couple of photos of how the cockpit looks so far…

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There is still the seat and pilot to go in as well as the instrument panel/front coaming, so it should look fairly busy in there… At this stage it will still look too naff to leave out the pilot, but it’s looking better than I expected, so I might put Sharkey in there but leave the canopy open. Will have to suck it and see on that one…

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Especially as it started out looking like this…

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Next I thought I’d tackle the glass…

The canopy is quite thick, has uneven thickness causing it to look like a lens, and also has some flaws in it.

I gave the outside surface a going over with Flory sanding sticks over its entirety and then polished back to transparent ending up with the blue then white polishing sponges as Phil demonstrates in his vids. It worked really well though the canopy does look a little milky.  Will sort that a bit later…

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There were still flaws in the glass after sanding and polishing the outside, so I decided to give the inside surface a sand and re-polish.

Sanding sticks and sponges can’t get inside very well, so for this I used MicroMesh. The MicroMesh I’m using was supplied as fabric backed sheets of abrasive ranging from 1500 grit to 12000 grit.

Here I’ve given the inside a go over with 1500 MicroMesh. The photo is taken with the canopy sitting on the MircoMesh.

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And here we are after working through all the grades up to 12000. It’s still a bit milky, and you can see a big bit of damage near the bottom – this was caused by the sprue being moulded in a bad place.

I drilled out the worst of the sprue damage to get rid of the really white plastic, and will see if I can put a drop of PVA in the hole to blend it in a bit later.

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Another angle of the canopy after being sanded/polished inside and out. Still got some distortion there, but the major flaws have gone.

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I gave the canopy a good polish with T-Cut to get rid of some of the remaining milkiness caused by polishing, and after a good dipping in Klear the canopy was left to dry in my trusty Mr Metal Color packaging anti-dust shelter… Though I admit it looks more like I’m incubating something there 😉

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Next update – finishing off the front end/cockpit and starting the filling/sanding/re-scribing 🙂

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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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