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

4th May 2014

Happy Star wars day – May the 4th be with you!


I took a bit of time out from the SHAR over the past few weeks. I find a kit like this that needs a lot of TLC tends to dent the old mojo a bit and a breather helps to build up the energy for the next stage.

As I left it the next job was to start filling, sanding and scribing. And this kit needs a lot of filling, sanding and scribing. In fact there isn’t a surface on this model that doesn’t need some kind of work before it’s ready to fly.


I made a start by sanding the wing root joins and getting a bit of filler on the worst of the gaps. As always Perfect Plastic Putty (PPP) to the rescue here.

With PPP I’m finding that it doesn’t shrink as much as solvent based fillers, and it’s good to sand after an hour or so of drying.




Next I decided to tackle the area around the side of the intakes…

For some reason Tamiya moulded the SHAR with very sharp edges to the fairing in front of the front (cold) nozzle. Also there is a lame attempt at a NACA duct moulded with raised panel lines – that’s all got to go…




And there it was – gone.

The area around the intakes has had a good going over with some sanding sponges. The sharp edges of the fairing have been rounded over and the raised detail is no more. It is Ex raised detail. It has slid down the curtain and gone to join the choir invisible…

I’m going to scribe in a few panels here in accordance with my reference photos, and am going to have a stab (literally) at carving in a recessed NACA duct using my shiny new 1mm Trumpeter chisel.




Underneath there is still a step that I mentioned in an earlier update. When fitting the intakes I purposely arranged it so that they fitted best at the top, leaving a step at the bottom.

This is about as good as I could get the step to be with sanding alone, rather than keep sanding and risk seriously altering the shape of the front end the remaining step will receive a bit of filler…




Aforementioned step filled and sanded. You can see a few dark patches which are voids in the filler caused by sanding. These will get a bit of Mr Surfacer over them to fill in any remaining blemishes.

I’ve also started filling in the join where the intake meets the fuselage. This will need a few layers of PPP to get the intake to blend into the fuselage surface.





Next up – working on the upper wing surfaces…

As you can see, Tamiya subcontracted the vortex generators design out to Lego…

They are going to need some tweaking.




Vortex generator surgery is going to be carried out (with no anaesthetic) using a mini square needle file… Here the wing surface has been masked off with Tamiya tape to prevent the file scratching the wing surface…




Back in the day when I used to do a bit of mechanical engineering, we used to create a “safety” edge on a file by grinding the teeth off one side to create a smooth surface. This allows you to file with one edge of the file without risk of the smooth edge damaging anything. To achieve a similar effect I covered one edge of the square needle file with Tamiya tape. The Tape side will go down against the wing surface so that the side of the file can be used to thin down the vortex generator without damaging the wing…




After a quick bit of needle file action, and a bit of nip and tuck with a No.11 scalpel the vortex generators are looking a bit more to scale.




And another shot of the (almost) finished wing…

The vortex generators will need a bit of adjustment in shape because in real life their leading edges are raked back at a 45 degree angle rather than being square. I probably won’t thin their width any further because I don’t want them to risk snapping off.

Also the re-scribing is finished and re-riveting has been done using an MDC No.1 rivet tool.

It’s worth noting that on an actual SHAR the wing surfaces are actually very smooth with little in the way of discernable panel lines or rivets. With that in mind I’m going for a bit of artistic license and am basically converting whatever detail was modelled in the kit from raised to recessed. Given that the finished model will be extra dark sea grey all over, I reckon it’s going to need a bit of added detail to stop it looking like a solid block of dark grey plastic.



Next job is a rinse and repeat on the starboard wing upper surface, and continue around the rest of the kit filling and fettling…


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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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