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

7th May 2014


Carrying on with the re-scribe job on the upper surfaces…

The engine access panels behind the cockpit were glued in place and filled in a previous episode. Looking at them I’m not convinced that the panels are the correct size or shape so I’m going to re-scribe panel lines where the instructions say they should go.

One good thing with this kit is that the illustrations of the aircraft in the instructions seem to give a fairly true indication of where the panel lines should go. I compared the drawings in the instructions with similar drawings in a Sea Harrier FRS1 reference book, and the book shows the Tamiya instructions as being accurate.

Also, it’s never easy to scribe a line along a seam that has already been filled – the scribing causes the filler to chip causing a rough line instead of a smooth one. So another good reason to move the new panel lines onto an area of fresh plastic.


Using a pair of vernier callipers, I measured the positions of the panel lines on the plans, then scaled them up and transposed them onto the model. They have been drawn in using a pencil.



Here the outside panel lines have been scribed in, and a couple of strips of Dymo tape are in place ready for the centre lines to be scribed in.




The engine access panel lines are done, however the cross shape in the middle looks a bit like the top of a hot cross bun. The centre part where the lines cross will get a dab of Mr Surfacer so that the final result is that the access panels look lke four separate panels…




And here’s the upper surfaces re-scribed and re-riveted…

Hopefully you can see what I was trying to explain in the previous photo about the engine access panels. the four lines that form the cross no longer carry on all the way through the centre of the area.

I gave the model an ink wash to bring out the detail for the photo – so it’s looking a bit grubby (which I kind of like) 😉




A close up view of the detail work. I mainly used an MDC No.1 rivet tool which is the larger of their 1/48 tools. Some of the larger rivets were done with their No.5 tool which is really for 1/32 work.

The long lines of rivets on the wings were present on the original model but not on a real SHAR (as far as I can tell), for artistic license I just re-instated what was originally on the kit.

The larger rivets were reproduced from reference photos, and in reality they probably aren’t all rivets – some of them being screw heads or other round entities.

If I have time I may still run a ring of rivets around the inside edge of the access panels (as I have already done on one or two), but I’ll reserve judgement on this until later. i.e. I will see if I can be bothered 😉




Time to turn my attention to the underside…

Things are a lot simpler down here, but still there isn’t a surface that won’t need some sort of tweakage.

As you can see the air brake has been glued in the closed position (left of photo).




Here’s the main undercarriage well, with the mounting hole for the undercarriage in front of it. On the SHAR the rear wheel well doors are closed even when the gear is down, so this saves having to worry about detailing the wheel well. Since I’m building OOB that wouldn’t be an option anyway.

There is a great big seam running through the area where the mounting hole is which will be visible so this will need to be filled.

The wheel well door is a pretty poor fit and sits too low. So here I’ve added a couple of plasticard shims to pack the door up to the level of the fuselage.




As you look at the wheel well door in the photo below, the right hand edge of it was square whereas the edge of the hole had a slight chamfer to it. I sanded the edge of the door to match the profile of the hole. This resulted in the door sliding towards the front of the fuselage somewhat, leaving a gap towards the rear of the door.

This is good though because the gap I’ve created can be easily filled with a bit of plasticard…




I added a bit of plasticard to the rear edge of the wheel well door. Easier to add a rectangle and then trim/sand it down to shape when the glue has dried.





Before the rear wheel well door gets glued in place I’m going to fill and sand the fuselage seams. It will be easier to sand the recessed area where the rear gear attaches before the door is fitted.




The underside now with the wheel well door fitted, and all the panels re-scribed.




As you’d expect the Aden gun pods were nothing to write home about (other than to complain). The raised panel lines were re-scribed and holes drilled in the fronts to represent the gun barrels.




Attaching the Adens was tricky because they are not shown on any of the plans and there are no locating holes or lugs to line them up against.

In the end it was a case of looking at a few reference photos to work out roughly where they should go, and attach them in a position that looked good.

They are not a bad fit in terms of how they conform to the fuselage shape, a bit of PPP run around the join and wiped off should be enough to blend them in nicely…




In keeping with the quality of the rest of the kit, the pylons are ‘orrible.  Tamiya in their infinite wisdom decided to represent access panels on the pylons with raised circles. They also moulded the pylons with deep ejector pin marks all over them, so it’s impossible to tell what is an access panel and what is an ejector pin mark.

As has come to be expected with this kit, best to treat the parts as a starting point, sand them to be completely smooth and then any required detail can be added back in.

I don’t think a single part of this kit has just has a simple clean up before fitting, it seems that every single component needs major work before it can go on.




Right, me complaining about this kit isn’t going to get it built 😉


Here’s the pylons after a good sanding, re-scribing and riveting.

I’m starting to get the hang of the MDC riveting tools now. In the instructions it says to give the rivets a light wet sand after riveting, but I find that this can erase them altogether if you’re not careful.

What works for me is to do any re-scribing first, then go over the scribing with a sanding stick (such as a medium Flory skinny stick). This knocks any burrs of the sides of the scribed lines.

Then I give the surface a good buffing with the fine side of a black Flory sanding sponge, then a going over with the blue side of a Flory polisher finished off with a buffing with the white side of the polisher.

Once the surface is shiny and smooth, then I do the riveting trying not to make the rivet holes too deep.

After that the rivets get a light once over with the blue then white side of the polishing sponge.

So far I’ve found this the best way to end up with rivets that have circular edges and a domed inner.




And finally for this update a shot of the almost finished underside complete with panel lines, rear gear door, Aden canons and pylons.



In the next instalment of “Dear Lord please let the scribing end – I promise I’ll stop doing all those bad things!” I’m going to look at scribing (and carving a NACA duct) into the sides of the intakes, re-scribing the front fuselage, and re-scribing the tail area.

Thanks for visiting!

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *