Replacement SHAR

While the project is in a slight hiatus vis-à-vis new kits for various reasons, I came across the opportunity to redo one of my earlier kits. The original Sea Harrier FRS.1 was an old Matchbox kit. There are many reasons why they no longer make plastic kits, one of them has to be that it was pretty basic. So, I decided to upgrade to an Airfix kit.

The fun thing was that on Ebay I found an Airfix kit with a load of after-market parts for an absolute song. So, quite a lot of detailing to do…

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The basic kit is much as many of the other Airfix Harriers I have done. All the same niggles (split exhaust pipes, oh come on…) but nice detailing on the mouldings. Much better than Matchbox, anyway. Anyway, I was straight into the super-detail world with the cockpit. On the one hand, there was a Pavla resin replacement cockpit, panel and seat – but I decided to keep that for the next Sea Harrier. Instead, I used the comprehensive Eduard photo etch to modify the bits that Airfix made.

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There are so many teeny tiny pieces on this. The cockpit side walls are easy enough to fit and the instrument panels were reasonably straightforward. So much better than the decal supplied!

The ejection seat extras are many and multi-layered. Still, I love the tiny initiator handle painted yellow and black that fits between the pilot’s legs.

Then the whole lot goes together. There is a tiny frame for the heads-up display (HUD) and an actetate sheet to cut up to make the glass. They kindly give you three in case you mess up the cut or lose one.

So, putting it all together, the cockpit is done. This time I even put in the ridiculously small thrust lever and nozzle selector handles. And reset the glass after I had pushed it down by accident just before this shot…

So, the two halves of the fuselage can now be joined and the wings can be set up.

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More detail parts came in the form of the Aden gun pods. The standard one is of surprisingly low fidelity. It wouldn’t have been difficult to make them properly.

Still, the resin replacements came in this cornucopia of parts, so on they went. You can also see the replacement exhaust pipes – one piece resin.

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So, with everything on its way to being assembled, it was off to paint and the white undersides before the top extra-dark sea grey.

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While that was all drying, I turned to the 1/72 pilot figure and the crew ladder that were also included in the extras package.

This is a sweet addition, useful to give a scale to the project as a whole as well as this model in particular. Maybe I’ll search out other figures for previous generations of pilot and aircrew…

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Well, that’s about it really. Some superb decals from the Combat Decals HMS Hermes Air Group 1982 set, some weathering with black powder for the panel lines, bits of soot and oil staining where needed and some silver pencil marks on the panel edges to make them look worn, and there we are. A Sea Harrier FRS.1 of 800NAS on its way down to the Falklands War.

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