A scale modeler’s trip to Tokyo is never complete without visiting at least one of the Yodobashi Camera stores. On my trip in December, I stayed in Shinjuku and happily, Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku was only a 5 minutes walk away. Very dangerous indeed for this modeler.
It turns out that this particular Yodobashi Camera is the first ever opened and it’s huge: it takes up space in 12 separate buildings (!!) and multiple floors in each building. Quite amazing. I went to the hobby and games building and I was greeted with 5 complete floors of products to ogle at. The hobby section alone took up 2 floors.
So I definitely felt like I was a kid in a candy shop. Alas, the missus was on this trip with me and the fact is that my stash is unrealistically big (this is the subject for another post) so I just bought what I felt won’t be easily bought back in Jakarta including a new 0.2mm airbrush for when my cheap China-made 0.2mm eventually breaks down.
I also managed to visit BIC Camera in Shinjuku and Yurakucho but the selections are a lot smaller. Given a choice and a time limitation, Yodobashi Camera is the way to go although I managed to score a Fists of War kit in BIC Camera that Yodobashi didn’t carry.
In any case, any Yodobashi Camera in Japan is a must visit if only to marvel at the amount of products (be it model kits or other stuff) on display. Did I mention the building for watches in the Shinjuku branch takes up 3 floors?
So I completed 8 kits in 2017:
This is 1/3 less than what I completed in 2016. I took a short trip in June and ended up not doing any building till September. Although I finished less kits, I think my work has improved with construction being neater that resulted in less seamline fixing. I also worked on adding some tonal variations to my painting. However, I still find my weathering ‘off’ somewhat, being unable to make them appear random enough.
For the upcoming year, I hope to get into some armor and perhaps a car. And I also want to further improve my weathering. Who knew that it’ll be hard to make things look random? Lastly, I hope to be able to finish at least an even dozen kits again.
Site-wise, here’s a quick look at what happened in 2017:
The stats are not accurate for 2017 because I moved servers in August so I lost all the previous tracked results. I also had less posts because starting this year, I consolidated my work logs so each post was longer and more detailed.
Since I’m building more, I’ve been spending less time writing for the blog, hence I only did 1 preview and 2 reviews in the last year. While it’s a compromise I’m willing to make, I think I’ll try to find some time to add more articles and post my thoughts on the state of the hobby. Let’s see how it goes.
Brand : Italeri No.1236
Media : Injection Plastic
Markings : Kit
The Sea Harrier is a further development of the Harrier Jump Jet. It is a naval short/vertical take-off and landing (S/VTOL) subsonic jet fighter designed to replace the de Havilland Sea Vixen. Largely based on the RAF’s Harrier GR.3, it features a ‘bubble’ canopy for better visibility, a longer fuselage to fit the Blue Fox radar and corrosion resistance alloys and coatings compared to the land-based variant.
The Sea Harrier features 4 rotatable nozzles which can be pointed down for the aircraft to lift off and land vertically (VTOL). Angling the nozzles also allows STOL operations, reducing the amount of runway needed for take-off and landing.
The Sea Harrier FRS.1 entered service with the Royal Navy in 1980. Affectionately called the ‘Shar’, its principal role in the Royal Navy was to provide air defense for task groups centered around the aircraft carriers. 57 would be built for the Royal Navy starting in 1978.
Sea Harrier FRS.1s took part in the Falklands War of 1982, flying off the carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible. Primarily flown for the air defense role and armed with the latest AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles and Blue Fox radar, the 3 Sea Harrier squadrons totaling 28 aircraft would shoot down 20 Argentinian aircraft in air-to air combat and suffer 6 losses (2 to ground fire, 4 to accidents).
The lessons learned from this war would lead to an upgrade to the FA.2 standard starting in 1993. The last Sea Harrier FA.2 would retire in 2006. This build depicts a Sea Harrier FRS.1 ‘XZ 451’ flown by 801 Naval Air Squadron off HMS Invincible in the subdued color scheme applied in the run-up to the war. XZ 451 is credited with 3 air-to-air victories and 1 damaged during the conflict. She would be written off in 1989 off the Sardinia coast.
Info from Wikipedia
This kit is a rebox of the ESCI kit that was first released in 1983 so it’s actually an old kit. Features/options include:
The mold has held up and the panel lines are fine and quite nicely done. There’s not much flash and injection pin marks (one big one on the seat’s headrest though). Typical of Italeri, the plastic is softer than what you get from Tamigawa. Also typical of Italeri, the clear parts are a bit thick and lack clarity.
So, definitely a mixed bag. This kit has been superceded by a more modern tooling by Airfix. However, it’s still a good representation of the Sea Harrier by most accounts. It’s also cheaper. More importantly, it’s much easier to find here than the Airfix.
Kit manufacturers of this era hadn’t caught on to the idea of designing kits to accommodate various versions of the same aircraft so there’s a general lack of cutting and fitting of different parts together. So while lacking in finesse and details, they usually come together quite quickly. Fitting can be issue but that’s not really the case with this kit, which on the whole, fits well. Problem areas include:
It’s not all doom and gloom though:
Even with these problems, this is one of my faster aircraft builds due to the small number of parts.
Colors & Markings
I decided to go with the Falklands War option, which features a subdued color scheme and markings. The color scheme is a uniform Dark Sea Grey over every surface, including the missile rails. After seeing some photos, I decided to break up the monotony by going with Medium Sea Grey with the rails. To add some fading of the main color, I sprayed white over the black base first before the Dark Sea Grey went on.
In hindsight, the red color in the decals seems too bright but I don’t have aftermarket one for the kit so it will do.
I used a light gray wash for the panel lines. With the panel lines being so shallow, the effect is quite subdued. I also did some further fading over the top of the kit, since that’s the part that sees the Sun the most.
Doh! After the final photos were done, I realized I didn’t attach the small vane in front of the canopy. I decide that I should move on and not try to deal with the really small part.
Number 8 of 2017