I started this kit in early December 2020 thinking that since it was from Hasegawa I should be able to finish it by the end of year and hit my target of a dozen kits completed. Alas, I had too much faith in Hasegawa. This kit really needed ‘some basic modeling skills’ after all. What can I say though? For me so far, only Tamiya and Fine Molds has made literal shake and bake kits.
The boxart from Koike Shigeo is lovely as usual.
The impetus for this build was having re-watched the Harrier attack scene from True Lies on TV one day. In it, two USMC AV-8B Harrier IIs were assigned to help out our Omega Sector secret agent Harry Tasker stop a truck carrying a nuclear device on Seven Mile Bridge in Florida. The pair of Harriers fired four AGM-65 Mavericks which destroyed the bridge. The truck fell off the bridge, the nuclear device didn’t blow up and thus the day was saved from the evildoers.
Googling around I found the movie listed in IMPDB where I realized that the kit came with the almost exact markings for the Harrier that was flying as the wingman! While the BuNo (Bureau Number) was different (163206 in the film vs 161584 in the kit), the markings were the same for WP-03 from VMA-223 ‘Bulldogs’. Add a pair of rocket pods and AGM-65 Mavericks and I’ll have my own version in the display case. How hard can it be right?
Anyway opening the box the Hasegawa practise of packing everything in one bag reared its ugly head: parts that were badly scratched. It’s nothing serious though, just annoying.
Typical of Hasegawa kits from the 1990s, the ejection is simplified. I added shoulder and lap restraints with 0.7mm masking tape. I also added the between-the-legs ejection handle with a loop of copper wire. The seat was sprayed in the usual FS36231 Dark Gull Grey with the details added by handpainting.
The console details are all decals and after a spray of satin, it made for a decent looking cockpit. As expected you can’t really see the ejection handle. Oh well.
The canopy is nicely done with the detonator cord molded in. It does however have a mold line running down its length which needs to be cleaned up. Hasegawa provides 2 decals in gray for the each side of the detonator cord but after putting 1 on, it didn’t look good so I’ll live with the molded on details instead.
The kit is designed to be modular with different noses to depict the various versions of the AV-8B. To minimize the potential corrections I need to do on the fitting, I attached each half of the nose to each fuselage half first.
I then added random details on the sidewalls to busy up the area. I also added guides where the cockpit tub will attach for a more positive fit.
The intakes are wide so it’s a good thing that Hasegawa includes the main compressor fan detail. Of course, this area requires pre-painting.
A test fit shows that there’s not much room for a nose weight so I stuffed the fishing weight behind the ejection seat.
The square (!) holes for the pylons are already opened up while there are a pair of holes on each outrigger housing that need to be filled. I did a dry fit of the wing halves and have found gaps on the trailing edges due to ejector pin marks so I took a few minutes to sand them all down.
The fuselage halves fit together quite well and the VTOL nozzles are attached using polycaps. Nice. Attaching the inflight refueling probe though… yeesh. That’s not a gap is it? It simply doesn’t fit. There’s also a step on top of the starboard intake where it meets the fuselage. No matter how I fussed with it, I simply could not get rid of this step. Note how it’s OK on the port side.
So out came the epoxy putty to ‘fix’ the gap and step. Note the spreader bar I made with a length of sprue to widen the forward fuselage. The fit up top for the wing assembly was good. Underneath though, the fuselage was too narrow. Hence the spreader.
With the spreader in place, the gap on the wingroot is minimized. However, there’s a very big gap where the LERX meets the wing.
The gaps are on both sides so I inserted 0.2mm plastic plates to close the gaps. You can also see the blue stretched sprue I used to close the holes on the outrigger housings.
End of Part 1.