Gap fixing took some time as quite a few prominent joints didn’t fall on natural panel lines.
There was a noticeable seamline where the LERX meets the wing which required filling and rescribing of the whole area.
The bottom was relatively free of annoying seamlines. The fit of the gunpod though…
The gunpod system is made up of 3 parts: the 2 pods and a ‘bridge’ in between. There’s no position fit to the fuselage for any of them. In the end, I based the positions on photo reference and brute force cemented them into place. Even then there were ugly gaps where the pods joined the fuselage which need to be filled.
The rocket pods and the AGM-65 Mavericks are from the Hasegawa Weapon Sets. Hasegawa only provides the triple missile LAU-117 rails so these were modified to mount single Mavericks.
To fit the weapons onto the rails I use 0.5mm plastic rods as pins. I’ve switched to this method instead of using brass rod as I can use standard plastic cement instead of CA glue to join them to the pylons.
With the canopy and pylons attached, the kit is finally taking shape.
I find it easier to fit the pylons now than to fuss with them later at the final assembly stage.
Now it’s finally time to put paint to plastic. First up, a base coat of Gunze Black Surfacer.
Then the marble coat with white.
The 3 shades of gray was painted from lightest to darkest using blutack for the demarcations. Paints were Mig AMMO Dark Compass Ghost Grey, Lifecolor Dark Gull Grey and Model Color Dark Seagreen.
The bottom is Mig AMMO Light Compass Ghost Grey which dried with a glossy sheen when it should be flat.
After a gloss coat, it’s time for decals. Everything went on fine with Mark Fitter and Mark Softer except when part of the port side MARINES marking tore.
I couldn’t find a replacement so I used the decal from the 2nd scheme instead. The colors are different but I’ll live with it.
The Harrier has surprisingly few stencils so I put them all on. After a satin coat the nozzles were fitted and I handpainted the lights on the wingtips and the spine with Vallejo Transparent Red and Blue over Vallejo Model Air Metallic Silver. I also handpainted the small details on the tail. Then I removed the canopy masking to check the overall work. Not bad!
Until I saw how badly the canopy actually fits: the sills are too narrow which caused a step in the join uptop where the 2 part canopy met. I spent a day trying to get the canopy to sit right but couldn’t figure out how I can spread the canopy wider. I really should have dryfitted the canopy properly before painting. In any case, I decide to move on.
The panel wash was done with diluted Abteilung Starship Filth.
While wiping away the wash I managed to strip some of the Mig AMMO paint. Really not sure why this is happening since it seems totally random. Oh well, I’ll repaint it.
Weathering begins with trying to knock down the high contrast of the markings with white and buff oilpaints. I also did some fading on the darkest gray color. Mild streaks were added to the flaps.
Based on photos the bottom of the aircraft gets the most grimy so I went to work by building up the layers of grime with Starship Filth.
I stippled in the paint with a dry brush and worked it into the surface.
Slowly building up the grime stops me from overdoing it. I did this over two evenings.
While the weathering is curing I attached the landing gear. Harrier kits are notoriously difficult to have all 4 wheels touch the ground so I did this with careful fitting of the outriggers.
The weapons are now attached and I worked from inside out. I used sprue glue to attach them which hopefully will give a stronger bond.
Last on was the nose glazed aperture and the pitot tubes. These were attached with PVA. At this point I realized that the kit doesn’t include the antenna/probe that sits in front of the left side of the canopy.
So I’m finally done. Overall it’s not a bad kit but some parts need work to fit right. While I expected better from Hasegawa it does build into a very nice looking modern Harrier.