1/48 Hasegawa Harrier GR MK.7

ďThe Hovering HarrierĒ 

by Andy Harsanto

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ďThe Hovering HarrierĒ.

The aircraft itself is already famous, so I donít want to drill down into historical and specification which you guys could find in many websites.  This Hasegawa kit has been available for long time so itís not new and comes with Hasegawa trade mark of an accurate and quality material.  What makes it a bit different from the others basically is the pose that I made for this kit.  After thinking for quite sometimes and looking for ideas it struck me.  The Harriers best feature is the ability to hover, but so far no kit or aftermarket resin or mods provide this pose.  Rather than a normal pose of sitting on the ground or the flying pose, I chose to set the kit into the hovering pose, which is the best feature of the Harrier.

Research

To do so, Iíve done lotís of research from reference books, magazines, and photos from websites also from the Harrier video.  Searching if anyone has done this pose with some instructions on how to do it.  I found minimal information on this.  One of the key challenges is to pose the flaps in the lowered position.  Photos in books and websites do not show details, especially on how it moves and how the mechanics on the flaps operate.   With this photo and some other references showing the lowered flaps and with some guessing. I embarked with this project.

Click on images below to see larger images

  

  

  

Photo 3

  

Photo 4

  

Photo 5

  

Photo 6

Construction

For more details of the mods made during the project, you could find in the ďProjectĒ section of my website (itís in Bahasa Indonesia).  I started with cutting all the flaps and aileron.  I did this while itís unglued, so it needs to be cut from the upper and lower portion.  See picture #3 above.  Once cut, I reconstructed the whole flap using styrene sheet (0.3 and 0.1), by looking at the photos trying to imitate the figures, closing any gaps with styrene pieces and later on with some putty.  See picture #4 showing the completed piece. Itís done for both side.

Another modification is done to the air intake area on the additional air intake cover.  In the kit only the upper half which is slotted open, a usual condition for a static pose on the ground (no air flowing).  However when itís hovering all the additional air intake cover is fully open.  This is quite a challenge with a little room to play, I use the Hasegawa try tool to saw loose the remaining closed air intake cover.  Refer to picture #5 above, once itís open, I then added styrene 0.1mm sheet imitating the open cover. I did this for both sides.

Actually after this step I planned to move to normal construction steps.  However observing the picture another fact struck me, were all the undercarriage are hanging low due to gravity. Thus all undercarriage pieces are longer in length.  I decided to go all the way, started with modifying the undercarriage pieces by adding a similar size cylindrical plastics using heated unused sprues (stretched it to the diameter similar to the shock absorber cylinder size). Cut it, glued it, doing it several times until satisfy with the results. Picture #6 above shows the difference before and after the mods (using the new pieces from the AV-8B II kits). Donít forget to cut and re-glue the retracting joints or just try bending it (careful here or you end up with quite a mess).

Once all the major mods are done.  I went to the normal construction steps.  Which start with the cockpit.  Here I ended up with another major overhaul of the cockpit.  I saw the ejection seat is the wrong version for the GR MK7 (it's supposed to be Martin Baker 12A). The kit provides the ejection seat for AV-8B (Hasegawa you could have done better or probably some version does have this one?).  Rather than buying the resin version, I already was in a rush to start the kit, I decided to DIY the seat by using the unused ejection from the F-18 Hasegawa kit which to me much more resembled the Martin Baker structure.  As it will be posed with the canopy closed then the details of the seat will not be noticeable enough from outside. The mods were done on the head rest portion, reconstructed using styrene and some unused pieces from other kits. (itís not real but looked realistic enough to me).  Painted black, adding some decals to show similarity with the real photos, numbering of the seat is totally random but looked cool when finished.  Refer to Picture #7.  Another cockpit mod is done to the MFD/radar screen using reflective material which looks astonishing (sparkling materials for wedding gown).  The green hue and reflection is dramatic like the real screen even when there is light itís also reflected to the helmet visorÖ wow.  Itís not so apparent in the photos, but you should try this.  Adding details by replacing the HUD bracket with aftermarket PE set (only use the HUD pieces, other are saved for open cockpit pose, got two PE set, actually thinking of using the kit transparent, but the Canopy is so huge and transparent all details are apparent.  To be more realistic in GR MK7, the pilot used to put a map or mission paper in the right side of the instrument cover, so there it is, and another small reflective small sensor on the left side was also re-created.  For the pilot, I displaced the oxy hose to the left side of the masker, and added the safety jacket (used by the harrier pilot) using a tack glue (easier to mold) and paint it.  Glued, painted with base coat, details and suchÖ the final one can be seen in several Picture #8, #9, #10.

After this cockpit construction I followed the instructions for the rest of the kit, except for gluing of the lowered flap and aileron which is done after all body construction is completed.  I chose to glue it before itís painted to have stronger bonding.  One issue is on the hot jet exhaust protection plate where itís too thick. Thus I did some grinding to make it thin, so it can be attached last when all things have been painted (this will be painted in rusty exhaust colors later on).  Small modifications are done to the small exhaust in the nose area as itís wide open without any details, I added some fins in the small exhaust (bottom part of nose area).  To add good looking colored IR nose (blue color), I put a small plate inside the nose and cut a round type missile head of some unused kit (to imitate IR camera lens) and luckily in the right size to be put inside the nose and painted Tamiya clear blue (this is done at the last stage before putting the clear nose).  I also put a small pitot tube inside the left side of air intake.  Oh one more thing rather than carrying a life missile, I modified the sidewinder to be the practice mode often carried by the RAF Navy for practice (though I think I colored it wrong, later part).

Painting

Itís started with the white color of the air intake and all undercarriage area. (paint the compressor blade with chrome silver from Model Master (MM), and covered it with masking tape once it was dried).  The air intake area is quite unrealistic as itís having all the joints open.  Thus I used Tamiya white putty to cover all the joints.  The outer most air intake pieces (with additional air intake cover) is glued before painting white inside to have seamless cover).  Masking the wihite color air intake with Tamiya tapes leaving the outer most edges for body color (grey) later on.  I put the masked canopy and glued it firm.  All ready for base coat painting.  As I donít have RAF ref paints.  I use the lower grey of Dark ghost gray (MM) and the upper portion Dark Gull Gray (MM).  It looks quite similar to the ref photos that Iíve got.
Once the base coat was finished, all the decals are applied the fuselage.  As I donít have any aftermarket decals for more options, I used the kitís provided decals. but not using the fancy color option, instead using minimal decals for operation mode.  So I leave all those celebration markings.  I cannot recreate a round white decal supposed to be in the vertical fin for this squadron.

After all the decals was applied, I covered the model with clear spray from a Tamiya can (faster) making all decals lying flat (also using the Mr. Hobby decal fix solution when applying the decals and waited for it to dry completely, if not the decals would shrink when clear spray applied (a horrible experience).  After the clear coating, the pastel dark grey slimy solution (added liquid soap pastel powder) is applied to fill up all the recessed panel lines.  Wiped clean after dry leaving nice panel accents.  Rather than putting directly the flat clear final coat, first I air brushed a neutral gray extra thinned to even the decal color, the upper and lower grey color, so itís looked natural (a bit washed out).  Finally a semi flat clear final coating is applied.  For dirty looks especially in the area of jet exhaust, tail, a bit in air intake area and bottom part of the plane, I used a thinned flat black (Iím actually using thinned automotive paints this time to have a quicker drying time).  I air brushed several stained colors to the tail area, bottom area and several air intake areas to make it look dirty.  Also the moveable nozzle is dirtied or accented using this black flat (of course after it was painted with Alcad jet exhaust for hot exhaust nozzle and Alcad magnesium color for the front compressed air nozzle).

Final construction

I put all the detailing components including undercarriage parts, extra fuel tanks, practice missile, pitot tubes, transparent parts, etc, into their intended places.  I created a 3mm steel wire and wooden base to hang the aircraft in hovering mode.  After 2 months (every weekend building) work is complete.  Giving lotís of satisfaction to complete ďThe Hovering HarrierĒ.  Please find several pose (edited with software) to show the hovering acts.

Andy

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Photo 7

  

Photo 8

  

Photo 9

  

Photo 10

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Photos and text © by Andy Harsanto