Today (November 9th)
marks the 30th Anniversary of the first flight of the YAV-8B Harrier. To
commemorate the occasion,
there is a Group Build for the Super Harrier running at present through to
November 30th. This model did not participate as it was finished last year, well
before the GB started.
Some time ago, I was
approached by someone who saw my previous AV-8B
build on ARC, and asked if I would be interested in a commission build of
another Harrier, this time utilising the Hasegawa kit. Not sure if the offer was
serious, I replied with a tentative "yes", and the rest flowed from
there, until soon I was neck deep in a commission build. At the time, Shawn was
serving on VMA-513 and had just recently returned from the
"Nightmares" deployment to Iraq.
After a few e-mails
to gather info, the subject aircraft and configuration was decided upon. Shawn
was keen to have a model of the unit's "double nuts" aircraft as it
appeared when serving in Iraq. VMA-513 also had the unique distinction of being
the first unit to drop JDAMs from a Harrier in combat. To that end it was also
decided the aircraft should be carrying the GBU-38 JDAM, at a time when there
were none available in kit form.
from Shawn were for the aircraft to be in flight, armed with JDAM, gun pods,
Litening pod and a pair of drop tanks. I started by assembling most of the
aircraft before starting any detail or paint work. A few changes were made to
the model to overcome some of the fit issues I had experienced previously with
Hasegawa's quarter scale Harrier.
images below to see larger images
two halves of the lower LERX piece (part J2) and fitting these to the
fuselage first, instead of the upper LERX piece, to avoid the step under the
wing leading edge
leaving out the
intake/fan face (part A5) until after main assembly to improve nose and
remove the large
round mating piece from the rear of parts C1 and C8 that mates with the
compressor face to improve fit and prevent the banana-shape/nose up
plastic to the intake/fan face corners to fill some obvious gaps
The gun opening was
corrected and a bulkhead, for the cannon muzzles to attach to, scratchbuilt. An
opening was created in the underside of the gun fairing for a stand of 5mm
square brass stock to mount in to. This was created using a technique I learnt
from Gary Wickham (www.scalespot.com)
using two pieces of Evergreen channel stock embedded into the gunpod/lower
The cockpit was
stock except for photo-etched HUD, modified pilot and detailed rear cockpit
bulkhead. The pilot was taken from a Hasegawa F-4 and had the late-pattern
helmet/head added from a Hasegawa F/A-18F. Arms were modified and seat belts and
current pattern survival gear added from Milliput and Tamiya tape. Moving map
and FLIR display images were printed from a photo of a Nightmares cockpit
in-flight over Iraq for some added authenticity and then added to the kit
Gear doors were
glued in the closed position on all four gear bays and despite my misgivings all
fitted perfectly without the need for any filler or sanding. Same thing went for
the LIDS door and speedbrake door - both fitted closed flawlessly.
Unfortunately, I can't quite say the same for the auxiliary intake doors which
all required filling, sanding and rescribing to get a good fit
The GBU-38 was
converted from a 500lb bomb from Hasegawa's Weapons set. The GPS guidance kit
was made from brass shim and plastic card, with fittings from Tamiya tape and
stretched sprue. The textured coating was added by painting the bomb body in Mr
Surfacer and stippling it with a stiff brush when it was semi-dry. The Litening
pod had the intake shape corrected and a resin copy of the seeker head added.
The seeker head was modelled deployed as it would be on a mission in theatre.
As there were no
markings available for this aircraft, all artwork was created in CorelDraw based
on photos provided by Shawn and printed on my ALPS printer. These included the
Maverick and gun run markings for this particular aircraft (Nightmare 03 had the
distinction of dropping the first JDAM).
The pilot was
painted with a current pattern flight suit and MARPAT digital camouflage helmet
cover. The model was preshaded and then painted with Gunze acrylics, and paint
touch-ups, weathering and grime added after decalling. As the decals were a
little dark when printed, they were overpainted with lighter colours of the base
colour to fade and blend them into the camouflage. An oil wash was added and
then the whole model sealed with a flat coat.
The model was
shipped from Auckland, New Zealand to Pensacola, Florida and the only damage it
suffered was a detached drop tank, easily fixed at the receiving end. The model
now resides in the United States with Shawn where he has mounted it on a stand
in a Plexiglass case with VMA-513's tour patch and button.
images below to see larger images