This next build is the1/48 Hasegawa AV-8B Harrier II Plus. It will be detailed with Eduard photo etch and the scheme is going to be the infamous VMF-214 Blacksheep. The squadron was started by Major Gregory Boyington back in World War II. The Blacksheep transitioned to the Harrier in 1989 and deployed to their home base of MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. The decal set is produced by Caracal decals (set # CD48115) I will be doing the blue tailed scheme from 2015.
For the first week of work I started with the cockpit and added the photo etch details to the cockpit tub, ejection seat and instrument panel. With the details added they were all painted and assembled. I then detailed the cockpit walls which are part of the fuselage with photo etch panels. The cockpit tub was then installed into the forward fuselage section.
The next detail was the vectored exhaust. The vanes inside were thick plastic. These were removed and photo etch vanes were added. I am now working on the rear part of the fuselage and detailing the intake section. So far the build is moving along very well.
The work on the AV-8B has been a little bit tedious. I started by building up the fuselage. Everything was going smoothly up until I went to assemble the dorsal and wings. Typically Hasegawa has a very good fit. However, with this kit there are some large gaps and ill fitting parts. To start with the forward fuselage to the rear fit nicely on the top and bottom but the lower part of the intake had some large gaps. Once filled, sanded and shaped. I then added the panel of the dorsal just behind the cockpit. This panel was a little too wide and .1” too long for the position. This required some careful trimming to get it to fit. Once placed, I went to install the wing assembly. The gap between the wing root and fuselage was not bad. It was the leading edge to the fuselage where the gap was really bad. More filler was required.
I added some photo etch details like the shield behind the aft exhaust thrusters, the CHAFF blocks, various blade antenna’s. While the fuselage putty was drying I started on the under wing stores. I utilized a 3-D printer and printed an AN/AAQ-28 Litening Pod which was detailed and painted. I then assembled the AIM-9 missiles and made the IR sensor heads (see How to make Laser and IR sensor heads )
Finally after the sanding and shaping of the areas that were puttied, the landing gear was detailed and installed. The entire fuselage was then base coat painted with gunship gray on top and medium gray on the bottom. Next up is the decals and detailing the canopy.
The AV-8B II Plus of VMA-214 has been completed. The fit issues make this a bit of a challenge. Not only was the dorsal and wing fit very poor, so was the canopy. It took a lot of work to get the canopy to line up to the windscreen. I could not mount the canopy open like I wanted because the two scoops behind the canopy are too close together for the canopy to fit in between them. The rest of the kit was fine for the fit. The Caracal decals worked very well. Overall it does present well. I really cannot recommend this kit unless you are up for the challenge of correcting the fit. Thanks for following along.