Welcome to the start of my seventh commission build this year. This build I will be using Hasegawa’s 1/48 AV-8B Harrier Plus. The client is a former Harrier pilot and wants a model of one of the many aircraft he flew in his career. I will be using Caracal’s AV-8B+ decal set and using the VMA-214 “Blacksheep” aircraft #2 scheme. The other accessories I will be adding are the Quinta Studio’s 3-D cockpit decal set. This will be my first time using them. I will be using Eduard’s 500lbs JDAM’s, Meng AIM-9 missiles, and the aircraft will be mounted in a display case with a base replicating the flight deck of a carrier.
To start off this build I first worked on the canopy and windscreen. These both have a seam that runs down the center of each. I sanded the seams out with 1500 and the 3000 grit sandpaper. I then polished both pieces inside and out. With the seams removed and both sides polished the canopy and windscreen are very clear.
Next I began working on the cockpit. I first cleaned up the cockpit tub, instrument panel, and added the 3-D decals. The decals are very thick due to the raised areas. These work like normal waterslide decals. Soaking them in some warm water then applying then to their locations. I used a little decal set to make sure the adhered to the surface. There are some levers, handles and knobs that need to be attached. These are set in place with a small drop of CA glue. The result is a very realistic appearance. On the rear cockpit bulkhead they even have some weathering and shading to add to the realism. On the instrument panel the gauges and screens are coated in a clear gloss. Once all the decals on the cockpit and ejection seat are applied and the cockpit assembled the cockpit looks fantastic. I am now working on cleaning, detailing, and assembling the forward fuselage.
The second week of the AV-8B Harrier build started off with detailing and assembling the forward fuselage and mounting the cockpit. The aft fuselage was then assembled and the intake. The forward section was mounted tp the aft section. I then assembled the intake cowl and the exhaust nozzles.
Next I worked on the wing assembly. This required a little putty to fill a small gap between the fuselage and wing assembly but the rest of it all fit together very well. I proceeded to add the details to the fuselage like the ducts and the refueling probe. Speaking of the ducts, the two ducts just behind the canopy are too close together on the kit. I previously built this same Hasegawa kit and found out too late that these were in the wrong position. With them in the wrong position it does not allow you to position the canopy in the open position. On this build the client would like the canopy open. After reviewing some reference photos I re-positioned the ducts in the correct location and verified the canopy can be in the open position.
The scheme for this is VMA-214 with the triple grey. The underside will be light ghost grey with the upper sections dark ghost grey and a medium grey camouflage section on the upper wings. I am starting to apply the base coat of the paint and then I will be assembling /detailing the under wing stores, weapons, and targeting pod.
Welcome to week three of the AV-8B Plus project. During this past week I worked on all the under wing stores. Starting with the AIM-9 missiles, I opted to use the Meng version. The Meng ones are much more accurate looking and also have more accurate decals. The client wants to also add 500lbs JDAM’s so I am using Eduard’s resin version. Once these were assembled and painted I then assembled to drop tanks. I then finished the under wing store by building and detailing the Litening targeting pod. The kit supplies decals for the rear screens. After applying the decals I was not happy with their appearance. I dug thru my extra photo etch bins and found two screens that matched what the actual pod looks like.
With all the under wing stores completed I built up and detailed the main landing gear. I they painted the first two colors of the scheme. The lower sections were painted FS36375 Light Ghost grey. The upper sections were painted 36320 Dark Ghost Grey. Later I will paint the top sections with FS35237 Medium Grey to complete the tri-color scheme.
Finishing off the week I scratch built the HUD. The kit version was a bulky hunk of clear styrene. I used some spare photo etch sides for the mount and thin styrene for the base. I added a drop of acrylic gel to replicate the HUD lens and clear acetate for the HUD glass. Moving forward I detailed the wing gear and getting ready to modify them. On my previous build of this same kit the wing gear was slightly longer and required modification so the aircraft will rest on all 5 wheels. Once I have the landing gear modified and installed I will begin adding all the decals.