Airfix 1/24 Harrier GR3 [Part 2]

The 2nd part of this article will explain the step by step of the construction sequence.

Airfix's instruction sheet starts in the usual sequence at the cockpit, beginning with the pilot figure. As I will be dispalying the model in a part serviced mode, this will be added into the spare parts box. The entire cockpit will be replaced by the Flightpath PE set and it is quite a task given that the seat consists of no less than 25 pieces of PE and white metal parts, while the cockpit tub and instrument panels will use around the same amount of parts.That was another reason to omit the pilot.


The sequence and diagram provided in the Flightpath instruction sheet is rather straight forward though the ejection seat pull cord is strangely built up from 4 layers of thick PE. I opt to reduce it to 2 and it worked fine after rounding off the edges with CA. Part 26 which forms the lower section of the seat will require a bit of experience as there are curves involved in the bend. When working with PE, I find it convenient to slightly overbend the parts to fit well and not rely on Superglue to hold them together ( if you are not soldering). This makes the job easier without having to worry to much about holding the parts together for the glue to set.


The white metal part here was touched up with a bit of a plastic disc shaped to replicate the knob. The white metal cushions were too clean and a bit of piping will be introduced with stretched sprue including some sanding and beefing up with 2 part epoxt putty for the back cushion to give it a bit more crease and fold.The cockpit tub construction requires a folding tool to get it to fit tightly and sharply. As there was a lack of reference material, both from the net and from publications, I had made some guesstimates on the fit and more of the adjustments which will be neccessary will be explained in a later part.


The right and left seat panels were quite well detailed though I initially thought brass tubings would have been a bit more appropriate when I got on with it. After dryfitting the seat on the cockpit tub, this was not really an issue as the parts are hardly visible. To improve the parts, I did run the flat PE with a bit of CA to give it more body.


The headrest will aid you in determining the angle to flod for the PE. Despite having did a lot of dryfitting, I did not masnaged to get the seat to sit perfectly on the tub in accordance with the angles. This was also not a big problem as it cannot be noticed in the final fit.


A comparison of the original seat and Flightpath's rendition tells you this alone is worth the upgrade cost and time.The PE seatbelts are a bit thick and this was the best I could do to avoid the 'anti'gravity' feel, especially on the top harness. A bit of stretched sprue is then added on the headrest lifting ring, the hand rails and the cord between the seat harness completes the exercise ready for painting.


The entire subassembly was base coated with Gunze metal primer and a layer of Flat Black. This helps to hide all the nooks and crannies where the handpainted Vallejo will not reach. 


Further details were done with a 0.1mm technical drafting pen to bring out stencils and other markings. I was just introduced to Citadel colours and I think that their metallic range is second to none in terms of coverage and brilliance. Excellent stuff. The scuff marks and seatbelt buckles were all picked out with 'Chainmail'.

The entire seat was then left alone. In an earlier shot, you can just catch the work done on the tail and top engine panel cover , where a lot of the fasteners were puttied, sanded and primed.


Airfix's engine is a good platform to add on details and my main reference is photos of the Pegasus engine on display in the Hendon Museum.


Insulation material at the back of the engine was replicated with 2 part epoxy (BONDITE) which had a reasonably good working time. It was rolled over with a tool marked with the hand grip pattern as it  looked quite similar to the photos so I left it at that. Some loose PE strip were cut from a spare Eduard set to upgrade the straps on the tank seen here. A bit of tubing, wiring and other parts were populated to make the Engine busier.

Part 3 is linked here.

This is the link to Part 1

Photos and text by CK Loo