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Creating a 1/48 scale
Operation Telic Tank Buster
Harrier GR.7

by Jon Freeman


Harrier GR.Mk.7


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale AV-8B Harrier II Plus is available online from Squadron




After much waiting and anticipation by the modelling fraternity Hasegawa finally released their first 1/48 scale rendition of the famous Harrier family, the AV-8B+ in early 2004. Eventually judging by how Hasegawa have engineered this first release the basic ‘vanilla’ USMC AV-8B, Italian AV-8B and the Spanish Armada EAV-8B are to follow along with the two RAF sub-types the GR5 and GR7. 

It remains however to be seen whether any of the twin-stick two seater Harriers will be attempted!


The Kit:
1/48 Hasegawa AV-8B+ Harrier II

The kit arrives in the now familiar medium grey plastic parts and consists of sixty-two parts, nine clear parts and four poly caps. The decal sheet is nicely printed and has two USMC options, VMA-231, ‘Ace of Spades’, circa Nov 2001 & VMA-223, ‘Bulldogs’.


The Conversion Set:
1/48 AMRAAM GR5/7 Conversion Set

The AMRAAM Line set has been available for some time now and consists of approximately twenty-three parts in White resin. All the detail on the castings is quite nice and the parts have little if any moulding blocks etc.

The only difference between the GR5 and GR7 within this set is the nose cone with all other parts being generic for both types.


The Decal Sheet:
Model Alliance MA-48109 ‘Operation Telic Pt1’

Seeing as I was the decal designer for the Model Alliance ‘Operation Telic Pts 1-3’ decal sheets I shall refrain from making any comments about them as not to give an un-biased/biased review of them…(I’ll let someone else do that!)





Let’s make it a proper Harrier!

First things first I had to ‘de-Americanise’ the kit by consigning the seat parts X19, X20, X22, X23, X3, M8 & N6 to the spares bank. I also removed control panel parts F7 and X6. The rear tail cone parts and lumps and bumps (parts L1, L2, M13, M11 & B2) were removed too. 

Chaff-flare containers parts L3 & L4 and the rear ventral fin area part M3 were removed as were the lateral strakes parts E3 and E4 and the four aerial part G2.

Gun pod parts N4, N3, N2, N5, M7 & M2 were removed too. The last parts to be omitted were the AN/AAQ-28 Litening II pod (parts M4, M5 N8 & N7).


Onto the build!

The AMRAAM set resin nose was first grafted onto the Hasegawa forward fuselage by first making a careful razor saw cut  along the Red line and discarding the Red hatched area (see illustrations below).




A piece of plasticard was required as a spacer superglued onto the sawn edge because the AMRAAM set is designed for the slightly wider nose Monogram Harrier kit and if this area was just cemented together a noticeable step would occur. A touch of Squadron Green Stuff was all that was needed to blend everything in. 



Next thing was to remove the tail boom vertical fin intake and the necessary slots for the various GR7 antennae by carefully razor sawing and cutting out the areas along the panel line shown in the diagrams below:





The RAF GR7 Harriers have the shorter length air intake at the base of the fin and therefore I cemented the two halves together and shortened this part by 50%.  

A problem occurred whilst I dry fitted the AMRAAM resin tail boom to the kit. Due to the AMRAAM set being designed for the earlier Revell/Monogram kit it appears that the Revell/Monogram tail boom is slightly wider by 0.5mm than this new Hasegawa kit. I therefore placed a plasticard spacer between the two vertically split halves until the outer edges came into line with the AMRAAM resin piece (see drawing)



Now that the major surgery is finished the kit can be assembled in the normal manner by following the kit instructions but also adding the AMRAAM resin cockpit control panel (a little sanding was needed for it to fit flush inside the coaming) and the AMRAAM ventral tail antennae (pushed into and superglued into their pre-cut places earlier). Some areas of note/concern are the fit around the rear turtle decking part B3 when they are offered up to the 100% LERX parts J1 & J2 and the completed forward fuselage/cockpit and the main fuselage halves with the intakes in place. 

Some modellers have reported that they didn’t have a problem in this area but I did and therefore I can only assume that I fitted it slightly ‘out’, there again I had no problems regarding a flush and level join fitting the one-piece upper wing part D3 to the cemented rear fuselage halves and 100% LERX parts J1 & J2!, so it shows that we all find something different in all our builds! 



The only filler I utilised was White Paper/Tippex/Correction Fluid on the join lines where the separate wing tips joined and other small hairline gaps. The forward nose gear affixed in place as per the instruction sheet makes the Harrier sit with an over emphasised ‘nose-up’ attitude. 

To alleviate this incorrect ‘sit’ I removed the location lug and but-joined the leg direct to the underside using superglue! I added the two-piece AMRAAM in flight refuelling probe and its housing, cemented the airbrakes shut, superglued the AMRAAM chaff flare box in place along with the two Aden Cannon pods, and the various intakes which arte situated on top of the wing. 

Another noticeable difference between the AV-8B+ and the GR7 is that the AV-8B+ has three wing hard points under each wing whereas the GR7 has four. A pair of these extra AIM pylons are included in the AMRAAM set and were superglued in place and had BOL Chaff/Flare rails attached which I modified from an Airfix Tornado GR4 kit. I cemented the centreline hard point in place but I left it empty. 



Everything else is per the instructions really although the windscreen & canopy had a raised line running through the centre due to the moulding process and really Hasegawa couldn’t have done the moulding any other way. This line required sanding off by fine sanding sticks and gradually downgrading to toothpaste for a smooth finish. The decal idea for the detonating chord within the canopy glazing was a bit sloppy too as the clear varnish has gone slightly opaque so maybe careful trimming as close to the cord will bring better results?



Painting and Markings


For an ‘Operation Telic’ GR7 the colours applied were the ‘Mod 95’ shades of BS381C:638 Dark Sea Grey (FS36118) upper surfaces with BS381C:629 Dark Camouflage Grey (FS36237) undersides. The roundels were BS381C:110 Roundel Blue & BS381C:538 Cherry (Roundel Red) with the Yellow coloured warning stencils being BS381C:356 Pineapple. 

The completed and masked off kit was first given a overall couple of coats of Halfords Acrylic Grey Plastic Primer and once dried the base Dark Camouflage Grey was applied via my Aztek 470 Brush using Xtracolour X036 enamel paint and later on after masking off certain areas Xtracolour X004 Dark Sea Grey was airbrushed on following my official M.O.D GR7 Harrier General Arrangement drawings as a guide. 

The markings & stencils were next applied utilising the Model Alliance MA-48111 ‘Operation Telic Stencils’ and again placing them in their correct positions by following my official M.O.D GR7 Harrier General Arrangement drawings as a guide. 

The Harrier I wanted to portray was ZG859/91 with a great shark mouth and a single LGB silhouette mission marking. SAC James Douthwaite applied this shark mouth design to this Harrier and ZD408/37 at Ahmed al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. 



The decals went on with no problems onto the already Glossy Xtracolour paints albeit the Dark Sea Grey shade of the stencils printed by our printers is too dark and will have to be over sprayed with the base underside colour Dark Camouflage Grey to lighten them up and tone them down. 

The only other problem as such is that the sharkmouth was originally designed to fit the Monogram kit nose and therefore is a tad too big for the Hasegawa nose so unless you’re really looking at it against the real photo it isn’t really apparent.  

The panel lines had a wash of Dark Grey ran into them and once dry two good coats of Humbrol Satin Varnish sealed everything in nicely. 

I decided to load the Harrier in the Combat Air Support (CAS) role as per the photo at the bottom of page 33 in the On Target Special No.1 ‘Operation Telic’, RAF Jets in Operation Iraqi Freedom book. It carries two (controversial) RBL 775 cluster bombs on each of the outer hardpoints with a pair of AGM-65 Mavericks on the next pylons on followed by two fuel tanks that come standard in the kit on the innermost hardpoints. 

Both the Mavericks came from an old Monogram A-10 Thunderbolt II kit and the two cluster bombs came from an old Italeri F-16A kit.  

The last thing I did was to apply Black pastels to areas around the cockpit footholds and exhaust areas and show general wear and tear. 





All in all is the Hasegawa AV-8B+ kit worth buying? Yes! I’ve got another AV-8B+ and AMRAAM set to have another crack at if I feel so inclined but due to work commitments it may be a few years off yet! 

Is the AMRAAM set worth buying? Well yes for either the Hasegawa kit or more importantly the Monogram AV-8B kit for which it was designed. By the way to do a 65% LERX GR7 Harrier the Monogram kit is best employed. For a 100% LERX fitted machine either follow my line or wait until Hasegawa release the GR5/7 line of Harrier kits. 

The Hasegawa 1:48 AV-8B+ Harrier II Kit can be recommended apart from certain fit issues.



References and Acknowledgements


  • On Target Special No.1 ‘Operation Telic’, RAF Jets in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Andy Evans & Jon Freeman, The Aviation Workshop Publications Ltd, 2003.

  • Harrier Inside & Out, Mark Attrill, Crowood Books, 2001

  • Harrier The Vertical Reality, Roy Braybrook, RAF Benevolent Fund Enterprises, 1996

  • Various articles in publications from around the world.

Many thanks to:

  • SAC James Douthwaite

  • Trevor Snowden of Airfix

  • Alfie Bass

  • Nick Greenall IPMS UK Harrier SIG


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2004 by Jon Freeman
Page Created 17 May, 2004
Last Updated 17 May, 2004

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