VMA-231 ‘Ace of Spades’, US Marines Corps, Saudi Arabia 1991
My rendering of Hasegawa’s early AV-8B was made and completed at the same time as the later radar-equipped AV-8B+ by the same company. For details on what I think of this kit, and how I made it, you can look here. Basically, it’s a great kit that needs care and patience in construction.
I again used Gunze Mr Color paints on this Harrier, following Hasegawa’s instructions. The model is pretty much straight from the box, the only addition being some etch seatbelts from an Aires resin seat I’d purchased (but didn’t fit). The fit of the gun pods was awful, and took a lot of putty to fair in properly. The refuelling probe doesn’t fit well, either. The kit decals were used, but some permanently wrinkled when using Mr Mark Softer. All 5 wheels touched the ground with no adjustment required (phew!) and I added the fuel tanks and Sidewinders that came with the kit.
As with my other Harrier II, inattention and carelessness somewhat detracted from the final look. I again attached one Sidewinder launch rail on backwards (and tried to remove it, but found it solidly glued in place) and, despite my best efforts to ensure the cockpit was free of dust before attaching the canopy, there are quite a lot of bits of dust, etc., trapped on the inside of the canopy (I hate that, because I never discover it until I unmask the canopy – the very last part of building a model!). You may also notice that I have carefully eliminated the ‘seam’ between the nose gear doors – doh! (Did the same on my AV-8B+ too.) The paint job could be smoother as well, but I’m stuck with airbrushing in a very dusty environment.
Overall, a very enjoyable build. Definitely recommended!
Year bought: 2004 (Hannants, Lowestoft)
Year built: 2007 (Caiyuan, Zhengzhou, China)