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Richard Mcstay
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Sea Harrier FRS.1

May 13, 2020 · in Aviation · · 32 · 4.1K

Evening all.

It's lucky you are seeing this build because it went in the bin twice!
It is a rendition of the famous jump jet, and also my favourite aircraft of all time. I bought this at last years Northern model show for about a tenner, and thought I had come across a bargain.
However this kit is older than me. Not by much though, according to the scalemates database the first tool was in 1982. Maybe they've mistyped that though because it built more like 1882.
The first give away that it wasn't the Tamiya that we know and love today was the thick plastic and the raised panel lines. You can't complain for a tenner though, or so I thought. So I got some interior PE and thought that would probably bring the kit into the 21st century.
The first time it went in the bin, was after a couple of days of building up and sanding putty around the top engine cover panel, after leaving the engine unpainted as the detail level was basic. Words can't describe how big the gaps were between the square central panel and the fuselage. It was a big panel as well, and to top it off, it sunk into the top of the jet so I had to build and build the layers of putty to get it level. It's a miracle I manged to get it level, let alone smooth.
The second time it went in the bin was after it was all painted, decaled, weathered and varnished... and I realised the exhaust nozzles didn't fit into the sides. My fault, I should have test fitted them. But they wouldn't go in to the alcoves at all. It went straight in the bin and I ordered both the FRS.1 and FA.2 from tinterweb to make myself feel better.
After I realised there was an aprox three week wait for orders from the chosen retailer, I fished it out the bin for the second time.
It took some major surgery on the side housings and a lot more sanding to eventually force the nozzles in. Not to mention a lot more masking, painting and so forth. In the end though, it doesn't look too bad sat slightly behind the in the display case. The detail is basic, but from a distance it still looks like a Sea .
The Kinetic FRS.1 arrived in the post a couple of days ago. From examining the sprues, the molding is the best I've seen so far on an aircraft kit. There is a wider array of ordinance, and 50 different markings to choose from. Yes, 50!
Having said that though, it might be a nightmare to put together and end up in and out the bin a few times like this one. But hopefully not!

As always, thanks for looking.
And stay safe.

Reader reactions:
16  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

32 responses

  1. Super effort Richard!

  2. Nice work, Richard. The FRS.1 is my favorite member of the Harrier family. I built a Kinetic TAV-8A a couple years ago and really enjoyed it. I’m sure you’ll like your Kinetic kit too.

    • Cheers John! I prefer the FA.2 with it's big nose! The only one I'm not keen on is the GR.3 in the looks department.
      I want to build the FA.2 first but it's lost in the post somewhere.

  3. You’re right, Richard, it does look like a Sea Harrier, great recovery, good job it wasn’t dustbin day.

  4. For all the Jumping around it has done it looks great! Super job.

  5. Wow Rich , I've been told more than once that this isn't a good kit and so always passed on it but you made a really great job of this well done on you're patience , if I remember rightly even the box artwork is poor !.
    Well done .

    • Cheers mate, much appreciated.
      It was really hard work! I wouldn't recommend it. The box art was still better than I could do, but not to todays standards.

  6. That's a super job Richard! I can understand the bin situation. Great you persisted, though, because the end result is a truly lovely model.
    Had built the old Airfix before in the all-around dark grey scheme. It wasn't bad. Got the Tamiya unbuilt, so I will pay attention to the difficult spots you mentioned.
    All the best!

    • Thanks mate, cheers.
      Yeah, definitely do a lot of test fitting before painting, particularly on the nozzles.
      I would probably recommend putting some detail work on the engine and displaying it with the top panel open.

  7. It looks like an FRS1, so 😉
    Great work! Having built two "trash-kits" recently I know what you're feeling 🙂

  8. Although it had been in the bin twice, you made a great model out of it.
    It shows that persistence is needed from time to time.

  9. Wow Richard, trashed twice then finally a total restoration. Nicely done she looks great

  10. Richard, it looks super despite spending some time in the trash bin. Nice job.

  11. Nice save and persistence! I'd love to see a bit more light on your photos, so we can make out more detail (though you may have purposely avoided that on this build...?).

    • Cheers mate!
      There is no more detail to make out on this one, but not intentional..
      I can't seem to get any better lighting in my photos just with the iPhone camera. I take the pics outside in natural light, I haven't got any decent artificial lighting inside.
      Any suggestions?

  12. Take your time, don't over-caffeinate, and the Kinetic Harrier will come out very very nice. 🙂

    I remember building this when it was new. It wasn't any better then, but nobody knew.

    Tamiya kits older than about 1990 are not "Tamiya kits." Trust me on that.

    • I believe you on that one after my struggle with this!
      I'm looking forward to the Kinetic one, it's not the caffeine which could mess it up, rather the whisky!

  13. Nice save! Looks great. I always liked the look of the Sea Harrier.

  14. It sounds like you doubled the cost on putty and then some more on etch. But to make this from a practically 40 year old kit for a tenner. That’s legendary stuff. You should have posted it as the Kinetic Kit and seen if anyone noticed! Great save!

    • Cheers Paul, much appreciated! I didn't expect to be happy at all with the end result, but it's okay I suppose. Just need to keep it nearer the back of the case!
      You've just made me realise I'm nearing 40 as well...

  15. Hello Richard,
    Stunning result for a tenner.
    As viewer, I say that it was worth every penny.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  16. Nice save dude, it came out excellent and you have inspired me to not toss my Tamiya SHAR out into the trash. Great work!

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