Harrier GR.3, 3 Sqn RAF, 1/72 Airfix
I built this model back in 2019, nearly two years ago.
The Harrier has been on my wish list for a very long time, and I finally bought one when Airfix released its new tool kits. I love the new Airfix releases, the designers really manage to create kits suitable for all modellers. If you want to do an out of box build with brush painting, these will fit your skill level. Do you want to detail it? Go and get aftermarket items or create a few parts on your own, and you will get a great little model as result.
I had an old Fujimi GR.3 in my stash for a very long time. That kit was a giveaway from one of my friends. It looked ok in the box, and my plan was to build both kits at the same time. However, that Fujimi build quickly turned into a nightmare, and I decided to continue with the Airfix kit only.
I built the Airfix kit just in a few days, while my wife and daughter were away visiting the grandparents. No issues through the build, the fit is good (the fitting issues on the photo are the results of my rush, nothing is wrong with the kit – just look at the canopy or inside the intakes)
I decided to build XV809 from Xtradecals excellent GR.3 sheet. It was a unique early Harrier, wearing a two-tone NATO green – Lichen green camo. The RAF tried to find a new camouflage pattern in the early 80s for the new generation of these planes, and two Harriers received those experimental schemes. One of them got a grey pattern, while the other, XV809, had a green version. According to the very few reference photos, the plane received components from other, standard camouflaged planes during the years. I have seen at least the rudder and one aileron with different colours, but not at the same time.
I tried Hataka´s acrylic paints for the first time ever. My feelings are mixed, these are not easy to use, but will give you good results after a few test shots on spare parts.
Unfortunately, this plane crashed in 1988 during takeoff in difficult weather, and its pilot, Flight Lieutenant Paul Adams died. May he rest in peace.
A side note about the 2-years delay
I was sitting at my desk a few days ago and looked at my models. I realized that one of my recent builds, the Harrier was not shown anywhere, and I could not remember why. After digging into my archive in my favourite cloud service, I found out the reason. I was unable to shoot proper pictures of it. I tried with and without my cheap lightbox, different backgrounds, lighting setups, nothing worked, all kinds of settings in my trusty Canon 450D. The photos were either hopelessly overexposed or too flat and dark. I gave up and simply forgot about the whole thing for two years.
I decided to give it another try, this time with the help of my external flashgun as well. That did the trick, the photos were acceptable if I used two desk lamps and the flash through a white umbrella.
I also realized that the model is full of small dust particles, barely visible by natural light on the dark green paint. I removed most of them during image processing, but you can still see many of them, mainly on the wings. I guess I rushed the final varnishing step. However, I still like the result (especially if I consider the very short building time), and I have many decals left on my Xtradecal sheet for other Harrier GR.3s.
4 additional images. Click to enlarge.