Kinetic 1/48 Bae Sea Harrier FA2

Built: 2021
Added to Stash: 2014
Cockpit: Eduard PE Interior
Wheels:  Reskit
Jet Nozzles: ​Aires
Practice Bomb Carrier: Flightpath

This year, I have had friends randomly picking kits for me to build.  This FA2 was a follow on build to the Kinetic FRS1 that was the actual kit picked out for me.  Like my tornado builds, I decided in addition to the FRS1, I would also tackle the other Kinetic Harriers in the stash.  And like the Tornado, if I had not have started both sea harriers at the same time, I would have sold the FA2 after completing the FRS1.  Its not a difficult kit, but its not the most enjoyable either.  The third Kinetic Harrier I started was their new AV-8A, and it was obvious from the fit of the intakes, Kinetic have retooled these parts and the fuselage halves.

Construction Notes
The intakes were built up on each fuselage side prior to assembling the fuselage halves, rather than after as the instructions would have you.  The advantage to this is a a slightly better fit although I found the rear cockpit bulkhead pushed the nose wheels halves out a bit.  My solution to this was widening the location channel to ease the fit of the bulkhead..
There is also an atrocious joint where the wing undersides join the fuselage, despite me adding a spreader to widen the fuselage a little.  
Making matters worse, is it is very difficult to get any sort of sanding stick in there to clean the joint up, even custom made ones.  On all kits, I just put up with it.

Whilst we are on the wings, if you do not want a step between the separate control surfaces and the rear of the wing, the thickness of the wing interior needs to be substantially reduced before you cement the wing halves together.  If left as the kit comes the flaps and ailerons are a lot thinner in cross section than the rear of the wing. Supposedly the wing pylons need to be moved 4mm back, but I didn’t bother with this.

Panel line detail on kinetics SHARS are a little inconsistent, so the scriber was run along most of the main panel lines to deepen them.  A thin coat of Mr Color Medium Sea Grey was then applied.  Over the top of this I marbled on various greys, both lighter and darker than the MSG, before another thin blending coat of lightened MSG was sprayed.  A couple of panels were then masked off and painted with MRP MSG to give the look of replaced panels.  The fuselage extension was also painted in untainted Medium Sea Grey straight from the jar, as this showed as a different shade even on heavily weathered jets.  Then began the time consuming process of masking off and painting all those RWRs, doppler panels, dielectric panels and rubbing strips on the leading edge of the fin.  Jets are definitely more work than WW2 aircraft!

The under fuselage pylons and AMRAAMS were decided on to make the jet a little different from other models of the FA2.  Several reference photos were consulted to get the placement of the pylons correct as Kinetic do not give you any guidance in the instructions.  Despite the photos, I got some feedback when I posted the model on Britmodeller, the AMRAAMs were still tool forward by a couple of mm.  I can live with that

The decal sheets in these SHAR kits are nothing short of comprehensive, probably amongst the best you can find in a kit.  From the FA2 sheet, you can make just about every FA2 in service, in either hi viz or subdued schemes, as Kinetic provide you all squadron insignia, and all serial numbers by way of separate numbers you then combine to make your desired serial.  All stencilling is provided in both pink, red and black depending on which scheme you finish your jet in.
The sheet is printed by cartography, and they performed excellently sinking into all the recessed detail with the aid of Micro set and Micro Sol.

It was then that disaster struck.  I foolishly glued the windscreen on with Tamiya extra thin. I must have had the windscreen touching the instrument coaming one one side as the glue wicked straight up the inside of the windscreen.  AAAAGGGGHHH!  I managed to get the windscreen off, and polished the glue mark out, but the damage had been done as this kind of thing is hard to come back from.  The model no longer matched my vision of it in my head and I found I was just wanting to get it off the bench so that I could concentrate on making a better job of the others. Hence, the rather sloppy touch up paint around the reattached windscreen.

​ This is the problem I always have when building multiple kits in parallel.  I won’t be doing it again.  My new found apathy for the model only increased when I found the canopy would not sit flush when in the closed position.  The simple workaround to this was to just place it in the open position. A couple of the antennas had broken off with my handling of the model, and I didn’t replace them as by this stage I was over the kit. Annoyingly Kinetic want you too drill out all the location points for the antennas, which are moulded with a little tab on the underside, so your hole has then to be cut into a rectangular shaped hole.  I daresay, Kinetic have done this rather than provide holes so any antenna fit can be catered for, but really Kinetic, you could have provided flashed over slots to make this job easier. To top the model off, it then rocked ever so slightly once placed on its gear, despite me fitting the main gear last to ensure it would sit on all five wheels.  Thats it.  It will be going to the back of the cabinet.  Im hoping my other two will turn out better as Im using a bit more patience in their construction.  Meanwhile, Im not rating the Kinetic kit as an enjoyable build.

BAE Sea Harrier FA2 ZH812 801 SQNFleet Air Arm.  Yeovilton. U.K 2006

Trumpeter 1/32 Hellcat MkII

  • Built: 2018

    Aftermarket Used:  Cockpit:Eduard Interior. Wheelwells, Eduard PE. Wheels-Barracuda. Seat Belts-HGW. 

Decals:  Home made masks

I first made the trumpeter hellcat in 2007, and finished it as a FAA machine.  I quite liked the build, and the scheme, but unfortunately the model got damaged in a house move.  I bought this model with the idea of making another FAA Hellcat, and initially was quite motivated when the kit made my to do pile for 2018 builds.  That motivation evaporated when it hit my bench and I discovered the wings had sink marks in them over the rear spars.  As I had just completed two involved builds of the HobbyBoss Tomcats, here and here I just didn’t need the grief, so the model went on the “For Sale” pile.  A week later, I decided I wasn’t going to let any minor sink marks beat me, and the kit ended up back on the bench.  A bit of brushed on Mr Surfacer 500 made quick work of the sink marks.  Restoring the rivets wasn’t as hard as I had imagined which is what really led me to put the kit aside in the first place.  A Rosie Riveter tool was used  plus the ubiquitous sewing needle.

The Eduard interior set was used for the cockpit, the pre painted etch certainly giving that busy look to the consoles and circuit breakers that painting just cannot achieve. The Trumpeter hellcat suffers from a few inaccuracies, the main one being the cockpit is far too wide and the rear fuselage does not capture the flat sides of the real machine.  This did not bother me greatly with my first hellcat, but with this one, I cant unsee it.
In an effort to reduce the oval sides, I sanded flat  the curved sides of the interior bulkheads, and when glueing the fuselage halves together, pushed in the fuselage sides aft of the cockpit.  If it made any difference, it was minimal.  The engine accessories, bearers and oil tank were all left out, as was the radio equipment as none of it will be seen, the engine itself pushed into the  firewall, so the bearers are not required to be assembled.
Fit of the major parts was pretty good as it usually is with most trumpeter kits, even the wing halves mating nicely in the extended position, although I managed to introduce a slight step between the port wing sections.
Prior to this, the moulded wheel well ribs had been shaved off so that the eduard parts could be used.  These being fairly easy to place and  superior to  the shallow kit detail.
The completed wing sub assembly nestled in nicely to the fuselage, with again just a smear of Mr Surfacer.  Eduard provide a PE panel that skins the panel adjacent to this seam so that you don not lose any detail through sanding.  Painting the scheme was made easier by using LF Models  camouflage mask but I’m jumping ahead!  As my chosen aircraft was a Hellcat MkII, or F6F-5, and the kit represents a late -3, a few changes had to be made.  The windscreen in particular needed some frames sanding off.  The clarity was restored with various grades of micromesh, and Eduards canopy mask set for the trumpeter -5 used to save me masking some tricky curves.  A rear view mirror was furnished from then plastic card and added to the interior of the screen.  FAA Hellcats also had a round external mirror mounted to the top of the windscreen and this has still to be added to the completed model.  The camouflage was started by first spraying the white areas before masking these off so the sky undersurfaces and  dark slate grey, and extra dark sea grey uppers could be painted.  Extracolour paints were used for this, the final model I will be using enamels on as I finally made the decision to abandon them in favour of acrylics and lacquers.  For the roundels, a friend cut them from an upscaled and scanned aeromaster sheet for FAA Hellcats.  This is the second time I have got a friend to cut masks for me, and I’m wondering whether I should just buy a cutter myself although the learning curve with the software scares me.  Trumpeter also left the supporting straps off the drop tank although they have included the holes in the fuselage underside for them.  I fashioned them from thein strips of plastic card glued to rod which then was pushed into the holes.  Bombs were from the kit, although the tailfins were from the Eduard sheet.  Stippled on Mr Surfacer represented the cast iron bodies before they were painted olive drab with a yellow ring denoting HE.  Around this point my interest in the model started to wane.  I had had to repaint the roundels a couple of times and touch up various parts of the airframe paintwork caused by clumsy handling and poor masking. The serials which were decals had also silvered.
  The model was not reflecting the vision I had started with, and I was keen just to get it finished and off the bench.  I decided to scrimp a lot of the weathering and shading I had planned instead opting for a simple wash and some oil streaks using AK Dark wash.  This is something I really need to beat next year, so that I see each model through to completion with a consistent level of skill and patience. Roy Sutherland’s superb resin wheels were painted and glued to the previously assembled undercarriage legs, which had had wire brake lines added.
 Finally exhaust streaks were added with highly thinned Tamiya NATO black, although I don’t think they are nearly pronounced enough before the whole model was hit with Testors Dullcote, and that signalled the end of 2018 for me modelling wise.  Shame about those silvered decals, and Ive just noticed the prop is off centre too!


Grumman Hellcat MkII. 896 SQN. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm.  HMS Emperor 1945


Airfix 1/48 Supermarine Walrus Mk1

  • Year Purchased: 2017
  • Date completed     March 2018
  • Aftermarket used:  Eduard mask set
  • ​Paint: Xtracolour Dark sea grey, Dark slate grey,  FAA sky grey

I had held off on getting Airfix’s new Walrus due to me having HPHs big resin 32 scale kit to build, however upon seeing a mate’s I just had to buy it. Not only that, I had to build it straight away!
Airfix are really kicking goals with their new 48 scale kits, and this is no exception, with a fully riveted hull,  stressed skin effect on the roof, a nice interior, and  several options that allow you to model the wings folded or spread, canopies open or closed and wheels up or down 
The model assembled well with good fit. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable build, well, until I got to the rigging!

Painting was done with xtracolours and all was good until I got to the rigging.  A combination of super glue that had gone off and would not instantly set and not really knowing what I was doing sort of bought the build undone.  Still, I got their in the end, better equipped to handle that wingnut wings kit I want to tackle this year.
Construction Notes
Although there are plenty of injection moulding pins present on the interior surfaces, you cant see any, apart from two in the extreme nose once the fuselage is together.
I elected to glue the roof to one side to better handle the joint as I could then attack it from both sides. Airfix have moulded some lovely surface detail into this kit so you want to reduce any need for sanding as much as possible
The centre “fan looking thing” needs all traces of the moulding seam sanded off before glueing between the two engine nacelle halves
I found the open cockpit a little too wide for the fuselage, although that could have been a fault on my part.
Back to my kit.  I found when on its wheels the folded wing float dragged on the ground due to me not securely glueing the wing spar.  At the last minute I decided to cut the spar off and have both wings extended, This is the wing with the aileron deflected up.  I could not debond the glue join unfortunately, so I will just have to live with it.
An enjoyable kit, although the rigging turned it into a bit of a grind in the end.

Supermarine Walrus Mk1 700 N.A.S Royal Navy. H.M.S Sheffield