Sea Harrier FA.2 – A new 1:24 conversion

After last year’s Hawker Siddeley Harrier T.2 conversion in 1:24, it’s time to look at another mammoth build. But first, planning…

“In the case of the FA.2, at least I have a head-start in the form of the reworked Airfix FRS.1 that provides much of the basics needed for the later aircraft”

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Yesterday, I discussed in some detail my rather wasted day and my somewhat futile attempt to find something useful to do. In the main, I rather failed to do more than watch football and eat peanut butter sandwiches, but one thing I did at least attempt was to begin the long process of planning a new 1:24 Harrier, this time the punchy Sea Harrier FA.2.

It’s taken some time to decide which version to build next (actually, it’s taken some time to decide if I should build another 1:24 Airfix Harrier at all!), a GR.3, FRS.1, YAV-8B and even a GR.9 all being considered, but in the end, I decided on something that would still be demanding, but not a full-blown conversion into another aircraft.  The reason was simply that last year’s T.2 conversion project was such a massive job, I really wondered if I could do it all over again, so many changes being needed to the basic kit just to bring it up to standard from the box, the idea of another detailing/conversion project was something that needed serious forethought. Still, I’m nothing if not masochistic, so the decision has been made and planning begun. As to when I will actually cut plastic, well, that’s yet to be decided!

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In the case of the FA.2, at least I have a head-start in the form of the reworked Airfix FRS.1 that provides much of the basics needed for the later aircraft. As far as accuracy is concerned the bare bones of the airframe are included, so that means that I can focus on corrective issues around the parts supplied and then carry out the conversion before turning my attention to superdetailing the results to match the finish and complexity of the T.2, alongside which it will be displayed.

So whilst mired in my stupor yesterday, I grabbed a few books on the subject just to whet the appetite and then set about drawing up a list of items that would be needed to build the FA.2 from the Airfix kit, a list that drew on my experience of building the T.2 in this scale and also examination of what would be needed to create the Sea Harrier.

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The list, though far from exhaustive, is as follows:

Basic Kit Corrections:

  • Rebuild the interior of the intakes (they are completely inaccurate in the kit).
    Open up auxiliary intakes and build new doors.
    Build the nose near bay.
    Create a shortened airbrake bay, detail the interior.
    Detail all of the undercarriage parts, legs and wheels.
    Add missing features to all of the pylons; add braces.
    Correct and detail the gun pods.
    Detail and correct the jet nozzles.
    Rebuild fairing around the front jet nozzle.
    Add openings for the reaction control system (RCS) to the wing tips, nose and tail.
    Rework and detail the control surfaces.
    Detail and finesse the tailplanes.
    Fill all rivets – the Harrier is very smooth and the Airfix detail, overdone.
    Rescribe the panel line detail.
    Add new panels around intakes.
    Add raised panelling on the upper fuselage.
    Correct and detail auxiliary intakes.

Sea Harrier FA.2 Modifications:

  • Create new radar nose.
    Extend the rear fuselage between the trailing edge of the wing and airbrake bay.
    Modify the tail fin to feature a pitot tube.
    Add kink to leading edge of wing.
    Create 190 Gal fuel tanks.
    Design and build AMRAAM pylons – underwing and underfuselage.
    Build AMRAAM missiles.
    Create underfuselage recce pod.
    Pattern new AIM-9L Sidewinders.
    Scratch build ejector seat.
    Vac-form new canopy and windscreen sections.

So there we are a new, a long-term project that’s at least in planning! As far as actually getting started, I’m still talking to a few guys, Nick Greenall, Tim Perry and Dave Fleming, who will be helping out with the technical aspects of this build (Tim in particular looking to use some of the technology used last year, to create a number of parts needed this time around) so until that’s all wrapped up, I don’t feel that I can really begin to cut plastic. I’ve decided to dedicate most of this year to this build so there shouldn’t be too much of a hurry and hopefully the mistakes that I made on The T.2 will be a time-saving basis from which to work this time around, many of the examples of backtracking that befell that project being in mind today! Honestly, I spent more time correcting mistakes than I did making progress. Live and learn I guess!

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My thanks have to go out to my advisers on this project and to Mike Reeves who was kind enough to send me his kit all the way from America for this build – thank you all so much!

Best get started then…

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3 thoughts on “Sea Harrier FA.2 – A new 1:24 conversion

  1. jamessperrin March 6, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    Obvious the 1/24 Harrier is an itch that sill needs to be scratched (built). Creating the fuselage extension will be particularly interesting.

  2. John bennett March 6, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    With the help of tim and nick plus some three d printing its possible and if you make resin copies for a conversion set I will buy one as I would love a fa-2 to go with my big harriers I was going to do a t-4 think I need more planing though after watching you do yours have fun and keep up the good work john

    • spencerp6745 March 6, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      I’m not sure how this is going to work out, but there is a possibility of creating some aftermarket parts. If that is the case I’ll let you guys know on here… 🙂

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