Hasegawa’s 1/48 AV-8B Harrier Plus – Commission Build

Welcome to the start of my seventh commission build this year. This build I will be using Hasegawa’s 1/48 AV-8B Harrier Plus. The client is a former Harrier pilot and wants a model of one of the many aircraft he flew in his career. I will be using Caracal’s AV-8B+ decal set and using the VMA-214 “Blacksheep” aircraft #2 scheme. The other accessories I will be adding are the Quinta Studio’s 3-D cockpit decal set. This will be my first time using them. I will be using Eduard’s 500lbs JDAM’s, Meng AIM-9 missiles, and the aircraft will be mounted in a display case with a base replicating the flight deck of a carrier.
To start off this build I first worked on the canopy and windscreen. These both have a seam that runs down the center of each. I sanded the seams out with 1500 and the 3000 grit sandpaper. I then polished both pieces inside and out. With the seams removed and both sides polished the canopy and windscreen are very clear.
Next I began working on the cockpit. I first cleaned up the cockpit tub, instrument panel, and added the 3-D decals. The decals are very thick due to the raised areas. These work like normal waterslide decals. Soaking them in some warm water then applying then to their locations. I used a little decal set to make sure the adhered to the surface. There are some levers, handles and knobs that need to be attached. These are set in place with a small drop of CA glue. The result is a very realistic appearance. On the rear cockpit bulkhead they even have some weathering and shading to add to the realism. On the instrument panel the gauges and screens are coated in a clear gloss. Once all the decals on the cockpit and ejection seat are applied and the cockpit assembled the cockpit looks fantastic. I am now working on cleaning, detailing, and assembling the forward fuselage.

All the details and photos are in the build log at: 1/48 AV-8B Harrier plus VMA-214


The second week of the AV-8B Harrier build started off with detailing and assembling the forward fuselage and mounting the cockpit. The aft fuselage was then assembled and the intake. The forward section was mounted tp the aft section. I then assembled the intake cowl and the exhaust nozzles.
Next I worked on the wing assembly. This required a little putty to fill a small gap between the fuselage and wing assembly but the rest of it all fit together very well. I proceeded to add the details to the fuselage like the ducts and the refueling probe. Speaking of the ducts, the two ducts just behind the canopy are too close together on the kit. I previously built this same Hasegawa kit and found out too late that these were in the wrong position. With them in the wrong position it does not allow you to position the canopy in the open position. On this build the client would like the canopy open. After reviewing some reference photos I re-positioned the ducts in the correct location and verified the canopy can be in the open position.
The scheme for this is VMA-214 with the triple grey. The underside will be light ghost grey with the upper sections dark ghost grey and a medium grey camouflage section on the upper wings. I am starting to apply the base coat of the paint and then I will be assembling /detailing the under wing stores, weapons, and targeting pod.

All the details and photos are in the build log at: 1/48 AV-8B Harrier plus VMA-214


Welcome to week three of the AV-8B Plus project. During this past week I worked on all the under wing stores. Starting with the AIM-9 missiles, I opted to use the Meng version. The Meng ones are much more accurate looking and also have more accurate decals. The client wants to also add 500lbs JDAM’s so I am using Eduard’s resin version. Once these were assembled and painted I then assembled to drop tanks. I then finished the under wing store by building and detailing the Litening targeting pod. The kit supplies decals for the rear screens. After applying the decals I was not happy with their appearance. I dug thru my extra photo etch bins and found two screens that matched what the actual pod looks like.
With all the under wing stores completed I built up and detailed the main landing gear. I they painted the first two colors of the scheme. The lower sections were painted FS36375 Light Ghost grey. The upper sections were painted 36320 Dark Ghost Grey. Later I will paint the top sections with FS35237 Medium Grey to complete the tri-color scheme.
Finishing off the week I scratch built the HUD. The kit version was a bulky hunk of clear styrene. I used some spare photo etch sides for the mount and thin styrene for the base. I added a drop of acrylic gel to replicate the HUD lens and clear acetate for the HUD glass. Moving forward I detailed the wing gear and getting ready to modify them. On my previous build of this same kit the wing gear was slightly longer and required modification so the aircraft will rest on all 5 wheels. Once I have the landing gear modified and installed I will begin adding all the decals.
All the details and photos are in the build log at: 1/48 AV-8B Harrier plus VMA-214


Arriving at week four of the AV-8B Plus project there has been a schedule change. This was scheduled to be completed the week between Christmas and New Years but the schedule has been expedited so the completion date is now the week before Christmas.

This week I applied all the decals for aircraft #2 and added the custom decals as well. The aircraft was then sprayed with a matte top coat. I then detail painted the wing tip and navigation lights. All of the under wing stores were then installed. On the Litening targeting pod I painted a coat of smoke on the turret lenses to tone down the brightness and give them a more realistic lens appearance. For the canopy I added the decal for the det cord to the inside.

The canopy and windscreen were installed. I then weathered the aircraft using some reference photos of the aircraft aboard ships. The exhaust staining was created by using gray, brown, and black pastel chalk. The rest of the aircraft was weathered using dark grey and black. I am currently working on the display base. This is going to look like the deck of LPH/LDH aircraft carrier complete with markings and brass tie down pad eyes. Stay tuned to the completion of this project over the week!

All the details and photos are in the build log at: 1/48 AV-8B Harrier plus VMA-214


After five weeks the Hasegawa’s 1/48 AV-8B Harrier Plus project is complete!! This last week was spent detailing the display base to replicate the deck of an LHD class aircraft carrier. I used Infini’s USN tie down set. This set has 42 brass cups and both styles of tie downs. Large aircraft carries use a 5-point star and the LHD’s use a 4-point cross. I started with a sheet of styrene the same thickness as the brass cups. The flight deck pattern for spot 9 was then drawn for the center stripe and landing zone stripes. I then added a grid to mark the tie down points. These were drilled with a 4mm drill. The brass cups were inserted and I then attached the 4-point cross on each.

The base was then sprayed white. The white stripes were masked and the yellow centerline was painted. Finally I sprayed the rest of the base gunship grey. I added the “9” decal and the “700” decals. The tie downs that were on the areas between two colors were then pained with a paint brush. The deck was then weathered using black, dark grey, and brown pastel chalk. The “deck” was then attached to the display base and the edge was trimmed in black paint.

The aircraft placement was then marked. I added some 28 gauge wire to the center of the main gear wheels. I drilled the holes and mounted the aircraft to the base using the wire to secure the aircraft to the deck. The final touch was to make a stand for the engraved nameplate and mount it to the deck.

This project was a very enjoyable build. The client is personally picking up this next week. As for this build and kit, as noted previously the Hasegawa kit is very nice with only a few minor issues. As usual the Caracal Decals are great to work with and look great. Thank you for following along on this special project. Happy Modeling!

All the details and photos from start to finish are in the build log at: 1/48 AV-8B Harrier plus VMA-214