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Airfix + Flightpath 1/48 scale
BAE Sea Harrier FRS.1

by Ingo Degenhardt


BAE Sea Harrier FRS.1

  images by Lutz Degenhardt

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I had no particular interest in the Harrier family until reading “Sea Harrier over the Falklands” by Com. “Sharkey” Ward last year.

This excellent book first inspired me to build this FRS.1 and in it’s wake it caused the planning for a lot more Harriers. Stuff for years…

I still had the Tamiya model built approximately 15 years ago and after looking for it in my personal AMARC and removing the dust I realized that Tamiya standards way back then were a little different to what they are now…



So I bought the Airfix kit and it was even worse – not much, but worse. I decided to go for it anyway as there was no state-of-the-art kit available in 2006, at least not in 1/48. Not that much of a surprise because it is just as old as the Tamiya kit.

Several aftermarket manufacturers came to the rescue.




The large Flightpath set, although made to be used with the Tamiya kit works very well with Airfix too. Only minor modifications are needed for some of the etched parts.

Flightpath provides the following:

  • blade antennas, wind sensor, starboard fuselage fuel dump

  • gear leg detail (front wheel)

  • Radar altimeter

  • vortex generators on wings

  • blast shields for the rear (hot) nozzles

  • air brake detail

  • tail cone detail

  • covers between stabilizers and fuselage

  • tie-down rings for gear legs

  • windscreen wiper and it’s cover

  • FOD-covers

  • Sidewinders & twin launchers (cast metal)

  • boarding ladder

  • wheel chocks

  • RBF-tags

  • chain connectors for tie-down (the chains come from Hauler)

  • Flightdeck attachment points

  • Sea Eagle ASM (these were then included in the set for the FA.2 that I also have here)

Some of the above details replaced Airfix parts while others are helpful because there are no kit parts at all – for example the fuselage fuel dump or the covers that move with the horizontal stabilizers.

The set also contains PE parts for the cockpit and for the auxiliary air intakes (blow-in doors) but I did not use these because I replaced the whole cockpit with the very good Neomega resin cockpit and seat while the air intakes come from Heritage Aviation and are Resin parts with the upper blow-in doors open (down) due to gravity.

The Flightpath parts are now in my spares box and wait for GR1 and GR3.

The set by Heritage Aviation contains four new resin jet nozzles that replaced the Airfix parts.

Further contents are new horizontal stabilizers with the mentioned cover moulded on and two external fuel tanks. Both found their way into the spares box.



All this adds up to a rather high budget for this Harrier but there is still enough work and room for personal initiative.

In this case I engraved the panel lines completely – of course this 23 years old kit has raised panel lines, while the general fit is surprisingly good.

On the kit, the rear nozzle-blast shields are moulded-on thick plastic parts and are beyond any kind of modification. I cut them much shorter and used them as a base for the Flightpath PE’s to be glued on. Removing their rear portion left me with holes in each fuselage side. I stuffed them from the inside with Milliput that was sanded to shape when dry.

The Airfix gun pods have a completely wrong shape at their front end that I corrected by cutting and sanding according to photographs and the much better Monogram pods.

I also lengthened the tail cone by 2mm using sheet plastic because it is positively too short on the model.

Further detailing was done on the fuselage top where I cut out the APU exhaust and remodelled it completely. Airfix forgot about altogether three small air inlets – these I made from lead foil.

The anti-collision beacons (fuselage top & airbrake bottom) come from Aires (Position lights & Anti-collision beacons).



There are two fuel dumps on the wings upper surfaces located between flaps and ailerons, these were made from syringe needles.

The retraction wells for the outrigger wheels are massive plastic and have to be hollowed out. The red safety locks on the outrigger gear legs were made from lead foil.

The refuelling boom was taken from the Monogram GR.1.


Paint and Markings


I did not like the Airfix decals at first sight – off register by far. So I enlarged the budget for Sky models sheet 48028 that contains markings for a lot of Harriers of all kinds.

Initially I had the intension to build a Harrier of “Operation Corporate” (Falkland war) but eventually could not resist the ‘winged fist’ of 899 Squadron contained on the Sky models sheet.

So this is ‘711’, delivered in 1987 and converted into FA.2 in the early nineties. There is a minor mistake on the Sky models sheet – 711 is not BuNo. ZE 890 but ZE 690. This is easily corrected with digits from the sheet (there are a lot)

Unfortunately there is not a lot of stencils on the sheet so I had to use the Airfix decals anyway. I cut away the protruding White on as many decals as possible and some markings are even sprayed on such as the red surroundings of the fire accesses (have to be drilled out) in the wing roots.

Painting was done with Xtracolor (as usual) Extra Dark Sea Grey that was lightened up a little with White.
I applied a black wash with thinned oil paint and due to the already glossy Xtracolor enamels the model then was ready for the decals.

Afterwards the whole model was sealed with Humbrol Satin Cote to resemble the gloss paint scheme of the real thing in scale.

A lot of work for this Sea Harrier all in all and prospects for the Airfix FA2 are similar, although the new fuselage has engraved panel lines and the flaps and ailerons have the right length (Airfix confused the length of these on the FRS.1 – I filled them with superglue and rescribed)

The base plate is my attempt to show a deck section of the through-deck cruisers or aircraft carriers like ‘Hermes’, ‘Invincible’ or the like. It is 600 wet & dry glued to a massive piece of wood.

I am still looking for two or three figures and a little bit of deck equipment to add to the scene.




  • Harrier inside and out by Mark Attril

  • Harrier in action No. 58 (Squadron/signal publ.)

  • Flugzeugprofile No. 7 – Bae Harrier

  • various internetsources

  • and thanks to DJ Parkins for answering my questions regarding his Flightpath detail set

Model and Text Copyright © 2007 by Ingo Degenhardt
Images Copyright © 2007 by Lutz Degenhardt
Page Created 12 March, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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