Lee brings us April’s progress on his hobby time as he rounds out the BAOR and starts a new project.
March saw lockdown imposed on the UK, which cut out the ability to get a game with any ease so this update will focus entirely on modelling and painting! I’m also going to split this month’s update in two, one to cover the end of the BAOR project and one to cover the second half of the month where I launch the next project.
We left last month with the ground element complete and the Harriers the only thing left to do. I had been looking forward to getting these as the Harrier (especially the later GR Mk.7 and 9s) is a personal favourite from both my childhood and, later, my career.
The new Battlefront kit is a repack of the Revell GR Mk.7 1:144 kit which, by chance, I had picked up back in the Iron Maiden release. I hadn’t done anything with them as the Revell kit only had Sidewinders and drop tanks, a somewhat disappointing fit for a mud mover!
Thankfully the BF kit not only contains two Revell Harriers and flight stands, but also a generous eight resin BL755 cluster bombs. That was more than enough to fit out the flight.
Anyone with a misspent youth building airfix kits will know that the golden rule of painting most jet kits is to paint the intake and fan faces before assembly! Trying to do it after is only going to end in tears. The cockpit would normally be painted but the lack of crew and opaque canopies in the BF kit meant I could resist that urge.
I clipped the fans off the sprue and applied some Vallejo Surface Primer (VSP) Black by brush to them, then painted the inner surface of the intakes Surface Primer Grey whilst they were still on the sprue. I then picked out the fan faces in Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Aluminium (again, applied by brush) and the intakes with Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) Sky Grey. I then gave the fan face a wash with Citadel Nuln Oil.
That done, I could proceed to assembling. One of the first things to sort out was how to attach the plane to the flying base. BF had helpfully provided an adaptor socket but a quick dry fit with gun pods attached confirmed it would not fit. I tried resting a magnet inside the fuselage and that seemed to do the trick, albeit I need to use a couple 1.5mm disc magnets on top of the main magnet on the flying stand to squeeze between the gunpods.
Another thing I needed to fix was the nose and ventral cooling inlet. The base model is a mid 90s GR Mk.7 which has a subtly different nose, with a FLIR blister and ECM antenna, plus a longer cooling intake. Both were easily modified with a sharp knife; the nose just needed to be scraped smooth and the inlet was cut back by about a third. For bonus points you could sculpt the undernose blister for the IR linescan camera (that was scrapped and never installed) to get the true GR Mk.5 lines, but I figured I’d be the only person that would care about it.
What I did do that neither BF or Revell instructions mention, was to cut the pogo wheels from the struts and glue them to the end of the outrigger fairings, then glue the extra set of intermediate pylons and Sidewinder rails to the outrigger fairings for the RAF’s unique arrangement.
With assembly done, there was some differing on what colour to paint the aircraft so I set about painting the weapons instead.
The Sidewinders were primed VSP Grey, then received a coat of Citadel Contrast Apothecary White to the entirety of the model. I’m finding the Apothecary White paint especially useful for painting missiles, having used it for all my Aeronautica Imperialis stuff too.
I then layered VMC Black Grey on the forward section, to just slight aft of the front fins, before edge highlighting the area in VMC London Grey and picking out the IR window in VMA Aluminium.
Finally, I added thin stripes of Citadel Yriel Yellow and VMC German Camo Medium Brown to denote the high explosive warhead (forward) and low explosive rocket motor (aft).
The BL755 were primed VSP Bronze Green and highlighted by drybrushing VMC Russian Uniform on. I then added the white lines to the bottom (I think they are used to denote strengthened lifting areas for weapon loading) and yellow safety markings.
That bought me a little time, but I eventually needed to get paint on the model. I tried Bronze Green, drybrushed Russian Uniform but it didn’t look right. Looking at some photos, the colour looked more like a WW2 US Sherman’s Olive Drab and the undersides had more of a grey green look.
I decided to try again and sprayed on VMC Brown Violet and was instantly happier with the colour. I then masked the top side and sprayed on VMC Grey Green and that ticked the box too. I decided to ditch drybrushing and go with edge highlighting the panels. The topside got picked out in VMC Grey Green whilst the underside was highlighted in VMC Stone Grey. I then picked out the exhaust nozzles in VMA Aluminium, gave them a wash in Nuln Oil and picked out the edges in more VMA Aluminium.
One of the things I puzzled over was the NVG friendly formation lights. I settled on a Grey Green base, stone grey highlight and finished with a thin Citadel Biel Tann Green wash and that seemed to do the trick.
Finally, for the detailing phase, I applied red and yellow safety markings, all by brush, plus the white flap marking on the top surface. It adds some life to the model and they are relatively simple markings to apply. I decided against squadron markings as I figured these would be painted over as war approached.
The canopies were painted Black Grey, then built up with layers of Luftwaffe uniform to Pale Blue Gray, all VMC. the edges of the glazing got picked out in VMC Green Brown.
To finish the model off, I applied a coat of Vallejo Mecha Gloss, followed by transfers. I used a GR7 era single roundel on the wings, rather then GR5 era double, again reasoning that the roundels would be obfuscated to reduce visual signature. Once the transfers were dry I applied a Nuln Oil panel pin wash. Finally, I added the weapons and applied a coat of Vallejo Mecha Matt to seal the model, before adding more gloss to the canopy to restore the shine.
And there we go! These were finished on the 13th April so hopefully they will bring the Red Army some bad luck! The next part of April’s update will see the next project started, Operation Granby!
Until then, stay safe!