Eduard photo-etched cockpit details for Airfix 1/72nd scale Harrier GR.3
This is a sub-page of Enigmatic 1970s attack fighter, my Airfix 1/72nd scale Hawker Siddely/British Aerospace Harrier GR.3.
The Eduard parts are made of thin metal and printed with detail so fine I found I could see them properly only with a magnifying glass. The ejector seat details so tiny as to be almost impossible to position correctly, not helped by the supposed self-adhesive not being sticky enough, at least on such tiny objects. Just picking them up after cutting them from their anchors and holding on to them with tweezers was a challenge. When I eventually got them more or less in place, I used a generous dab of matt varnish to hold them there, avoiding the shiny (and tiny!) metal harness buckles as best I could.
The instruction sheet on which the seat is placed in the preceding photo are for the Eduard photo etch detail set. My middle finger is aligned with the ejector seat handle, ready to be attached. That handle (you get two) is first ‘constructed’ by folding it in on itself. To indicate what kind of microsurgery is involved here, it is then about one millimetre wide!
Watch out: The Eduard instructions call for cutting or filing off some of the Airfix moulded details. However, in some cases you need the moulded item in place because the Eduard part goes on it.
“If you look down, you’re likely to break your neck, so you just close your eyes and pull the handle.
As soon as you pull the lever you hear an almighty bang, and the canopy of the cockpit is thrown off in about half a second.
A rocket pack on the seat is set off a fraction of a second later, and the explosion blasts you 400 feet into the air, subjecting you to about 30 Gs of force.”
In these photos, I had not yet added the little decals (Airfix) that go at the top of the sides of the seat. (Shoulda dunnit earlier, as per the instructions; it would have been less tricky.)
I could not attach the photo-etch rudder pedals (you can’t see ‘em anyway) or the throttle levers. They are just too small. I could not get the canopy mirror to stick, possibly because I had earlier coated the canopy in Pledge (Klear).
Bear in mind that, as the ruler indicates, on an average computer monitor these photos make the cockpit tub appear much larger than it really is.
The preceding photo shows to advantage the Eduard photo-etch instrument panel. Unlike the smaller details, it was easy to do, but is it significantly better than the Airfix decal?
I somehow overlooked that, in the real thing, two straps are attached to the sides of the headrest (presumably for convenience). I later tried making some from aluminium foil, but that proved too tricky. In the end, I made them from stringy old household glue (similar to Bostik).
I had more luck with the canopy detonation chord. It is, in my opinion, the most important of these add-ons. It would not stick to the canopy, so I applied more Pledge with a brush to stick it in place, which worked. That one result, in my estimation, almost justifies the cost, time, and frustration of using the Eduard photo-etched detail set.
The set also includes details to add on other parts of the airframe. I attached a few of them, but I stopped when I felt that the effort and risk of damaging the model in the process was not worth the possible enhancement.