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1/72 Sea Harrier FRS.1 x 2 - Airfix vs Italeri comparative assembly


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It may be strange, but in my "Falklands War model collection" Sea Harrier is still missing! That's why I decided to make two at once. To make it more interesting, they will be models from two different manufacturers - Airfix and Italeri.

 

They are most popular kits of SHAR in 1/72 scale on the market (so far) and are well known, but I`ll try to compare them on this occasion.

 

Airfix kit is from 2011, meanwhile, the Italeri is a rebox of the old ESCI kit, which comes from 1983! It would be logical if Airfix was better, but as you know - it is not. So let`s see both kits.

 

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As you can see - my Italeri`s SHAR is from anniversary combo box (with Wessex HU.5), but it`s the same as in standard box, except for decals.

 

AIRFIX SPRUES:

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ITALERI SPRUES:

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Airfix has more parts and seems to be better detailed.

 

Let`s take a closer look...

 

AIRFIX PANEL LINES:

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ITALERI PANEL LINES:

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COMPARISION (ITALERI OVER AIRFIX):

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As you can see the old Italeri/ESCI kit is MUCH MUCH better in this regard. I will have to work on Airfix` lines...

 

AIRFIX ENGINE EXHAUSTS:

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ITALERI ENGINE EXHAUSTS:

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Both are craps - Airfix exhausts will be very difficult to process (sanding required in the middle) and Italeri are too shallow. I will replace them in both kits with Pavla`s resins.

 

AIRFIX SIDEWINDERS:

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ITALERI SIDEWINDERS:

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1 point for Airfix here, but I think I will look for substitutes for both kits.

 

CLEAR PARTS COMPARISION (ITALERI ON LEFT):

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Italeri is much better in shape and details.

 

AIRFIX DECALS:

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ITALERI DECALS:

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Another point for Airfix. I have spare SHAR decals from DP Casper, Xtradecal and Condor Decals, so main decals are not a problem for me, but I have to use stencils from kits.

 

To make "the match" even I will use almost the same additions for both kits:

- Eduard`s PE sets (73384 for Airfix and 73457 for Italeri),

- Pavla`s resin air intakes and exhausts (72-118 for Airfix and 72-082 for Italeri),

- Pavla`s resin MB Mk.10H ejection seats (72-060 for both kits),

- Pavla`s resin gun pods (72-117 for both kits),

- Master`s Pitot tubes and angle of attack probes (AM-72-052 for both kits).

 

ADDITIONS FOR AIRFIX KIT:

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ADDITIONS FOR ITALERI KIT:

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I know that there are some shape issues in Airfix kit and I will try to do something with that. I hope it will be fun. 🤪

 

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The Airfix SHARs were a massive disappointment, I wouldn't even give them points for that Sidewinder, those rings are so over scale. ESCI/Italeri is still my go to in 1/72

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36 minutes ago, Dave Fleming said:

The Airfix SHARs were a massive disappointment, I wouldn't even give them points for that Sidewinder, those rings are so over scale. ESCI/Italeri is still my go to in 1/72

Yes, it`s a shame that the best 1/72 Sea Harrier is almost 40 years old now and is... Italian! 🇮🇹 Hope that Airfix will make new tool someday, because I don`t see a real chance for new Tamiya, Hasegawa or Eduard... 😣

 

I have Kinetic`s 1/48 SHAR kit in a stash, which is not perfect, but something like that I would like to see in 1/72.

 

Current Airfix kit looks as a toy after assembly. I`ll see what I can do with it. Last year I tried to improve Airfix` 1/72 Skyhawks (which also sucks and Fujimi`s A-4s from `80s are still much better), so I have some experience. 😉

 

In the worst case I'll put the Airfix model behind the Italeri on the shelf and I won`t have to look at it. 😎

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Dave Fleming said:

The Airfix SHARs were a massive disappointment, I wouldn't even give them points for that Sidewinder, those rings are so over scale. ESCI/Italeri is still my go to in 1/72

 A Rub of a sanding stick would cure that, 2 mins work surely.

 

Man Alive I built the Airfix Shar and the Skyhawk and was quite happy with them too. I brought them into a show and tell and guess what nobody cared about the sidewinders rings, the panel lines, The 'Toy' look. They just liked the model for what it is plus I did not waste more money on aftermarket either.

 

Not  having a go I don't know why you even bothered starting a kit with that mindset TBH. Just enjoy it.

 

 

Edited by George Norman
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4 hours ago, George Norman said:

Not  having a go I don't know why you even bothered starting a kit with that mindset TBH. Just enjoy it.

Why? I like challenges like that, so be sure I will enjoy it! :wink:  

 

So let`s start.

 

I cut main parts of both kits from frames. I filled shrinkage pits and assembled wings.

 

Italeri first - no bigger problems, some putty was needed under cockpit area. Parts of the wings matched each other perfectly.

 

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Airfix took a little more work on wings, but after some sanding everything also fit. Some putty was needed at the bottom of fuselage halves.

 

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I decided to get on the panel lines now. My "patent" for too wide "trenches" is very easy. I've already use it on the old OEZ Letohrad 1/48 Su-25 model and I think it worked:

 

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We'll see if I remember how to do it after all these years... :think:

 

First thing I do is deepening (!!!) the lines with engraver. 

 

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After that I cover the deepened panel lines with Mr. Surfacer 500 (quite thick, dense coat).

 

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When Surfacer will be dry I sand it from the lines. They should be much thinner and shallower after that. Soon we will see if this operation was successful...  :waiting:

 

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OK, it`s dry, so I could start sanding. I use normal sandpaper on flat surfaces and sanding sticks around the details.

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When this was done, I started cleaning the lines. I used a toothbrush.

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The next step was to cover the sanded parts with a layer of primer.

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As you can see the panel lines on Airfix model look much better now. They are narrower and more delicate.

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Of course, corrections will be needed in some places, but I will do them later (before painting).

 

Now let's move on to the Italeri model. Here we have a completely opposite problem - the panel lines are a bit too delicate and disappear in some places. I decided to gently deepen all lines with a sharp scalpel and modeling razor.

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In this way I prepared both models for further assembly. However, before I took care of the cockpits, I noticed the difference in size of under fuselage fin between the two models. After checking the photos and plans, it turned out that the fin in the Airfix model is too small (Airfix on the left, Italeri on the right).

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About 1.5-2.0 mm in height is missing, which is clearly visible in this scale. So the next step will be cutting off the fin from the fuselage of Airfix kit and insert the filling, which should give it the right height.

 

TBC

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