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Harrier filth


Harry_the_Spider
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I'm just about to finish a 1/72 Falklands GR3 (XZ 988) and it looking a bit too clean.

 

Where would it have got dirty?

 

Obviously this one ended up getting particularly messy, so I'll be doing a version up to a point before the end of its last mission.

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Harriers generally get dirty with exhaust staining to rear fuselage and oil/fluid leaks to lower fuselage under the engine bay. That said, since the GR3's during the Falklands were ship based for the bulk of the conflict, they may not have been quite as filthy on the underside as usual due to the lack of swirling dust and dirt caught up in the jet efflux during vertical landings on a wet deck. A quick @NG899 or @Dave Fleming might rustle up a response from two of the more Harrier knowledgable members.

 

Mark.

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The Harrier had several sources of dirt.  The first was the rear nozzles, which laid down a small amount of soot across the rear fuselage and the tailplanes.   The second was the oil breather just below the forward starboard nozzle.  This spread a mist of oil, some of which ended up on the starboard rear fuselage, baked on by the jet eflux.  The starboard side was usually dirtier than the port.  The rest of the oil ended up on top of the starboard wing, covering the inner upper surface and turned the starboard wing into a ski slope if you tried to walk down it!  The next was the usual hydraulic/engine oil leaks, mostly from the engine compartment and which flowed back across the under fuselage and across the ventral fin.   Next, at least in RAFG, air pollution added a slight mark downstream of each vortex generator on the wing.  Finally, field ops in wet conditions could spray mud over the aft fuselage, but this was limited as the aircraft normally took off from roads or Aluninium planking so it was more dirty water than thick mud.   The rear fuselage was a pig to clean once it got really dirty.  That said, I agree that "less is more" in most cases or "weathering" and a very dirty aircraft was rare

 

On ship, I suspect the aircraft were cleaned more often than was the case on shore, for anti corrosion.  Someone else could tell you if they were rubbed down with a version of WD-40, which would have made them clean but glossy.  

 

Regards

 

Tim

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Rear fuselage as others have mentioned, they also obtained a slghtly 'grubby' look, as well as having the 'patches' on the upper wings where the re-wiring was done to enable them to carry sidewinders

 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205190486

 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205190563

 

This pic gives an idea of the effects (Different aircraft)

 

mRzlaP0.jpeg

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The GR3s had been washed prior to shipping south on the Atlantic Conveyor and were frequently washed on the deck of Hermes to minimise saltwater ingress, so were fairly clean by comparison with RAFG or Wittering based GR3s. Unlike the Sea Harrier airframes, the GR3s contained metals which saltwater just loves to corrode rapidly, hence the extra care given them. 

 

With reference to the photo above of XZ989/07 after its accident at the FOB, the darker areas around the wing access panels are (bath) sealant applied to keep the briny out. Panels around the nose and fuselage were also treated this way as seen in the photo of XV789/32 here: https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/harrier-vs-mirage-iii-how-the-british-were-so-successful-against-the-argentinians-in-air-air.375305/

 

The scuff marks on the wings are from boots.

 

XZ989 had non-regular placement of the red Xs on the engine cover panels, as you can see in the photo. XZ988 probably had them in the same position as 989. 

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