This set provides an upgrade for Hasegawa’s AV-8B Harrier II kit and provides a new nose gear fork assembly and trailing gear door, new tires all the way around and photoetch replacements for the scissor links on the outriggers and the aft main gear.
The resin parts are very well cast with nice tread patterns on all of the wheels along with raised lettering on each tire. The tires are also all weighted to simulate the weight of the aircraft. The photoetch scissor links are also crisply done and easily folded to the proper orientation.
I started with modifying the nose gear fork. After removing the lower section of the fork and the molded-on gear door, I drilled a small hole in the center of the remaining kit part. I then used larger and larger mini drills to enlarge the hole, while keeping it centered on the strut, until the hole was the same size as the cast pin on the new nose fork. When I was happy with the fit, I used superglue to attach the new nose fork. I left the tire off for now to make it easier to paint both parts. In test fitting the tire, I discovered that either the tire is a bit too wide for the fork or the forward part of the fork is a little too thick as I had a hard time getting the tire to fit. I recommend you use a file or sanding pad on the inside of the forward section of the fork to give you a bit more clearance for the nose wheel.
Next, I modified the two outriggers by using a razor saw to cut off the wheels at the base of the oleo strut and to remove the kit scissor links. Unfortunately, I did not pay close attention to Brengun’s directions as I removed the upper mounting point for the scissor link on each outrigger when I should have left them in place. Again, I used a pin vise and mini drills to drill a hole in the oleo strut in order to attach the wheel. Superglue was used to attach the new wheel but be sure to pay close attention to the orientation of the replacement wheel to ensure that it is straight fore and aft so that the scissor link will connect to both the mounting point on the kit strut and the one on the new wheel. I left the scissor link off until after painting was completed so that it would not get in the way when I painted the oleo strut.
The aft main gear strut was easily modified by using a razor saw to cut off both scissor links. As with the outriggers, I left the replacement scissor links off until after the strut and the scissor links had been painted. In test fitting the replacement wheels on the strut, I discovered that the axles on the strut are larger than the holes on the back side of the twin tires, so I used mini drills to widen the holes in the tires until it was a snug fit.
I painted the parts per the kit instructions – white struts with chrome silver oleos, black tires with white hubs, and white scissor links. I rubbed a white colored pencil over the lettering on the tires to highlight it a bit. Then I attached the scissor links on each outrigger and on both sides of the rear main strut.
Once everything had been painted, I had finish building the kit and getting the base colors on it. Once these had dried it was on to the hardest part – getting all five wheels to touch the ground at the molded-on flats. I started by attaching the outriggers and I used a piece of glass for an old picture frame to help get both wheels properly positioned with the flats on the ground. Next, I installed the nose gear, but not the wheel. I then tacked the two wheels to the rear main strut and inserted the strut into the mounting hole on the kit. I then inserted, without glue, the nose wheel, and set the entire assembly on the piece of glass and worked to get the three main gear tires aligned so that the flat section on each tire was flat on the glass. Once I achieved this, I put a drop of super glue on each side of the nose gear tire where it mounted to the fork to secure it. I did the same with the aft tires and the aft strut.
While the modifications to the kit parts necessary to mount the new parts were not difficult, you need to take your time and be precise so that everything lines up in the end. As discussed above, the hardest part is making sure all five tires are correctly oriented to that the flat section is on the ground, but once accomplished, the gear looks really good.
This set is a nice upgrade for the Hasegawa kit and will add some nice detail to your model.
Thank you to Brengun for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.