Pro Resin 1/72 HAL Gnat F.1/Ajeet F.2
|KIT:||Pro Resin 1/72 HAL Gnat F.1/Ajeet F.2|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with vacuformed canopies|
The Folland 'Gnat' was somewhat like the Northrop F-5 in terms of success, though on a much smaller scale. Like the F-5, it was only barely used by the Air Force for which it was designed, having better luck in foreign sales. For the Gnat, the major success was with the Indian Air Force. A light-weight fighter bomber was just what was needed for the air force of the world's largest democracy. The first few aircraft were delivered direct from the UK with those going into service in early 1958. But the IAF wanted to be able to construct them locally. The first plane built from kits flew on November 1959, and after a few other kit-built planes, construction shifted to HAL production lines with the first indigenous plane flying in May 1962. Over 185 Gnats were built until 1974. Many Gnats were operational during the 1965 war with Pakistan and acquitted themselves well during combat operations.
Modifications made to the Gnat resulted in the Ajeet, which had several improvements, including wet cells in the wing to help improve range, better avionics and an upgraded engine. The first Ajeet flew in 1975 with 80 examples being built until production ceased in 1982.
ProResin kits have always been superbly molded. the parts are free from most resin glitches like air pockets and slag, though I did find a couple of areas that had been slightly chipped during shipment. As superbly as ProResin packages their stuff to keep down damage, it is pretty much inevitable that some of the finer bits will break away from the pour stubs. This may be due to no protective barriers on the ends of these stubs to keep other bits from directly contacting the fragile parts. Something ProResin might want to look into adding to these bits.
Anyway, the detailing is superb with crisply molded panel lines and there is even some fine interior sidewall detailing. Probably due to the admittedly cramped quarters in there. There is some resin flash over things like cockpit and wheel well openings, but is easily removed. The cockpit is not the usual tub, but a floor with rear bulkhead onto which the finely molded and rather unusual bang seat, control stick and instrument panel are attached. All the wheel wells are separate and to my eyes, have the proper well detailing in there. Since the main fuselage is used for several variants, the nose is a separate and solid piece. Not sure how this will affect adding nose weight or even if any is needed, though there will be some room under the cockpit floor. As the majority of parts are exactly the same with the previous kit, I've left that parts image in place and here are the additional bits used by these variants.
The canopy is vacuformed and two are supplied in case the second is needed. This particular kit has all the basic airframe pieces of the other two in this series. It includes the more pointy nose of the previous F.1/FR.1 kit, the bombs of the initial F.1 kit and has a pair of rocket pods that are unique to this variant.
Instructions are well done, consisting of seven well drawn construction diagrams, a separate cockpit painting section and color chart providing Humbrol, Model Master and Revell paint references. Markings are given for two aircraft. Both are in an overall aluminum color, which I assume is paint and not unpainted metal. The Gnat is from 2 Squadron and has matte green rudder and inner wing leading edges. The Ajeet is from 23 Squadron. The decals themselves are just outstanding. Well printed with no apparent registration issues and in the proper colors by Begemot Decals in Russia.
So there you have it. Another fine kit of one of the world's smallest jet fighter aircraft and one that has been sorely needed for many years. The Gnat saw long service with the Indian Air Force and is a combat veteran with them as well. As these kits tend to sell out rather quickly, I'd highly recommend grabbing one while the grabbing is good. Check your local retailer for availability.
My thanks to www.olimpmodels.com for the review kit. Ask your local store to order one for you.
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