Airfix 1/72 Hawk T.1 'RAF Benevolent Fund'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Kit includes paint, glue and brushes|
The Hawk entered RAF service in April 1976, replacing the Folland Gnat and Hawker Hunter in the advanced training and weapons training roles respectively. The Hawk T1 ("Trainer Mark 1") was the original version used by the RAF, deliveries commencing in November 1976, with 176 being ordered.
From 1983 to 1986, some Hawks were equipped as the short-range interceptor aircraft for point defence. 88 T1s were modified to carry two AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (AAMs) in addition to the centreline gun pod carrying a single 30 mm ADEN cannon. These aircraft were designated Hawk T1A. In the event of war, they would have worked in collaboration with Tornado F3 aircraft, which would use their Foxhunter search radars to vector the radarless Hawks against enemy targets. Such missions would have been flown by instructor pilots. Conversions were completed in 1986. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, RAF Hawks are no longer tasked with this role. Hawks were used also as "aggressors", simulating air combat with Tornado ADVs.
The most famous RAF operator of the Hawk is the Red Arrows aerobatic team, which adopted the plane in 1979.
The Hawk subsequently replaced the English Electric Canberra in the target towing role.
The Royal Navy acquired a dozen Hawk T1/1As from the RAF, for use as aerial targets for the training of ships' gunners and radar operators.
Eighty Hawk T1/1A aircraft have been upgraded under the Fuselage Replacement Programme (FRP), which involves the replacement of the aft, centre and rear fuselage sections, using new build sections derived from the Mk. 60.
In 2009, the RAF began receiving the first Hawk T2 aircraft, which will replace the T1 in the advanced trainer role.
There is just something about the Hawk that looks right; at least the initial production versions before they started tacking on all that stuff to the nose and tail. Typical of the latest batch of Airfix new molds, the engraved detail, which is really quite good, seems to be a bit much, especially when compared to the Japanese and even newer Czech releases. However, few have really found that to be a deal breaker.
Prior to this kit, there have been older, raised panel line kits of this plane by Airfix and Matchbox when the plane first came out. Later, Fujimi and Italeri produced kits, though the Fujimi one had the wing fences in the wrong location, and the Italeri kit was fiddly. Now we have a new 21st century mold. This one has a nice, though somewhat basic cockpit with decals for the instruments and a pair of crew members to help hide the bare seats.
There are nicely done landing gear with complete wells. The nose gear is attached when the fuselage halves are cemented together, increasing the opportunity to break it during construction, though to be frank, it is a rather sturdy piece. The two piece canopy includes the blast shield, something missed in some other kits. Like other kits, it has it attached to the canopy. All of the gear doors and the speed brake can be posed up or down as one wishes, though there is no in flight display stand. For stuff to put under the plane there is a gun pod, and either tanks or Sidewinders, the latter of which are nicely molded. Thankfully, Airfix have not pre-opened these attachment holes so one can build a clean airframe. I see a smoke tank on the sprues so (no surprise) a Red Arrows boxing is also offered. There are also bits on there that are apparently for the T.2 version and so not appropriate for this variant.
This is a special boxing of the Hawk T.1 with glue, brushes and paint included. The box is end opening but has a tray in it, similar to the much disliked Testors boxes of the 1980s. As part of this special boxing, part of the proceeds of the cost of the kit goes to the fund. As such, there is just a single markings option and that is for the 2012 specially painted plane. The decals are nicely done and in my experience will work with most setting solutions.
This isn't a brand new kit, but is fairly new and since I've always like the Hawk, I decided to go ahead and build one. The first step for me was to paint all the interior bits with dark gull grey. I used a brush for this and for painting the wheel wells, interior gear doors and landing gear with light aircraft grey. Actually, Airfix offers this interior grey as one of the acrylic colors that come with the kit. I did a test bit with it and it is a bit lighter than the Testors grey I used. Dries quickly, though. Anyway I also painted the seats with dark sea grey and did the cushions in Vallejo's British Uniform color. Once the instrument panels had dried, the instrument decals were applied.
With all those bits being painted and drying, I glued the wings together. Fit is quite good. The interior was then built up. During this time I discovered that I'd placed the instrument decals too low on the panels. Fit them more near the top or you'll cut off the side bits. Actually, you won't see much of them once everything is buttoned up, but if someone aims a flashlight in there, it will be obvious they are too low. The control sticks were glued in, followed by the front and rear bulkheads. Then the seats. The interior was glued in and when dry, I cut up sections of weight. The instructions state 5 grams to fit into the small area forward of the front instrument panel, but I couldn't get it all to fit so added another gram or two and placed that under the rear seat section.
I taped the fuselage halves together while the interior dried and tried to install the nose gear through the gear opening. It won't work so you need to glue on the nose gear to the forward bulkhead before cementing the fuselage halves. Personally, I don't like gear hanging down when I have to fill seams, but there is no other option on this one.
With the halves together, there was the usual fit of filling and sanding. Probably because I'm a sloppy builder, I had to do the filler and sanding thing with every seam. Sometimes twice. The intakes are a fair fit. However, the upper fuselage section behind the cockpit will not properly fit. This is because the rear bulkhead is too tall. This needs to be sanded down to get this insert to fit flush. I then installed the wing and found it had not only some goodly gaps at the lower forward join, but also had a pretty large step. Rear fit quite well.
After the usual rounds of filler, I attached the rear speed brake piece in the closed position. It was a rather tight fit. Next were the flap hinges. I checked the decal sheet I am using to be sure these would not interfere with the lower fuselage markings before installation. The ventral stabs were next. These are very loose fitting and leave some rather large gaps at the back. Returning to the cockpit, I glued in the rear seat instrument panel anti-glare shield. Like the section aft of the cockpit, it did not fit without trimming on the instrument panel and this includes parts going down the outer sides of the panel. Not sure why these panels were not a good fit as you'd have thought that the kit would have been test built prior to full production. I would put it down to my goofing something up, but it was the same on another kit I was building.
The next step was to install the major clear bits. This meant the blast shield and the canopy. It is a one piece canopy and the fit of both is really quite good. The canopy was then masked, a simple process as it only has two large clear panels. The next major bit were the horizontal stabs. Once these were on, it was a good time to think about painting.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Time for the decals and I used the same sheet I used for the previous T.2 kit, Xtradecal 72-156. This time I did not have all the markings available to me on the sheet so used quite a few kit decals to make things look busy. One issue I did have was that the roundels for the fuselage were off register. Fortunately, I had a Modeldecal sheet that included the proper 18 inch roundels so used those atop it. However, the proportions of the roundel was different between the two sheets so I had to use the deeper red center section from the Modeldecal sheet as the Xtradecal one completely covered the white area.
With the decals in place, I started adding on the final bits. This included the main wheels, antennas, pitot tube and the nose and main gear doors. A coat of semi matte clear was then sprayed on to seal the decals and to cut down on the shine. I know these planes are a gloss black, but having them a bit more matte makes them a lot easier to photograph. Then the nose landing light lens and the exhaust pieces were installed, the masking removed from the canopy bits and the project was done.
Airfix has a real winner in its Hawk kits. If you have the Italeri or Fujimi kits, then by all means build them as they are nice kits, but if you want a kit that goes together well, and is relatively inexpensive, then you need to add the Airfix version to your list.
me and a sale for this one.
Thanks to me and a sale for this one.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Review Index Page