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|Scott Van Aken
The BAE Systems Hawk is aBritish single engine, advancedjet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by theRoyal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft. The Hawk is still in production with over 900 Hawks sold to 18 customers around the world.
The Hawk 128 is the new Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) for the RAF and Royal Navy. The Mk.128 includes modern LCD displays instead of conventional instrumentation, and allows preparation for flying modern fighter aircraft, particularly the all "glass" Typhoon. It uses theRolls-Royce Adour 951 engine. The UK Ministry of Defence awarded a Design and Development Contract to BAE Systems on 22 Dec 2004, building on the design of the Australian Mk.127 and the South African Mk.120s and the Canadian Mk. 155. A £450 million contract was signed in October 2006 for the production of 28 Hawk 128s.The MoD had originally announced its intention to order 20 aircraft with options for 24 more. The aircraft's maiden flight occurred on 27 July 2005 from BAE Systems' Warton airfield and lasted for 1 hour 18. minutes. I have to guess that this is what is being called the Hawk T.2. It is similar in outward appearance to all the long nose Hawks that started with the Hawk 100 and have continued through a variety of Mk. numbers, depending on to whom the aircraft was sold.
This is a new mold kit based on their standard Hawk, but with a new fuselage and other pieces needed for this newer variant. If you have built Airfix's more recent 1/48 kits like the Spitfire 46/47 or their Jaguar, then this one is quite similar in overall feel. The detailing is good, but not as 'crisp' as one would expect from Tamiya or Hasegawa. It also doesn't cost as much as one would be paying from those Japanese companies.
You get a pretty complete cockpit which includes pilot figures, a pair of reasonably well done bang seats and instrument panels, the last of which has raised detail on it. No rudder pedals for those who may be wondering. The canopy bits include the blast shield for the rear occupant. There is no canopy hinge bits though one could display the canopy open if one wished. The flaps can be separated from the wing and displayed lowered along with the speed brake. One gets separate flap hinges flaps up and down, which is a nice touch.
All of the flap hinges are separate and an alternate set is provided for the lowered flap option. For things under wings, a centerline gun pod, the usual missile rails and Sidewinders are part of the package as well as two different size drop tanks. Thankfully, the holes for these have not already been drilled out as in some kits so if you want to build yours with a slick wing you may do so.
Instructions are typical Airfix and done totally pictorially. Paint references are only by Humbrol number so one is up a creek if a translation sheet is not available as Humbrol paints are not available in all parts of the world. Markings are given for Four aircraft. One is the box art plane with the Canadian Air Force in dark blue. The other three are Australian planes done in two shades of grey, a scheme quite similar to those used on Mirages and later MB.326 aircraft. One is a specially painted plane with 76 Squadron while the other two are standard aircraft from 76 and 79 Squadrons. A full stencil suite is also given on the sheet. Generally Airfix decals are fairly good. However, mine has the white off register enough to screw up using the white surrounded Canadian markings.
I'll be honest and tell you that this aircraft isn't a sleek and pretty as the original Hawk thanks to the new nose and tail mounted antenna, but does have sort of brutish purposefulness about it. It is the current Hawk for many countries and hopefully it will spur on some nicely done aftermarket decals.
http://en.wikipedia.org September 2009
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