Airfix 1/72 RAF Benevolent Fund Hawk T.1
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||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.
I bought this kit because it was on sale as I have other markings planned for it. However in regards to the kit's markings, I have to say that a lot of planning will be needed to use the kit scheme. White decals are notoriously incapable of preventing the underlying dark or brilliant colors from showing through unless they are provided with multiple printings to make them opaque enough. I have my doubts that the Airfix white is that strong. Nevertheless, it is a very fetching scheme and bound to add a lot of color to one's display shelves.
me and a sale for this one.
Thanks to me and a sale for this one.
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