Airfix 1/48 Hawk 'Red Arrows' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2009||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Subject||Hawk 'Red Arrows'||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||50031||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Same as kit 5111 plus paints and glue - simple build||Cons||Cockpit detail, main wheel well depth|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||About $18.00|
In the mid-1960s, the RAF was looking for a new generation of advanced training aircraft that would replace the venerable Folland Gnat and the two-seat Hawker Hunters. Hawker Siddeley developed the model 1182 which was officially dubbed 'Hawk' by the RAF. During the aircraft's development, Hawker Siddeley was one of several companies merged to create British Aerospace in 1977, which later merged with Marconi Electronic Systems to become today's BAE Systems.
This rugged tandem-seat subsonic trainer is powered by a 6500 pound thrust turbofan engine which allows the aircraft to sustain Mach 0.8 in level flight and can safely achieve Mach 1.15 in a dive.
Initially roled as an advanced trainer, the Hawk provides the student pilot with their first pure-turbine flight time before advancing on to high-performance (supersonic) types. The Hawk turned out to be a versatile airframe that could accommodate weapons stores for training as well as serving as an inexpensive lightweight combat aircraft. In RAF service, these armed trainers could carry a pair of Sidewinder missiles and a centerline gunpod which would have been used as an augmentation point-defense fighter to accompany the Tornado F.3 in wartime.
The Red Arrows RAF Aerial Demonstration Team transitioned into the Hawk T.1 at the end of 1979 after flying demonstrations in the Folland Gnat for many years. Thirty years later, the team still operates the Hawk as their demonstration aircraft since the aircraft is far less expensive to operate than front-line combat aircraft operated by other demonstration teams.
Airfix has re-released their Hawk T.1 trainer kit once again in the Red Arrows colors, but this time with a twist. I spotted the kit on Hannants' website and decided to take a closer look.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The panel lines are engraved and sharp.
The kit provides all of the parts to build an armed combat trainer with numerous external options. In the Red Arrows scheme, you can put these extra parts aside.
The ejection seats are usable and do not have any harness or seat belt details since it is assumed you'll use the two crew figures provided in the kit. If you don't crew up your aircraft, or if you are building the Red Arrows Hawk with only the front seat occupied, you'll want to get some aftermarket seat belts/harnesses for the unoccupied seat(s).
The instrument panels are depicted with a radar scope in the middle of the panel. While one version of the Hawk did get a radar, this one isn't it. You'll need to tweak the instrument panels and side consoles to represent a proper T.1 trainer.
For whatever reason, the pattern makers decided to set the depth of the main wheel wells to barely enough to close the doors as long as you don't retract the gear. I've seen some fuss about this in other reviews, but you can carefully cut out the tops of the wells, box in the outline with strip styrene, and place the well top atop the styrene strips. This will give you a more realistic wheel well depth with little fuss.
The kit has the flight control surfaces and wing flaps molded closed/neutral, but the kit has provisions to drop the flaps with separate flaps provided.
Among the features/options in the kit:
- Ventral speed brake is positionable
- Flaps are positionable
- Canopy is positionable
- Optional crew figures
On the external stores list:
- Smoke Pod
- 2 x Gun Pods
- 4 x AIM-9L Sidewinder
- 2 x External Fuel Tanks
This kit is identical to Airfix kit number 5111 except that they've added a sealed packet with Humbrol paint pots, liquid cement, and a pair of paint brushes. This is a nice feature for young modelers tackling this subject and would be worth setting aside for your kids should you opt to build the aircraft yourself.
The kit comes with a nice selection of markings to render virtually any of the Red Arrow team aircraft from the 2008 show season, or a number of the Finnish Air Force's Midnight Hawk demosntration team's Hawk 51s. The sheet was revised from the original kit number 5111 release that featured the Red Arrows markings from the 2000 show season. The sheet also provides a nice set of stenciling for the airframe as well as for the external stores. (Thanks to Andy Mullen for the Red Arrows show season information!)
This is a nice kit. Yes there are a few minor fixes required to improve the fidelity of the model, but these are all within the skillset of the average modeler. Even if you build the kit straight out of the box with no modifications, this will look great with the right paint job to render one of the Red Arrows' colorful mounts.