Airfix 1/72 Hawk 'Red Arrows' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2009||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Subject||Hawk 'Red Arrows'||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||2005||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple build, colorful markings||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (BP)||£5.69 (about $9.30 USD)|
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 released the Hawk T.1 trainer kit in Red Arrows colors and is a great companion to the Hawk 100 series kit released at the same time ( look here). This release provides all of the parts to render an airshow aircraft as flown by the RAF's precision team, the Red Arrows.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The panel lines are engraved and sharp.
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 skit. 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).
Some of the great attractions of Airfix's kits are:
- Easy to build
- Great kits for younger modelers
- Great kits for AMS modelers to take to the next step
- Great value given the low retail prices
The kit has the following options/features:
- Basic cockpit with instrument panel and side console details presented as decals
- Optional seated aircrew
- Front and rear cockpit HUDs
- Provisions for gear up or gear down
- Positionable canopy
- Positionable ventral speed brake
- Smoke generator pod
The kit comes with a nice selection of markings to render virtually any of the Red Arrow team aircraft from the 2008 show season. The sheet also provides a nice set of stenciling for the airframe.
This is a nice looking kit and will really be an eye-catcher in the bright red livery worn by these distinctive team aircraft.
My sincere thanks to Airfix for this review sample!