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HAL Ajeet Mk.I / Gnat F1 1:72 Special Hobby The Folland Gnat was a lightweight, subsonic fighter and trainer aircraft designed by Teddy Peter of Westland Whirlwind and English Electric Whirlwind fame. Although the fighter version of the Gnat was never used by the RAF, it was used by Finland, Yugoslavia and India, who built many examples of the diminutive fighter under licence. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Ajeet (invincible) was an improved Gnat F.1, with additional fuel tanks in the wings, an extra pair of underwing hardpoints and improved avionics. This is a re-release of Special Hobby's Gnat F1, with decals and parts relevant to the revised Indian version. The kit comprises three sprues of light grey plastic, a small clear sprue and the aforementioned decals. As this is a modern Special Hobby tooling, there are no resin or photo etched parts. Construction, as ever, begins with the cockpit. This comprises a tub, rear bulkhead, instrument panel, gunsight, control column and ejection seat. Curiously there are two instrument panels; one for use with an open canopy and one for a closed canopy. The former looks larger, and presumably is more accurate but would not allow the canopy to close. A choice of two different ejector seats are provided, thus capturing one of the more obvious differences between the Gnat and the Ajeet. Before the fuselage can be closed, the four-part engine tailpipe and the nose gear bay must also be fixed in place. You don't need to worry about adding ballast at this stage, as the nosecone is a seperate part and can easily accommodate the recommended one gram of weight. The wings are moulded with seperate upper and lower parts, while the vertical and horizontal tail parts are moulded as solid items. I thought the Ajeet had slab elevators, but the parts provided are the same as those used for the regular Gnat F.1. I can't seem to find any decent photographs of the Ajeet's tail, however, so I shall have to reserve judgement for now. A choice of two different nose cones are provided, so make sure you use the correct version for the particular aircraft that you want to build. Flip the aircraft over and things get busy, with nicely detailed landing gear and a selection of fuel tanks and two different rocket pods. Two different canopy parts are provided; one open and one closed. The decal sheet provides for three options: HAL Ajeet E1997, No. 2 Squadron "Winged Arrows", Indian Air Force, 1980s. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal with the fuselage from the trailing edge of the wing backwards painted in light blue; Hindustan Gnat IE1083, No. 23 Squadron, Indian Air Force, 1965s. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal; Hindustan Gnat E256, Operational Conversion Unit, Indian Air Force. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal with yellow and black tiger stripes along the spine and vertical tail; HAL Ajeet E2024 "Murali", No. 2 Squadron "Winged Arrows", Indian Air Force, 1980s. This aircraft is finished in overall natural metal, with black chevrons on the upper wing and rear fuselage/tail. Conclusion Special Hobby's Gnat is a nice little kit and easily the equal of Airfix's trainer version. Construction looks straightforward and the kit is surprisingly well detailed. Notwithstanding the question mark over the elevators (which I may well be wrong about), this looks like a really well-executed kit and one that can be highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Before some years this kit was in the Special Hobby catalogue as future release under number SH72137. New mould photo: http://www.modelforum.cz/viewtopic.php?f=97&t=77712&p=1600814#p1600814