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Julien

RAF Red Arrows Hawk - 50th Display Season - 1:48 Airfix - Gift Set

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RAF Red Arrows Hawk - 50th Display Season

1:48 Airfix - Gift Set


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When the RAF began the search for a new fast jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat, it was originally intended that the role would be fulfilled by the SEPECAT Jaguar. However, the advanced capabilities demanded of the new Anglo-French aircraft meant that it became too complex for use as a trainer As a result, Hawker Siddley Aviation began work on a private venture known as the P.1182. The design team of Gordon Hudson, Gordon Hodson and Ralph Hooper produced a relatively simple, subsonic aircraft with a number of clever features. The fuselage is designed around a large, tandem cockpit, which features a significant difference in height between the seat for student in the front and that for the instructor in the back. This affords the instructor a much better view than in the Gnat. The wings featured double-slotted flaps which gives the Hawk excellent low-speed handling characteristics.

The first of the 176 Hawks ordered by the RAF entered service in 1976, designated the Hawk T.1. 88 T.1s were modified to T.1A standard, which allowed them to carry two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for use in the emergency air defence role. The Hawks reputation as an excellent aeroplane has been confirmed by the considerable success it has enjoyed in the export market. Users include the air forces of Australia, Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates amongst others. A highly modified carrier capable version is in service with the United States Navy, where it is known as the T-45 Goshawk. The most famous role occupied by the Hawk, however, is as the mount of the world-renowned Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team the Red Arrows.

This particular version of Airfix's Hawk dates from 2005 with new parts for the Red Arrows boxed in 2010. The change is that in this kit decals are provided for the markings celebrating 50 years of the Red Arrows. These decals include the new tail design. It is noted the box now says that this is an officially licensed kit by the RAF, a sad indictment of the times we live in!

The Kit
The kit arrives on 5 sprues of light grey plastic with a clear sprue. There is no flash evident on any of the parts. Details are done with engraved panel lines. The detail is a little soft in places and could do with a little re-engraving by the modeller. The layout of the parts and construction is standard with two fuselage halves, a one part lower wing and two part uppers. Even though this is a Red Arrows boxing with the smoke pod, the normal gun pod and other stores are included if a non Red's Hawk is wanted.

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Construction starts shockingly enough with the cockpit. Pilot figures are provided for both seats though for display flying generally only one seat is occupied. If wishing to use the figures the modeller could always paint the Pilot in his red suit and the rear seater as one of the blue suited support team (after all with out the support team they don't fly!). If not using the figures then no seat belts are supplied. The ejection seats are a 5 part affair and don't look to basic in this scale. Once the seats are complete the figures can be added if needed. The seats, control columns and instrument panels are fitted to the cockpit tub. The instrument panels and side consoles feature raised and engraved details as appropriate. Once the cockpit tub is completed it can be glued into the fuselage along with the exhaust. The fuselage can then be closed up.

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Once the fuselage is closed up then the engine intakes can be assembled and added. The next stage of assembly is the wings. The lower wing is one piece with the two upper parts being attached. The flaps are moulded in the up position. However if the modeller wishes to model them down alternate parts are supplied. If this option is to be done then the moulded "up" flaps will be needed to be cut out. Wing fences and nav lights are added at this stage, though I suspect most will leave the nav light off until the end.

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The next stage is to finish the main fuselage. The upper insert with its intakes is added along with the tail planes. The panel between the pilots is added along with the canopies. The instructions would have the modeller add the pitot probe at this stage, though I suspect this is another detail which most will eave until last. Once the fuselage is complete the main wing assembly can be added.

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Next it is the choice of the modeller as to whether the under fuselage air-brake is open or closed. The landing gear parts are the next to be assembled. Flap actuators are then added, along with the lowered flaps if you are using this option. Remember to fit the parts inside the wing if you are using the dropped flaps! Final stages of assembly are then to add the landing gear doors, and the landing gear itself. Finally the smoke pod can then be added.

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Canopy
The Canopy and clear parts come on their own sprue. The parts are fairly thick for this scale, some of that comes from moulding in the Det Cord which breaks the canopy up during the ejection sequence. This will be hard to paint and I cant help thinking a decal might have been a better choice. The canopy is fairly clear despite its thickness but there is one moulding flaw in the review sample.


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Decals
The new decal sheet has the markings for the 50th Anv design tail, and the serial numbers to build any aircraft from the team. As is usual for Airfix they are produced by Cartograf and look excellent. The white markings look dense enough to use over bright red paint.

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Conclusions
This is still a good kit by Airfix and with the addition of the new Red Arrows Decals should prove a winner. Overall recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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Nice review Julien.

Only criticism here is the stubby vortex generators on the wings...easily fixed though.

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I think just the Airfix and Italeri Hawks available in 1/48

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