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Paul A H

HAL Ajeet Mk.I / Gnat F1 - 1:72 Special Hobby

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HAL Ajeet Mk.I / Gnat F1

1:72 Special Hobby

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Review sample courtesy of 


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Yes the HAL Ajeet did have a slab tail. Also it had a Martin Baker GF4 seat instead of the original Folland seat. Looks like this is just the Gnat kit with new decals?

 

Julien

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Building one now...goes together quick....did not know it is not a true representation of an ajeet......but will finish it as from the box....too small anyways....just a quickie n to bring my tally even to the time of year.

 

great review...nicely explained

 

rgds

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On 5/13/2018 at 11:23 PM, Julien said:

Yes the HAL Ajeet did have a slab tail. Also it had a Martin Baker GF4 seat instead of the original Folland seat. Looks like this is just the Gnat kit with new decals?

 

Julien

It is the regular Gnat kit and the GF4 seat is included in addition to the Folland seat, but I suspect the elevators are wrong.

 

If anyone has a decent picture of the Ajeet's slab elevators, please comment below so we can enlighten ourselves!

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Are those definitely Ajeets and not Gnats? If so then the elevators in the kit look correct. Surely if they had slab elevators, a complete new part would be required? They couldn't have used the regular tail planes but with the elevators locked!

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On 19/05/2018 at 13:15, Paul A H said:

Are those definitely Ajeets and not Gnats? If so then the elevators in the kit look correct. Surely if they had slab elevators, a complete new part would be required? They couldn't have used the regular tail planes but with the elevators locked!

It's not as simple as that, not all aircraft with slab tailplanes don't have elevators and likewise not all with elevators don't also have slab tailplanes. It depends on how much authority the slab tailplane had and at what speed it came into effect.

 

The slab tailplane may be locked or provide a trim function at lower speeds and only come into effect at higher speeds at which point the elevators would either be locked or act as trim tabs.  Unfortunately, I don't know anything about how the Gnat/Ajeet flying controls worked to be absolutely certain but the cutaway view posted by @charlie_c67 indicates the elevators are still present on the slab tail.  There are plenty of aircraft with both slab tails ans=d elevators and it may be the reason why the Ajeet was able to out-maneuver Sabres?

Edited by Wez

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Looks to be a good kit, however we in Australia may not be able to purchase it or any other new releases from Special Hobby as the official Australia distributor is no longer importing their kits citing high shipping costs. Thank you Hobbies Australia !

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The original IAF designation for the Ajeet was gnat mk 2 as the gnat was mk 1, Tho they almost have same appearance as there are some different, ejection seat, different antenna, also AJeet has an all-moving slab tailplane Gnat had the elevators on a fixed tailplane, some gnat has hump on back but all Ajeet has hump iirc, also has four pylons, two are wet and two are hard? Hydraulic was made better in Ajeet.

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