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XX289, 63. Sqn 1991

Giorgio N

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This is my entry for the group build: I'll build XX289 as it appeared in 1991-2 when it served with &3 Sqn. of 2 TWU at Chivenor. The plane was painted in the two-grey scheme with a black tail.

I'll be using the airfix newer 1/72 kit. As I only have the red arrows box, I'll use this and add the pylons and gun from the old airfix kit. Decals will come from Modeldecal sheet 115, that includes a number of hawks and plenty of stencils.

Here are the obligatory box and sprue shots:





I was planning to build this kit with some detail in the cockpit. Then I noticed how the airfix instrument panels are a totally wrong shape ! This and the fact that I'm strugglin to do any work on models lately made me change my mind. The kit will now be almost totally OOB, as a way to try and "relax". The only exception will be the use of Pavla ejection seats. Here's one that I had prepared for another kit that I then put back in the box


The seat is damaged, but I'll repair this with some plasticard.

Edited by Giorgio N
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After having looked at the box, time to start building, and as usual I started from the cockpit. Airfix here gives a tub, some nice structural detail on the sidewalls and flat instrument panels. Decals are provided for the consolles and the panels. All fine, apart from a small detail: the shape of the instrument panels has little in common with the shape of the real things ! The original plan was to use the decals included in the Modeldecal sheet, but these are the right shape and as such would not fit well on the airfix parts. Enters plan B: try to improve the original part and use the airfix decals. However I decided to add at least some representation of the throttle from scrap plastic bits.



As mentioned before, I'm planning to use a couple of Pavla seats, and here's the effect of the cockpit with one seat... much better than the part provided in the kit !


The interior was painted using a mix of tamiya acrylics. I'm not sure it came out right, it's too dark for the scale. As I want to "relax" with this one, I'l live with it ! A wash with payne's grey oil paint helped to bring out some detail, and the cockpit was attached to a semifuselage


Followed by some lead to prevent a tailsitter and the other semifuselage:


I was not happy with the fit of the fuselage. It was not too bad but I had hoped better: some reviews were very enthusiastic about this kit, but I can't agree with them. Apart from the heavy panel lines and the errors in the cockpit, the whole kit has a very "crude" feeling. Still, it's a Hawk, a very beautiful plane !

Another part that I did not like is the aribrake: I fitted mine closed and found that the part representing this "sank" in the recess. A sliver of plasticard was added to bring it level with the fuselage and this is the result:


Much better, but the shape is wrong ! When it's closed, the hinges should be visible as panel lines, while airfix gives us a rectangular slab. The part to be used for an open airbrake is correct, but if this is used the fuselage lacks the part within the two hinges... I know these are minor things, but reinforce the impression of a product that was rushed into production without much thinking.

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While the fuselage parts set, it's time to start working on the wings.

First of all I had to provide a couple of pylons. As I'm using the Red Arrows box, this has no pylons or weapons. I raided my spares box and found the pylons of the original Airifx hawk, that I had built many years ago in the Reds' livery. The pylon is not the right shape but can be corrected.

To locate the new holes required for the pylons, I drilled the holes existing in the kit wing, used these to define a line and then drilled new holes along this line to accept the older kit part.


The old pylon is shown beside the wing. To allow for some adjustment, I turned the new holes into slots, so that I can move the pylons back and forward.

The fit of the wing was again not great, I had to scrape the inside of the upper wing so that the lower could fit correctly. Then another problem arose, not airfix's fault this time: I had lost one of the flap actuator fairings. The original plan was to build one from plasticard, but in the end I just used one from another box I have of the same kit. Whenever I'll build that one, I'll do something about the fairing. And here's the completed wing ready to be mated to the fuselage:


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Thanks Mark !

Some progress over the week-end: the wing was attached to the fuselage, followed by the intakes and the ventral fins. Again, fit of some parts was poor, the wing is lower section is thicker than the recess in the fuselage where it's supposed to fit. Am I the only one having these problems ? Wonder if I have a defective set of sprues...


The use of filler can be seen. What can't be seen is how much I had to sand the wing to make it fit a bit better...

While all the parts were setting, I started looking at the load options: there are a good number of pictures of this plane with the gun pod and two sidewinders. Now I have plenty of winders, I have a few sidewinder rails but I don't have the part that connects the rail to the pylon. Or better, I have a couple of rails with this part attached in a hase Sea Harrier box, but I'd like to use this on the SHAR. So it was that I found a few pictures of TWU Hawks with a rocket pod under one wing and a CBLS under the other (that I understand is or was a typical load). Problem was finding the CBLS. And then it came to my mind that last year I had bought a very old white metal parts set for the matchbox SHAR made from C-scale, a name that disappeared many years ago. Included was a CBLS, although a quick comparison with pictures showed that the sides were not deep enough. No problem, just correct the part ! And here are the original part and the one I'm correcting. A couple of strips of plastic square section rod will do


And the corrected part alone


True, I could add much more detail... but I'm not going to bother for the hawk. One thing that might however be a problem is the weight of the white metal part. Enter the resin ! So I made a small "box" from an old business card:


This box will accept the part (here shown with some plasticene added to create a channel for the resin to enter the mould)


After the part is in the box, just pout silicone rubber and a nice mould will appear ! This will allow me not only to have a lighter CBLS for my hawk, but also to make as many CBLS I might need in the future. Not as nice as those made by a number of aftermarket companies, but will do the job.

Edited by Giorgio N
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And here's some resin !

This picture shows the mould made from silicon rubber together with the first part cast from it. Moulds can be made from many materials, but silicon rubber is really the best. It's not cheap, but it's worth the extra cost ! This first attempt was not good, with a few big holes due to bubbles in the resin. Looks like I didn't fill the mould well...


I did a couple of other attempts, all with some bubbles. I probably did not design the mould well... no big deal, on a simple part like this CBLS I can live with a few holes ! Here's one after some filler was applied:


Now unfortunately I discovered here on BM that The SNEB rocket pods were withdrawn from use on the Hawk before my plane was painted as I'll do the model, so the asymmetric load I had in mind is no longer an option. I might use two CBLS or dig deeper in the parts bin and see if I have the sidewinder rails and pylons... oh well, the CBLS at worst will be used on an earlier camouflaged Hawk !

What my plane sure needs is a gun ! As I use the red arrows box, I had no gun so I used one from a matchbox kit I had built without. I drilled the muzzle, scribed some panel lines and added what looks like a vent that I've seen in some pictures:


Have to say the plastic in the matchbox parts was better quality than the one used by airfix... but mind, I don't love soft plastic in kits.

Of course guns and bombs need something to aim them, and here I added the two gunsights from the airfix box:


And while I was cutting transparent parts from the sprue I also glued the nose light. This was sanded flush with the fuselage and then polished to restore its transparency. Before gluing, the part was painted silver on the inside.


Last for today, I glued the gun pod in place. As this comes from a different kit, the fit is of course not perfect (beside the lack of alignment pins), but some more filler is not a problem !


Next steps are:

- detail the pylons and glue them to the wings

- prepare the seats and glue them in place

Hopefully by the end of the week-end I'll have the Hawk ready for painting !

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Some progress on the Hawk: the seats have been both completed. I used a dark grey for the seat frame with a couple of greens for the cushions and a tan colour fo the belts. Some details have been picked in black, silver and yellow. I also added some red tags from decal strips. Yes, they are too big, but make some difference in providing realistic looking seat. Here are a couple of pictures:



Not perfect, but good enough for this almost OOB build....

And here's how the seat look within the cockpit:


Again, not bad ! The windscreen has been masked with maskol to allow for some sanding of the windscreen frame to better blend it into the fuselage.

Pylons have by now been slightly modified and attached to the wings. The modifications involved changing the profile to a more accurate one and the addition of bits of plastic to represent the sway braces. Again a simplified approach but they look the part (or at least are better than they were before)


And here's the little Hawk almost ready for painting ! I say almost because I want to glue the canopy in place before painting. This one will have the canopy closed, even if the seats are nice the rest of the cockpit is not great IMHO. At least not good enough to have an open canopy. I'll add more detail on my next Hawk !!!


Edited by Giorgio N
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Canopy attached and model primed:


After priming (with tamiya spray primer), I checked for flaws and found a lot of them ! Out comes the filler again, fill and sand and tomorrow I'll give another coat of primer. At least the heavy panel lines will not get filled...

In the meantime I noticed something quite odd: I have a tin of xtracrylics barley grey and I was planning to use this together with lifecolors medium sea grey. Problem is the barley grey is darker than the MSG !!! I might use the Humbrol msg that is slightly darker than lifecolors, but I fear the barley grey will still be too dark. I should have a tin of gunze barley grey, however it's very old, not sure if it will still work. have to say the grey of the primer is not that far off the barley grey as seen in the pictures, might just use this !

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Enjoying your progress on this one Giorgio. Having got to the stage of putting together the wing parts as a sub-assembly and test fitting them to the fuselage I can confirm the poor fit is not isolated to your kit alone. Lots of scraping and sanding required.

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Thanks guys, glad you like it. This afternoon I'll start painting. Hope things go smooth, my latest kits have all had problems in the paintshop !

Glad to hear I'm not the only one with fit problems ! It's not a bad kit, but some issues are quite annoying. It's accurate, but to make a "perfect" hawk I feel that a lot of work is needed.

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Camouflage colours are on ! Lifecolour medium sea grey uppersurfaces, tamiya primer undersurfaces ! In the end the latter is very close to the Gunze barley grey tin I have, so I'm happy enough to keep this on the undersides.



I actually used two tones on the uppersurfaces, with a second coat of lightened medium sea grey in the middle of the panels and on some areas, so that the original medium sea grey would only be in the recesses.... can't say the difference is big between the two tones, I should have used an even lighter colours... as my plane is shown relatively clean in the pictures I have, I'll just use some weathering at the end of the build.

Of course there are a few points that need a touch-up. This will be done with a small brush. The same brush will be used to continue the line of MSG on the wing lower leading edge.

Edited by Giorgio N
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Good to see you are at the painting stage Giorgio. Looks great. Decals on next?

Thanks, what I'm happy with is that none of the sanding I had to do to make the parts fit shows through the paint... it took 4 consecutive primer coats to get rid of them !

Before adding decals I'll paint the tail black, coat with future and apply a was. As modeldecals are known to be very accurate but not particularly thin, I prefer to give the wash before the decals. If I don't do so, it can happen that the wash will also highlight the thickness of the decals... and with all the stencils used on the hawk it would look terrible !

Have to say that I'm kind of worried here: a wash looks great on a kit that has fine panel lines, on the wide ones used by airfix on this kit my fear is that the plane will just look like someone marked the panel lines with a felt pen...

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Looking at your model and also those finished by others I'd say a panel wash may not be required on these due to the panels being obvious as is. Doubt I'll use any on my kit as the Hawk seems to be kept quite clean.

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And just when it was time to spray black paint on the tail, I noticed something I had never noticed before! I was checking the decal sheet against a number of pics of XX89 I have and finally realised one thing: the scheme provided in the sheet is different from the one of the pictures I was using !

At first i panicked, as the pictures I was using as reference have the axe in black in a yellow circle. The decal sheet instad has the axe in yellow to go directly over the black tail. Could modeldecal had done a mistake ? Of coars they did not, as shown in their reference pictures on the instructions and in this pic:


Simply XX289 wore both markings at different times.

What to do now ? Go with modeldecals and do XX289 in the previous scheme ? Or print my own black axe and do the plane as it is in the pictures I have on several book and magazines ?

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The solution to my markings dilemma was found very quickly, as I was checking if the pics were Ok in the post and reread what I had written in the first post:

The kit will now be almost totally OOB, as a way to try and "relax".

Now the version with the yellow circle and black axe looks probably better, but I for this time I can't be a**ed to spend time drawing the axe on my PC or even worse, spray the tail in yellow and mask it.... I hate spraying yellow !!! :D

So here's the model with decalling underway... and a nice black tail ready to accept modeldecal yellow axe !


There are quite a few stencils in this scheme (and probably on the Hawk in general), with most of them being white ! A bit of a nightmare I have to say, but the job is progressing:


This picture showed what I did to make the finish a bit more interesting: I did a limited wash on the ailerons and flaps lines only and noticed that an overall a wash would not have looked good (you were right Col. !). So to avoid having a monotonous grey plane, I added some dirt after the vortex generators. I'm not eally sure this happens on the Hawk, but it usually happens in every case there's a vortex generator, sometimes very noticeably (buccaneer). Might not be 110& correct, but makes the finish a little more interesting.

As I said I'm using modeldecal sheet 115, and here's the model over the instruction sheet:


The decals are quite good, although some hings are not in perfect register. Of course the printing is not on par with some more modern decals and the thickness of the carrier film is not ideal, but ehi, these are very old decals, we should look at them in this perspective. The instructions arehowever very comprehensive, with the only problem being that the drawings are really small.

Something I had not mentioned before: a great help was the book "Hawk Comes of Age", published in 1995 by the RAF Benevulent Fund. It contains a lot of pictures of Hawks in many different schemes and these really helped a lot in deciding where exactly each stencil had to go.

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Decals are on ! Well, not all of them, as some need to go on the landing gear doors, but all those on the main airframe are !



The black tail with the yellow marking contrasts nicely with the low-vis grey scheme. Unfortunately the "289" code on top of the right side of the tail did move wthout me realising and is now not perfctly straight. Something bad happens on all my models, hope this will be the only problem on the Hawk !

And here's a view from above:


And from below:


The paint on the gun barrel wore off, a touch up is needed. Some more paint is required on the gun pod. Actually both the gun pod and pylons should have some white lettering, but nothing is included in the decal sheet. I might leave them as they are.

I could have done a better job on this, but have to say looking at the scheme that she is a beauty !

Edited by Giorgio N
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Thanks ! It would loook even better now if it were not for a small accident: it fell off my hands and down on the floor while I was painting the teflon tape on the wing leading edge ! Right stabilator off (not too big a deal) and gun barrel broken. I hate when these things happen !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Unfortunately my hamfistedness showed up again yesterday, when the model fell again. So the other tail plane detached... no big deal, fortunately the tabs did not break.

Small update with no pictures (yet): the model has now received its final satin varnish coat. I actually did a small mistake, as I covered the fin too. This should be in gloss black. Have to say that in such a small scale I believe that a tru gloss finish is not really realistic, however maybe I should differentiate the fin from the rest...

Landing gear is now on too. Have to say that the landing ga is the worst part of ths kit ! The shape of the legs is not great, but worse are the doors, that are shapedtoally wrong. So much that I could not apply some decals as these could not fit at all. The wheels are also strange: the inner part of the hub is moulded with the gear leg (clever !) but the part is so thick that if the wheels are attached the hub protrudes from the wheel for almost 2 mm! A lot of sanding is required there....

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Well, if you can't wait, I have to post at least a picture !


For some reason the canopy glue didn't work well and when I removed the masking the canopy detached too. Strange and annoying, but no big deal. Now it's just on the model for the picture, I'll glue it again at the very end of the build.

The decals worked pretty well and the carrier film disappeared completely. Of course they are not as thin as more modern decals but look good on the model. The only problem I had )and only realised when the decals were on) is that two of the roundels show some wear on the blue. The stupid thing is that some of those that I did not use were fine, I should have chosen them better ! The modeldecal sheet is great in terms of stencils and roundels: complete stencils and roundels for 3 grey hawks and complete stencils for 1 in the trainer scheme.

Only things missing now are the pitot tube, the antennas and the exhaust. This has been made from a drinking straw as the original in the kit has no depth and does not look right. I should complete this before taking some well deserved holiday next week....

Edited by Giorgio N
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