Italeri 1/48 Hawk T. Mk. 1
By Gary Meinert
The Hawker Siddeley (now BAE Systems) Hawk was ordered for the Royal Air Force to replace the Gnat and the Hunter in the advanced flying training and weapons training roles. Deliveries to the RAF began in 1976. During the early 1980s, 88 of the RAF's T. Mk. 1 Hawks were modified to carry a Sidewinder missile on each inboard wing pylon. These Hawks were designated T. Mk. 1A and provided a secondary air defense capability for the UK. (Wags dubbed these aircraft the Hawk Home Guard.) Among the general public in Europe, the Hawk is best known for its service in the Red Arrows, the RAF Aerobatic team.
The Hawk has become one of the world's most successful jet trainers, with at least 19 customers. The U.S. Navy is the largest Hawk operator with its fleet of T-45 Goshawks. The Hawk 100 series with its distinctive lengthened nose and digital avionics equips several air forces, including Australia and Canada. There is also a Hawk 200 radar-equipped single seat combat aircraft.
The Hawk's heyday is not over yet. There is a continuing need to train pilots of new- generation fighters like the Typhoon and the F-35 Lightning II. With that in mind, the RAF ordered a batch of new-production Hawk AJT (Advanced Jet Trainer) with the latest avionics. These aircraft are scheduled to enter service at RAF Valley, home of the Flying Training School, in 2009.
Italeri's new-tool 1/48th Hawk is packaged in two large bags along with a smaller bag of clear parts inserted into one of the large bags. There is also a separate tiny bag of metal photo-etch parts. The parts are well-molded with minimal flash and no visible sink marks. A few ejector pin marks are present on some of the wheel doors, the inside of the speed brake, and the inside of the jet exhaust pipe.
Surface detailing consists of engraved panel lines plus appropriate raised rivets on the rear fuselage. The tiny vortex generators on the wing top surfaces are nicely represented. The transparencies look very good, with fine raised lines on the inside surface of the main canopy to represent the embedded detonation cords. The two-piece canopy can be assembled open or closed, and includes the internal windshield that protects the instructor.
The photo-etched tree consists of seat belts, harnesses, canopy mirrors, consoles, and instrument panels. The instrument panel parts have holes to allow the instrument decals to show through. (The decals are to be sandwiched between plastic backing plates and the p-e panels.)
The cockpit parts include tub, multi-part ejection seats, control sticks, pilot's gunsight, and the above-mentioned p-e parts. There is also some raised line detail molded into the sidewalls of the cockpit.
Separate, positionable flaps, rudder, speed brake, and boarding step are features of this kit. The tires are pre-flattened. External stores options are drop tanks, Sidewinder missiles, and the centerline 30mm cannon pod. Italeri did not include rocket pods or practice bomb dispensers, which are often used for weapons training.
The most glaring omission in this kit is the lack of intake trunking or blanking plates behind the air intake parts. Also missing is the fuel vent and the instructor's gunsight. Italeri has molded only two of the required four small tabs on the wing leading edge. These omissions are annoying, but can be fixed by the modeler without too much difficulty.
INSTRUCTIONS AND DECALS
The clear and easy-to-follow instructions are photographs of the various parts and sub-assemblies, instead of the usual line drawings. Color call-outs are in Model Master enamel and Acryl paint, but some of these are incorrect as to the color names and paint numbers.
The decals are printed by Cartograf and have excellent registration and color accuracy. Five options are provided:
Hawk XX247 of RAF 100 Sqn. in two-tone gray scheme
Hawk XX226 of RAF 74 Sqn. in overall gloss black finish
Hawk XX245 of Royal Navy in overall gloss black finish
Hawk U1269 of Swiss AF in gloss red/white/gray scheme
Trainers don't get enough attention from the mainstream model companies, so I am happy to see a modern, high-quality kit of the Hawk. I hope that this kit fits together well. I don't have the older Airfix 1/48th Hawk to compare to this kit, but I suspect that Italeri's Hawk will lead the pack. I would recommend to Italeri that they release other versions of the Hawk as well.