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Friday, April 8, 2016

Airfix BAe Hawk T1 (Red Arrows 50th season)

The completion tonight is for my 19th BAe Hawk. Having completed so many, it is surprising that I have avoided a Red Arrows version. Well, one of my earlier ones was in RA markings, but it is an early effort and really only worthwhile in the back of the display case. But for some reason I got it in my head to do a mini-series of Arrows, with the four main variations of paint schemes: the simple Blue rudder, the recent version with Union Jack on the rudder, the 50th anniversary markings, and the 2000 season markings. The majority of my Hawks are covered with anniversary paint schemes anyway, so these will fit right in.

This is the Airfix Hawk kit, my usual go-to for Hawks. It is extremely buildable and priced to attract those of us who want to build multiples of a type. Airfix has had a number of Hawk models over the years, but this is the most recent upgrade of their molds. AX2500B if you're keeping track.

Although the box came with Red Arrows markings, I thought the tail markings set on Xtradecal 72216, from which I had already used markings for a Eurofighter and a Tucano, were a bit sharper. Plus they required that you paint the fin Roundel Blue prior to applying the decals. The advantage to this - Airfix has a decal for the entire fin, including the blue color - is that you don't have to worry about any lack of coverage or a decal that doesn't want to conform to the edges of the tail. It is just a more tidy solution. The rest of the decals came from the Airfix kit.

Thankfully I still had enough Xtracolour Red Arrows Red paint. Not sure I am going to make it through the final two Hawks, the whif Eurofighter, and the Gnat, but color matching will be an issue for a later day.

As always with Red Arrows planes, the main difficulty is applying the extensive white decals. The upper surfaces aren't usually bad, but that arrow on the undersides crosses over wing fairings, wheel doors, and has to avoid the under-fuselage pod. This generally requires some decal cutting and then touch-up painting. Opacity on both the Airfix and Xtradecal sets was good, so that definitely helped.

This is completed aircraft #455 (#21 for the year), finished in March of 2016.

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