Completed : Airfix 1/72 BAE Systems Hawk 109 ‘TNI-AU’

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Kit Info
Brand: Airfix A03073
Scale: 1/72
Media: Styrene
Markings: Scale Nutz A72019
1/72 TNI-AU Hawk 109/209 ‘Unity Guardian’

The Subject
The British Aerospace Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, twin seat advanced trainer aircraft. It is used in a trainer capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft. First flown in 1974, over 900 Hawks have been sold to 18 operators around the world. The Hawk was designed to be maneuverable and can reach Mach 0.88 in level flight and the airframe is stressed for +9g. When configured for combat, the Hawk can be armed with a centerline gun pod and armaments on 4 (up to 6) hard points.

The Hawk 100 is an upgrade of the original Hawk T1 with a re-designed nose, re-designed wings with 2 additional hard points, additional avionics, optional forward looking infrared (FLIR) and HOTAS. The TNI-AU export is designated Hawk 109.

The TNI-AU first placed orders for the Hawk starting in 1978 and would operate 3 variants: Hawk Mk 53, 109 and 209. 8 Hawk 109s were delivered and assigned to Skadron Udara 1 “Elang Khatulistiwa” (1st Air Squadron “Equatorial Eagles”) and Skadron Udara 12 “Panther Hitam” (12th Air Squadron “Black Panthers”). It is flown as a primary jet trainer and 7 are still believed to be deployed by TNI-AU in 2018.

My build depicts TT-1203 circa 1997, a Hawk 109 from Skadron Udara 12 flying out of Pekanbaru AFB, Sumatra.

Info from WIkipedia

The Kit
This kit was released in 2009 along with the T.1 variant. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. The cockpit is basic with instrument panel and side console details presented as decals. Other options include:

  • 2 x seated pilots
  • gear up or down
  • open or closed ventral speed brake
  • centerline gun pod
  • 4 x AIM-9L/M missiles
  • wingtips can be rounded or with missile rails
  • optional refueling probe
  • 2 types of external fuel tanks

Parts break down is straightforward and the molding is crisper than Italeri but less so than Tamigawa. The panel lines are on the heavy side but are done well. There were no flash on the parts but there are some visible ejection pin marks.

Decals look well printed with sharp details although the carrier film is somewhat thick. It’s a huge sheet with complete stencils and 3 markings for 2 BAE Systems demonstrators and 1 Indian Air Force operational trainer.

The Build
In the late 2000s, Airfix started releasing modern kits with the latest molding technology and this kit is part of that wave. The plastic is softer than what I’m used to but was easy to trim, handle and sanded very easily. Sprue gates are on the heavy side but it’s nothing that some sanding can’t handle. I find that the instructions are not as user-friendly as what you get from Tamigawa. For instance, there are color call outs via a paint number but I couldn’t find a legend for the numbers anywhere.

I was building a TNI-AU Hawk 109 trainer, and based on reference photos I did the following:

  • left off the pilots and added seatbelts on the seats with tape
  • installed the wingtip missile rails
  • left off the AIM-9Ls from the kit as TNI-AU uses AIM-9Js
  • gunpod wasn’t installed
  • left off the glass plate separating the front and rear cockpit
  • replaced the rear cockpit HUD with a control box made from styrene rod
  • inflight refueling probe wasn’t installed

The fit on the wingroots aren’t great with obvious gaps but otherwise, it’s a straightforward and quick build. I decided to prioritize the fit on the top side and leaving the major gaps on the bottom but there’s no real way to prevent the gaps on the wingroots.

An odd omission is the frame in the middle of the canopy. Airfix designed the glass plate separator inside the cockpit to replicate this frame but based on photos it should be outside the canopy, not inside. I decided to simply mask and spray this frame. Making it even stranger is this frame actually appears on the boxart and instructions. Also missing are the lights on the side of the intakes. Another odd thing is the pre-drilled holes for the centerline gunpod but not for the pylons on the wings.

Other that these small issues, it was a trouble-free build.

Colors & Markings
The TNI-AU Hawk 109 was painted in a 3 tone SEA camouflage up top and a light gray on the bottom for much of its operational life. The demarcations are solid so it was a matter of a lot of careful usage of vinyl masking tape and spraying each color.

I’ve had the Scale Nutz (since defunct?) TNI-AU Hawk sheet for a long time now. The decal sheet is marked ‘Made in Singapore’ and the decals are printed well with decently thin carrier film. All 109 and 209 Hawks from either squadrons can be modeled. While there are enough specific markings for 1 Hawk 109 or 1 Hawk 209 from either squadron, you’ll need to source the common stencils elsewhere to do so. The decals reacted well with Mark Softer and are quite easy to use.

Finishing
In real life, TNI-AU maintains their Hawk 109s very well so I went with a simple panel wash for a clean finish. The final assembly of all the small antennas did provide some challenges as their pins were all oversized and had to be trimmed carefully to fit. I also managed to lose the round clear part that sits on top of the fuselage but I managed to replace this with part of the clear tree.

I can now call this done. The paint job isn’t as smooth as I want it but for a get-back-on-the-saddle project, it’ll have to do.

Build Log
> Part 1 : Construction
> Part 2 : Painting
> Part 3 : Finishing

Number 6 of 2018

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