Tag: Aircraft

WIP : Italeri 1/48 A-36 Apache Pt. 2 – Cockpit

Cockpit work begins with a base coat of black and a marbling coat of white.

Then thin coats of Model Color Model Color German Cam. Bright Green that doubles as Interior Green. I’ve read that the A-36 might not have had green interiors but I’m going with the instructions.

This was done for all the parts that will be green color.

The kit comes with a simple decal harness but I decided to improve on it. So out comes 1.5mm masking tape and paint. Not much will be seen once the canopy is installed but hey, “I know it’s there”.

More things that won’t really be seen: weathering for the interior. But it’s good practice. First is sponge chipping with Model Air Metallic Steel.

This was quickly done on all the parts to beat them all up.

After a gloss coat, I gave everything a wash from Mig AMMO Deep Brown Panel Line Wash to add some depth. This was quickly cleaned up after 30 minutes of drying.

All the panels were washed the same way.

Everything was given a blast of flat coat and once they have dried, it’s time to install them and never really see them again. It’s also time for the tedious gap filling stage. 😀

Build Log
Part 1 – Construction | Part 2 – Cockpit | Part 3

WIP : Italeri 1/48 A-36 Apache Pt. 1 – Construction

New year, new build. This time it’s the Italeri rebox of the Accurate Miniatures’ 1994 release. The Italeri boxing was released in 2013 with new marking options. Boxart is quite striking and the box is quite big but it turns out the 4 runners really only barely filled 1/2 of it.

Interior details are nicely detailed though not quite as sharp as more modern kits.

The nose if molded as a separate piece of 2 halves and the instructions call for the these to be put together then connected to the fuselage which is also made up of 2 halves. I decided to attach each nose half to each fuselage half instead which should reduce the chance of any steps from occurring at the nose-to-fuselage joint later.

The sidewall details are nice and more than adequate for my needs.

So are the details in the landing gear bay.

What makes the A-36 an A-36 (and not simply a re-named P-51) are the additions of dive brakes on both surfaces of the wings. These add the capability for the A-36 to divebomb. Though nicely done, they are unfortunately molded in place.

The pilot seat attaches to the floor with only 2 thin rods. I don’t think that will be strong enough so I decided to reinforce how they join.

I added plastic plates onto the bottom of the seat. These plates will attach to the control stick rod on the floor plate and add 1 more point of connection.

0.8mm of spacers was enough for the seat to er… seat properly. And they are small enough not to be visible from above.

The rear wheel comes molded as 1 piece and will need to be attached at the beginning of construction. There’s no practical way to modify it to be inserted at the end of the build instead so I really hope it doesn’t break off…

The horizontal stabs and the landing gear were quickly prepped. Italeri provides both weighted and non-weighted wheels as options in the box. I do believe that this is the first kit I’ve done that has weighted wheels.

The kit comes with pair of 500 lbs bombs made up of 6 parts each. The 4 fins on the back are fiddly though since they are butt jointed. It took a bit of eyeball 1.0 to get them to line up properly.

A dryfit test shows that the kit should fit fine except for the bottom of the left wing being slightly warped and sink marks on both top and bottom sides of the nose.

Painting the cockpit is next and I can start cementing everything together.

Build Log
Part 1 – Construction | Part 2 – Cockpit | Part 3

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


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

WIP : Airfix 1/72 Hawk 109 Pt. 3 – Finishing

Time to finish this thing. The markings come from Scale Nutz, a defunct decal company based in Singapore. The sheet comes with full stencils for 1 aircraft but enough unit numbers to build any of the Hawk 109 and 209s in TNI-AU service in either squadron. I went with TT-1203 from Skadron 12 for this one. The decals were easy to use and reacted very well to Mark Softer.

Once cured and another gloss coat over the markings, I gave the kit a panel wash using Mig AMMO Deep Brown Panel Line Wash. The TNI-AU maintains their Hawks quite well so I didn’t do other weathering besides this panel wash. Once that has dried I gave the kit an overall flat coat.

Once the flat has cured, it was time to do final assembly. First up are the landing gear, gear doors, external fuel tanks and antennas. The pins on the antennas were all oversized so some trimming were required. The main gear struts were just about 2mm too short so the fit isn’t perfect there.

I was missing the blade antenna on top so I shaped one using 0.5mm plastic card. The clear part that goes into the recess on the spine was also oversized and I pinged it into my room when trying to trim it down. In the end I cut out a small circle from the clear part tree and used that instead.

Last off was the canopy masking and turns out there was some overspray inside the canopy. I popped this off, cleaned the inside, then re-attached.

This one’s definitely not my best finish with all the minor problems popping up. But at least it’s done.

Build Log
Pt. 1 – Construction | Pt. 2 – Painting | Pt. 3 – Finishing

WIP : Airfix 1/72 Hawk 109 Pt. 2 – Painting

I used a gray color on the parts to check for gaps and thankfully, they weren’t too bad.

Painting begins with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black.

First on was freehanded AK Interactive Dark Tan.

Based on photos, the camouflage demarcations are solid so I used Tamiya Tape for Curves for these. To prevent overspray, I backfilled the parts I want to remain the previous color.

The second color is AK Interactive Medium Green.

After more masking, I sprayed AK Interactive Dark Green.

The bottom was then masked off and colored AK Interactive Camouflage Grey.

Some slight overspray which will need to be addressed but that went quite well.

Build Log
Pt. 1 – Construction | Pt. 2 – Painting | Pt. 3 – Finishing

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