Brand: Airfix A03073
Markings: Scale Nutz A72019
1/72 TNI-AU Hawk 109/209 ‘Unity Guardian’
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
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.
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.
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.
Number 6 of 2018
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.
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.
Next up is another aircraft flown by the TNI-AU and my first modern Airfix kit. As usual, I begin with the ejection seats. The kit comes with seated pilots so no seatbelt details are provided. I made these from 1mm masking tape.
Cockpit details are decals and are the same for both cockpits. Oddly, the decal sheet provides 4 different front console decals. On the other hand, the instruction shows 1 type to use for both cockpits. Must be a misprint.
Overall details are nice although the panel lines are on the heavier side.
A check after the major components have been attached show some gap fixing required: some are quite obvious and deep while others simply need some quick sanding to resolve.
All in all though, quite a trouble-free build so far. Good thing as I’m trying to finish this by 17 August 2018. Fingers crossed.
Media: Injection Plastic
Markings: Cap Jempol Metal
The North American P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and other conflicts. Introduced in 1940, it would go on to serve with air forces around the world till the early 1980s with more than 15,000 being built. It was armed internally with 6 0.50 caliber machine guns and was capable of carrying up to 1,000 pounds of rockets and bombs on its wings.
Indonesia acquired P-51Ds from the departing Netherlands East Indies Air Force in 1949 and 1950. They would serve the fledgling AURI (Angkatan Udara Republik Indonesia or Indonesian Air Force) for the next decade.
PERMESTA (Piagam Perjuangan Semesta or Universal Struggle Center) was a rebel movement active in Indonesia from 1957 to 1961. Based in Manado, they fought the central government for fair division of economic and political power. In 1958 the CIA began covertly supporting PERMESTA by supplying B-26 bombers and P-51 fighters to form AUREV (Angkatan Udara Revolusioner or Revolutionary Air Force), weapons, equipment, funds and manpower in the form of CIA agents and merceneries.
On 18 May 1958, AURI pilot Captain Ignatius Dewanto, piloting F-338, a P-51D Mustang, shot down a rebel B-26 bomber over Ambon. The pilot, CIA agent Allen Pope, was captured alive, tried and sentenced to death (he was eventually released in 1962). His capture exposed the CIA’s involvement and they subsequently withdrew support for the rebellion.
This build depicts F-338 as she appeared during this engagement.
Tamiya has a reputation of producing shake and bake kits but they also re-brand 1/72 Italeri kits that are of various quality. This is thankfully the former.
By all accounts, this is a down-scaling of their excellent 1/48 kit. Details are very sharp, lack any noticeable ejector pin marks and are designed to allow for various variants to be built. This boxing allows you to build the WWII version. Even so, you are given different options for exhausts and canopies (which can be posed open). Externally there are only drop tanks but there’s a Korean War boxing of this kit that includes rockets and additional fuselage options. There are 3 marking options, all WWII era P-51s.
All in all, this looks to be a straightforward build.
Construction began naturally with the cockpit which had very good details for 1/72. Restraints are provided as decals. After a quick painting (Black Grey base, German Cam Bright Green as the main color, gloss coat, Dark Grey wash, drybrush with the silver pencil and then a flat coat), the 2 halves of the fuselage were cemented together, which hid all the detailed work. The lower wings come as a whole bottom span with a pair of separate upper wings. Such is the precision of Tamiya Engineeringtm that there are no gaps on the wingroots. The nosecone attaches to the body with a polycap but I decided to paint the blades separately from the nose. The exhausts were set aside to be painted separately and I decided not to attach the exterior fuel tanks to keep the lines smooth.
The canopy is designed with a separate frame which allows for easy masking. After masking with tape and masking liquid I attached it to the frame with Gator Glue. The whole thing was then cemented onto the fuselage. I won’t know if there was any smudging till the end of the build.
There is only 1 seamline to fix but it runs down the middle of the whole length of the kit. I paid more attention to the fitting on the top than on the bottom to minimize cleanup work. The intake on the bottom has multiple panel lines which the seamline cuts across. There’s also a small section that is inset that required multiple attempts to fix. I did the best I can and moved on.
F-338 sported a uniquely curved antenna blade on the spine that needs to be scratchbuilt. The markings for this P-51 is from Cap Jempol Metal (literally Metal Finger Print), a local decal maker. The instructions include a template for the antenna that I used to make with 0.5mm plastic card.
Painting & Markings
First, I painted the landing gear bays the same way as the cockpit. After curing, I stuffed them with blutack to prepare for the rest.
Vallejo Black Gloss Primer serves as a base with Vallejo Metal Color Aluminium as the main color. I decided to vary the color of the flaps, elevators and a few other random panels so I spent 1.5 hours masking off the panels and only 5 minutes of painting with Vallejo Metal Color Dull Aluminium. I can’t say it’s accurate to do this sort of variation, but I think it adds some visual interest. After I removed the masking tape I noticed I manage to scratch off some of the aluminium color so I went back to repair those with more masking and spraying.
I also painted the antenna, gear doors and struts with Aluminium in the same way. The tires were sprayed with Black Grey and then I used a circular template to spray the wheels Aluminium. The exhausts were based with Black Grey and handpainted Metal Air Gun Grey.
F-338 carried a striking shark mouth noseart with a uniquely patterned black nose. The instructions provided templates for the shape of the pattern which I transferred onto masking tape. I then masked the rest of kit and sprayed Black Grey for the nose. The rudder has a checkerboard pattern over a white color so I sprayed Dead White on it. The nosecone was Game Color Bloody Red and the prop was Black Grey with handpainted Game Color Sun Yellow over a base of Game Color Dead White for the tips. The completed nose is then attached to the fuselage with a polycap.
To prepare for decals I sprayed Vallejo Metal Gloss Varnish over the entire kit. Of course disaster would strike at this time. The bottom had some slight orange peel and the port side on top had some problems. I fixed what I could by stripping the paint there, sanding down then repainting. The fix doesn’t look that great (the gloss pooled) but I decide to learn and move on.
Confession time. The markings in the sheet are for F-324 and F-328. Except for the unit number, F-338 shares the same markings as F-324 (F-328 has a solid red tail and no sharkmouth). However, F-324 requires the prop that’s only included (part C1) in the the Korean War P-51 boxing. After chatting with Mr. Cap Jempol Metal (how’s that for service?) I decided to build F-338 instead, which was a more historically significant aircraft anyway. F-338 has the standard prop blade and canopy (D3) with the bent antenna. I just needed to mix and match the numbers on the sheet to get ‘F-338′ (’38’ is included as a standalone on the sheet).
There’s actually no photographic evidence of the checkerboard pattern on the rudder of F-338 during the engagement. There’s however an undated photo of it with a checkerboard rudder but no sharkmouth. There’s also a photo of F-324 that shared the same sharkmouth and it has a checkerboard rudder. There are currently 2 P-51Ds mocked up to look like F-338 which don’t sport the checkerboard pattern in museums but their markings aren’t based on any historical evidence. Absence of other evidence, I decided to just assume F-338 at that time shared the same colors as F-324. Besides, it looks better with it.
Most of the decals came as 2 parts so they required aligning properly and have no carrier film. All in all though, very straightforward. They are thin, are in good register and react well to Mark Softer. I managed to still tear some (especially on the nose) but these were easily patched up with paint. I then brushed on clear gloss to seal them in after wiping them with a damp cloth.
The bottom of the starboard wings has landing lights which I handpainted with transparent paint. The bent antenna and the landing gear were then attached along with their doors with super glue. I somehow managed to lose the light inside the gear bay though. The wingtip lights were then handpainted with transparent blue and red. Last to go as usual is the masking tape on the canopy. I cleaned up any bleeding with a toothpick and then brushed Future.
I decided to finish while I’m ahead and forgo panel lining, which might react negatively with the finish. Or worse, I’d screw something up again.
This was a really fun build especially the part where I researched on F-338 and finding more about the shootdown itself. The build was also relatively mistake free but as usual, I wasn’t careful towards the end. I finished this kit just in time for 17 August 2016 which is Indonesia’s Independence Day. Hopefully this will become an annual trend for me.
Number 10 of 2016