The Airfix Armstrong Whitworth Sea Hawk kit

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A True Veteran

The Airfix Sea Hawk was first released in 1959, and is therefore one of the earliest Airfix kits. Sadly, this is all too obvious to the builder, but whilst it is VERY basic, it is still possible to make it into a nice representation of the real thing.

Here are a few examples (but certainly not all) of its different boxes and bags. It seems to have been widely and consistently available over the years, so it is surprising that so few built ones are seen "in the wild":

Building the Kit

Plus points -

  • Its Cheap ! I haven't paid more than £2.50 for one in the last 6 years!

  • Rescribing the simple detail is a very easy job.

  • It looks like a Sea Hawk.

  • There is a superb range of colourful aftermarket decals available.

One or two shortfalls of the kit deserve a little attention; some are easier to address than others:

  • Cockpit - completely bare, with a flat, featureless ejection seat and an undersize pilot. If you decide to scratch-build a new seat, watch the thick canopy as it reduces the available headroom.

  • Intakes - completely see through, but easy to add some internal blanking plates. Note that the Sea Hawk does have vanes in its intakes, but these are not particularly visible from most angles.

  • Jet Pipes - Likewise. The upper section is too flat (stretching on to the wing) and it is difficult to get them looking round.

  • Undercarriage and bays - The main legs are very simplistic, the main doors very thick and there are no tops to the undercarriage bays. Oh and its a tail sitter, so some added weight up-front is essential.

  • Canopy - very thick, but not too bad, however the fuselage is strangely flattened where it sits, giving a rather sunken appearance.

  • Wings and tailplanes - bad ejector marks, even on very early issues. Tailplane assembly tends not to sit flat or square, so needs careful assembly.

  • Inner wing sections - need to be carefully aligned - it is possible, but if done wrong can spoil the kit.

  • Tailhook - needs to be trapped between fuselage halves at an early stage of assembly and inevitably gets broken off later.

  • General - the mould is showing its age; locating pins don't locate (e.g. on the drop tanks) and there are several sink holes.

... and the 2 most difficult problems to fix:

  • There are no gun ports. Boring them out is very difficult not least because the Stbd fuselage is very thin. The Swordfish Trust issue has decals to cover the ports.

  • The distinctive auxiliary air intakes on the upper fuselage are represented by very lightly raised detail. Making these look realistic is very hard, and in any event they are likely to disappear as you fix the wonky upper fuselage join!

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