April 2018

BAe Hawk T.1

Folland Gnat T.1

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British Aerospace Hawk T.1

Red Arrows 2015 Display Scheme, RAF Scampton

Airfix 1/72

First taking to the air in 1974, the HS.1182 Hawk has proved to be one of the most successful British aircraft of all time, remaining in production for over 44 years with more than a thousand built.

Although originally designed as a twin seat trainer, it has seen considerable export success in both double and single seat forms as a fighter and ground attack aircraft with over 18 foreign operators using the Hawk at some time. The US Navy also uses the carrier capable Goshawk variant, with tail hook and strengthened undercarriage for advanced carrier landing training of new USN and USMC pilots.

Operationally, both Malaysian and Zimbabwean Hawks have both seen air to ground combat against insurgent forces.  During the mid-1980s, the UK deployed Sidewinder and Aden Gun armed T.1A Hawk Squadrons in war roles as the local area defence layer, in conjunction with the longer range radar equipped Tornado F.3.

For this build I have used the modern Airfix mould, which is an easy and satisfying build.  This is the gift set issue, which contains decals for the 2015 display season colour scheme featuring a large Union Flag on the tail fin.  

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All pictures on this page © gengriz 2018

Have a look at many more RAF aircraft models on my Friends and Allies  pages

The Red Arrows are possibly today’s most visible public face of the RAF, recognised internationally as a symbol of the United Kingdom. Widely considered to be the best aerobatic display team in the world, they were formed in 1964 to replace a number of separate RAF display teams, initially using the Folland Gnat trainer (inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team) as their mount.

In 1980 “The Reds” undertook their first display season using the new British Aerospace (Hawker Siddeley HS.1182) Hawk T.1 aircraft, continuing to use this aircraft for the next 18 years. Their aircraft are flown by 9 operational RAF pilots who volunteer (and are selected)  for a rolling 3 year tour with 3 pilots replaced each year.  An 85 strong ground support team of engineers and logisticians, known as “the Blues” travels with the display team to ensure aircraft serviceability.

Folland Gnat T.1

Red Arrows 1974 Display Scheme, RAF Scampton

Airfix 1/72

The Folland Gnat was originally developed as an ultra lightweight fighter, but whilst the Indian Air Force and  Finnish Air Force used Gnats enthusiastically in this role, lightweight fighters did not sit well with contemporary RAF doctrine (think Javelin instead).  

However the capabilities and potential of the Gnat were recognised, so instead the RAF encouraged development of a slightly larger 2-seat trainer variant which remained in service as an advanced trainer from 1959 until 1979.  

The first RAF aerobatic team to use the Gnat was the Yellowjacks in 1964. One year later they were reformed as the Red Arrows, who continued to use the Gnat until replaced by the Hawk in 1979

This is a significantly older Airfix mould; my records suggest it was first issued in 1964, although this particular one dates from the late 1990s.

Desperately crude and lacking any form of detail, it has since been replaced by a superb modern kit that beats this one hands down.  

However, I never could bring myself to bin a perfectly good kit…….    

RAF 100

Since 1918, the RAF has been at the forefront of British military operations and remains one of the most advanced and effective aerial warfare forces in being. Perhaps best known for the sterling efforts of “the few” during the Battle of Britain, RAF Coastal Command, Bomber Command and Transport Command made no less of a contribution to final victory and their successors have continued that tradition of service to the present day in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Falklands to name but a few active operational deployments.

2018 sees the 100th Anniversary  of the formation of the Royal Air Force. The world’s oldest  independent air arm, the RAF was created on 1st April 1918 by combining the 3,000 aircraft of the Royal Naval Air Service with just over 1,200 from the Army’s Royal  Flying Corps to create what was, at that time, the largest air force in the world.


The Real thing at RIAT a few years ago. Sadly, I believe that this is G-TIMM, which crashed at Car Fest in 2015, killing display pilot Kevin Whyman.

A preserved Gnat at the RAF Museum Cosford