May 2019

BAe HS125 - 600B

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BAe 125 - Series 600 - Blue Vixen Test Aircraft

BAe Dunsfold, 1990

Matchbox 1/72 with scratch modifications

The HS-125 started life as the De Havilland DH125 Jet Dragon, intended as a replacement for the small short haul piston-engined DH104 Dove airliner. First entering service in 1964, it continued in production through a range of variants and developments until 2013, with a total of 1,720 built.

The HS-125 saw extensive UK military service, with the series 2 used as the RAF Dominie T.1 navigation trainer and the 400, 600 and 700 series employed as the transport and communications HS125 C.1, CC2 and CC3 respectively.  

I have had aspirations to try this particular project for quite some time, but I have to admit that I bit off a little more than I could chew this time!  On the face of it, it is an easy conversion – block up the windows, add a new nose and off you go.  Of course, there is a little more to it than this:

New nose

Block unused cabin windows

Stbd Cockpit modifications (but only those that can be seen!)

Doppler altimeter fairing under fuselage

Wing Pylon

Various underwing strakes and flap operating fairings

Open up and fill landing lights

Open up and fill Nav Lights

Add new antenna

None of this is particularly difficult. My nose was cloned from an Airfix Sea Harrier using Milliput and silicon moulding agent. It is perhaps a little too long, and points a too far up, but I was quite pleased with the blending.  

One 600B series aircraft was converted in the early 1990s as an airborne trials aircraft for the Ferranti Blue Vixen advanced multi-mode radar being developed for the Royal Navy’s Sea Harrier FA2.  Fitted with a radar nose and a functioning replica of the Sea Harrier’s cockpit in the starboard seat, it also carried a Sidewinder Acquisition round on a single pylon on the starboard wing.

The Matchbox kit goes together well, albeit that it is a little simple.  I replaced the bare cockpit with a few spares box parts (from an Airfix Dominie).   Its main problem though is the plastic colour.  Always an endearing feature of Matchbox kits, this one is white and red plastic, with the red particularly hard to cover with white paint. I thought that coating the whole thing in grey first might help – it didn’t!  After about 6 white coats on the fuselage I was happy and attempted to mask and paint the yellow and black fuselage stripes. These I really wasn’t happy with and eventually sanded them back, revealing of course the previously mentioned grey undercoat and red plastic bits!  

So; more coats of white, followed this time by some home-made decals, drawn in Powerpoint then printed on the inkjet. These worked reasonably well, although they stretched and broke several times before I was happy.  The engine and tail stripes were masked with Tamiya tape and brush painted, mixing up yellow and white paint to match the de-facto fuselage stripe colours.  The wing pylon came from a Sea Harrier kit, trimmed to fit, along with fin-less Sidewinder to make up the acquisition round.

The Real Thing - ZF130 in 2003

All in all, a rather challenging conversion, mainly because of the colour scheme, but one that adds an important aircraft model to my RN collection!

My other 125 - An Airfix Dominie model built “out the box” (link to build) in 2008

Alongside my other 125 - An Airfix Dominie model built “out the box” (link to build) in 2008