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Tamiya HAWK Mk.66 “SWISS AIR FORCE”

Since its first flight in 1974, the Hawk has been used by the RAF as a training/light combat aircraft. The Adour 151 turbofan engine which has a 2,360kg maximum takeoff weight was fitted to the 11m long, 5.7 tons lightweight fuselage. In addition to the 30mm gun pod, the Hawk could carry up to 3 tons of ordnance such as AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles.  The Hawk which has been operated by 16 countries as well as the Swiss Air Force featured an economical design which had a sturdy fuselage with excellent maneuverability.

The Swiss Air Force chose the Hawk Mk.66 which had an improved engine output and used them as advanced trainers. Deployment of the 20 ordered Hawks began in 1990, and with their excellent flying ability and great capability of ordnances, they were widely used in air-to-air and air-to-ground attack roles until their retirement in 2002

Kit Highlights
★ 1/48 scale plastic assembly kit of the Hawk Mk.66 “Swiss Air Force”.
The compact fuselage has been richly reproduced.
★ Photo-etched parts to depict instrument panels and rear view mirrors.
★ Accessories such as gun pod, drop tank, and Sidewinder missiles.
★ Canopy and airbrake can be assembled in a open or closed postition.
★ Realistic tire shape to highlight the aircraft’s weight.
★ Includes 2 metal pilot figures which work as aircraft’s nose weight.
★ High quality Cartograf markings to depict a Swiss Air Force aircraft, 3 RAF aircraft, and a RNAS aircraft. Aircraft parts are product of Italeri.

 

click to enlarge

The Kit:
Here is kit from Italeri released under Tamiya’s label. There was to things that attracted me to purchase this kit, one was the color scheme and second was the price*. There are enough markings included for this model kit as shown above. But I decided to stick to the Swiss Air Force colors to bring some color to my otherwise sea of gray shades on my shelves.

After opening the box, you’ll be surprise to find just a few sprues. They are cleanly molded with no visible or bothersome flash to deal with. A beautifully printed decal set from Cartograf, a very humble photo etched details set and to white metal pilot figures. The only positive thing about the figures is the fact that they add weight to the cockpit. I didn’t want to run the chance, so I added a small fishing sinker just in case.

Don’t expect too much from the included 1/48th pilot figures. The detail is very crude, hands are almost featureless blobs of metal. To have then fitted in the cockpit, I had to cut the legs shortly after their knees. I does work and it won’t be noticed unless you look at them hard.

The cockpit is very RAW. It is literally features-less and that’s where the photo etched parts come to the rescue, well, sort of.

The photo etched side panels are nothing more than made up knobs that will be covered next by decals. You can either hand paint those features on the photo etched panels, or skip the panels and go straight to the decal. They *in my opinion* are just there to add dome raised three dimensional detail and nothing more.

The photo etched set also include seat belts in case you chose not to use the metal pilot. I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars to the seats when used with the the photo etched seat belts. They are by comparison, a lot better than the cockpit in general. In short, if you want a better cockpit, you’ll have to work hard for it to bring it to life. The kit comes with your choice of AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles or the 455 liter tanks as well as the proper pylons for whichever you decide to use. Considering the overall ”bareness”, the wheel wells have an acceptable level of detail as well as the landing gear which requires some cleaning due to joint marks in some areas.

Painting and Weathering:
The Swiss Air Force Hawk Mk.66 were painted the same way as the first RAF trainer aircraft. The fuselage was painted in red and white while the inner sections of the wings were painted in Light Ghost Gray FS36375. RAF Hawks used for weapons training were painted Gray and Dark Green. Aircraft upgraded to T.1A standard initially had a gray scheme that was latter changed to a glossy black. The only weathering here was achieved with a pin mark of Dark Wash from Mig Productions as seen on the video below. Finally the model was sealed with a single heavy coat of Acryl Clear Semi-Gloss using my Aztek A470 airbrush and Turquoise Nozzle.

Color used, Tamiya XF-2 Flat White, Tamiya XF-7 Flat Red. Flats are safer to mask than glossy colors ;o)

Final Verdict
I love the subject, but this is not one that I usually build (trainers). What caught my eye in my local hobby shop was the neat art cover, being a  limited edition model (second time I fall for this) but more, it was the price. As we all know, Italeri has very nice kits, but they are pricey are for the most part.

Tamiya on the other hand also has high prices on their kits. For the most part, we get a lot of bang for the buck with Tamiya. This is not the case here.  Even with the photo etched fret and Cartograf, this kit as a whole does not warrant an MSRP of $80.00 USD. The lowest price around I found was $55.00 and that does not include shipping. This is how much I paid for it in my local hobby shop and honestly, I wouldn’t pay more than $40 for it. Recommended, but not for the price.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.

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