Built Date: April 25, 2013
I wish to thank Marcus Nicholls of Tamiya Model International Magazine for sending me this kit to build for the full build article which is published in Issue 214, August 2013.
During the mid 1970s when the US Navy was looking for a replacement for their aging T-2 Buckeye and TA-4 Skyhawk II jet trainers, the British Aerospace Hawk Mk. 60 was selected. Although the Goshawk resembles a BAC Hawk, this land based airframe was highly modified to suit the rigors of carrier operation. This modified airframe became the T-45 and code name Goshawk. The T-45A, which became operational in 1991, contains an analog cockpit design while the newer T-45C, which was first delivered in December 1997, features a new digital “glass cockpit” design. The T-45A and C models are currently in operational use. The T-45 is used for intermediate and advanced curriculum of the Navy/Marine Corps Student Naval Aviator strike pilot training program and plans to be in service until 2035 or later.
The Model Kit
There was no model kit for a T-45 Goshawk in 1:48 until Kinetics released this new kit in late 2012. This is an interesting choice for Kinetics to expand their repertoire of model kits as it fills a niche in the BAC Hawk family of planes in 1:48 scale. The 140 or so styrene parts come on four trees plus a small tree of clear parts. The surface details are a nice combination of raised rivets and recessed panel lines and recessed rivets. I find some of the recessed panel lines and rivets to be deep but it should be alright after a couple of coats of paint. I am rather disappointed the surface of the parts, particularly on the wings and fuselage, has an ‘orange peel’ texture. Ejector pin marks are inconveniently found on landing gear struts and inside the intake trunks and raised pin marks are found inside the fuselage. The instruction sheet does a poor job of explaining to the builder on how to align and install some of the parts. Photographic information of the real thing is required to supplement the instruction sheet before committing parts to glue.
The cockpit is very basic in this kit but looks reasonably accurate. I didn’t do much to improve the stock cockpit except to replace the kit’s seats with a set of resin replacement SJU-17 seats from the Black Box F-18 Multi Purpose Set. When I compare the Black Box seat with the kit’s seat, the detail improvements are gratifyingly obvious and both measures dimensionally the same.
Fit up of the major joints on this model is very tricky to get it right. The fit is very tight at the nose portion of the fuselage. I had to chisel out some very pesky raised ejector pin marks which prevented the cockpit and nose gear well to sit properly inside the fuselage. If these pins are not removed, there is no way one can close the fuselage without a large seam.
The instruction sheet could use some improvement because it is difficult to understand how some parts are supposed to fit. The instruction for the landing gear is perhaps the most challenging part to understand and if I didn’t collect enough reference photo of the real landing gear, I’m afraid I would not be able to assemble it properly.
Before painting, I tried to remove a bit of the ‘orange peel’ surface finish from the plastic by wet sanding the model with a 800 grit fine sand paper. It didn’t work too well because some areas of the model had raised details and I didn’t want to sand those away by accident.
T-45 is very colorful as they sport a high visibility white and orange paint scheme. I painted the model with about 4 light coats of Tamiya X-2 Gloss White and letting each layer dry at least 6 hours before the next coat. To remove the paint dust that collected around the model, I wet sanded the model with 1000 grit wet sanding paper. For the International Orange trims, I used 80% Model Master International Orange enamel paint mix with 20% Model Master Italian Red. To seal in the paint for the decal phase, I sprayed on a generous coat of Future.
The kit decal offers markings for two standard T-45C from Training Air Wing 2 out of NAS Kingsville. There have been many interesting colour schemes and special markings for T-45 and it would have been nice if at least one of them is offered by the kit’s decal set. Caracal Models came to the rescue by offering several interesting marking for sale on Lucky Model’s web site or purchase direct from Caracal Decals.
I selected a decal sheet from Caracal Models to build this model as a T-45C from VT-9 “Tigers” operating out of NAS Meridian, Mississippi. The decals are printed by Cartograf and they go on nicely flush with the model with an application of Mr. Mark Softer decal softening solution. The quality of the printing is excellent; however the white colour of the markings could be more opaque.