One of the things I like about Hobbyboss (and Trumpeter) is their willingness to tackle odd subjects that few people have heard of. The Hawk Mk. 200 is a prime example.
Built as a single-seat version of the renowned BAE Hawk trainer, the Mk. 200 was designed to be a light strike fighter for export. Ultimately, only 62 were built, and used by the air forces of Malaysia, Oman, and Singapore. (For more info, head over to Wikipedia.)
Hobbyboss utilized a few sprues from the from their two seat Hawk trainer series, as evidenced by additional parts not used on this kit. However, the fuselage, as well as a few other parts, are specifically for the Hawk 200. No use of inserts here!
The kit also comes with a reasonable amount of stores- four total sidewinders of two varieties, drop tanks, bombs, gun pod, and rocket pods.
The cockpit on this little kit is exceptional. The seat is a multipart assembly, and as an out-of-the-box seat is one of the best I’ve seen. Photoetch belts are included. While a resin seat would certainly be an option, the kit seat is worth using on its own merit. Nice raised details are provided for the IP and side consoles. The stick looks a bit blocky, but is adequate. The area aft of the seat is a wonderful little assembly full of detail. Oddly, no rudder pedals are included. I used some sheet stock to simulate these, though on the real aircraft all you really see from normal viewing angles on a model are the lower, rounded bottoms of the pedals.
The cockpit fits into the fuselage nicely, along with the nose wheel well and the air brake “well”. You will want to add some weight to the nose to avoid tail sit. Thankfully, there is plenty of room for this.
Closing up the fuselage presented no problems. Only the glue seams have to be dealt with. There is a fair amount of panel line detail, especially underneath, so adding some extra depth before sanding the seams is not a bad idea.
The intakes fit decently, though a little cleanup will be in order. Purists will probably chafe at the lack of any detail inside, but quite honestly if yo stick your face up that close to the intakes to peer inside you’re probably being a bit obsessive. (But that is just my opinion… who am I to judge? 😉 )
The wings assemble equally well, and fit nicely against the fuselage. I did use some Mr. Surfacer to close a few hairline cracks here and there. The tailplanes slot right in also, but benefit from some Mr. Surfacer.
With all of that in place, you must decide whether to add all the bumps, fins, and antennas before painting or after. I decided to live on the wild side, and apart from the very small protrusions on either side of the nose, I added everything on before painting, which worked well.
With all of the wings, tails, lumps and bumbs securely fitted, it was time for some paint. Thanks to a perfect canopy fit, I was able to fix the opening part in place with Future, and didn’t need to mask of the cockpit at all.
Hobbyboss offers three very nice options- a striking two tone gray prototype in RAF markings, a three tone camo scheme, similar to SEA coloring, for a Singapore flown aircraft, and finally, the one of my choosing, an all gray Malaysian Hawk.
The radome was painted with Tamiya XF-80, and the rest of the airframe with XF-19. They’re not precise matches, but they’ll do. A gloss coat followed, and then on to decals.
The decals were very good, and went down very nicely. A coat of Solvaset sealed the deal. I decided to try some weathering that was a bit over the top, doing various panel shading and fading. It was not entirely unrealistic though, as I drew inspiration from several photos that showed a quite dirty airframe. However, most photos show reasonably clean airframes.
With the paint, decals, and weathering down, the landing gear, ordnance, and those smaller protrusions were added. A final dull coat was added, the canopy unmasked and glued in the open position, and it was called “complete”.
I’ve built a quite a few very, very fine kits, from a variety of manufacturers. However, I must say, this one surprised me. I knew Hobbyboss made well fitting kits, and that they could get nice detail into a kit at times. But I was not expecting this to be such a gem of a kit, one of those that you almost hate to see it end because it’s simply so enjoyable. I’d used this for a holiday weekend build, so I rushed it a bit. About halfway through, I began to regret the decision- I realized this kit was one to savor, not to rush. (But self imposed deadlines are self imposed deadlines…)
The point it- I highly, highly recommend this kit. No, it’s not Tamiya’s F-14, or Eduard’s Spitfire. But it is a kit that you’ll build, have plenty of detail to paint, and when you’re finished, you’ll have something truly unique and interesting sitting on the shelf. And the journey there will be quite enjoyable.