The mighty Hawk is a staple of modern aviation. A symbol of Britian’s once rich and diverse aviation industry. Outliving all it’s counterparts (such as the Alpha Jet, C-101, and even MB 339) the Hawk was truely ahead of it’s time.
Many airforces outside that of the manufacturer have become the biggest fans of aircraft. For example, the Belgian’s absolute admiration of the Alpha Jet…I’d argue painting it in more unique paint schemes than any other country. The Hawk is no different, but for this aircraft it found love in a colder climate.
Finland was in a unique position…utalising both Soviet and Western aircraft, and limited in size. The Finnish air force or Ilmavoimat chose the aircraft to be it’s primary trainer. As there were restrictions as to how many ‘combat’ aircraft they had, the Hawk was bought as a trainer only in order to allow extra accommodation. Of course, the aircraft can still carry gunpods and 2 missiles to their name.
When I say “display teams” however, most people will immediatly think the Red Arrows or Saudi Hawks / Saudi Falcons…but Finland has been using the Hawk for it’s display team almost since procurement. The ‘teams’ in Finland were for the Airforce Academy however and not really known outside of Finland, and didn’t even perform much round the country.
In 1997 that all changed when the jet team – flying BAe Hawks were officially known as the Midnight Hawks. The Hawks flew in 2 schemes – the camo scheme and the all grey scheme. They have some more distinctive markings now on the tail, and we will go into these later.
Nearly 40 years since the procurement of the Hawk (an anniversary celebrated in December 2020), in 2017, Finland celebrated 100 years of independence from Russia. To mark the occasion their display team received a remarkably subtle yet effective scheme.
That brings us to our subject today – the Midnight Hawk’s 2017 scheme in 1/72 from DEKL’S.
DEKL’S was one of the main inspirations for modelling when I originally asked them if they wanted to make the Asas de Portugal Alpha Jet scheme, and when they agreed and made it I was elated. Though looking back I was even worse at modelling then than I am now, it has left a memory of fantastic quality decals. This is the third review of DEKL’S products – after the Asas de Portugal Alpha Jet and KAI T-50 Black Eagles (both in 1/72)
These DEKL’s come in the standard DEKL’s packaging. This consists of essentially an A5 booklet, which gives clear instructions and has fantastic instructions. This set is more so unique because you can make any of the display schemes featured by the Midnight Hawk’s up to 2019. One hopes that in the future this set may even include the little “40th anniversary” symbol on the tail.
The decals come with a colour set and then a ‘white’ set. The white set is really like an undercoat in a sense. It gives a clean backing to the decals and allows them to be extra vidid and vibrant on the actual model itself.
I also find that DEKL’S decals are far more resiliant than included kit decals – I don’t mean just stronger than Heller’s flimsy decals either. You can really manipulate these as much as you need to in order to get perfect placement.
I do have one confession though – I messed up the tail a little bit. The tail section of the anniversary scheme comes ‘bigger’ than required for you to trim down. I was using reference photos of aircraft and apparently the angled photo I used gave the illusion of more grey – so mine look a bit shorter. Alas, I still think they look great!
The model kit we used as the base for this model is the BAE Hawk T.1 from Airfix. As I’m not using any of the decals from this addition, and I’ve got to build several of these this year (perhaps hinting at future projects 😉) this article will not serve to review the kit.
Needless to say the newest tooling of traditional model kit (aka not the simplified one) is absolutely sublime. It features a lot of similarities with construction of the old 70’s Hawk mould, but without any of the gross overcomplications. I’ll do a review on it soon. Very soon. I proimse.
One point to make was I could not find the underwing smoke generators used by the Finnish team anywhere. In the end I took underwing parts from an older Hawk kit I had and just sanded them a bit to ‘sort of’ fit the bill. I also found some photos with weapons pylons white, some greyish. In the end I chose white to just try and tie it all together.
The paints used in this were entirely Revell Aqua Color. For the cockpit (which from my research appeared as an almost turquoise bluey colour) was a mix of Lufthansa Blau No 350 and Grau No 57 – at a ratio of probably 2:5. The outside of the model was entirely Grau No 57. I used Weiß (White) No 05. I then used Eisen (Steel) No 91 for the undercarriage and pitot tube, with a coat of Teerschwarz (Tar Black) No 06 for the wheels and non-reflective cockpit surfaces. Finally a layer of Farblos was used for the gloss coating in areas where my trusty Humbrol Acrylic Gloss did not reach!
The decals were soaked in a bit of water before sliding off from the backing sheet. Unlike most decal companies these are NOT pre-cut. If you cut a lot of excess around the decal, you will get a lot of excess. Considering this isn’t a massive conglomerate making it however, and is instead someone passionately providing interesting subjects to us mere mortal modellers…so it’s not really a big deal.
The decals themselves, as I said earlier on, do behave somewhat different. For starters they come off the backing sheet much easier and, in my opinion, are much studier in feel. I applied the white backing under all of mine except the number “1” on the tail, which I was so blind I didn’t see. Shame.
If I had any criticism it would just be that the dpi on the print isn’t quite as high as say Airfix, or Italeri – but in my experience that’s normal for anyone without the resources for super duper commercial machines. Frankly, yes, you can see it if you hold the model in front of your face. But can you see it in the pictures? No. In person on a display? No. The only reason I’m mentioning it is to be completely honest.
Buy or Fly?
This is a must buy for anyone who enjoys the Hawk, display teams, anniversary or special schemes, or Finland. The decals also provide many for the ‘spares’ folder as I only intended to build this one scheme. So if I get a leftover Hawk (it’ll happen, I know it) I’ll be able to make another Midnight Hawk with ease! You could build at least 3 kits out of these sheets I think…maybe 4 if you bought the Italeri or Matchbox Hawks which have some Finnish decals already.
See the model making video below, along with the last (and prettiest) picture of the model!
Where to Buy?
I don’t normally link these. But Dekl’s produces such great work that I want you to be able to experience it. Please bare in mind these come from Australia so will have additional postage and tax. For me this was the cost of the decals once over – which I deem acceptable given the good value the set already provides.
For their website (which I’m assured will have all their decals on soon, with no eBay fees) click here.
For the direct eBay listing click here!
Once it is confirmed on the website I will remove the eBay listing.