Saudi Arabia has a long standing history of obtaining it’s aircraft from the United Kingdom, including utalising the Hawker Hunter, English Electric Lightning, Strike Master, Panavia Tornado* and our example here the BAe Hawk! For obvious reasons we’re going to be delving into the politics of the Arabian Peninsular,
We discussed the Hawk to some extent in our Midnight Hawk review, so let’s have a look at the Hawk in Saudi Arabia. The Hawks have been used for training with orders placed in 1985 and 1994, with a further order placed for 22 “Advanced Jet Trainer” Hawks in 2012. This doubled in 2016 with some being assembled in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia employed the expertise of the Red Arrows display team pilots to develop and train their own team which was the Saudi Hawks, now known as the Saudi Falcons. Sharing the same mount but a distinct Green and White colour scheme, the team have performed around the world. I was lucky enough to seem them in Malta, and I feel really privileged to have done so.
As stated the review today focuses on the decals of the Saudi Falcons which have come from the Australian independent decal maker Dekl’s. I paid for these decals myself as I was so excited where I saw these. So excited, in fact, that I couldn’t find them on eBay, ordered them from a Canadian outlet which never arrived 5 months later and eventually ordered them from Dekl’s after they’d relisted them on eBay. If you ever can’t find something from Dekl’s – just email or message them, don’ t risk dodgy resellers like I did (though obviously there are legit stockists too). But, hey, these were still worth it.
I used the charity BAe Hawk NHS kit as the canvas for these decals as they cost the same as the normal Hawk but generate some income for the NHS so I figured I might as well use these. Now this isn’t the review of that kit, but it appears this is the simplified Hawk a la Best of British set but without the stand.
I assembled the model and painted it with Revell Aqua Color 61 Smaragdgrun (Emerald Green). I looked at a lot of different manufacturers but some weren’t really accessible without either an hour+ drive or waiting up to a week for delivery…as usual I was impatient so went to my local hobby store to pick this up. I did about 5 coats throughout the project and I was amazed how pretty the green is.
The decals themselves came with a masking template if you would prefer to mask instead, and came with 2 sets of white decal.s This is pretty standard with Dekl’s who normally provide 2 sets to allow you to layer white under the coloured sections to create vibrancy…however in this case it was white on white.
I will preface this by saying that I didn’t do a perfect job with the decals. I had sections with some lumps of bumps and some sections where I painted over it because I thought my varnish had set…but it hadn’t and instead got massively discoloured, which makes me very sad. However, I think I rescued it.
So, how did the decals handle? As usual Dekl’s are really odd to use if you compared directly with in-box decals. They aren’t separated and come as one giant sheet. I found using a pair of scissors to cut them out gave the best finish…and there’s a lot of trimming after application. They are however a lot more resilient and super easy to handle. They can be moved many times and are extremely hard to tear…unlike certain other manufacturers.
For someone like myself who doesn’t currently have the skill set to do great masking and is worried about messing up clean lines this is a perfect and affordable alternative. It provides a user friendly approach to one of the worlds most pretty display teams.
I do now, however, have a green paint I don’t think I’ll ever use. .So there’s that.
I started by doing the underside and it really pleasant to lay down the first layer. I didn’t put on the landing gear or the underside fins for ease of laying these down (this is standard on Red Arrows anyway to be honest). One the second layer is put down, using some paint (05 Weiß (White, matt) becomes a fine option to fill in any gaps or do some touch ups. I found that I had some sections “unallign” when drying and this was a quick fix. As mentioned above, my own inadequacies during production also meant this was neccesary to save the final product.
Buy or Fly?
I don’t think it comes as any shock that I feel this should be an instant buy for any fans of display teams. These decals are printed perfectly for the scale. Yes, they don’t have the highest DPI in the world, but they’re the only easily accesible decals I’m aware of for this subject.
It’s worth taking your time more than I did, letting each section cure fully, and as you can see in the build video I learnt my lesson from this; despite this I ended up with a really nice looking model.
*the Panavia Tornado is a joint project between Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.