The Hawker Seahawk concept can be traced back to late in World War II when Hawker Aircraft Ltd., with Sidney Camm as the lead engineer, attempted to re-engine the Fury with the new technology of jet engines. Proposal P.1035 retained the eliptical wings of the Fury and had the Rolls-Royce B.41, soon to be named Nene, engine mounted in mid fuselage with the intake in the nose and the exhaust exiting at the rear of the airframe.

       Hawker's follow on design was very different from the original. The cockpit had been moved far foward, the Fury's elliptical wingform was replaced with trapezoidal form with straight edges, which simplified manufacture, tricycle landing gear was incorporated into the design, and both the intake and exhaust systems had been split. The engine got air from two inlets at the wing roots and the bifurcated exhaust pipe exited the hot gases at the junction of the rear of the wing and the fuselage. This repiping of the engine greatly increased the amount of fuel that could be carried and thus the range of the aircraft. This proposal was presented to and rejected by the Royal Air Force as the RAF already had two successful designs for fighter aircraft, the Gloster Meteor and The DeHavilland Vampire.

       The design was navalized and submitted to the Admiralty which accepted the design. The first prototype flew on September 2, 1947, with the fully navalised version flying almost a year later on August 31, 1948. Over 100 of this first version of the Seahawk were ordered with the first production aircraft flying in November of 1951. There were nine different versions of the Seahawk. Two were pure fighters, the F.1 and F.2. The FB.3 was the first fighter-bomber version and had a strengthened structure for carrying underwing stores. The FGA.4 was optimized for the ground attack role. The FB.5 version were basically FB.3s and FGA.4s that were re-engined with the new Rolls-Royce Nene 103 engine. The FGA.6 was exactly the same as the FB.5 except that they were new builds. The Seahawk Mk.50 was a ground attack version built for the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Seahawk Mk.100 was a strike fighter version for the Bundesmarine, the German Navy, and the Mk.101 night fighter/reconnaisance version also for the Bundesmarine. Altogether there were over 500 Seahawks Built.

       The last user of the Seahawk was the Indian Navy which acquired its first Seahawk in 1961 and would retire the type in the early eighties. In Indian Navy service the Seahawk saw combat twice, fighting in the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1971 and 1976. The Seahawk also saw action during Operation Musketeer, the Anglo-French military action during the Suez Crisis of 1956.

Trumpeter Seahawk

       The subject of this article is a 1/48 scale representation of Seahawk XE365/171-B, of Fleet Air Arm 804 Squadron while onboard the HMS Bulwark during the Suez Crisis. The kit used was Trumpeter item number 02826 "Seahawk" FGA.MK.6. In the box are two large, one medium and two small light grey plastic trees. Also included are a clear plastic tree, a photo etched sheet, a film sheet and a decal sheet.

       Kit assembly went fairly quickly through step 9, joining the fuselage upper and lower halves. I particularly liked the cockpit assembly. One of the photo etched parts is the seat belt, the other is the face of the instrument panel. The panel assembly involves placing a film of the instrument dial faces behind the photo etch and gluing them to good effect. The exhaust, intakes and the tops of the landing gear bays glue to the upper fuselage half.

Seahawk cockpit Seahawk cockpit Seahawk cockpit Seahawk Upper Fuselage Half Seahawk Bifurcated Exhaust

       The tail assembly involves gluing a tab in between the halves and then gluing the assembled tailplane halves to this tab. It makes for great alingment and strength. The front fuselage halves include the front landing gear bay, the two main gear bays, the cockpit tub, the intake and exhaust assemblies, the dive brake upper and lower halves and finally the wing outer panels.

Seahawk Tail Tab Seahawk fuselage front half Seahawk front and rear fuselage before assembly Seahawk front and rear fuselage before assembly

       Up to this point in the assembly I marveled at the quality of the kit. The joint of the upper and lower fuselage halves and then joining this assembly to the tail assembly involved quite a bit of work. The best way to describe the problem with the upper and lower fuselage halves it that they puckered in when joined. There was a similar problem with the tail - fuselage joint, here the tail assembly's cross section was smaller than the fuselage assembly. Filling the difference with putty helped the fuselage - tail joint. I made my own sanding sticks by cutting 1/4" wide x 3" long strip of .040" sheet styrene and then glued strips of sand paper to the strip. As the sand paper would "fill up" with material I would peel it off and replace it with fresh paper. This method made for a smooth transition from one side of the joint to the other. After the sanding was completed the model was polished using Blue Magic Liquid Metal Polish and then it was given a thorough washing to remove anything that the paint would not adhere to.

       Once the fuselage was assembled and ready to paint I removed the canopy pieces from their tree and gave them a coat of Future acryllic floor wax. The pieces were then glued in place and taped off.

Seahawk Upper Fuselage-Tail Joint Seahawk unpainted bottom Seahawk unpainted top Seahawk finished nose section

      

       The painting process began by painting the lower camouflage color, Sky, using Gunze H74 Light grey green. After giving the lower fuselage sufficient time to dry the lower surfaces taped off and Dark Sea Grey of the upper surfaces was applied. Here Gunze H331, Dark Sea Grey was used. This was my first time using the Gunze brand and I must say I was very happy with it's ease of use. I was able to use it in my airbrush straight out of the bottle.

       I made the decision to paint on the "Suez stripes" instead of using the kit supplied decals. The appropriate areas on the fuselage and wings were masked off and painted black. Once these areas were dry correct width scotch tape strips were cut to mask off the black stripes and then the area was painted using Testor's Insignia Yellow. This method worked for the wing stripes but the fuselage stripes did not come out as expected. The compound curves around the wing root required a different way to make the stripes look right. The problem was solved by cutting 1/16" wide strips of masking tape and using these narrow strips to define the edges between black and yellow. These narrow strips allowed me to bend and curve the edges as needed so the stripes look straight.

       Once the painting was done a couple of coats of Microscale Micro Gloss were applied all over the model. The decals were then applied using the Microscale system. After the decals had time to dry the model was given a couple of coats of Microscale Semi Gloss.

Seahawk Exhaust Area and Fuselage Suez Stripes Finished Seahawk View #1 Finished Seahawk View #2 Finished Seahawk View #3 Finished Seahawk View #4 Finished Seahawk View #5

       All that remained was to airbrush the drop tanks, underwing stores, landing gear struts and wheels. Once these had dried and were glued to the model this project was complete.

       This was my first Trumpeter kit and I think the finished model is pretty impressive.

Bibliography:

       Hawker Sea Hawk By Michael Ovacacik & Karel Susa- A 4+ Publication

       Hawker Sea Hawk - Warpaint No. 29 By Tony Butler

       Wikipedia Article on the Hawker Sea Hawk

       Thunder & Lightnings article on the Hawker Sea Hawk

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