I’d been looking forward to building the Airfix Hawk 81 for quite awhile. These are nice kits, and there is some aftermarket available to spiff them up a bit. One part which looked suspicious in the box is the propeller, it looked very thin. I ordered in the Quickboost set, and discovered that the maximum chord of the kit prop and the Quickboost prop is the same. The Quickboost has a fuller profile, but the difference was not as great as I anticipated. Looking at the Airfix prop, it looks like the pitch is about 45 degrees, which makes it look thin. Airfix molds in soft plastic, I was able to reduce the pitch to about 10 degrees simply by twisting which improves the appearance quite a bit. Not a perfect fix, but better.
When I was test fitting I noticed that the canopy was particularly clear. Everything in the cockpit was easy to see, so I decided to build up the interior to give it some depth. The seat was thinned with a file and the support structure added to the back. The rudder pedals and switches under the instrument panel are molded too far forward, I have rebuilt them further back. The detail on the sidewalls is very shallow. I built them up with various bits of Evergreen, added over the engraving. There are some good pictures of the cockpit sides in the old Aero Series book, use a photograph for the details as some of the components are located in erroneous positions on the kit. The fuselage interior flairs out to mold the wingroots, which leaves a gap between the cockpit walls and the floor. It’s enough to be visible through the closed canopy if you look for it, but building out the sidewall details will block it from view.
I finished this one as the aircraft of Australia’s leading ace, Clive Caldwell. Caldwell was credited with 28.5 kills. Decals are from Xtradecal sheet X72-139. There was a slight registration problem with the victory markings on my sheet, and the fuselage roundels developed several fractures as they came off the sheet. Other than that they behaved correctly.