1/72 Hobbyboss Hawker Seahawk

Gallery Article by Sherbir on Dec 16 2017

  Indian Victory Day 

 

      

Hawker Seahawk (Indian Navy IN238)

The INS Vikrant played an important role in the successful Naval blockade of East Pakistan. Stationed off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and escorted by the Leopard class frigates INS Bhramaputra and INS Beas, the Vikrant redeployed towards Chittagong at the outbreak of hostilities. On the morning of 4th Dec, 1971, the eight Seahawk aircraft on the Vikrant launched an air raid on Cox's Bazaar from 60nm away on the basis of Naval intelligence received that Pakistan was planning the blockade of the Indian Navy by using camouflaged merchant ships. That evening the air group struck Chittagong harbor, Khulna and Mongla. The air strikes continued till 10th Dec, 1971.

The Seahawk and its deployment:
In the sixties and seventies, the Indian Navy acquired a number of Seahawk fighters from West Germany's Marineflieger wing. One such Seahawk, IN238 was flown out to Madras in July 1971 to be stationed on strike alert on the aircraft carrier Vikrant. During the war, IN238 was the only serviceable Seahawk available in the squadron for many a month. 

On 6th Dec, 1971, during a strike mission, IN238 was hit by enemy ground fire but recovered safely onboard the carrier Vikrant. Lt. R.S. Sodhi was awarded a Vir Chakra for his act of gallantry. Later on, Lt. Handa experienced engine failure and subsequent flameout while flying from Hansa but landed back safely. The engine was written off and IN238 was grounded.

It is sad, that instead of preserving this aircraft at the Aviation Museum in Goa, the aircraft was gifted away back to Germany, where it was repainted as VB+134 and is now stored at the German Air Museum at Nordholz, and has totally lost its Indian identity, without even a suitable plaque mentioning its history of battle. 

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The Hobbyboss kit was excellent in terms of the quality of its sprues and had zero flash. The cockpit was extremely detailed and with all the effort to carefully detail the cockpit switches, instrument panel and the ejection seat, the cockpit came alive. I scratch built the seat belts with a simcard holder plasticard. There was however, a lot of filler required to make the end result of the model look worthy enough. The underside of the IN238 is painted using Fevicryl "White". The Navy Blue paint was achieved by mixing Camlin "Prussian Blue" with Fevicryl "Grey" to set the correct value and then muted with a very small quantity of Fevicryl "Black". I tried a pre-shading of Vandyke Brown on the underside of the Seahawk, to simulate the effects of rusting and corrosion however, all that got obliterated under 6 coats of white that were needed on the underside.

The decals were of very high quality and conformed nicely to the surface. It was an enjoyable kit to build and I'd recommend it to the beginners. It has a nice assortment of 8 rockets as weapons and the drop tanks add on to the lethal looks of this seemingly docile aircraft. This aircraft was built as a tribute to all those who served and laid down their lives for the defence of our nation. Inquilaab Zindabad. Jai Hind.

Sherbir

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Photos and text by Sherbir