The T-45 Goshawk is a fully carrier-capable version of the British Aerospace Hawk Mk.60. It was developed as a jet flight trainer for the United States Navy (USN) and United States Marine Corps (USMC).
The Goshawk's origins began in the mid-1970s, when the US Navy began looking for replacement for its T-2 and TA-4 trainers. The US Navy started the VTXTS advanced trainer program in 1978. British Aerospace and McDonnell Douglas proposed a version of the Hawk and were awarded the T-45 contract in 1981
The Hawk had not been designed for carrier operations and numerous modifications were required to make it carrier-suitable. These included improvements to the low-speed handling characteristics and a reduction in the approach speed. Other changes were strengthened airframe, more robust and wider landing gear with catapult tow bar attachment and an arresting hook. It features a two-wheel nose landing gear.
The Goshawk first flew in 1988 and became operational in 1991. BAE Systems manufactures the fuselage aft of the cockpit, the air inlets, the vertical stabilizer of the T-45 at Samlesbury, and the wings at Brough, England. Boeing, which merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, manufactures the remainder of the aircraft and assembles them in St. Louis, Missouri.
Upon opening the rather flimsy end-opening box, you are confronted by four sprues of light grey plastic parts, one clear sprue, a fairly thick instruction booklet and a smallish sheet of decals. The parts have a slightly satin sheen to them except for some interior parts. There is a tiny bit of flash on a few parts, but nothing that will hinder the usual cleanup that needs to be done before assembly. A paint chart is offered for Vallejo, Model Air, Mr Color and Italeri Acrylic. According to the chart, only Vallejo provides all the colours called for, thus rendering the inclusion of the other ranges somewhat questionable. Colour callouts in the instructions are given using Vallejo codes only. Reference to a paint conversion chart is needed if you prefer other brands of paint. The clear parts are in their own separate bag, which helps to prevent them from being scuffed. They could still benefit from a dip in Future. The Canopy detonating cord is engraved into the inside surface of the canopy. There are 9 small detail photos on the box, courtesy of Two Bobs
The fuselage is provided in left and right halves. The cockpit is well appointed, yet Kinetic have obviously allowed for the aftermarket to supply the finer details given that the instrument panels are only equipped with blank outlines of the instruments/MFD displays. Panels are offered for the T-45A with traditional instruments or the T-45C with MFD displays. At a minimum, separate jet instrument decals should be found. The instructions do not show the instrument panel faces, which will require some study of available photos in order to do the kit justice. The detail on the side consoles is slightly raised and should look good when painted but there are no throttles. The bang seats are likewise nicely shaped, but basic, and no representation of harnesses is offered. Perhaps the most startling element is the complete intake trunking and engine which will fill up the inside of the fuselage. Filling those seams is going to be a challenge and a half. The instructions point out that nose weight will be needed, but do not mention how much. There is some room in the nose and under the rear cockpit. Whether it will be enough remains to be seen. The airbrakes are separate, and may be posed open. They look a bit thick, especially given that they're supposed to be surface mounted when closed rather than retracting into a well. The distinctive strakes on top and bottom are not well defined. The airbrakes may be sanded down to a more scale thickness and the strakes replaced with plastic card, or more likely once the aftermarket offers them, they should be completely replaced with photo-etch. The area behind the airbrakes should be painted red but the instructions are not as clear on this as they should be. The main cockpit colour is specified as Light Ghost Grey, which to me seems much too light. The detail photos on the side of the box appear to show that it's the more typical US Dark Gull Grey instead.
The wings offer the option of raised or lowered flaps and slats. The lower wing surface is one piece from tip to tip, and the upper halves one piece for each side. The wheel wells are made up from separate sidewalls which must be glued into the upper wing inside before cementing the wings together. The instructions for the landing gear doors are slightly confusing so pictures should be studied before committing any parts to glue. There is a small centreline fuel tank. Strangely, the pylon is provided in halves.
This model is a rarity. It is provided with complete intake trunking and a representation of the engine. Superdetailers have a wonderful canvas to go to town on. If you're going to leave the model buttoned up there's not much point to go farther than filling in the seams in the intakes. Exposing the engine will require quite a substantial amount of surgery. The exhaust has two massive ejector pin towers in each half which absolutely must be chiseled out and cleaned up.
The rudder is a separate part. It suffers from a very shallow sink mark on the lower left side which should be easy to correct. It may be possible to build the kit so as to allow the rudder to be movable, but given that the locator pins are fairly thin this is probably not a good idea. Photographs show that the rudder is most often in the neutral position when the aircraft is parked. The horizontal stabilisers are each one piece, and have a fairly substantial locating tab. This means that to pose them deflected requires a small bit of surgery. Once again, they're most often seen in neutral, so the decision to pose them is not likely to be taken. Separate SMURFs (Side Mounted Unit Root Fin)s are offered. These need a slight bit of cleanup.
The nose gear leg may be modelled optionally compressed, or fully extended for catapult launch. The instructions would have you install the nose leg into the nose wheel well before buttoning up the fuselage. It appears as though it will be possible to glue it in afterwards, to prevent damage while building. The main gear legs are one piece, with separate retraction arms. The main wheels have separate hubs, but the advantage this usually gives for painting is lost by the requirement to trap the hubs between the wheel halves while assembling them. Closed doors are provided for a wheels up model, but there is no stand in the box.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a T-45
Decals and Markings
The decal sheet was drawn by Twobobs, and provides 2 options from Training Wing 2, NAS Kingsville:
- 1. T-45A BuNo. 163654, USMC;
- 2. T-45C BuNo. 167106, USN;
Apart from showing the optional aircraft numbers on the upper surface drawing, the painting instructions in the instruction booklet do not mention the Marine aircraft at all. For this, you must turn to the full colour profiles printed on the bottom of the box. There is very little difference in the paint scheme between the two aircraft. The tailhook stripe decal is not called out in the painting instructions even though it is clearly shown in place and is on the decal sheet. Figuring out where it should go is simple. The stencil locations are quite clearly marked but they are not numbered on the decal sheet nor on the instructions. Careful study of both will be required. Those portions of the wing markings which go over the flap actuator fairings are given as separate parts which wrap around the actuator and join the portions of the marking on either side. This is a rather neat solution to this problem. The drawings are a little confusing in that they show the flaps and slats extended on one side and retracted on the other. This is more clearly evident on the bottom of the box, as the red painted areas which are exposed when the moving surfaces are extended stand out against the surrounding white.
the real thing
A pair of TW2 Goshawks in flight
This is a good kit, but not suitable to a beginner. You should have a few models in your experience and be happy with painting lots of gloss white. You should also be able to look up details in your references given that the painting instructions are not as complete as they might be.
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