By Brian Miller - images & text © 2005
The release of a new kit of the Space:1999 Hawk fighter in 1/48 provides an interesting opportunity to do an out of box comparison of several kits of the same subject currently available.
The Mark IX Hawk, seen in only one Space:1999 episode has become much sought after; if you have an Eagle, you need a Hawk as a companion. Martin Bower designed the ship for the episode "War Games", using a similar design aesthetic to the Eagle. Airfix released a kit of the Hawk during the 70s; while rare, it was somewhat more accurate than the available styrene Eagle kits, as I remember. Of course, it is even more rare now.
The first kit, purchased from Monsters in Motion, is recast directly from an Airfix kit, and minimizes assembly. When I bought the kit, MIM's web site did not identify it as being cast from the Airfix kit, but does now. The casting is pretty good, no visible bubbles or pits, and just a bit of flash. The box the kit comes in actually has the picture from the Airfix box on it.
In comparison, the kit from WARP has a nice photo of the completed kit. Ironically, the instructions for this kit are based on xeroxed copies of the Airfix kit instructions. The instructions look to be adequate, but not extensive.
Image: Main body, top view
Image: Side view of the noe
Image: Detail pieces
Image: Spine and other fine detail
^ Warp's kit
Image: Bagged parts
Image: Detail pieces
Image: Body, underneath
Image: Main engines
Image: Big bubble
Image: Auxiliary engines
Image: Body, top view
Image: Main engine
Image: Nose, side view
Image: Detail parts
Image: Nose shape comparison
^ Three command pods
The castings look pretty good from a standpoint of detail included. the resin is not the more brittle stuff WARP typically uses. There is some amount of flash, and the pour stubs will need to be removed. There are a limited amount of bubbles, but a particularly large one at the rear of the main fuselage will take a bit of work to fill. Many of the smaller parts are connected, or still have pour stubs attached.
Two different main engines are included. One is similar to the previous kit and obviously comes from the Airfix kit, but the second looks to be more accurate. Much more detail is present on this kit than the MIM version, and looks to be several steps above it in accuracy. The metal parts have a lot less flash and clean up necessary than the WARP Eagles.
The Space Fighter Buteo kit is, of course, much more detailed than the other two kits, being of larger scale. The box doesn't have any pictures or anything; but more importantly, does have multiple large FRAGILE labels. The pieces are cast very well, with the larger ones being hollow cast. My pieces did not have any problematic thin areas, and no pits or bubbles show up any where. The two piece main engine is easily the most accurate of the three. This kit actually has fewer pieces than the WARP kit.
The instructions are a couple of pages, and are based on photograph illustrations, which is a big improvement over most resin kits. Decals, printed by JBOT, include the windows and anti-glare panels for the nose, vrious stripes, three different versions of the Alpha Moonbase logo, and what appear to be crew patches. All three kits come very well packed in lots of peanuts and bubble wrap; the Space Fighter Buteo kit protects the spine with a cardboard tube or plastic box, which is a nice precaution.
I had read some concerns about the accuracy of the nose section; I have included some photos of the various models, as well as reference pics from the original. It looks to me like none of the kits hit the nose right on, although the Space Fighter Buteo kit seems the closest. the proportions are right, and just a couple of angles and corners are off. Itís admittedly a hard shape to create. Iíve also included a couple of photos of the main pieces of the Space Fighter Buteo next to my nearly finished Replicas Unlimited Eagle for comparison.
Overall, the Space Fighter Buteo kit looks to be the most accurate and detailed, naturally, because itís the largest scale. The WARP kit was a bit surprising; it is much better in comparison to the WARP Eagles, and of reasonable detail. It should build up into a nice model. The MIM kit is of little use, unless you absolutely need an exact copy of the Airfix kit and canít afford eBay prices for a real one. After seeing the other two kits, I regret buying it, especially after discovering it's basically a recast.
I am most partial to the Space Fighter Buteo kit, because itís larger and so beautifully detailed, as well as being a companion to the Eagle. But I was pleasantly surprised by the Warp kit, and look forward to completing that as a smaller version; perhaps I will make that one part of a diorama or figure out some landing gear.
Many thanks to Brian's wallet for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2005 Starship Modeler. First posted on 10 June 2005.