1/48 Classic Airframes Hawker Sea Hawk Mk.101

Gallery Article by Kevin R. Ingraham on Dec 4 2013

  India Navy Day 



The Hawker Sea Hawk was a British built first-generation fighter that saw satisfactory service in three European navies from 1951 to the mid-1960s. It entered Indian naval service in 1960 and provided fighter and strike capability until replaced by the Sea Harrier FRS.1 in 1983. Initial purchases of FGA.6 subtypes from Britain were supplemented by a further thirty used Mk.101s from the West German Navy. While obsolescent by the time it entered Indian service, the Sea Hawk was adequate for service in the South Asian context. The 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War was its only combat in Indian service.

In March of 1971 fighting broke out in East Pakistan after political parties favoring independence won local elections. The central government’s reign of terror against the Bengali opposition resulted in the humanitarian crisis that gave India a perfect opportunity to eliminate its “second front” with Pakistan. Pakistani reaction to months of Indian support to the Bengali resistance gave India the casus belli it needed to launch an invasion. The Bangladesh Liberation War was brief, furious and bloody. It ended in the one clear-cut victory by either side in the four Paki-Indo wars since 1947.[i] 

As part of its overall war strategy, India imposed a naval blockade to prevent reinforcement of Pakistani forces in the east or strategic resupply of Pakistan by its American and Middle Eastern sponsors. 

On December 4th, the Indian Navy attacked naval and port facilities in both halves of Pakistan, with the dual objectives of eliminating opposing naval power and cutting off Pakistan’s ability to be resupplied by sea. Rocket armed Sea Hawks based on the carrier INS Vikrant flew repeated strikes against Cox’s Bazar and Chittigong in East Pakistan, destroying aircraft, fuel storage, port facilities and shipping while suffering no losses. Indian naval surface and air attacks on December 4th largely eliminated the Pakistan navy as a factor in the war. This date is commemorated as “Navy Day” in honor of this service’s most successful operations in its history. 


[i] Jammu-Kashmir 1947-48, Kashmir War 1965, Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 and Kargil 1999.


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And now to the model: this Classic Airframes kit is a standard limited edition offering. The kit is molded in soft styrene; all interior bits are resin and there is a small photo etched fret. This edition models the Mk.100/101 version as flown by the Germans and sold on to India. The decals provide for one each German and Indian navy scheme. Folded or unfolded wings are the sole build option. The kit is designed with a separate tail assembly to allow the release of the earlier Mk.6 variant. Construction proceeded with few glitches except for the self-imposed variety. One issue is the thickness of the resin wheel well casting. The mold plug is very thick and requires extensive work with a saw and Dremel tool to get them to fit in between the fuselage halves. The ‘roof’ of the wheel wells must be reduced to paper thinness. I substituted .010 plastic sheet for the photo etch vanes inside the intakes. They are just a hair too short for any adhesive to hold them in place without using excessive amounts. I couldn’t get the supplied wing fold parts to fit, probably because of an error in assembling the wings—I wound up scratch building the fold assembly and I believe the results are superior but that was not the plan. The kit supplied seat is simplistic, despite the supplied PE belts and details. I suggest replacing it with the excellent Quickboost seat with its crisply molded details. As the cockpit is black, most interior details are not readily visible unless you open the canopy. Either way, the seat is the dominate visual feature and the Quickboost seat certainly improves the appearance. The decals are curate’s eggs. The serials and fin flashes go on wonderfully with the Micro-Set system but the roundels...they required all but a blow torch to conform. Worse, they aren’t opaque. Fortunately, only the fuselage roundels are applied over a color demarcation where this will matter. You will have to paint a white base before applying. 

All in all, the usual experience to be expected from the CA family of kits. Patience in construction is rewarded with a lovely, well detailed model of an interesting and relatively obscure subject.

Many thanks are due to my friends in the Indian Scale Modelers Facebook group, without whose knowledge and generosity none of my Indian projects would be possible. 

An excellent online resource for the post-independence Indian armed forces, campaigns and equipment is found at http://www.bharat-rakshak.com.

A general survey of the Hawker Sea Hawk is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Sea_Hawk

For further reading on the 1971 naval campaign:  http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/NAVY/History/1971War/Banerjee.html

Respectfully Submitted,

Kevin R. Ingraham

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Photos and text © by Kevin R. Ingraham