1/72 Airfix Folland Gnat T Mk1

Gallery Article by Carmel J.Attard on Nov 11 2014



Yes...Folland Gnat T1.

A ministry of supply design study contract was awarded in the autumn 1956 and in August 1957 a batch of 14 pre-production Fo 144 Gnat trainer aircraft was awarded, the first of these flying on 31st August 1959. It became clear however that no production orders would be placed while Folland remained outside the major manufacturing groupings, which the government favored, and Folland therefore merged into Hawker Siddeley aviation, becoming its Division.

Contracts for 30, 20, and 41 aircraft were awarded in February 1960, July 1961 and March 1962 respectively. The last production Gnat T Mk1 flew on 9th April 1965 and was delivered to the RAF on 14th May, in the all-red scheme of the Red Arrows.

The Central Flying School first introduced the type in February 1962 but the major operator was No 4 Flying Training School at Valley, UK. This took its first aircraft on strength in November 1962 and which in 1964 introduced the Gnat to the formation aerobatic scene, operating five all-yellow Gnats in a team known as Yellow Jacks. The team re-formed as the Red Arrows in 1965 under the control of the Central Flying School. Its Gnats finally withdrew at the end of 1979-display season, to be replaced in 1980 by the British Aerospace Hawk T Mk1.

In service with the RAF the Gnat T Mk1 was the advanced flying trainer. It proved to be fast and manoeuvrable. Its small cockpit dimensions meant that the taller students could not be trained on the aircraft and on these occasions the Hawker Hunter T Mk7 with its side-by-side seating being utilized. Other users of the Gnat included the Indian Air Force, who took the Gnat into combat, finding it to be an excellent dogfighter as well as useful ground attack machine.


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The kit: Folland Gnat T Mk1 (AO1006)
Scale: 1/72
Make: Airfix with Pavla resin parts.
Type: Injection molded with one decal option.

This is not the 1974 issue kit but a completely ‘new tooling’ kit release. It contains many more parts than the original 34 issued in earlier, incorporating a well detailed cockpit office comprising of crew seats, floor with back plate, embossed side instruments, panels, control columns and two crew figures. The separate air intake also has a side, which forms part of cockpit containing details. Released in light gray plastic it also has lots of other much improved detail to undercarriage area and legs, additional wing tanks besides lots of detail externally. On top of all there is a super detailed decal sheet of very good quality for an RAF training Gnat finished in metal and day-glow orange. There is no flash on parts and parts fit extremely well.

The wheels can be assembled in the open or closed position and instructions include color detail of interior. The decals cater for one Gnat XP530 of Central Flying School based at Little Rassington, Gloucestershire, UK 1964.

In line with the timing release of the kit, Pavla Models released a resin detail set specifically for the ‘new tooling’ Airfix kit. This consists of a complete cockpit detail set and I was amazed that even though the Airfix interior was well detailed, yet Pavla went a further step by providing super detailed ejection seats complete with seat belts, ejection handles, embossed instrument panels and other side control panels intended to take place of the Airfix offering. There is also a transparent windshield that fits on the mid instrument panel and detailed control columns.

After removing the fuselage halves from frets, Pavla set 72-108 was prepared so that the runner resin part was carefully removed from each item. Areas marked shaded in the Pavla instruction sheets were carefully removed. Side panels in the Airfix kit were scraped off along with the front coaming. The components were painted to Pavla instructions, fitted and a quantity of lead weight added to nose space to prevent model from tail sitting. The rest of assembly went on smooth.

Color and markings
A four-view color drawing clearly indicates areas that are metal finish and other areas with day-glow high visibility trainer paint. Another four-view as part of the kit instructions indicates the exact place where all the markings and stencil detail items were positioned on the aircraft. I have used commercial silver mixed with 10% lacquer to the metal finished areas and Revell SM332 for the day glow red/orange.

Completed model really is a little gem and goes well sitting next to two Gnats in Red Arrows Livery.


  • World Aircraft Encyclopaedia by Paul Eden & Soph Moeing

Carmel J.Attard

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Photos and text © by Carmel J.Attard