HAL Ajeet
(HAL Gnat license)


1/72 scale kit of the HAL Ajeet
kit review / Building report

The Indian aeronautical industry started, after the Second World war and the India independance, developing many aircraft at the time. The desire was to have an independent industry and also to have many aircraft as to opposing countries. 

The single seat Midge and two seat Gnat are a family of aircraft developed by the British Folland aircraft company in the mid nineteen-fities. Folland wanted to meet the Royal Air Force 1952 Operational Requirement OR.303 calling for a lightweight fighter. The Royal Air Force lost interest in the fighter but kept interest in the trainer, but the Gnat was also built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) at Bangalore in India between 1962 and 1974. 

Although the Indian Air Force extensively used the Gnat, it also wanted later on a single seat fighter. The HAL design buro completed a single seat design in 1974 of a "mk.II", called the Ajeet, meaning unconquered. The HAL Ajeet had also an improved internal fuel system and the Gnat underwing tanks were discarded. Also other systems were used and it could carry four wing pylons for stores. Also, 2 30mm Aden canons were installed at the sides of the air intakes. Max speed was slightly below MACH 1. The first Ajeet was flown March 1975, but production deliveries started in 1977.  A total of 79 Ajeets were built until production ended in 1982. The last Ajeets were phased out of Indian service in 1991. 
 

Airfix had issued many year ago a 1/72 model of the Folland Gnat. But no model existed of a single seat Midge or Ajeet until AEROCLUB came with a very simple short run ejection mouded kit, I believe around 1987.


This kit is really of the SHORT RUN type and has a few parts. The undercarriage and seat is in white metal. The fit is very bad, lots of filler and sanding is needed. (far better to get the later PRO RESIN AJEET kit or a resin kit from AEROPOXY). 

A model of the HAL Ajeet would be nice in the 1/72 collection, so it was to be finished in an Indian Air Force scheme in an overall natural metal scheme. 

The overal model from AEROCLUB was almost discarded so bad was the fit. A simple floor was added and another small ejection seat found in the spares box. Inside the rear of the fuselage, a scrap round tube was inserted to look like the jet exhaust. 

The AEROCLUB model I had has very basic decals for a FINISH AIR FORCE GNAT/ MIDGE. So for the HAL Indian Air Force Ajeet, decals were sourced from my decal scrap box. 

The overall model got a coat of light grey, followed by plain aluminium applied with the airbrush. Revell acryllic Aluminium 56  was used here for a natural metal aircraft
.
The few decals found in the spares box went on, with the black panels made from black decals as well. I could not find 100% accurate serial numbers, so a good looking serial decal from the spares box was used. 

The model is a genuine tailsitter, so I had to use a wire to keep the nose on the ground, no led will help here!

The canopy is a terrible fit, it was elected to set it closed. Gaps were there closed with white glue. Finally, a wing pitot was added made from a metal needle.

After applying the decals as per instructions, also this model got a decal protecting coat of Johnson Future/ Pledge with the airbrush. 

That completed the model. When it sits in the rear cabinet of the 1/72 model collection it looks like an Ajeet. 


I had to use a wire to keep the nose on the ground, no led will help here!


... and on an Indian Airbase....

Now how about a 1/72 companion HAL Mig-21
 


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Created this page
December 14, 2012