top of page

Flying School Favourite- RAF Gnat

Those of a certain age will remember seeing the RAF Red Arrows at air shows before they flew the glorious BAe Hawk for their acrobatic steed. As a young boy back in the 1970's, I recall sitting on my grandfather's shoulders and shrinking down in concern as the Red Arrows in their Folland Gnat jet trainers thundered very, very low overhead towards the crowd, before the stricter airshow rules of recent times.

Having a fondness for the diminutive Gnat but having already tackled a Red Arrows painting, I had put the Gnat on the back burner. Then I saw a beautifully made Airfix model of the Folland Gnat in the splendid 1960's RAF Central Flying School colours. The bold scheme of silver and dayglo red/orange harkens to a golden age of flying, and I fancied the idea of producing a painting that could look like it leapt out of the nostalgic style of an old Ladybird book of aircraft!

Airfix's Folland Gnat T.1 in the Central Flying School colours

My subject would be RAF Folland Gnat XR569 - first flying on 12th September 1963, it began life with the CFS at RAF Little Rissington before moving to 4 FTS in January 1967. Its last operational flight was to RAF Abingdon on 12th October 1977.

Stages of painting the Gnat

In progress...

The finished painting.

All done in a very short time. A nice, clean aviation painting that hopefully captures the metallic textures of the aircraft with its many rivets and panel lines. I'm getting to enjoy painting shiny old aeroplanes.


bottom of page