Czech Master Resin 1/72 Gloster Meteor F.8/FR.9
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The Gloster Meteor has the distinction of being the RAFís first jet fighter, and the F.8 variant was one of the most colorful variants of this famous airplane. Designed in the infancy of jet engine technology, the Meteor went through many subtle design changes as more powerful engines became available. The F.8 variant had a larger tail than its F.4 predecessor, a slightly longer fuselage, and redesigned engine nacelles. This powerful fighter ended up in the air forces of several countries covering nearly every continent. Australia, Brazil, Syria, Denmark, and Israel are just a few operators of this plane.
The Meteor F.8 also saw action in the Korean War and the Suez Crisis. The Royal Australian Air Force flew their Meteor F.8s in Korea with good success, but it was readily apparent that the 1940ís design was hopelessly outclassed against such fighters as the MiG-15. In the Suez Crisis, the Meteor F.8 and photo reconnaissance FR.9 version saw extensive service on both sides of the conflict. Israel, Egypt, Syria, and Britain all flew the Meteor during this crisis, with varying results. While swept-winged fighters again outclassed the plane, in the ground support role it performed quite well.
The Meteor F.8 also served in the RAF during the most colorful period of service, with many Meteors being painted up with bright colors, both for regular squadron machines and for commandersí aircraft. The Coronation Review on July 15, 1953 saw some of the most colorful Meteors, as the squadrons painted their aircraft up gaudily in celebration.
As more advanced fighters took to the air, the Meteor slowly fell from front line service, but it still soldiered on in the duties of training, target towing, and research and development. The stable flight characteristics made it ideal for all of these roles, and in this capacity, the Gloster Meteor greatly outlived its life expectancy.
A good kit of the Meteor F.8 is long overdue, and this kit is amazing in its quality. Molded in resin with a vacuformed canopy, the detailing easily rivals that of current injection molded kits. The surface detail is finely recessed, and the breakdown of the parts will make assembly easy. What really sets this kit apart, though, is all of the options available. There are two sets of engine intakes, two noses for the F.8 and FR.9 versions, two choices of canopies (with a spare of each, for a total of four canopies), and a full set of stores including rockets, bombs, and fuel tanks. The decal options give markings for no less than 6 Meteors from Australia, Israel, and the RAF.
One big worry with this kit is whether it will sit on its landing gear or not. With all that resin behind the mainwheels, some careful weighting will need to be done in the nose. Luckily the separate noses are hollow, giving room for adding some lead weight. Additional weight can be added in the fuselage underneath the cockpit. Hopefully it will be enough. Either way, this is going to be one heavy model. The wing is a solid piece, with the lower halves of the engine nacelles molded with it. The upper nacelles are separate parts, and there are inserts for the tailpipes and for the leading edge of the wing that is visible from the front of the nacelle. The wing root fillet is molded into the wing, and when it is fitted to the fuselage there is a thin step visible. A bit of light sanding will eliminate that, and this arrangement will greatly reduce any need of putty.
The fuselage is molded in two parts, with the vertical tail included. The cockpit consists of a floor, instrument panel, seat, rudder pedals, and control stick, with sidewall detail molded in the fuselage sides. While there is a fair amount of detail in the kit, there is room for superdetailing here. The FR.9 nose has the camera ports opened up, but no glass is provided, at least according to the instructions. But it would be a simple matter to cut out some windows from the leftover plastic from the vacuformed canopies. The landing gear is incredibly robust, and there isnít any doubt that it will be able to support this heavy model. The gear doors are thinly molded with great interior detailing.
The decals are very thin, and while they donít say, they look like Propagteam printed them. The choices are a good selection of colorful Meteors, drab Meteors, and historical Meteors. The most colorful Meteor is a Meteor F.8 of the RAF from No. 66 Squadron with blue and white striped tailplanes and matching squadron bars on either side of the roundel. From down under are two RAAF Meteor F.8s, both Korean birds. The first is "Elayne", A77-15, a Meteor flown by W/O Bob Turner. The second Australian option is the famous MiG killer "Halestorm", A77-851, flown by S. George Hale. The markings for this option are slightly wrong, though, as the decal sheet has the background map in white instead of yellow. This is noted in the instructions, though, so all thatís really left to do is to break out that 000 brush and do a little touchup work. At least thereís a white background to make it easy.
The other three options are all Israeli, two being FR.9s and one an F.8. The F.8 is camouflaged in the sand and dark blue over duck egg green. Around the rear fuselage is yellow/black/yellow Suez Crisis stripes. No other distinguishing markings are present. The FR.9s have a bit more on them, with one being camouflaged as the F.8, but with a large white Ď36í on the rear fuselage. The other FR.9 is natural metal, with the 117th Squadron badge on the tail and a black Ď36í on the rear fuselage.
This kit is most definitely the best 1/72 Meteor F.8 out there. With it being a resin kit, it may not get the exposure it should, as it looks to be a pretty easy kit to assemble, and out of the box it will build up into a very nice replica of this famous fighter. If youíre at all interested in British jets of the 1950ís, be sure to pick a couple of these up.
1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00
Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.
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