Gloster Gladiator

Warpaint Series No. 37
By Tom Spencer
Warpaint Books, Ltd., 2002
ISSN 1361-0369
52 Pages, Softbound

Reviewed by Jim Schubert

In the May 2002 issue of Internet Modeler we reviewed the new Osprey and Mushroom books on the Gloster Gladiator and liked them both. Well, now here's another - and very timely it is too. See the review of Roden's new 1:48 scale kit in the FIRST LOOKS section above. My initial reaction to this (only) 52 page A4 magazine format title was - "Twenty five bucks for this!" I started the review carrying the baggage of a very negative, hyper-critical, predisposition toward the book because of its price (I'm cheap). When I finished I liked it a lot! It's worth the $25, plus 8% Washington State sales tax, that I paid Emil Minerich at Skyway Model Shop in Seattle.

The developmental history of the type and its descent from the Gauntlet are lightly covered and quickly disposed of in favor of author Spencer's in-depth operational history. It's a good, easy, read and, despite the small number of pages it is more comprehensive and better organized than either the Osprey or Mushroom volumes. To continue the "Box Score" comparison from the earlier reviews in May:






Color painting

Two color profiles

Color photo & a color profile


One color profile & one B&W photo

Two color profiles

Two color photos

Color profiles*:




Color photos:




B & W photos:




GA Dwgs.:




Isometric dwgs:






3, plus 3 tables

5 tables









The print and paper qualities of all three books are quite good and are nearly identical.

* As a matter of personal taste - I like the bright, generally pre-war, silver winged liveries on these planes. From this lot of color profiles we get, altogether, silver winged examples for: RAF Squadrons - 3F, 33, 54, 65, 72, 73, 80, 83 and 87; FAA Squadrons - 769, 801 and 802 plus other silver wings from Egypt, Iraq, Lithuania, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

The tables, with one exception, in this new title are especially good. The two-part Production List accounts for all 747 Gladiators - including the prototype - built, including those assembled by SABCA in Belgium. From this list you can see that Gladiators were used by 18 different air forces: RAF, FAA, Australia, Belgium, China, Egypt, Eire, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Lativia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden and the USSR. I appreciate most the short, but neat and thorough, table titled, "Preserved Gladiators", which accounts, quite positively, for nine survivors - one airworthy and another being made airworthy. In the SPRUE BITS section of September 2002's Internet Modeler I mentioned correspondence from Reidar Berg telling of four more RAF Gladiators, one quite complete, having been recently recovered in Norway. Perhaps from these we will see at least one more Gladiator preserved and displayed.

The poorest table purports to list Gladiator kits and accessories. Two things about this list offend my sense of propriety: for the Airfix 1:72 issue the list notes only, "Discontinued" and, "Also Heller". As many will recall in 1956 Airfix issued, what is by today's standards, a truly awful kit of the Gladiator. Heller's much later 1:72 issue, on the other hand, is really very good - the best yet in 1:72 and it's not even given its own line entry here nor is the very good Frog kit, which like the Matchbox offering was released in 1973. Oddly, they do mention the Encore reissue of the Heller kit! In the same vein, the paradigm, and also the only, until now, 1:48 kit by Inpact is not even mentioned. Further, the Lindberg reissue is the only one of the four reissues of the Inpact kit to be mentioned - the other two being from Lifelike, Hobby-Life and Pyro.

The excellent GA line drawings and the color profiles and plan views are by Richard Caruana, who is well known for the work he does monthly for SAMI and previously did for the, lamentably, defunct MODELAID magazine from Malta.


This is the best of the three recent Gladiator books for the model builder/amateur historian.


1. I received several e-mail messages subsequent to the May 2002 review of the Osprey and Mushroom books suggesting that the old, 1964, MacDonald Aircraft Monograph - Gloster Gladiator by Francis K. Mason was a "Must Have" reference. I have not found one yet so cannot comment on that point. Does any reader have a copy they'd like to sell?

2. A newer title referred to by several corespondents as another "Must Have" is B. Belcarz & R. Peczkowski's Monographie Lotnicze No. 24 - Gloster Gladiator . I'm looking for a copy of that one too.

pragolog-sm.jpg (5410 bytes)