Historically, the Gloster Meteor was Britainís first jet fighter and the only Allied jet aircraft to see service during the Second World War.
The F.8 variant of the Meteor was perhaps the definitive incarnation of this famous aircraft and was the main RAF fighter throughout the 1950ís, until superseded by the Hawker Hunter.
As the first jet aircraft to see service with the Royal Air Force, the Gloster Meteor will always be seen as historically important. A stable and reliable aircraft, the Meteor soon became outclassed as an air superiority fighter, but the effectiveness of the basic design allowed the aircraft to be used in a variety of other roles. In combat with MiG 15 fighters over Korea, Royal Australian Air Force Meteors were found to be severely lacking as dogfighters and were to suffer at the hands of this diminutive Soviet fighter. It was quickly relegated to ground attack duties, where it proved to be extremely effective.
Info from Airfix
In the box
Packed in Airfix's large standard predominately red box, the kit is well protected with the five light grey/blue sprues packed in a cellophane bag, with the one clear sprue packed in a separate bag.
A comprehensive set of instructions, two sheets for the marking and stencil guide and a set of decals make up the contents.
With this being a new tool, there is no flash, and pin marks seem to be in places that won't require any attention.
Exterior detail for the fuselage and wings is engraved panel and rivets. The photos make them look very heavy, but they are very subtle. The control surfaces have some lovely raised rivet areas. The instructions don't show them modelled in any position then in the neutral state, but as they are all separate I'm pretty sure they can be modelled off center.
The wing air brakes can be modelled open or closed.
Interior detail for the cockpit is stunning with some raised and recessed areas for the walls, along with some plumbing and cable work moulded into the two cockpit side walls. The ejection seat is made up of five parts and you have a choice of seat back, one with the harness moulded in, and one without. I first thought this was for a pilot figure, but none is included, so one would imagine its for adding any A.M belts.
The instrument panel has raised areas for the dials, and a decal can be used that has been supplied.
15 grams of nose weight will be needed to stop it being a tail sitter, and the instructions show where to put this, which is a nice touch, (no nose weight is supplied, in case your wondering).
The undercarriage bays are just as detailed with some beautiful rib effects for the walls and floor. Pipework is also reproduced as moulded on detail. The wheels are two part affairs and are weighted. The main undercarriage legs along with the mudguards are only made up of three parts each, and are possibly the weakest part of the kit. The nose gear on the other hand has a complex looking mounting system, with it made up of around ten parts including the nose wheel and bay doors. The nose gear legs fits onto the front cockpit wall, and does look very delicate. The undercarriage can be modelled in either the down or up position.
The four Hispano Mk.5 cannons on both sides of the fuselage are pretty well detailed and can be modelled with the access door removed so they are on show. Alternatively they can be left off and the doors glued on.
Now the beauty of this kit is the two Derwent turbo jet engines are supplied. Although they are not the most detailed engines ever produced they are quite well detailed with some very delicate mouldings on some of the parts. Each engine and exhaust tube is made up of ten parts each, and slot into the wings. The two rear bulkheads for the engine bays is made up of one part and the middle section is for the rear undercarriage walls. This has some nice detail moulded onto the front and rear faces.
The engines can be fitted with the access panels open, or the panels closed, at which point a part is omitted, so they can close. Alternatively one engine can be removed and built and placed on a supplied trestle.
The engine bay itself is pretty devoid of any detail.
Two clear canopies are supplied, but only one is used, as the other one has a frosted rear part, which does look like other marking options are in the making.
The canopies are clear, blemish free, thin and distortion free. The HUD has a clear part as well as a few windows and lights dotted around the fuselage and wings.
External ordnance for the Meteor is three fuel tanks, two for the wings and one centerline tank. These feature engraved panel lines and raised areas for the filling caps. Holes will need to be drilled for fitting these parts if you so choose.
Instructions and decals
The instruction booklet, well more book really, is 15 pages long and each page is filled with the build sequence. This takes place over 98 steps, but don't panic, each step is for only one or two parts to be built and fitted. Each optional part is clearly marked and internal colours for the Humbrol range of paints are given along the way. the build sequence is easy to follow, and is in the new style of computer drawings that Airfix have adopted with the new parts shown to be fitted to highlighted red areas.
The decals have a slightly glossy look are in register and have loads of stencils as well as the two unit markings.
Two marking options are supplied -
- Gloster Meteor F.8, WL123/H, RAF No.111 Squadron, North Weald, Essex, 1954
This first scheme marks a Meteor which served with No.111 Squadron and wears standard RAF day fighter camouflage, with the addition of a distinctive yellow tail.
- Gloster Meteor F.8, WH364/U, RAF No.85 Squadron, Binbrook, Lincolnshire, 1968
Wearing an attractive silver scheme, this Meteor served with RAF No.601 Squadron between 1952 and 1957, with the station flights at Safi, Takali and Idris.
Both markings are on a double A4 size sheet with all four profiles shown.
Also on a separate double A4 size sheet is the stencil marking guide.
Conclusion Well its about time a new tool Gloster Meteor turned up, and all I can say is that Airfix have done a great job reproducing this important fighter. Once the A.M companies start producing parts for this, mainly a more detailed engine, this will go from an great model to an outstanding one.
As for accuracy, I have no idea, as all I know is that it looks like a Gloster Meteor and I will let modellers more experienced in the Meteor answer that one.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.