by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Dragon pleased fans of British jets earlier this year when they released CAD shots of their new 1:72 Meteor as part of their Cyber-Hobby range. Well, now the kit is ready for release and an early example arrived last week, prior to the model hitting the shelves of UK model shops.
Dragon's Meteor arrives in a solid top-opening box adorned with a slightly garish painting of a pair of Meatboxes against a purple sky. Inside, all the sprues are bagged, and the clear parts and accessories are taped to a cardboard liner for further protection. The kit comprises:
51 x grey styrene parts
7 x clear parts
5 x etched brass parts
Decals for 6 x aircraft
The moulding is very good, with no signs of flash or sink marks, and with crisp detailing throughout. The exterior surfaces have a satin finish with neatly engraved panel lines and some embossed rivets and fasteners. Strictly speaking, these are probably a bit overdone, but they aren't excessive - especially under a coat of paint. The rudder features a fabric effect, and this does look too heavy to my eyes, so I'll reduce it a fair bit.
Basic FitI've dived straight in and begun building the kit, and haven't hit any major problems so far. The cockpit tub slots neatly into the fuselage, and the halves fit together well. The wings and nacelles fit together well, and the way the wing dovetails into the fuselage underside is cleverly engineered. The wing roots are pretty good (although there's a slight gap at the front), but I've found the wings have a tendency to droop, so I think they'll need taping while they dry to ensure the centre section is flat. The kit is a tail-sitter, and Dragon show to add weight behind the cockpit. There's plenty of room, so it should be no problem adding enough.
A few detailsAs regards the aircraft as a whole, all the control surfaces are separate and the flaps can be assembled raised or lowered. The dive brakes are represented by photo-etched parts.
The cockpit is simple, but quite nicely detailed for this scale. The sidewalls are very well moulded and slot into a basic tub, along with a decent instrument panel. The seat lacks a harness, which seems a missed opportunity considering that the kit contains and etched fret. Rudder pedals are moulded into the floor of the tub. The control column has a conventional grip, whereas my references show that a spade grip was more likely for the Meteor III.
The undercarriage features separate wheels and a nice touch is that the tyres are "weighted". The hubs are crisply detailed, and the wheel wells are boxed-in and have the interior structure well defined.
The nacelles are the original "short type" and have a jet-pipes to insert, but they still have an empty "see through" look, so you may want to add a little "gizmology" to fill the voids.
The canopy is crystal clear and can be posed open or closed. Other clear parts represent the gusight and lamp covers.
Instructions & decalsThe assembly guide is well drawn and easy to follow (if a little cluttered in places), breaking construction down into 5 main stages. Although a colour chart is included for Gunze Sangyo and ModelMaster paints, there's no painting guide for the interior or other details.
Decals are included for no less than 6 main schemes (plus alternative serials for 2 more):
616 Sqn., RAF, Lübeck, 19465
74 Sqn., RAF Colerne, 1945
616 Sqn., RAF, Manston, 1945
616 Sqn., RAF, England, 1945
257 Sqn., RAF, Horsham St. Faith, 1947
500 Sqn., Royal Auxiliary Air Force, West Malling, 1948
The decals are custom printed by Cartograf with their usual excellent register. Unusually, the finish is quite matte. The roundel red may be a bit bright for the wartime machines.
ConclusionOverall, Dragon's new Meteor looks a great little kit - easy to assemble and nicely detailed. My one concern is the price; although it's not in stock yet, Hannants are showing a price of £26.99. That's pretty steep for a mainstream kit of this size, and risks putting off potential buyers. That would be a real shame, because Dragon's Meatbox has a lot to offer.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.