Swedish service History
The Gladiator was flown by a number of countries, among them Sweden. In the Swedish Air force they were used as the fighter/Jakt J8 and J8a.
On 14 December 1939 the Swedish government decided to put up Swedish voluntary wing F19 to help Finland in the battle with Russia. 12 Gladiators fought for the Finnish cause during the war and the Swedish pilots saw combat action in the cold winter war.
The 12 Gladiators (the numbers is the aircraft serial number and the letter is the code for the tail wing):
268 - Yellow J
271 - Yellow B/or Yellow E
275 - Yellow D
276 - Yellow L
278 - Yellow H
279 - Yellow G
281 - Yellow C
282 - Yellow B/or Yellow E
283 - Yellow I
284 - Yellow F
285 - Yellow K
154 Resin parts
4 clear resin elements
28 PE parts
3 marking options
The kit itself comes well packed in a cardboard box. Wojtek at Silver Wings has taken good measures to not getting the kit damaged in the postal handling.
Inside the box, all items are bagged in zip-locks and sorted; engine, interior, flying surfaces, etched parts and transparencies . The fuselage halves are taped together to avoid warping. All control surfaces are cast separately. The cabane struts and interplane struts, plus the landing gear are cast with wire cores, providing adequate strength for these important parts. The 4 clear resin elements for the cockpit canopy give you option for a Mk I or Mk II windscreen. The transparencies are quite clear and I hope Johnson’s floor polish will come in handy here to get that extra sparkle we all desire.
All the bits and pieces are nicely mastered and cast, and I could not find any marks or air bubbles at all. The surface detail is sharper than many injection molded kits with a fully detailed cockpit and a very accurate Mercury engine. All small parts have the casting block attached and there´s plenty of small bits here so take care when cutting the parts free from the blocks.
The fit off the bigger parts is stunning, the upper wing is cast in three parts and the dihedral would be 6mm. The parts fit together almost by a click and this is too good to be true. The surface details are really good, though the panel lines on the fuselage are a bit wide. I would also replace the rivets on the metal panels (but that´s me).
Some words about the skis for the Finnish version. I can´t say if they are totally wrong but they do not look correct. They are just too long to look right, so if you will go for this option, check your references.
The etched brass that´s provided is mostly for the cockpit, but there are some parts for the exterior. The brass itself is very nice and my thought goes to Eduard or Parts - which of them is involved here? I don’t know, but the brass is good. You get instruments, belts, radiator and a bunch of small parts.
The decals looking good, but I can´t tell you if they are correct or not ( because of lack of knowledge of the decal options). Three options are given and they are:
Gladiator Mk II - 247 Squadron (the only squadron of the Battle of Britain), 1940
Gladiator Mk II - 1/LeLv 16, Finnish Air Force, 1942
Gladiator Mk I - 72 Squadron, Church Fenton, 1937
And for you who wants more decal options I can tell you that Rowan Brentwood of Pheon decals is working on some decals for this Gladiator.
For me, I will go a more narrow and will build Yellow H from the Swedish Voluntary Wings F19.the same Gladiator standing at the Swedish Museum at Malmen in Sweden. As I know this Gladiator was flown in Finland at the time, so the choice of 278(aircraft number) is obvious for me. To do this I will have a friend make some new paint masks for me based from photos and references.
A few words about the instructions could be in place. There are no numbers on any parts, so take care when searching for the correct item. The instructions are good and easy to follow and the etched parts are labeled out and there´s also some building tips included in the instructions.
If you need a walkaround on the F19 Gladiator you´ll find it
HERE. The pics are from the Swedish museum of the 278 Gladiator flown by Martin Wennerstrand in Finland.
After asking and begging Roden for a scaled-up version of their 1:48 Gladiator for number of years, now I've finally got my dream machine in the right scale from Silver Wings instead.
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