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  1. Meteor Nightfighter NF.14 (SW48011) 1:48 Sword Models The Gloster Meteor was the RAF’s first front-line jet, and although it wasn’t all that good initially, it was developed over a number of years and found its niches before its straight wings and centrifugal engines consigned it other jobs away from the front-line and eventually to history. In the meantime it had gathered a substantial following from aviation buffs that lingers even today, judging by the comments here on the forum. The Nightfighter was a good role for the Meatbox, as its relatively outdated technology and flight envelope didn’t matter so much, and no-one could see the big radome nose and long greenhouse canopy that was replaced with a more modern blown version by the time they got to the NF.14, which was a modified NF.11 with extended nose to accommodate the newer radar in only 100 airframes. The Kit Happy days! A new tool from Sword that fills in a gap in the Meteor kits in this scale, and makes building a 1:48 Nightfighter Meatbox less of a game of eBay hide-and-seek. It’s a lot different in terms of sprue layout from previous kits, although the moulding technology is similar but more advanced than the older kit we’re all thinking of. All parts are styrene and spread over four sprues in grey plus one with clear parts. Everything is in a resealable ziplok bag, and a couple of parts had come adrift during shipping, which you can see in the photo of the clear parts. There’s a reasonably large decal sheet and an A5 instruction booklet with colour painting profiles at the rear. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is all assembled on a long floor panel with the mounts for the nose gear at the front. Starting with the instrument panels for the pilot and radar operator, plus the pilot seat, the sidewalls, a pair of bulkheads front and rear, and ending with bulkheads between the two crew positions. Many smaller parts are added along the way together with the seats and instruments, as well as copious colour call-outs to make your model more accurate, after which it is flipped over and the nose gear bay is boxed in. That’s all you need to close up the fuselage, placing another bulkhead aft of the radome as you do so, and adding a rear deck insert once you have the two halves together. Unusually, the tail fins are put on the low t-tail early using a pair of pegs that fit into corresponding holes in the fin at 90o, with a small tail-bumper added to the underside. The main gear bays are buried in the wing between fuselage and engine nacelles, with their sides boxed in with five parts added to the already detailed upper wing inner surface. They are joined by an approximation of the centrifugal jet engine suspended on a bulkhead at the front, and an exhaust tube mounted on a bulkhead at the rear, the space between them never to be seen again. This is carried out twice, and the wing halves can then be joined along with the engine intake cowlings that have small cut-outs each side to mate with the wing leading edges. The completed wing gets fitted with the fuselage straight away, and has the clear wingtip lights painted with transparent red and green as well as adding the pitot probe. Attention then turns to the landing gear, the legs for all three made in halves to trap the two-part wheels in place and leading to a seam down the mud-guards that will need hiding in addition to the seam down the oleo itself. I’m going to try to fit my wheels later by flexing the stub axles to accommodate the wheels after clean-up of seams and painting. The nose leg has three bay doors and a moulded-in retraction jack, while the two main gear legs have separate jacks and two bay doors, the inner one having a closure strut that holds it open at the correct angle. Speaking of angles, there’s a small scrap diagram that shows the correct angles of the bay doors and the optional two-part wing-mounted fuel tanks that have their pylons moulded into each part. The final steps finish off the internal structure of the cockpit with coaming, radar hood and roll-over bars, then closing the cockpit up with the choice of two windscreens and the aforementioned blown canopy in either open or closed positions. A couple of small T-antennae are added along the bottom and a small intake fitted to the upper-mid fuselage, then it’s heading for the paint booth. Markings Decals are provided for two markings options with the same basic camouflage scheme underneath, with two pages taken up with locations for the many stencils that are dotted around the airframe. From the box you can build one of the following: NF.14 WS833 MS, 72 Sq. RAF Church Fenton 1956, flown by Wing Commander Maurice Shaw. NF.14 WS776 J, 85 Sq. RAF Church Fenton 1958, flown by Miroslav Liškutin Decals are printed by Techmod in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. All of the stencils are legible if you have good eyesight or magnification, with plenty of them on the sheet, all adding to the realism. Conclusion A really welcome new release from Sword that deserves to sell well. The detail is good and the decals are excellent, so with the fact that it’s a Nightfighter Meteor, it’s a case of how many do you need, and when are other boxings coming out? Get them while you can. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Gloster Meteor F.8 (A04064) 1:72 Airfix The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter, and the Allies' first operational jet aircraft during the Second World War. The Meteor's development was heavily reliant on its ground-breaking turbojet engines, pioneered by Sir Frank Whittle and his company, Power Jets Ltd. Development of the aircraft itself began in 1940, although work on the engines had been underway since 1936 using the diminutive E.28/39 Pioneer airframe. The Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27th July 1944 with No. 616 Squadron RAF, although it was initially forbidden from operating over enemy territory for fear of a downed aircraft giving away precious secrets. Nicknamed the "Meatbox", the Meteor was not a sophisticated aircraft in terms of its aerodynamics or engines, but proved to be a successful combat fighter through successive upgrades of the basic design, with several major variants incorporating rapid technological advances during the 1940s and 1950s. Thousands of Meteors were built to fly with the RAF and other air forces, and remained in use for several decades overseas. The Meteor saw limited action in the Second World War, primarily intercepting the V-1 ‘Buzz Bombs’ as they flew over the British coast, which was a task they were well-suited to. Meteors of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) provided a significant contribution in the Korean War, flying many sorties against Mig-15s that were superior in most respects, suffering mounting losses before they were re-tasked with ground attack roles where they excelled due to their ruggedness. Several other operators such as Argentina, Egypt and Israel flew Meteors in later regional conflicts with variable success dependent upon the opponents that they flew against. Specialised variants of the Meteor were developed for use in photo-reconnaissance and as night fighters before they became too old and vulnerable to the more modern aircraft that were coming on the scene. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Airfix that has a lot of 72nd scale modellers champing at the bit for a modern tooling of this important early British jet. It arrives in a small top-opening box in the usual red Airfix theme, and inside are four sprues in darker grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles printed on the rearmost pages, plus a stencil diagram on the back page. There is plenty of quality detail moulded into the sprues, so it should build up into a compelling replica. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with a C-shaped assembly that is made of two sections to form the side walls and rear bulkhead, which is attached to the floor on a number of tabs, then has the ejection seat made up from a creditable five parts, with a pair of stencil decals for the sides of the headbox, latching on the rear bulkhead with a tab and slot. Behind the seat is a short deck that is shown again in a scrap diagram to correctly place it against the rear bulkhead. The control column, instrument panel with decal, and the two-part gunsight are added to finish off the cockpit, then if you are modelling a Meatbox with wheels down, the nose gear bay is inserted into the lozenge-shaped hole forward of the cockpit, after which it can be inserted into the starboard fuselage side, with a scrap diagram showing the correct location, and advising you to place 8 grams of nose weight under the floor. For the wheels-up option, the nose bay is covered over with a single part representing the three bay doors, which has tabs to help it fit flush with the surface of the fuselage. Closing the fuselage involves painting the interior silver, filing a small depression under the cockpit, and placing the rudder without glue between the two halves so that it can be left movable if you wish. The wing lowers are full-span, and in preparation for further work there are several flashed-over holes inside that should be drilled out if you are fitting drop-tanks, conformal belly-tank or the official Airfix stand. For the wheels-up option, a single part that spans the two main gear bays is inserted inside the lower wing, and the engine nacelles are both painted silver in preparation for the engines later. The first step involves inserting two spars that have the rear faces of the engines and their supports moulded into each end, then the front spar, which has the aerodynamic horizontal splitter that is visible through the intake. The spars also have bay detail moulded into them, two small sections of which should be removed from each side to facilitate the wheels-up option. The side walls of the bays are then inserted between the front and rear spars, boxing in the bays that are finished off by the moulded-in detail on the inside of the upper wings. The exhaust pipes are each assembled from two halves and are glued to the rear bulkhead, then the front face of the centrifugal jet engine, which looks considerably different from the more advanced axial flow engines used in the Me.262 and most modern jets. Before closing the wings up the underwing landing light is inserted under the port side, with a tiny recess inside that could be filled with silver paint to replicate the bulb. Before joining the two main assemblies, a trailing-edge fairing is inserted under the fuselage then the wings are joined to the fuselage, and a choice of two types of two-part ailerons depending on which decal option you have chosen. The exhaust fairings are standard, with a choice of large or small intakes at the front, which @Julien will tell you have panel lines inside and aren’t completely smooth. He says that a lot. The tail fin and rudder are already complete, and are joined by the elevator fins that are made from top of bottom halves, while the separate elevators are each single parts so that you can deflect them if you feel the urge. At this point the Meteor has no nose and only half a nose gear bay, the main mechanism projecting from a bulkhead, which is made up from three parts including the upper gear leg that are applied to the bulkhead in order, which is then inserted into the two-part nose cone, then glued to the front of the fuselage to finish it off, giving the modeller a pair of hollow gun troughs on each side as a by-product. The Meatbox’s wheels wer covered at the top with a mudguard, which makes the building of the assemblies slightly unusual, as the wheels are each two parts that have a narrow top section to fit inside the halves of the mudguards that are moulded into the gear struts. Each one is made up in half, then is joined together into handed assemblies before being glued into slots in the gear bays and completed by adding retraction jacks and bay doors on each side. The nose gear bottom section is made in the same manner, and glued into the top half of the leg to be joined by the three bay doors and the door opening mechanism. A pair of two-part drop-tanks are supplied for under the outer wing panels, with a further conformal ‘pregnancy’ tank under the centre, and a choice of open or closed air-brakes that are added under the inner panels, using different parts for each option. The airframe is completed by fitting the various antennae, cannon shell chutes, the pitot probe, canopy and windscreen, plus the optional pilot. The windscreen has a styrene part inserted within before it is glued to the front of the cockpit, while the sliding canopy has a choice of a fully-glazed unit, or another with a solid rear fairing, both of which have an insert added to the inside rear, which fixes to the raised track aft of the cockpit so that it can slide. The optional pilot is the usual hands-on-knees type, wearing a modern(ish) hard helmet, as was becoming more common after WWII and the introduction of ejection seats. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, two of which are overall high-speed silver, one camouflaged, and one of the silver options is in Belgian service. From the box you can build one of the following: No.500 Sqn. (County of Kent), Royal Auxiliary Air Force, RAF West Malling, Kent, England, May 1953 No.74(F) Sqn., RAF Horsham St Faith, Norfolk, England, July 1955 No.350 Sqn., Belgian Air Force, Beauvechain, Belgium, early 1950s Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is a great new tooling of this important post-war British jet, and arrives with plenty of detail that should satisfy the majority of us, with a nice variety of decal options to round out the package. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Gloster/AW Meteor (9781912932023) Valiant Wings Publishing The Meteor was Britain's first jet fighter that was developed following the ground-breaking E28/39 Pioneer and using two of the engines that were developed by innovator Sir Frank Whittle in an aerodynamically simple airframe that soon began to hold back further development of the aircraft. The engines were the more simple centrifugal type and were less prone to failure than the more adventurous and unreliable axial flow engines used by the Germans in the Me.262 and others. It saw limited service in WWII after introduction in 1944 but was held back from venturing overseas in case of a crash-landing that resulted in the technology falling into the hands of the enemy. After WWII it was used in Korea where its airframe's straight wings were no match for the swept wing Mig-15s that it fought against and Sabres that were used by the Americans. It still had a long life after Korea with frequent upgrades including swapping out the original engines for the more capable Derwents from Rolls Royce, and flew as a night fighter and test bed for years to come before it was finally retired. The Book The fifteenth volume of the popular and interesting Airframe Album series by Richard A Franks details this, our first jet fighter, its variants, one-offs, special editions, trials and tribulations. It spans 192 pages and is perfect bound in an A4(ish) portrait format. If you are familiar with the series you will know what to expect, with the book broken down into sections, as follows: i Introduction A brief narrative history of the development and operational use of the Meteor by the RAF, as well as those used by other nations. 1 Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment. 2 Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants. 3 Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs. 4 Models A build of the 1:72 F.Mk.I from Dragon/Cyberhobby by Libor Jekl and the new 1:48 FR.Mk.9 from Airfix by Steve A Evans. Appendices I Meteor Kit list II Meteor Accessories, Decals & masks list III Bibliography IV Squadrons As usual with Valiant's books, the pictures are both high quality and unusual, with lots of "behind the scenes" shots of production, testing and in-service photos, plus plenty more pictures of museum examples for those needing reference pictures. I always find the 3D Isometrics very interesting to discern the differences between variants, especially as I have the memory of a goldfish. I knew the Meatbox had a few strange noses, but I learned that it had a LOT of strange nose cones fitted in testing, and even more weird and impractical nacelles, especially those with attempts to add reheat to the existing airframe, resulting in comically oversized nacelles. The model section is always interesting, with Libor Jekl and Steve A Evans both doing their usual fine job of a pair of Meteor kits in the shape of the wee 1:72 Dragon kit made by Libor, and the newish Airfix 1:48 FR.Mk.9 in a fetching scheme by Steve, which now makes me wish I hadn't given away my kit. Conclusion Valiant Wings publish a good book about interesting subjects, and this is one that tweaked mine right away. If you're a modeller, aviation buff or even just interested in engineering, this will make an interesting read, which you'll come back to again when you need it for references as there are literally hundreds of detail pictures, drawings and diagrams. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Meteor FR.9 Update set, Seatbelts & Masks 1:48 Eduard for Airfix Kit These are sets for the new Airfix kit. Interior Set (49920) This set has one brass fret & one nickel one. The coloured parts are primarily for the cockpit in the form of new instrument panels and side panels, There is also a new rudder pedals, and parts for inside the front wheel well. There are new parts for the ejector seat, but not belts in this set. For the airframe there are new cannon access ports, and framing for the nose camera ports Zoom Set (FE937) This is just the colour fret from the update set. Seatbelts (FE921) This set contains seatbelts, and ejection seat handles in the now familiar steel material. Masks (EX662) Supplied on yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the glazing. In addition you get a set of hub/tyre masks for the wheels, allowing you to cut the demarcation perfectly with little effort. Review samples courtesy of
  5. So. Here's a thing. When I first joined this forum back in March, myself and John (The Spadgent) both ended up simultaneously building Fairey Swordfishes (Swodfishii?) by pure chance - he a spanking 1:48 Tamiya build, and myself a reprise of the old 1:72 Matchbox job. Having throughly enjoyed the experience of posting two differently-scaled WIPs of the same aircraft back-to-back, we've decided to go ahead and do a synchronized dual-scale build again - this time of the venerable Meteor. It'll either be 'Butch and Sundance' or 'The Two Ronnies' - it could go either way... Cheers - John & Tony PS. You'll find John's F.1 up here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235002363-the-dual-build-diaries-a-meatbox-apocalypse-148-edition/ Of the three versions the Matchbox kit offers, I'm going to build the NF.14 variant from 85 Sqn. TBH I just prefer the canopy - the prior NF marks had that 'Edwardian greenhouse' canopy that must have played merry hell with visibility and situational awareness. And before anyone sends up a warning flare - John Aero has already briefed me about not using the NF.14 nose that Matchbox supply and using the correct NF.12 length one... Anyhoo. The obligatory deboxification of the three coloured sprues. ...come up and see my etchings... Not a bad moulding for its vintage, though that gunsight fitting and joystick look a bit on the steroid-abuse side.. I noticed that the light green sprue when held up against the daylight is astonishingly translucent: The panel lines on the wings are also surprisingly restrained so I'm hoping overall not to have to do too much filling and rescribing on this one. Just admiring the delicate baroque edge to the port aileron. Wait....What? Hmm..that wing root could double as a Somme diorama... You've probably seen the amount of filling other makers of this kit have had to do. The cockpit surround and nose area are experiencing marital difficulties.... Actually the nose is going to have a bit of cosmetic surgery as I've decided that although I'm going with the markings and paint scheme off the box, I'm going to do this build with the nose removed to show the radar. There appears an absolute lack of photos showing this NF.14 radar installation so I'm going to be working from a line drawing in the Pilot's Notes and a more detailed graphic most kindly sent to me by NAVY870 of the AI.21 from a FAW.22, as they both used the same set. Those Hispanos look a bit Wiley-Coyote here. 'One of us will have to go' as Oscar Wilde quipped... After a dry fit to confirm my fears that the UK filler industry is about to experience a golden age of prosperity, down to the first adherences...aaaand already the instructions and the parts are agreeing to disagree. The drawing shows a nice clear area in front of the joystick, whilst the model appears to include a shoeshine stand for the pilot. Actually I think it's meant to be the lower part of the IP but bears no relation to the actual aircraft: Fiddling with the PE whilst I muse over what to do with the above. Some nice detailing in this set, such as the map stowage, elevator trim wheel and rear radar console. Not sure about those gulleys for the rudder pedals though - I've bent them exactly as per the instructions, yet they look suspiciously large. Having Dremeled off that shoeshine unit and test-fitted the pedal gulleys, it's evident these are not exactly in scale. I've had to make my own from biro refills. You can see the size difference below. Even my reduced-size ones still look a tad beefy but they'll do, given how little that region of the pit is visible once it's all tucked away in the fuselage. Have you noticed how pleased that joystick is to see you? I fear that's going to have to be replaced as well on the grounds of exagerrated girth. I'm sensing some size issue building up here. The front 'shelf' and gunsight area seem too big and stand out too proud of the cockpit edges compared to photo documentation. As for that 'roll-cage' behind the pilot's seat, it's trying to be the framework behind the pilot's seat into which the shoulder straps pass. That's coming out too. Swordfish rocket racks are the gift that keeps on giving. A bit of razor-sawing and this is the umpteenth time they've been to the rescue, on this occasion to give more depth to the observer's radar console. The console is something of a compromise. In the NF.14 there is the lower unit with the CRT displays and controls for the AI.21, and then a framework holding a smaller console above it that seemed to have repeaters for the altitude and IAS instrumentation. I've added some frame work but at this scale I won't go to the length of sawing off and reattaching the top unit onto the framework I've built as it'll be the first thing I snap off. The blue bits are the PE interiors temporarily positioned with Blue-Tack so that I could test fit this whole upper assembly into the lower fuselage. The rebuilt front of the cockpit, with a gunsight built from scrap PE. Apologies for picture quality - I got all fancy thinking I'd hold a cheap magnifying lens in front of the camera to make a macro-shot. Don't. It just gives the whole thing a 'third pint of scrumpy' aesthetic... In the process of delicately gluing / clumsily bending the PE to fit the interior curvature. Actually it's not as brutal as it looks, it's just that you have to trim off some of the front of the PE as it jams up against the IP once that has the PE instrumentation on it as well. That's it for tonight. Hopefully you've enjoyed it so far. John should be on later with his 1:48 version - I'll add a link to his topic once he's got it posted up. Thanks for looking Tony
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