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"RAF Gladiator" - 1:72 Hobbyboss

Paul A H

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RAF Gladiator

1:72 Hobbyboss


The Gloster Galdiator was developed as a private venture with the aim of fulfilling Air Ministry Specification F.7/30. This called for a fighter aircraft armed with four machine guns and capable of 250 mph. Rather than opting for a new design, Gloster opted to develop a proposal from the existing Gauntlet fighter. The resulting aircraft featured aerodynamic improvements, cantilever undercarriage, an extra pair of machine guns, a more powerful engine and, finally, a completely enclosed cockpit. The Gladiator flew for the first time in September 1934 and entered service in January 1937.

Such was the pace of aeronautical development in the late 1930s that the Gladiator was becoming obsolete even as it was entering service. Nevertheless, over 700 examples were built (including navalised Sea Gladiators) and it saw action in most theatres of the Second World War. Despite being more demanding to fly than the Gauntlet, the Gladiator was popular with pilots. Perhaps the Galdiators finest hour was the defence of Malta in 1940, when a handful of aircraft formed the entire air defence of the besieged island.

Before I get any further, I think its only fair to underline the fact that this kit is part of Hobbybosss easy assembly range. Those demanding the last word in detail should look away now; you are not the market that Hobbyboss is targeting with this kit!

The kit arrives packed into a very sturdy top-opening box adorned with a rather quaint photograph of the finished kit superimposed onto a simple image of the sky. Inside the box are two sprues of grey plastic, one small clear sprue and a separately moulded lower fuselage/wing and upper fuselage. In common with other Hobbyboss kits, the parts are extremely well packed. All of the sprues are individually bagged and the more delicate components such as the canopy are wrapped in foam for extra protection. The plastic parts are nicely moulded and surface detail is comprised of fine, engraved panel lines and stretched fabric effect where appropriate.



As you might expect from a kit designed to be easy to assemble, the cockpit is a relatively simple affair. It is comprised of a floor/rear bulkead, a seat and a control column. There is no instrument panel to speak of, and no decals to represent luxurious details like flight instruments. The finished assembly clips into two large sockets on the inside of the lower fuselage/wing section. This, in turn, joins to the upper fuselage/tail and completes the substantial part of the airframe.

The Bristol Pegasus engine is moulded inside the cowling. This obviously keeps the part count down, but it is a compromise in terms of detail. It also means that the bulbous shape of the cowling has been missed, resulting in a more tube-shaped piece instead. A choice of two airscrews is provided. One has a spinner fitted whilst the other doesnt, but both are variants of the two-bladed version found on the Mk.I.



The fit of the upper wing to the rest of the airframe is reminiscent of the old (and in my opinion pretty good) Matchbox kit. The inner struts have to be trapped between the forward fuselage and the separately moulded section that sits forward of the cockpit. The outer struts are parallelograms that fit between the lower and upper wings. A little care will need to be taken to ensure that everything lines up, but Hobbyboss have made things as easy as possible short of providing a jig. The fabric surfaces of the wings, tail planes and rear fuselage are fairly well done, but the underwing machine guns look a little clunky and overscale.


The cantilever undercarriage is moulded with separate port and starboard legs, and the wheels are fairly nice. The exhaust pipes that run from the back of the cowling underneath the fuselage are also separately moulded. The canopy is moulded in one piece but is thin and clear, with nice canopy frame lines.

Two marking options are provided:
K7985 in overall silver. This aircraft forms part of the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden; and
N5519 Charity. This is actually a Sea Gladiator, which is a bit of a puzzle as the kit features no arrestor hook.
The decals are fairly well printed and look reasonably thin and glossy on the sheet, but only major markings and serials are covered.



As with most of the Hobbyboss Easy Assembly range, this kit wont be to everyones tastes. Ease of assembly is clearly the principal design philosophy behind the range, which means compromises have been made in terms of detail and, in one or two instances, shape. The kit is not entirely spartan, however, and Hobbyboss have done pretty well to cram in as much detail as they have. If you want a richly detailed kit, you might want to hang on and see what Airfix produce later this year. If you just want a quick build (or a model for a youngster to make), then this kit is well worth considerating.


Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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I did a F4u Corsair of the Easy Assembly range and it's a breath of fresh air if you need it. You can have a pretty good looking model on your display shelf in about an hour if you hurry or a day if you take things very slow (like I did :P ) Good value for money if you ask me

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That looks pretty good. I'm sure the new Airfix kit will be better, however for a quick build I would almost consider this one.

If only they could come up with an easy way to rig the damn thing...

Cheers.. Dave.

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