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Meteor Dual-Build: the Matchbox 1:72 one....


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Greetings all!

Im pleased to show you my latest the well-known and oft-built Matchbox 1-72 scale Armstrong-Whitworth Meteor, built in this instance as the NF.14 variant.

This, the last in a series of night-fighter variants of the Meteor, really only saw active service for about 2 years ( I think from 1954-56), largely as an interim solution prior to replacement by Gloster's own Javelin. Common to all the NF variants were performance problems due to the extra aircrew and associated radar equipment, meaning that climb-rates and performance-at-altitude etc., were unfavourable when compared to other contemporary aircraft like the Canberra.

Despite this I find the NF.14 a graceful-looking aircraft: theres something about the morphing of the various Meteor variants - from early to late - that seems to illustrate the evolution in jet aircraft design of the period,This is perhaps best typified by the NF.14 canopy and nose more flowing and aerodynamic feeling than early versions you can almost feel the later shapes of Hunters and Phantoms straining to burst out (if that makes sense?)

The WIP for the build is over here:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235002360-the-dual-build-diaries-a-meatbox-apocalypse-172-edition/page-1

A final bit of background: this was a dual-scale, dual-build, started at the same time as John (The Spadgent), who was himself building a 1-48 Gloster Meteor F.1 from Tamiya. You can find Johns RFI over here:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235004487-meteor-dual-build-the-tamiya-148-one/

Wed done this once before as Britmodeller virgins (doing dual-scale Stringbags) earlier in the year, enjoying the process of building in tandem so much that we decided to do it again here with Meteors. For myself, its been a blast!

My build is a largely pro forma job, using the included Matchbox 85 Sqn decals and paint scheme - the only AM items were an Airwaves photo-etch set for cockpit walls and aerials; everything else additional was scratch-built. This is, of course, an absolute creature of a kit to wrestle into shape (had I read some of the build reports of other modellers more thoroughly, I might have got cold feet). Im not going to criticize an old kit for different production values, but be prepared to spend a long time filling and sanding and scribing. The decals showed their age by being very brittle, which caused a number of problems that I covered in the WIP. Paint was self-mixed by eye, from a range of Tamiya acrylics.

I started the build convinced that if I was going to build a model that had been done umpteen times before, I had to offer people something different to look at, so I decided to build the NF.14 variant with a removable radome, in order to show the AI.21 radar unit. I havent seen this done before. <pauses for flood of corrective replies>

The biggest problem I faced was an almost complete lack of photographic documentation for this part of the aircraft lots of shots of empty nose units, but nothing with the radar in. As I predicted early on, it was only after Id built everything that I finally found a single photo of an NF.14 undergoing maintenance, in the archives at the RAF Church Fenton website here:

http://www.rafchurch...er pic 015.jpg

From the photo, (which isnt very detailed) my guesses about form and scale dont seem too amiss. If anyone wants to follow the research for this build with a view to making something similar themselves, its in this topic here in the Cold War discussion thread:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235001940-meteor-nf14-radar-images/

as well as further info here:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234990198-nf-meteors/page-5

The following BMers were extremely generous with technical and historical advice on this build:

71chally, (who put me on to the YAM restoration of an NF.14). You can catch up with the lads here:

http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?137187-A-W-Meteor-NF-14-WS788-Restoration-Thread

Jun in Tokyo, John Aero, fatalbert, and NAVY870 all weighed in with a selection of drawings culled from various official sources, all of which were immensely helpful in visualizing form. John (canberra kid) also provided a couple of photo references, which helped greatly in terms of colour work. Thanks, you are gentleman all.

The WIP says it all in terms of what needed doing. The scratch-built elements on this briefly were: cockpit (pilots gunsight area and observers radar units, seat frames), wheel wells, AI.21 radar equipment and radome, Hispano muzzles, brake lines on main gear, rudder pedal assembly, landing-light window in nose-gear door, topside aerials and flap at rear of sliding canopy, the Derwent engines, maintenance trolley for removal of radome.

Be warned that some of the Airwaves etch for this kit is insanely small, to the point that there is so little surface area to glue onto the aircraft (like the steps) that I ended up leaving these out as simply impracticable. Also, the rudder pedal assembly seems oversize for the scale when compared to reference photography, hence I discarded these for my own scratched-up items (a biro refill seems the right scale for the rudder-pedal channels!)

Aside from the above web links above, books I found useful on the build were the Warpaint (Good panel drawings!) and SAM volumes on the Meteor, as well as the Pilots Notes for the NF.14.

My thanks to John, for being such an engaging and amiable companion on the build.

Tony

Firstly some plan views:

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Some obliques:

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Finally: the 'Night-Prowler':

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Thanks for all your support, comments, criticisms during the build :bye:

Edited by TheBaron
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What can I say old pal but absolutely stunning, not only have you finished her off exquisitely but the photos are great too. I wish I had done more with lights and scenes, Maybe next time. The night time shots are something else but my favourite are the first few pics, I don't know what it is but the lighting looks other worldly almost like the lunar landing pics. the scratch work is ace too. I could go on all night but I need sleepy time. :sleep_1:

In the words of Percy in black adder 2 "It's been a pleasure working with you" if you ever feel the inclination to go again you let me know. :thumbsup:

All the best and have a cracking holiday.

Take care.

John. :yahoo:

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Thanks one and all for your kind comments. Apologies for not replying to this thread for a while but I'm off on the holidays later today. I'll catch up with any feedback on my return. Thanks all for looking,

Tony

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Long nose Meteor are really the most striking!

Hard to believe it is the Matchbox kit, which I built ages ago, using most of a tube of putty!

The night photos are really effective and it looks real.

Congrats on an outstanding build.

JR

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Hi Tony

What can I say, a great piece of work, looks amazing and as said previously the photos look great. Your build has been very helpful to me too as still in the process of doing mine, but I did box of the U/C bays and am not far off painting now. Thanks for your help fella. Any ideas what you are doing next ?

Thanks for sharing, it has been inspirational.

All the best
Chris

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I followed the WIP thread with interest. I built a couple of Matchbox meteors years ago when they first came out and remember how much filler they needed. Also I'm glad to say you have confirmed for me that the wheel wells had no locating holes for the undercarriage. I wasn't sure if I had screwed up or was mis-remembering it.

I also bought a conversion kit, Aeroclub? to convert one to the F8 version. I think I still have it somewhere. Must dig it out.

Also that's the first time I saw a WIP thread interrupted in order to cut turf before! I hope you brought the traditional lunch of the turf cutter. 'A bottle o tea and a ham sangwich' :winkgrin:

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Top draw sir. Love the extra detailing and the reboot of a good old Matchbox kit. Lovely atmospheric photos and entertaining build thread. Bring on the next project - Matchbox Hawker Hunter?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello all!

I just got back in circulation after being away (holiday, not HMP, thanks for asking...!) so duty bound to reply to all your kind comments.

Had a great time, especially getting back to the FAA museum at Yeovilton, as well as renewing the pleasure of Air Day there after a gap of several years. I managed to get some good HDR shots (especially getting in super-close to LS326, and up inside a Barracuda wheel-well)) that may be of detailing use to others, so I'll post these over in the Walkaround section later next week.

Other than that it was just good pints of bitter and swimming along the Dorset coast with the family: bliss, despite the mixed weather...

Cracking photos and a fantastic build and in 1/72 to boot,I'm glad to have played a small part in such a top model, well done my friend!

John: And thank-you for your help on this! I didn't manage to pick up a PR Canberra whilst away but one will certainly form the nucleus of my next set of projects when I'm up and running again!

The AM sets the old girl off nicely. Got that song 'Night Prowler' in my head now.

Darby: Thanks for that. Empire of the Deep was the perfect read whilst looking over to Portland from Lulworth, so thank-you for the recommendation.

Your photos really set it of, nice work and great detail

Rob: Cheers! Amazing what you can do with a Lidl bike light!

It's been a pleasure working with you" if you ever feel the inclination to go again you let me know.

John: Likewise geezer. Let's give it a few months and compare stashes! :thumbsup:

Weird synchronicity you building that Vampire after I left for Blighty - this time last week I was sat in the cockpit of the T.22 version at Yeovilton, pondering a build of the self-same aircraft! Your Day-Glo baby looks seriously smart - nice rescue on the pre-shade mate.

Lovely Meatbox, & those night shots are fantastic!!

Keith: Thanks for that! Never could resist playing around with torches and long-exposures; but then I'd still get a kick from playing with sparklers on Guy Fawkes' night :hypnotised:

Came through with flying colours

Excellent result from a venerable old kit, consider my hat tipped in your direction sir!

Phil: Much appreciated mate. I don't mind admitting to several moments of doubt over the whole affair whilst re-filling and re-sanding that bloody fuselage for the umpteenth time...

Yes, wonderful build and finish on an older kit, well done all around.

Cookie: Thanks for that. Glad you liked it!

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Not only is the result a beauty in itself, but your photography makes the model all the more interesting!

Jay: Now you're just making me blush...Glad you liked it :D

I followed the WIP thread with interest. I built a couple of Matchbox meteors years ago when they first came out and remember how much filler they needed. Also I'm glad to say you have confirmed for me that the wheel wells had no locating holes for the undercarriage. I wasn't sure if I had screwed up or was mis-remembering it.

Also that's the first time I saw a WIP thread interrupted in order to cut turf before! I hope you brought the traditional lunch of the turf cutter. 'A bottle o tea and a ham sangwich'

Noel: Yep. You're dead right on the 'aspirational' nature of the instructions regarding the location of that undercarriage; in the end I had to sketch a crude map of the wheel-well layout myself from photographs to be sure. Doesn't help that some of the undercarriage diagonal struts are too thick, confusing matters further...

As well as the tae and sarnies, don't forget those bloody midgies - they make straight for my sassenach skin every time! :owww:

Top draw sir. Love the extra detailing and the reboot of a good old Matchbox kit. Lovely atmospheric photos and entertaining build thread. Bring on the next project - Matchbox Hawker Hunter?

Tomo: Thanks for that mate, as well as for all your encouragement on the journey to 'get there' A Matchbox Hunter? :hmmm: I nearly succumbed to a 1:32 Revell one on holiday as they seemed top be on sale cheap in all the West Country Toymasters...I hate to ask, but how much filler would I need on the Matchbox one?

Superb result Tony, really worth the hassle you went through with this one!

Lovin the night time shots, there was a well known Vampire NF.10 night photo, reminds me of that.

71Chally: Thanks for that sir :thumbsup2: I'd definitely put this model in the 'test of moral fibre' category! As regards the night-time shots, it was actually this lovely photo that convinced me to try some similar lighting effects as part of the shoot:

prb8473_l.jpg

Image Credit: RAF Museum: http://www.nationalcoldwarexhibition.org/research/collections/armstrong-whitworth-meteor-nf14/

Edited by TheBaron
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Martin: Thank-you! The night shots certainly cover a multitude of sins, especially the unsightly filler-crack that developed in the port fuselage during the shoot that people were kind enough not to mention!

I love the atmospheric night time shots

Great job on that old kit, really nice work

Russ: Glad you liked it sir. I find something masochistically pleasurable about bringing these 'childhood heritage' kits back to life...

Great stuff and brilliant photography. Re-scribing work is excellent.

Meatbox8: Thanks for your kind comments! I have to admit that this was the first time I've ever re-scribed a model so extensively. More to do with my own clumsiness with the technique, but I didn't find using tape all that effective as a guide-line for doing lines around complex 3D contours, so have invested in a flexible ruler for the next occasion. Also the Verlinden 1:72 template was an absolute must for some of the smaller access-panels. :thumbsup:

Lovely build and fantastic photos. Especially like the night shots.

Mark: Glad you liked them. :thumbsup2: I make a point of using straight photography for documentation, i.e., no Photoshoppery except for scaling the originals for posting.

One of my favourites, a great build and photos.

Trev: Thanks for that. Whilst this old Matchbox job wasn't always a pleasure to do at points, it's taught me a hell of a lot in terms of technique and adaptability.

Long nose Meteor are really the most striking!

Hard to believe it is the Matchbox kit, which I built ages ago, using most of a tube of putty!

The night photos are really effective and it looks real.

JR: Thank-you for your kind words. You're spot-on about the amount of putty needed, I was certainly taken aback by the amount needed to bring the beast together. That'll teach me to read other people's build reports with greater car next time! Once done though you are right, it does make for a striking-looking aircraft! :thumbsup2:

Hi Tony

What can I say, a great piece of work, looks amazing and as said previously the photos look great. Your build has been very helpful to me too as still in the process of doing mine, but I did box of the U/C bays and am not far off painting now. Thanks for your help fella. Any ideas what you are doing next ?

Chris: Hello again mate. Glad to hear that your own build is still underway! Glad also to have been of some encouragement. As hard a kit as it is to bring up to scratch, the feeling of pleasure on 'getting there' in the end is a nice one. Good luck with that painting - I'm looking forwards to seeing your RFI in due course :thumbsup2:

As to next steps, although I've another Matchbox (Stranraer) lined up, I've recently got sidetracked by early Cold War jets, especially - since a visit to Yeovilton - by various FAA jobs (Sea Venom, Seahawk, Sea Vixen) as well as Canberras/Hunters/Vampires. I think what I'll do is not rush into something straight away, but build up modest stash of these over the next few weeks and then vacillate wildly before finally taking a decision....

My thanks again for all the support. I don't know what I'm going to make next, but know that with all the support and expertise people give so generously here on this forum that my skills seem to expand at an incredible rate with each build.

:worthy:

Tony

Edited by TheBaron
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Tony,

SPLENDID build Sir,and the photos, the night photos are AWESOME too..

BEAUTIFUL MODEL.

:wow::thumbsup::worthy:

Thanks Houston. :) Only just looked at these pics again after a two-week absence; amazing how quickly we forget about the trials of the last build and start looking forward to the next....
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