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Gloster/AW Meteor (9781912932023) Airframe Album 15


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Gloster/AW Meteor (9781912932023)

Valiant Wings Publishing

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Looks like a very good book.

 

While it was not that great a fighter in all, the RAAF had good success in Korea in the ground attack role, and the aircraft served in the RAF until the mid 60s as a target tug. The last drones flew into the early 2000s with the MOD.

 

 

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