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Meteor Nightfighter NF.14 (SW48011) 1:48


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Meteor Nightfighter NF.14 (SW48011)

1:48 Sword Models

 

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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  The Nightfighter was a good role for the Meatbox, as its relatively outdated technology and flight envelope didn’t matter so much, and no-one could see the big radome nose and long greenhouse canopy that was replaced with a more modern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.

 

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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

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Thanks for the review!

I ordered one when still not fully realising this is RAF only!

 

So there you go!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

PWhilst it’s great to finally have an injection moulded kit of the ultimate Meteor variant I think that there are a few issues with this kit.

 

Firstly the cockpit detail is a bit lacking when compared with the recently-issued  1/72nd scale Special Hobby kit of the Mk. 12, for example the Sword kit lacks the oxygen bottles on the left side of the rear cockpit that are moulded into the sidewall of the smaller scale kit. The pilot’s weapons sight is also lacking; if you’ve got a spare from an unarmed Airfix 85 Squadron Mk. 8 you could use that.

 

If you’re building this kit with the canopy open you’ll need to add the “tang” n the tail end of the sliding section: it’s moulded onto the canopy slide rail from which it will need to be removed.  With the canopy open the tang hangs down almost vertically between the canopy and the slide rail.

 

Special Hobby provide minuscule cannon muzzles in their kit but Sword do not; on my kit I’ll use a left-over set from an Eduard Tempe’s V Series 2 or lay in a set of Master barrels.

 

Detail around the engines  and in the man wheel bays is a bit less refined than that in the Airfix 1/48th kits and you need to be quite careful lining up the sidewalks and front and rear spars.  I prefer the Airfix wheels bur as they’re largely hidden the kit wheels will suffice.  The nosewheel bay does at least feature a front bulkhead which will conceal the very necessary ballast weight.  The rudder trailing edge anti-flutter strip (moulded over-scale by Airfix on their Mk. 8 is not represented but can be added reasonably easily.

 

One of my major concerns is that the engine intakes appear to be somewhere between the original small bore style fitted to the Mk. 11, 12 and 13 and the later large bore style fitted to all Mk. 14s: I did a comparison with a set of Airfix large bore intakes and the Sword parts and the latter fitted inside the former to a degree that suggests that the Swird parts are undersized, the rear facets f the Sword parts are a good 60 thou smaller in diameter than the Airfix parts.

 

I appreciate that this is a short run kit but it would help those with visual or dexterity issues if positive locations were provided for the underwriting no and ventral tanks; the former only have faint marks inscribed under the wings against which to line up the pylons but with the ventral tank you are on your own.

 

Some may think that I’m nit-picking and they may well be right, but the smaller Special Hobby kit shows what can be done.  Also the Meteor is a favourite subject of mine and one to which I want to do full justice.  There are plenty of reference images available and I would refer anyone who’s interested to the restoration of WS788 at the Yorkshire Air Museum for some 1:1 scale WIP.  This is one kit that I couldn’t help starting almost the moment it arrived, and I’ll be finishing it as an 85 Squadron jet based at RAF West Malling in about 1957  (the only airfield at which I did any gliding and now sadly buried under a cruddy industrial estate).

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15 hours ago, stever219 said:

I would refer anyone who’s interested to the restoration of WS788 at the Yorkshire Air Museum for some 1:1 scale WIP.  This is one kit that I couldn’t help starting almost the moment it arrived, and I’ll be finishing it as an 85 Squadron jet based at RAF West Malling in about 1957  (the only airfield at which I did any gliding and now sadly buried under a cruddy industrial estate).

The guy restoring WS788 has built this and he thought it was good kit?

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6 hours ago, Julien said:

The guy restoring WS788 has built this and he thought it was good kit?

It’s not bad, and certainly not fatally flawed or lethally unbuildable, but I had expected a bit more, especially when you consider that Special Hobby had done a slightly better cockpit and the Airfix kit was available as a combined reference and benchmark.  Most of my comments were meant to show where tweaks will improve this kit with minimal expense an effort.  As I said the Meteor’s a favourite subject and maybe that’s why I’m a bit pedantic about it.

 

if anyone was to throw another Sword NF. 14 at me they’d not be getting it back in a hurry.🤣🤣🤪

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