GLOSTER METEOR – THE BEST YET FROM AIRFIX?

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 19.06.14Meteor F.8 – Excellence in miniature from Airfix

I first saw this kit several months ago and was blown away by how Airfix had gone about replicating the Meteor. What stood out were the subtle details, not only within the cockpit, gun bays and engines, but over the airframe, delicate panel lines and rivets, holding hands with rippled skin panels to create a finish that was utterly in keeping with the original. I was bowled over. Today, now having to the kit to hand, I feel even more impressed.
This is a very complex kit – or rather, this is a straightforward kit that creates a very complex model, if you see what I mean. The chance to replicate a complete cockpit, two open engine bays and two complete engines, is something of a first for Airfix and shows exactly what their designers are capable of. The fact that all of that is packed with a kit that looks to be simple to build, makes it all the more attractive.

This is a very fine kit from Airfix, perhaps their best, ever. Certainly in 1:48, I can’t think of another product from this company that matches what they have achieved her

Construction begins with the cockpit, nose-mounted undercarriage and also, gun bays that can be shown open, under the canopy rail. Detail within all of these areas is top notch. I particularly liked the ejector seat with its choice of plain cushion, or one with seat belts moulded in situ, the complex cockpit side walls and the guns and their separate ammo feeds. For the painters amongst you there’s plenty of detail to bring out. As almost all of the internal sections are either black or aluminium, you’ll be able to build large sections seat then paint and weather them all at the same time – great for those like me who don’t like to mess aroundwith multiple painting sessions! What it will face you to do is work out how best to paint, weather and detail the internals. The cockpit for instance is black, but that detail will need a lighter shade to allow the detail to pop, dark grey being perhaps a better starting point.
With the nose done the engines can be looked at. The kit offers a full set of internal bearers to go within the wings, onto which you can mount the two jet engines. These can be built and painted and then slotted into place during final assembly – or, thanks to a neat little trolley that’s supplied, shown on display beside the aircraft. The engine detail is excellent, only a few wires here and there being needed

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 19.05.17

to produce two highly detailed replicas. That said, I am sure the aftermarket guys are licking their lips at the chance to add detail to this model, Eduard’s new parts seen this month, being just the start…
As with the Defiant seen this month, all of the control surfaces are separate parts and that allows a degree of flexibility when it comes to set-up and display. I was amazed to find that the control surfaces actually feature raised rivets over their surfaces. This is really welcome as it adds to the look of the completed model, no end. Add to that the depiction of rippled skin on some of the fuselage panels and you get an idea of the lengths that the designers have gone to to create a perfect replica.
Along with the plastic parts, the kits supplies a comprehensive decal sheet that allows the replication of two different aircraft, one in overall sprayed aluminium paint, the other in standard RAF camouflage, Dark Green, Dark Sea Grey and aluminium. The choices are as follows:

Gloster Meteor F.8 – No. 111 Squadron, Royal Air Force North Weald, Essex, England, 1954.
Gloster Meteor F.8 – No. 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force Binbrook, Lincolnshire, England, 1968.

FINAL VERDICT
This is a very fine kit from Airfix, perhaps their best, ever. Certainly in 1:48, I can’t think of another product from this company that matches what they have achieved here. Detail, surface textures and features are all absolutely top-drawer and the match of almost anything that you will find elsewhere. As you imagine, we are looking at the kit in far more detail, the results of which we will bring you in a future edition of this magazine.

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