Matchbox 1/72 Meteor NF.11/12/14


PK 129




Three Aircraft


Rick Craybill


Dense Foam resin base


            The night fighter Meteor was developed in 1949 from the two-seat trainer version. Although designed by Gloster, the manufacture of the aircraft was given to Armstrong-Whitworth, which was already producing the day versions of the jet. The first production aircraft were delivered to No. 29 squadron RAF in 1951. An extended nose distinguished the later NF.12 and the final Mark, the NF.14, had an even longer proboscis as well as a clear blown “bubble” canopy instead of the framed unit. Armament was four 20mm cannon and top speed was 580 mph. Approximately 540 night fighting Meteors of all Marks were delivered and some served as interceptors until 1961. France, Belgium and Denmark also made use of the fighter. Many aircraft saw later lease on life as target tugs for the RAF and Royal Navy, and at least two ended up in private hands in the 1970s.


             At first glance, this is your typical Matchbox kit. 60 or 70 parts on three different colored sprues, somewhat heavy molding, and minimal interior detail. But the legendary Matchbox panel line engraver seems to have been on holiday when this kit was put out, and the trees show little or no flash. The clear bits show no distortion. Assembly looks to be straightforward, with the differences between the variants clearly indicated on the instruction sheet. Decals are provided for an NF.11 of No. 11 Squadron, Belgian Air Force, in 1953, an NF.12 of No. 64 Squadron, RAF, and an NF.14 of No. 85 Squadron RAF in 1958. The decals are sharp and crisp. As far as I can tell, their color is right on.

            This kit was given to my 11-year old daughter by the DC IPMS chapter after I entered one of her models in the local contest. She passed it on to me and it languished on a shelf for a year or so.  While going through some old aviation magazines, I came across an article from 1977 about a privately owned Meteor NF.11 based at Mohave Airport in California. The plane was owned by an Al Lechter, and was overall glossy white with late 40’s style RAF roundels. Since the kit was free, and my primary reference material was free, I decided that this project would be an attempt to recapture the cheap thrills of my modeling youth. I have put a $5.00 limit on total expenditure for this project, and will build the kit OOB. I look forward to completing it in a month or two. A full build review will follow.

Editor's note: this kit provides the basis for a number of other Meteors in 1/72 if you use the various Aeroclub conversion sets. Here is a link to a T.7 and FR.9, both built using this kit and the Aeroclub conversions.

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