Revell/MPM 1/72 Meteor F.4
|NOTES:||Revell boxing of MPM kit. Added Stoppel decal sheet no 72-127 for proper Danish markings and some etched parts from Airwaves.|
The Gloster Meteor was the first operational British jet fighter, which entered service in July 1944 with the primary task of chasing flying bombs (the V1) and, in the more developed Mk. III variant, also ground attack. The two aircraft that might be considered as the F.Mk IV (later F. Mk. 4) proto- types were two specially build Mk. IIIs, EE 454 and EE 455, fitted with the prototypes of the Derwent 5 engine, which became the standard power plant for the production machines. In the late 1940s the F.Mk.4 became widely exported. Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt and The Netherlands took delivery of some 240 aircraft altogether.
Denmark bought 20 Meteor F.Mk.4 in May 1949 with deliveries commencing the same autumn, after a number of pilots and mechanics had been trained in England. The aircraft belonged to 3. Luftflotille of Marinens Flyvevśsen (the Third Air Flotilla of the Danish Navyís Air Service). They were given the type numeral 43 and individually numbers running from 461 to 480. After the creation of the Royal Danish Air Force, which took place on October 1st 1950, the Third Air Flotilla was renamed Eskadrille 723 (Squadron 723) on January 8th 1951. On November 1st 1952 FlyvevŚbnets Jagerkursus (the RDAFís fighter course) was established at Aalborg Air Base and at the same time took over the remaining 14 Meteor F.4, as six had crashed in the first years of service. The F.4 remained in service until 1956, when fatigue and rising maintenance costs rendered it obsolete. As a consequence all but two of the remaining airframes were dismantled and used for target practice, fire drills and other useful events. The 43-461, which is the subject of this review, has the distinction of being Denmarkís first operational jet fighter and is today preserved at the Technical Museum in Elsinore.
This kit, I believe, is the first injection molded kit of a Meteor F.4, since good old Frog released one in the early 1970s. While the outline of both seems the same (and the reason for me mentioning it here, is that I build the Frog kit simultaneously with this one, but sorry no dedicated comparing review as such), it is obvious that MPM, which have tooled this new kit, have learned from the mistakes, that Frog made. Most significantly is the forward part of the engine nacelles and the gear plus the gear bays vastly superior, not to mention the engraved panel lines (contra Frogs raised ones) and the more detailed cockpit section, which Frog did only half-hearted. As with all short-run kits I suspect a great deal of filling / sanding sessions will be needed, but if you will know how it all turned out, you must read the next sections of this review!
I started construction by gluing the exhausts, outer wing sections and drop tanks together, then preparing the intake parts for painting, because of some slight sink marks that were present on the parts of the leading wing edge that goes through the nacelle. When parts had been painted (silver by the way), the engine fronts were glued to the leading edge parts that were then glued inside the engine nacelles and upon that the wing centre section was glued together. Some filler and sanding took care of the unavoidable seams on the edges.
After some drying the intakes and exhausts were glued to the nacelles and blended in with some filler and sanding. The outer wing sections were next and I discovered that the left one needed some plastic shims in order to get the correct dihedral angle, as the right one already had. They were of course also blended in with filler / sanding; the left one needing more than the right one.
My attention then turned to the cockpit section; it was assembled without any trouble, since each part fitted pretty well. As it was painted flat black itís rather limited what can be seen anyway, but I nevertheless beefed it up with some superfluous etched parts from my Meteor NF builds, that I also had running in parallel to this build. I also added the obligatory seat belts, after a careful study on how they looked on the real F.4. As always, when I do them, they consist of thin strips cut out from Tamiya tape, put in place and painted the appropriate colors. The instrument panel was also painted flat black. At this stage I realised that the instrument panel / side console decals that Revell has provided didnít fit at all (they were a bit too large) so I omitted them, but since nothing can be seen anyway the loss isnít that big.
When the cockpit interior was to my satisfaction, I glued it into the right fuselage half taping it together with the left half to ensure proper alignment. The next task was to add the nose weight, since a Meteor model is a major tail-sitter unless weight is added to the nose. The instructions say 10 grams, but as things are engineered there is no room for it all in front of the interior! So alternatives are sought, but it turned out there is plenty of room beneath the seat and, as I discovered during the weighting session, also behind the seat. In fact it was the big chunk of lead I put behind the seat that convinced me, that the model now would definitely stand firmly on the nose gear! I think it was more like 15 to 20 grams of weight thatís needed here, so donít trust what the instructions might tell you! When the lead had been fixed in place the fuselage halves were glued together.
After the cleaning of the fuselage seam, I prepared for the gluing of the wing and tail planes; i.e. made sure that everything fitted as best as possible before gluing them in place. First I glued the tail planes to the fin and when dry, filling / sanding the seams to a perfect state; then the wings were done in the same manner. After cleaning around the cockpit opening the canopy was glued in place using Humbrol Gloss Cote. Eventual gaps were filled with Gloss Cote as well and given a slight sanding when dry. The last main things glued to the airframe were the drop tank pylons (including the tanks themselves) plus the belly tank. The belly tank didnít fit very well, so it took quite some filling to blend it in. Itís also difficult to determine where exact to attach the tank, as there are no really good reference points. Anyway I got the tank in the right place and as soon as it was blended in, I took the opportunity to clean the model with dishwashing detergent and water, wiping the water off with an antistatic cloth.
The gear was next, but it took a rather tedious cleaning action of the parts to eliminate the molding seams. After assembling the gear legs, they were painted Medium Sea Grey (Humbrol 165) as were the gear bays and wheel hubs. You see the bays may have been aluminum from the beginning, as it was usually the case with the Meteor, but after IRAN, general maintenance and so on they were painted the same color as the underside, so I chose to do the same. After two layers the tire edges (up to the rim of the hubs) were painted Tire Black (XtraColor X505). After two layers the wheel halves were glued together. When dry the seams were sanded down and the remaining part of the tires painted Tire Black. After mating the wheels with the legs, I CA-glued in the support struts for the splash guards made from stretched sprue. They were of course also painted Medium Sea Grey when dry.
As the gear was finished it was glued in place using slow setting CA glue; of course some touch up of the Medium Sea Grey became necessary, but what isnít a surprise about that?! The last thing before the model went to the paint shop was to paint the canopy frames flat black with a fine brush.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Before starting to paint, I carefully masked off the undersides to get the best possible demarcation line between the upper- and under surface colors. As masking was completed, the under surfaces including the gear doors, were painted Medium Sea Grey BS637 (Humbrol 165); three layers, with drying time in between, were needed to get a perfect coverage. When completed the masking tape was removed and I applied new pieces on the other side, so the upper surface colors could be applied without messing up the demarcation line. The whole upper surfaces were then painted Dark Sea Grey BS638 (Humbrol 164); three times with drying time in between. The green camouflage pattern was then applied using Dark Green BS641 (Humbrol 163) with same procedure as for the other colors already applied.
After carefully removing the masking tape and cleaning away the unavoidable edges (due to the tape), a tedious touch up session began involving all the colors I had used, but in the end I succeeded in getting all things right and when completely dry, the model was given a Gloss Cote to prepare for the decals.
The decals went down with pretty much ease; though I discovered the smallest ones had a tendency to break up, such as the punctured yellow lines for the canopy edge. In fact out of three decals I only managed to attach one successfully to the canopy edge; the remaining two went into several pieces, maybe because of operator error, but they were replaced with tiny stripes of thinned yellow acrylic paint applied with a very fine brush! I also noticed that the roundels and flags were slightly off register, but I managed partly to reduce it by applying the appropriate colors to the edges of especially the roundels (where the off register was most visible) with a very fine brush and a steady hand. On the roundel on the underside of the wings it was very easy, since I discovered, I had to cut off some of the edge, so it would fit against the tank pylon, as these had been glued in place before painting.
When the decals had dried they got a coat of gloss to ensure a uniform surface before giving the final coat of Humbrol Satin Cote for the satin sheen I was looking for.
The final bits consisted of attaching the gear doors, the ejector chutes for the spent shell casings and various antennas with CA-glue and painted their respective colors when the CA-glue had set. The last thing to do was to mark the position lights and the model was finished.
What can I say else than this kit is a worthy successor to the venerable Frog kit released more than 40 years ago. Some may find it a bit more difficult to build than the Frog kit, perhaps because the wings / nacelles consists of more parts, than in the Frog kit, but for me personally it wasnít. Revell has rated it as a skill level 3, so some experience is definitely needed.
First and foremost my own photos of ď43-461Ē taken at the museum at Elsinore, but also the publication Forsvarets fly efter 1945 (Planes of the Danish armed forces after 1945) published by RDAF / tinbox, 1987 edition, was very helpful.
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