Matchbox/Aeroclub 1/72 Meteor FR.9

Kit Number: PK 129

Price: $10.00/$6.00

Decals: Two RAF, one Belgian

Date of Review: 30 January 1998

Review and photo by: Scott Van Aken

The Gloster Meteor is Britain's first production jet fighter. Stemming from the F.1 of 1944, the Meteor went through many versions and enjoyed some success in the export market with aircraft being sold to many countries including Belgium, Israel and Argentina.  The last Meteor in RAF service was a drone version that was retired in the 1980s; a long run indeed.

Matchbox surprised the modeling world in the mid 80's with the release of the Meteor NF kit.  From that you can build an NF 11, NF12, NF13 and NF14.  Today, that would mean at least four separate releases.  In addition, you could do the large or small engine intakes.  It also meant that you did not use about 1/3 of the plastic as the differences were in the nose and tail section of the plane. Naturally, I bought a bunch of them.  A bit later, Aeroclub came to the rescue of those of us wanting an F.8, FR.9, or T.7 with the appropriate injected conversions.  They are simplicity itself and replace the NF bits.  I bought a few of them and decided to do the FR.9 after Modeldecal came out with several sheets on the Meteor; this particular one from sheet 88 depicting an aircraft of 8 Sq in Aden, 1959. So it was in April of 1988 that I put all these things together.

The Matchbox kit is typical of its genre in that it is not heavily detailed; the cockpit being particularly bare.  Fortunately, Aeroclub provided a nice metal ejector seat to take up a lot of the room and to provided the needed nose weight.  The rest of the kit has a modicum of raised panel lines and none of the trenches we have come to expect from Matchbox.  There were also a lot of sink marks that needed filling, the wings and engine nacelles being rather badly afflicted.

The rest of the kit goes together quite well although the attachment areas are large and need filler to smooth things out.  Aeroclub also has available a nice set of white metal landing gear which are an improvement over the stock items and were used with this kit.  The Aeroclub parts , basically the nose, cockpit area, and gun bulges, are designed specifically for this kit and fit perfectly with little filler being needed.

The kit was painted with Gunze paints in RAF colors of the time and once dry, the Modeldecals were applied. It was suggested to use the kit decals for common items like roundels, but I found that replacing them with the appropriate Modeldecal items made for a better model.  For those of you not familiar with Modeldecals, they give only the specific codes, colors and other items peculiar to the particular aircraft. In that way, there are often 20 subjects per sheet.  They do offer separate sheets of roundels and fin flashes so it works out OK in the end.

This kit was a breeze to complete and is recommended for all but the bare beginners.  It is a great first conversion kit.

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