MPM 1/72 Gloster Meteor FR.9
|PRICE:||$38.00 MSRP ($32.30 at GreatModels )|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, it first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Gloster Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft but the Gloster design team succeeded in producing an effective jet fighter that served the RAF and other air forces for decades. Meteors saw action with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the Korean War and remained in service with numerous air forces until the 1970s. Two Meteors, WL419 and WA638, remain in service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat testbeds.
In the 1950s, Meteors also were developed into effective photo-reconnaissance, training and night fighter versions. The fighter-reconnaissance (FR) versions were the first to be built, replacing the ageing Spitfires and Mosquitos then in use. Two FR 5s were built on the F 4 body, one was used for nose section camera tests, the other broke-up in midair while in testing over Moreton Valence. On 23 March 1950, the first FR 9 (and the subject of this kit) flew. Based on the F 8, it was 20 cm longer with a new nose incorporating a remote-control camera and window and was also fitted with additional external ventral and wing fuel tanks. Production of the FR9 began in July. No. 208 Squadron, then based at Fayid, Egypt was the first to be upgraded followed by the 2nd Tactical Air Force in West Germany. No. 2 Squadron RAF at Bückeburg and No. 79 Squadron RAF at RAF Gutersloh flew the FR 9 from 1951 until 1956. In Aden, No. 8 Squadron RAF was given the FR 9 in November 1958 and used them until 1961. Ecuador (12), Israel (7) and Syria (2) were the only foreign customers for the FR 9.
The Meteor family has been developed in conjunction with Hannants in the UK to provide those variants not already kitted by Airfix, Frog and Matchbox. To date, the F.4, F.8 and FR.9 have been kitted in the MPM box and F.8 in an Xtrakit package.
The kit consists of two largish grey sprues and one clear sprue. The clear sprue contains an early and late canopy as well as the new clear nose for the FR.9. It does mean that the nose already on the fuselage will need to be cut off and replaced with the new one.
The kit provides a nicely done cockpit and there is room for the nose weight you'll need for this one. Wheel wells are separate items and there is a convincing engine intake section showing some of the plumbing of the centrifugal flow engines. The actual inlet ring is separate and both large and small inlets are provided. I've never built a Meteor that didn't need filler for the intake and exhaust sections and I doubt if this one will be much different in that regard. Also provided are the wing and fuselage fuel tanks. I should mention that the landing gear are multiple pieces so one will need to take care when assembling all the small bits.
The instructions are well drawn with smaller detail drawings where needed. Paints are by generic and Gunze references. If any bits are required for a specific markings option, that is so noted. Three markings options are provided. The box art plane is from 208 squadron and while it is shown in what looks like bare metal, I'll bet it is actually high speed silver. There is another 208 squadron plane in camouflage paint with large patches of orange on the tip of the engine nacelles, forward and center fuselage for Operation Musketeer in 1956. The third option is a camouflaged plane with 8 squadron. The decals are very nicely printed and should work well. Some parts of the various options will have to be painted to match the stripes given.
Though I have not built any of the MPM Meteors, they have a lot of detail and should be a sizeable improvement over the various conversion sets that used the Matchbox kit as a basis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloster_Meteor April 2010
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