Pavla 1/72 Gloster E.28/39 Pioneer

KIT #: ?
PRICE: £10.99
DECALS: Three Options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Injection molded short run kit with resin details.


 In September 1939 the Air Ministry issued specification E28/39 to Gloster Aircraft Company for an aircraft to test one of Frank Whittle’s turbojets in flight. A contract for two prototypes W4041/G and W4046/G was signed in February 1940; the suffix ‘G’ signifying a classified project that required guarding. The Gloster project has won a distinguished place in British aeronautical history as the first jet engined aircraft to fly in UK.

 The first successful flight was in the hands of flight Lieutenant P.E.G.Sayer OBE, Gloster’s former Chief Test Pilot. The Gloster E28/39 had a double walled fuselage to the rear of the cockpit, the air being drawn in through the nose intake down either side of the cockpit to the turbine unit situated aft of the pilot. The injection nozzle being situated at the extreme tail end of the fuselage. Small auxiliary tail fins were fitted on each tailplane at one period. In 1947 a Whittle gas turbine unit of the type used in the original Gloster jet aircraft was shipped to the United States under the lend-lease programme. In a slightly modified form this unit was fitted on Bell Aircomet, the modification and manufacture being undertaken by the General Electric Company.

 The prototype W4041/G was extensively tested achieving a maximum speed of 370mph. An uprated engine was later used. The second prototype W4046/G joined the test programme on March 1st 1943 initially powered by a Rover W2B engine. It was destroyed in July 30th during a crash caused by aileron failure. The E28/39 paved the way for Britain’s first jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor. In 1944 the first prototype was placed in the Science Museum in London where it remained ever since.

 The Pioneer had a span of 29’, length of 25’4” and the second prototype attained a maximum speed of 466 mph at 10,000 ft and had a service Ceiling of 32,000 ft. 


This is a small but beautifully moulded kit by Pavla Models and contains resin detail parts which are of fine quality. This injection moulded plastic and resin combination makes up into a simple but very pleasing model of the first British jet aircraft. The pilot office is cast as part of the resin air intake splitter plate integrating also the nose wheel bay. The vertical splitter plate has three small horizontal streaks also in resin that fix to each side. Cockpit details as control column, pilot seat and instrument panel are also in resin.  


The instruction indicates colour detail of parts as one goes along with assembly of the fuselage. Since the aircraft has a tendency to be a definite tail sitter adequate weight needs to be added. Ideally the little space provided is the cockpit sides empty spaces so that weight pieces need to fit in. Once the fuselage halves are closed the one piece lower wing is fitted and the two outer upper panels come in place. These leave a small gap at the root that is put right with a small amount of filer. Unlike the early Frog kit release of the same aircraft the two bulges that are on the inner of upper wing comes as separate items. The rest of assembly is easy. There is a pitot tube fairing fitted to underside and optional exhaust nozzle to choose from.

 The decal sheet is good quality and caters for the first aircraft W4041 and covers markings at three different periods of its service history. During the initial stage it was silver overall, with the control surfaces in maroon primer. A thermal paint strip decal also included. Alternatively one can finish the kit in green and dark earth upper camouflage with yellow underside. One can also choose the dark green and ocean grey camouflage at upper surfaces and yellow underside. There are two vacform canopies. The green and grey one had a small blister for the rear view mirror. 


I selected to finish my model in the dark green and ocean grey camouflage. This carried the tail finlets. I first airbrushed the underside in white undercoat, followed by identification yellow using Humbrol enamel paints. These areas were masked and the upper camouflage applied. Interior green was applied to cockpit at an earlier stage. The wheel wells and legs were silver. 


The detail that comes with the undercarriage legs was of high quality and worthy of praise for this Pavla product. The type certainly appeals to both military jet fans and those with a taste for prototypes. All in all this is a nice little model of the first British jet.

Carmel J. Attard

May 2008

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