Special Hobby 1/72 Meteor NF.11 'RAF Squadrons'
$24.30 plus shipping
Scott Van Aken
To replace the increasingly obsolete de Havilland Mosquito as
a night fighter, the Meteor was adapted to serve in the role as an
interim aircraft. Gloster had initially proposed a night fighter design
to meet the Air Ministry specification for the Mosquito replacement,
based on the two seater trainer variant of the Meteor, with the pilot in
the front seat and the navigator in the rear. Once accepted however,
work on the project was swiftly transferred to Armstrong Whitworth to
perform both the detailed design process and production of the type; the
first prototype flew on 31 May 1950. Although based on the T.7 twin
seater, it used the fuselage and tail of the F.8, and the longer wings
of the F.3. An extended nose contained the AI Mk 10 (the 1940s
Westinghouse SCR-720) Air Intercept radar. As a consequence the 20 mm
cannons were moved into the wings, outboard of the engines. A ventral
fuel tank and wing mounted drop tanks completed the Armstrong Whitworth
314 aircraft were built with the type operated by Denmark,
France, and Belgium as well as the RAF.
to the release of this kit, the Meteor Night Fighter in 1/72 was only
available in injected plastic from Matchbox. This kit was one of their later
kits and aside from the need to fill multiple sink marks and the very
Spartan interior detail, built into a very nice model. However, the hobby
moves on and detailing increases. Special Hobby has already had a lot of
experience doing 1/72 Meteor kits having released the variety of single-seat
versions from the F.4 to F.8 as well as the T.7 trainer (and variations on
What is a bit surprising is that all of the sprues in this kit are marked as
'NF.11/NF.14 so Special Hobby did not dip into the earlier toolings for this
or the other boxings for the night fighter version. Construction starts with
the interior, with good detailing, but little will be seen as cockpits of
these planes were black. Give you an opportunity to do some dry brushing.The
nose gear is built into the underside of the cockpit and interestingly, the
instructions show the gear well to be painted in the underside color. This
then fits into one fuselage half.
Then the halves are closed. No weight is indicated, but I'd add some just to
be sure. Engines are next, and again, a lot of black paint and dry brushing.
When built, these fit into the single piece lower wing. During this time,
the intakes are added to the lower wing. Moving to the upper wing, which is
also a single piece, the forward wing/fuselage section has to be cut more
open to fit. When done, the main gear wells are built up and installed and
then the wing halves are closed. Intakes and exhaust are added and
then attached to the fuselage.
are then added and construction then moves onto the landing gear. When that
is done, then all the rest of parts are added. This includes a belly and two
wing tanks along with radar altimeter antennas. on the upper side some
antennas, the canopy, gun barrels and pitot are glued on. Note that you also
have separate clear wing tip lights to install.
Instructions are standard booklet printed on glossy paper with sections in
color. Gunze paints are the usual color references. Three options are
medium sea grey and dark green while one adds dark sea grey to the upper
surfaces. Decals are for planes from 29, 68, 151, and 256 squadrons. The 68
squadron plane has the additional darker grey upper surface. The sheet also includes all the stencils.
The decals are nicely done and if you don't like the choices, Modeldecal did
a sheet with a bunch of NF units on it. In fact, the 68 squadron plane, same
serial and everything, is on that sheet and I did my Matchbox NF.11 in those
Though I have most of the other Special Hobby/MPM Meteor
kits, I've yet to build one. Perhaps this will be the one as I do like the
Meteor night fighters. This may well be a bit of a fiddly kit thanks to some
small parts, but I'm sure the end result will be worth the effort.
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