Special Hobby 1/72 Meteor NF.12

KIT #: SH72360
PRICE: $24.30 plus shipping
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2021 tooling. 'Defending the UK's Skies' boxing


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 Meteor NF.11.

The NF.12 was a longer nosed version of the NF.11 with American AN/APS-21 radar, this was balanced by a slightly larger fin, first flown on 21 April 1953, 100 built by Armstrong Whitworth. All examples were operated by the RAF.


Prior 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 these themes).

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. In fact, this kit has a different sprue just for the NF.12 that includes new fuselage halves and tailplanes.  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.

Tailplanes 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. Two options are medium sea grey and dark green. These are with 25 and 46 squadron. The third replaces the medium sea grey upper surface with ocean grey and is with 64 squadron. The sheet also includes all the stencils..

Though I have most of the other Special Hobby 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.



October 2021

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