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1:32 Meteor F.4


James H

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1:32 Meteor F.4


HK Models
First Look
Price: TBA

 

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The existence of the HK Models Meteor F.4 has been known for quite some time now, with a few CAD images being released, and more recently a few images on some forums of test shot sprues. With Scale Model World about to spring a week or two ago, Large Scale Modeller arranged a meeting with HK Models at this show, and we enquired as to the possibility of taking a look at a pre-release of this kit. We certainly like to 'take one for the team' in order to bring you key releases, and for this very first foray into injection plastic for the Meteor, well, how could we refuse?

 

This is by no means a review. We have no box. We have some in-development decals, and we also have no instruction manual. What we do have though are FOUR sprues, one in clear plastic, and three in grey styrene. Our packaging? A nice long length of protective bubble-wrap that protected this whilst in a simple flight case from Hong Kong. My sincerest thanks to HK Models for this opportunity.

 

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Now, only FOUR sprues, I hear you say? After all, this is a 1:32 jet fighter. Yes, that's right, but don't let that put you off. You still have a respectable parts count, and HK Models have boxed clever with this release, and designed it so that you can purchase an attractive model kit, and build it out of box for a very reasonable price. The kit also has some well thought out secondary engineering which allows the aftermarket guys to bounce in here and produce their sets too, and for you to display it.

 

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An example of this is are the upper cowls of the Derwent engines. There are no engines supplied in this kit, but the nacelles have an engine access panel which is moulded as a separate part. Now, all we need is a company to make an engine or an engine insert, and voila!

 

Even though we are told that these sprues are now at final production standard, some are still devoid of any part numbers, or sprue number designation. The first sprue I'm looking at contains the fuselage halves. These are full length pieces which are moulded without a static rudder. Exterior detail is excellent with fine panel lines and restrained riveting which looks in scale to my eye. Depiction of the various panels and overlapped lower tail 'bumper' look correct to me, and certainly very period/reminiscent of this late 1940's aircraft. The nose 'cap' is also a separate part.

 

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One area where things could have fallen down is the design of the 20mm Hispano cannon apertures. The Kinetic F-86 Sabre was badly let down in this area. Thankfully, the reproduction of this looks extremely good here with nicely shaped channels and fairings. A little plastic seems to be missing around the sharp end of the fairings due to short-shot-syndrome, but that's no biggie. Despite this being 'production standard', yet the part numbers needing adding, I will presume that these little things will be tidier.

Internally, the fuselage has no detail to speak of, with the cockpit being a separate module with its own side walls.

Elsewhere on this sprue are the ailerons. These are moulded as upper and lower halves, with a separate trim tab, which can posed due to it being sandwiched during aileron assembly. You'll also find the engine nacelle forward ring and adjustable jet exhaust outlet pipe here too. Lastly, undercarriage doors and landing flaps are to be found on this first sprue.

 

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Our second sprue contains the full span lower wing panel, with integral main gear bays. The bays themselves are sharp, with excellent constructional detail and riveting strips. A positive, rectangular socket exists for connecting the undercarriage leg. As mentioned, the ailerons and landing flaps are moulded separately. Wing detail includes some very fine panel line and port access detail, as well as outboard nacelle stiffening strips. Horizontal stabiliser parts are supplied here as upper and lower halves, with the elevator parts being the same. The rudder is a two part affair also. The starboard rudder half has a short shot in one corner, but I'm going to assume that this won't be an issue with the main review, which we'll bring to you when we have the final boxing. To fix for this quick build will require no more than a dab of filler.

 

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A large ventral fuel tank is included here too. To fit, you'll need to drill out two locating points on the wing underside panel.

The last main sprue contains the upper wing panel halves. As mentioned, these are moulded with the main engine access panels as separate parts, which are included on this sprue too. There is no internal detail on the panel undersides, so perhaps this is another area for the AM guys? Again, wing surface detail itself is very good, with subtle panel lines and riveting. A little of the rear inboard wing edge is a little feathered due to a minimal short shot. Frontal engine inserts, so be seen through the front nacelle opening, are included here.

 

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A beefy aircraft needs a sturdy undercarriage, and this is just what the Meteor has. Undercarriage struts, complete with the upper wheel guard, as split into halves, complete with oleo and calipers etc. A clever touch here is that one of the protruding pins which hold the wheel, is scalloped. This is to ensure that the wheels, which are weighted, are held in the correct position with regard to the floor on which they'll sit. Those wheels, which are also are moulded as halves, have some very nice hub detail. Tread pattern isn't an issue here as the Meteor tyres were smooth.

 

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One key area for the large scale modeller is the cockpit, and the one supplied here has some excellent detail, built right out of the box. As is quite common these days, this is built as a module which sits in between the fuselage halves. This module includes the very detailed side walls with their avionics consoles. Detail here is certainly no worse than many of today's offerings, and indeed is reminiscent of the high standard we saw in the B25 and B17 kits from the same manufacturer. The instrument panel is superbly defined, with blank instrument faces, presumably for instrument decals. As for the seat, this was a simple affair, and not en ejection unit. No seatbelts are moulded in situ, with me yet again presuming this will be due to their inclusion on the photo etch fret which should be included with the final release. A small short shot on the beautifully detailed control column means that I will need to replace one strut with a short length of plastic rod.

 

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The nose wheel created an internal bulge within the cockpit floor area, in between the rudder actuation bars. A gun sight is included, but seems to have its lens moulded in grey. I suggest you clip this off and replace with a piece of clear plastic.

There are six parts on the clear sprue. Three of these are the canopy parts, and two are for the wingtip lights. I'm unsure at the moment what the small 6th part is for.

 

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But how does this thing fit together?

 

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The main components have been remove and assembled here for you to get an idea. All components I tested fit together with no issue. Large parts such as the fuselage and wing sections look to be gapless from our tests, and bringing these large assemblies to each other shows a well-engineered model which should present no problems overall. I predict we'll see a few of these on the stands at SMW 2014, Telford, next year.

 

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I'm not going to do a talk through the decal sheet at this stage as it isn't yet completed in terms of ink colour authenticity etc. I can tell you that at least two RAF machines are included, as is a single Argentine aircraft. Whilst I can see no instrument decals here, a number of stencils are included, as are various walkway demarcation lines.

 

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Please watch out for our final review in the near future.

 

A BIG thanks to Neil Yan at HK Models for his co-operation with Large Scale Modeller and its staff, and for allowing us to bring this and future releases to you.

 

James H

 

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Guest Kagemusha

Nice photos Jim, as I had a Frog F.4 many moons ago I'm very happy they're releasing this variant. Stoppel already make some Danish decals, and Dutch Decals have a sheet on the way.

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