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1:32 Gloster Meteor F.4


benjaminsummerfield
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1:32 Gloster Meteor F.4
HK Models
Catalogue # 01E05
Available from Hannants for £71.96

 

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Hong Kong Models (HK) don't do things by half! Despite being the new boys on the modelling scene they jumped right in with both feet releasing the huge B-25J, the forthcoming B-25H, and following up with the even bigger B17F/G! They're not resting on their laurels with the next release, as despite being a single seat fighter it still measures in at a 394mm! Take cover the HK Meteor F.4 is about to strike!

 

 

The Gloster Meteor F.4 was a natural progression from the wartime F.3 taking advantage of experience gained from the record setting Meteors, bringing improved Rolls Royce Derwent 5 engines, a fully pressurised cockpit and shorter wings to improve manoeuvrability (at the cost of rate of climb). The F.4 served the RAF well from 1947 until it was quickly replaced by the more advanced F.8 in 1950, however it also gave great service to many other air forces including Belgium, the Netherlands, Egypt, Denmark and even saw combat with the Argentine air force. The Meteor F.4 might not seem the most obvious mark of the ubiquitous Meatbox to release first, the wartime F.3 saw plenty of action against the Doodlebugs scoring 13 victories against the V1 menace and would perhaps be a more natural starting point, or even the elegant F.8 with its sleeker lines and multitude of gaudy colour schemes. I believe the reason we have an F.4 is because of the kits Wingscale origins, the Netherlands was one of the largest customers for the Meteor F.4 outside of Great Britain and as Wingscale's owner is Dutch the F.4 was a natural choice.

 

Despite being HK'S smallest offering to date this kit still comes in an impressively large glossy top opening box, the computer generated art work certainly shows the Meteor off from its best angle and features probably one of the most colourful schemes worn by the F.4 in RAF service. Contained within are three large sprues of medium grey coloured plastic containing the main airframe parts, a smaller sprue holding the wing spars and aerials, one clear sprue, and a shaped white metal nose weight. All packed separately in re-sealable bags, Nice touch HK! The nose weight however was free to roam the box and damage whatever it might come in contact with, our example survived undamaged but perhaps some more thoughtful packaging in future releases HK?! A cardboard strengthener is used to stop any weight placed on the box lid crushing the contents, which is again a nice touch. A little bonus is the inclusion of a 1/144th Meteor F.4 which I believe is HK's first release from 2012 and despite being very simple features some beautiful slide moulding.

 

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.....Now onto the BIG Meatbox!

 

 

Sprue A

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Straight down to business, HK have took a fairly simplistic approach to this kit, other manufacturers (Revell!) would have taken a modular approach to extract the maximum number of variants from commons sprues, HK have gone completely the other direction bucking the trend. The dominant parts on this sprue are the fuselage halves, split vertically they measure nearly the whole 394mm (minus the rudder) and capture the slim lines of the Meteor's fuselage nicely. If you're not a fan of fully riveted models then I'm afraid HK might be another manufacturer to strike off your list as the meatbox is covered! Fear not though as they're are all nicely restrained and of different gauges, I did find some rivets to have some very fine flash almost like a short hair coming from them; most of it could be brushed off by hand so I don't see this being an issue.

 

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The cannon ports are moulded open and on the inside have structural ribbing where the cannon barrels would rest (some aluminium tubing from Albion alloys would add some realism here). The tail features some very well done layered panels on the lower tail fairing and they appear overlapped as per the real aircraft, also on this sprue are the ailerons which feature separate trim tabs which can be left pose able if desired as can the ailerons themselves. The intake rings are very nicely moulded separately (despite any grumblings about accuracy) and research shows these were actually made from layered mahogany on the real aircraft, a very jet age solution! Right at the other end of the engine the exhaust are superbly done with some subtle vent detail which will really benefit from your metalcote of choice, they are however open ended and will allow you to look inside the nacelle.

 

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The large undercarriage doors are also on this sprue and are nicely curved and bulged in all the right places, on their inside they feature rivet detail but some ejection marks are also present which will require some careful filling and sanding to remove. Were given separate flaps which can be dropped and have full internal detail.

 

Sprue B

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Again HK have boldly moulded some very large whole pieces, the entire lower wing and engine nacelles are all one piece, even incorporating the main wheel wells and lower airbrake recesses! Have no fear detail hasn't suffered from this approach and the wheel wells are a good scale depth and the ribbing and structure looks spot on, the recesses for the airbrakes will look excellent if you decide to display them open.

 

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One thing I did pick up on is that HK have only moulded the cannon linkage ejector ports on one side, I couldn't find a photo or drawing to confirm that the F.4 had them both sides but earlier and later marks did and I believe the armament remained basically unchanged throughout the different marks, the panel they would be on is moulded in the same place as the opposite side so I'm puzzled by their omission. I almost mistook the recess for the foot step for an ejection slot as it is recessed in a similar way, but HK don't provide the step itself which would be simple enough to scratch build. The wings are riveted to the same standard as the fuselage and again some nice layered detail is present where the wings would mate to the engine nacelles.

 

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Next up is the large belly tank that characterised the Meteor and was necessary to give it a useable range, on my kit I found that the rivet detail seemed to become slightly shallower and less defined on the sides of the tank, probably due to it being moulded as one whole piece rather than two halves. The rest of the sprue is taken up by the tailplane and elevators which are again all separate with smaller separate trim tabs, this time however they are not designed to be moveable once in place like the ailerons, the rudder you'll be glad to hear is! It is cleverly moulded so that the top and bottom sections are connected and will move together as on the real aircraft, the trailing edge has a lip which you would be forgiven for mistaking for flash but this was a feature of early F.4's. The airbrakes are superbly thin and have full internal and external riveting and I doubt etch parts would be much of an improvement, they will require the attachment parts cutting off if you want to depict them retracted.

 

Sprue C

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Here we have the top sections of the wings and engine nacelles, interestingly they have the engine covers moulded separately despite no engine being provided, and perhaps they considered providing an engine but decided to leave something for the aftermarket brigade. The aftermarket jumped on the inaccuracy of the front nacelles and air intakes very quickly, to my eye they don't seem to taper enough towards the intake and are almost like the wide breather intakes featured on later F.8's; in all honesty they don't detract from the finished model and you'd have to point out the difference to the uninitiated. Interestingly I am in the process of fitting the corrected fisher air intakes and the line you cut to fit them happens to correspond with a raised rib on the inside of the nacelles, it makes me wonder what HK (Airscale?) originally had planned.

 

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Also on this sprue are the parts for the cockpit, at a glance this seems a simple affair but comparing it to walk around photos shows that HK have captured all the salient features of the Meteors coalhole, the seat isn't the best depiction it could have been and I believe the Meteor seat was essentially the same as used in Hurricanes. The instrument panel has some nice raised detail but doesn't have any actual dials and no decals are provided either, the layout is accurate when compared to restored examples so would benefit from some of Airscale's excellent dial decals to bring it up to scratch. Strangely the gun sight has the lens moulded in place in solid grey plastic rather than clear, I expected this to be something that would be corrected in production kits but appears to of slipped through the net.

 

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The undercarriage is moulded in halves and looks spot on to me, they locate positively into the wheel well with some large square pegs and should be plenty sturdy enough even with the white metal nose weight, the main wheels are weighted and have the correct hubs which are different on each side, the nose wheel is moulded with smooth hubs which is correct for later F.4'S/F.8'S but research seems to show early examples had a four spoke nose wheel very similar to that seen on spitfires (as can be seen on the Prototype which now resides at the Royal Air force museum Hendon).

 

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Lastly we have the blanks which represent the fronts of the Derwent engines, the Derwent being a centrifugal flow type turbojet didn't have an intake as per modern axial flow types and looking down the intake you would only see a jumble of piping and boxes, HK provide a very rudimentary representation of this which would benefit from some more "plumbing"; unfortunately these blanks don't fit flush to the inside of the intake and will allow daylight to show through. To me the main issue with the intakes and nacelles isn't the shape it's the fact that after the intake ring they are wide open, the real aircraft has a duct leading to the face of the engine, Large scale modeller forum member Cees B has come up with a cheap simple solution to this and has used an old beer can to form the inside of the nacelle/intake, this in turn makes the blanks provided perfectly adequate and solves the daylight issue; a very inventive bunch us modellers! http://forum.largescalemodeller.com/topic/2168-dutch-meteor-mk-4/ 

 

Sprue D

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This sprue holds the clear parts, the three piece Malcom hood canopy of the F.4 looks spot on and is superbly clear, the bulged Malcom hood doesn't have any seam and the framing features rivet detail to match the grey plastic parts, as does the framing on the windscreen and rear section. The remaining parts are for the wingtip navigation lights and the pointed navigation light used on the extreme tail, no part is provided for the gun sight lens as mentioned earlier. A nice touch is the inclusion of a slightly tacky film to protect the top of the main hood part from any scratching. We saw this on the B-25H review recently.

 

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Sprue E

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This small sprue holds the parts for the front wing spar which is visible through the intakes and the spine mounted aerials, the main Aerial seems to of had the tip squared off which isn't quite correct but otherwise they are thin and well moulded.

 

Sprue F

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Lastly we have the moulded nose weight, this is designed to fit in the front undercarriage bay and is located by two small pegs on the inside of the fuselage, it should provide plenty of weight to prevent tail sitting and is a very welcome feature.

 

Instructions

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HK's style of instructions are basic but clear, printed in black and white on medium quality paper they are efficient with their information. Colour call outs are usefully given by name, FS number, Hobby colour and Tamiya acrylics. Two very colourful decal options are provided, firstly 600 Squadron (city of London) RAuxAF with its famous red/white triangles, this is unusual as it has mismatched roundels as it is transitioning from wartime style to the brighter post war type. The second option is an extremely bright Argentine Air Force example with yellow stripes galore.

 

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Decals

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A relatively small decal sheet is provided for the two options, this is reminiscent of the type Trumpeter/Hobby Boss provide and is in very good register with minimal carrier film, the colours look strong and the more intricate decals like the 600 squadron badge are well printed. Some stencil data is provided for the RAF option but more is given for the Argentine option, you do also get the distinctive walkway lines. Overall they have a satin finish like Tamiya sometimes uses in its aircraft kits.

 

So what do we think?
Despite being the RAF's Premier Jet aircraft and the only allied Jet to see service in World War Two the Meatbox hasn't been a popular subject with mainstream manufacturers, Tamiya's simple but accurate 1/48th kit has been the benchmark up to now. HK's approach of a simple easy to build kit rather bucks the trend in today's hyper detail multi option market place, what we have is an extremely buildable largely accurate kit of a neglected subject; straight from the box you will have an imposing model which will certainly stand out on any table. I feel a huge wave of aftermarket parts is sure to follow this kits release as HK have made it very easy for the cottage industry to develop upgrades such as a full engine, Fisher were quick off the mark to release corrected intakes and they are promising an F.8 conversion and more! All that remains to be seen is whether the price will reflect the simple nature of this kit. Head on over to the Large scale Modeller Forum where several builds of this kit are well under way. http://forum.largescalemodeller.com/

 

Highly recommended.

 

Ben Summerfield

 

Our sincere thanks to HK Models for this retail review sample. To get this great kit directly, click THIS link.

 

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Good review Ben.

 

Is it just me, but isn't £71 over valuing such a simple kit?

 

I'm not knocking the quality or approach, but if you produce something basic to allow the AM to supply the finesse... then shouldn't the price match? Can't help thinking Revell would do this for about £30... I'd have liked one but certainly not at this price, especially with the apparent inaccuracy of the intakes...

 

Matt

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Good review Ben.

 

Is it just me, but isn't £71 over valuing such a simple kit?

 

I'm not knocking the quality or approach, but if you produce something basic to allow the AM to supply the finesse... then shouldn't the price match? Can't help thinking Revell would do this for about £30... I'd have liked one but certainly not at this price, especially with the apparent inaccuracy of the intakes...

 

Matt

I have to agree with you, i think this kit is a hangover from the Wingscale debacle and looking at the clues and break down you can see all over the kit they clearly had more planned for it.

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Good review Ben.

 

Is it just me, but isn't £71 over valuing such a simple kit?

 

I'm not knocking the quality or approach, but if you produce something basic to allow the AM to supply the finesse... then shouldn't the price match? Can't help thinking Revell would do this for about £30... I'd have liked one but certainly not at this price, especially with the apparent inaccuracy of the intakes...

 

Matt

I have to agree

 

Since this is not the WWII version I have little interest in this particular kit, but £70 is A LOT for what's in the box.

 

What is the price from the Far East?? Retail here does seem rather pricey.

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Err you lost me there Cees

 

Uh??

Cees used Aluminium from a beer can to create the inlet as it's wide open inside the intakes where as the real aircraft had an intake duct. That's a bigger over sight than the shape of the nacelles IMHO as they aren't a million miles off and don't detract from the model.

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As it seems to be the only game in town I have one on order to be converted to a WW2 F3 when the Fisher conversion comes out, it seems to be the only way to complete my RAF WW2 collection, and no don't even think about a vac jobbie.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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I have to agree

 

Since this is not the WWII version I have little interest in this particular kit, but £70 is A LOT for what's in the box.

 

What is the price from the Far East?? Retail here does seem rather pricey.

 

Nick

 

Here's link to LuckModel  http://www.luckymodel.com/scale.aspx?item_no=HK-01E06

 

£82 inc p&p too rich for me..... this is another 'wait 'til Revell do it' for me....

 

Not like I haven't got two lifetime's worth already... :)

 

Matt

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I have to agree about that. It's a great basic kit with about 100 parts. The price could be

problem though. Especially if you wish to spend some dough on aftermarket. The beercan aluminium

intake tunnels (say that three times quickly) is a cheap solution.

Cees

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I have to agree about that. It's a great basic kit with about 100 parts. The price could be

problem though. Especially if you wish to spend some dough on aftermarket. The beercan aluminium

intake tunnels (say that three times quickly) is a cheap solution.

Cees

 

 The beercan aluminium

intake tunnels (say that three times quickly) is a cheap solution.

Cees

AFTER 3 beers.

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