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1:32 Gloster Meteor F.8 conversion


James H

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1:32 Gloster Meteor F.8 conversion
Fisher Models
Catalogue # A3231
Available from Fisher Models for $85.00

 

 

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There is only one game in town if you want to build an injection-moulded 1:32 Gloster Meteor, and that is the HK Models kit which was released around the beginning of 2014. The kit itself is superb, even if you build OOB, and offers a number of upgrade paths for those who like to detail their models further. Profimodeller and Eduard have released sets to help you build your ultimate Meteor. HK have only released the Meteor as an F.4, so if your particular ultimate Meteor was a different variant (most were), then until now, there was no viable option for the regular modeller. Enter Fisher Models with their F.8 conversion....

 

Paul Fisher is a craftsman. There's no doubt about that, and his sheer finesse and attention to detail can be seen in all of his products, so when one of the F.8 conversions dropped through the door, not only could I not wait to see what it contained, but I was already fomenting a plan to build this as soon as the review was completed.

 

This set is packaged into a reasonable size box for a conversion, and it's also got quite a bit of weight to it. But then it needs to! To convert the F.4 to the F8, you'll have very little fuselage plastic left. Opening this box, you see one trademark of all their sets, and that is swathes of soft, crispy tissue paper that not only provides some padding, but is also used to individually wrap certain parts and assemblies. One such wrapped assembly are the two forward fuselage sections. As well as being carefully taped together, they also contain a little zip-lock wallet tucked inside. This holds the clear resin parts, again, carefully wrapped in tissue paper.

 

 

New Nose

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The real difference between the kit fuselage nose/cockpit area and the resin parts, are that F.8 had an extended nose, so Fisher has taken the kit nose and also extended this, whilst replicating the kit standard detail on the new areas. This is been done extremely well except for one or two panel lines which just need a quick lick with a scriber. Exterior detail is sharp, again, matching the standard of the host kit. One part of the HK kit that I didn't like was the oblong part that inserts into the upper forward nose. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it to sit flush all the way around. No problem with that here, as that section is cast in situ.

 

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Apart from that, there are a few minor differences to the kit parts, with one noticeably being the two fairings that protrude from either side of the cockpit canopy area. You will also note that the rear turtle deck, so devoid of detail on the HK kit, is actually opened up here. We'll look at the reasons why very shortly. It's pretty obvious that the cockpit internals and wheel bay area will install as per the kit, and a very solid ridge has been left along the inner area of the mating surface, to allow the modeller to align the new nose as easily as possible.

 

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Seams are very good here, with the upper seam being the better of the two. The lower seam is a little uneven in some places, and there is a little raised resin around that seam. When these are jointed, you'll need to apply a little putty or thick CA as filler, and carefully rub back so as not to damage any surrounding detail. Casting is among some of the best I've seen, with no actual casting block to remove; just a little tidying instead. No flaws can be seen anywhere.

 

 

Intakes

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There are TWO sets of corrected intakes available for this kit. These are the long and short chord type, with all parts being wrapped in tissue to protect them. This release will be packaged with the long chord as standard, unless you ask them to be substituted for the short chord parts. Installation of these will be very different, with the long chord type needing the most invasive surgery, as you cut back into the wing root area in order to graft these into place. On the other hand, the short chord, whilst not needing that level of surgery, does involve having to install the part before you glue the upper wing to the lower. This is because this type has a short but flared intake channel within, which correctly tapers to an oblong shape.

 

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I do find that the long chord intakes need a little re-scribing in places, and both sets have a few very minor divots in the joining edges, around the circumference. Again, this is no big deal and won't take long to sort out. One point of contention in the inclusion of both parts is that the artworks don't specify which machine was installed with what type of intake. You'll have to use your own reference there, or your imagination. My sample also has two sets of wing leading edge areas that you see through the intake opening. I can't see any difference in them at all, so presume these are all merely packaged because I have two intake sets with this sample.

 

 

Cockpit

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Fisher has totally reworked this area, almost beyond recognition. This is an area where you really should take your time and employ considerable patience, due to the many parts that not make up the Meteor pilot's humble office. Out of box, the kit parts make a very tidy and acceptable cockpit, but this takes the whole result up ten whole levels!

 

The basic cockpit tub assembly is as per kit, with the starboard side locking to the pips that are cast into the interior of the nose. This perfectly aligns the whole tub when complete. There is far more detail in this cockpit than is supplied in the basic kit. This comes from both adding the detail that HK missed, right up to corrections and of course that detail which differs from the F.4 variant. If cockpits are your thing, then this could well be one of the most detailed that you'll yet see.

 

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Sidewalls are resplendent in extra detail, such as wiring and re-faced/refined instruments/avionics units. My sample set has two identical casting blocks containing various levers etc. These are added to the sidewalls, and also to the totally reworked rear wall. This is designed to accommodate the new ejection seat, and there is a lever unit either side of the gap, accommodating two levers each. Even the floor gets a little extra refinement with the addition of the two walled channels for the pilot's feet/rudder pedals.

 

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Now, onto that seat. This is the only part of the conversion that Fisher didn't master for themselves. It is actually the Martin-Baker ejection seat from Aero Club, and very fine it is too. There are three parts to this; the main chair, cushions and belts, and the top pull-release on the upper headrest. As far as standard and depth of detail go, this doesn't disappoint, and entirely compliments the Fisher conversion set. Casting quality is first rate, with the tiniest bit of feathery flash to remove.

 

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You will notice that the instrument panel is very different in this release. The first think that struck me was the lack of bezels. Checking this out online, this is indeed correct. The panel is also very thin as it is designed to fit to a separate plate, sandwiching a decal that shows through main panel. There are numerous other small parts that go to make up this masterpiece, including a reworked control column and gun-sight.

 

 

Extra Internal Detail

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I already mentioned the lack of any detail on the kit turtle-deck. This isn't so much of a problem when the canopy is closed (though it still isn't properly represented), but when the canopy is opened, as most of us no doubt model it, there is an entire lack of detail that should be shown. In fact, the kit totally leaves it out. What should sit there are the hydraulic drip pan and reservoir, plus the two large ammunition boxes. Well, fret no longer, as they are indeed included in this kit, and in stunning detail. There is also a curved interior shell that fits within the canopy, and then when closed, obscures this area from view.

 

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New Tail Section

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If sawing the entire nose from your fuselage didn't give you palpitations, then the next modification most certainly will. A major difference between the F.4 and F.8, and certainly the most visible, was the difference in the shape of the tailfin, rudder and horizontal stabiliser/elevator areas. These were major reworkings, and the only thing that can be done is to dispense with the plastic totally. The new resin fin is cast with its rudder in situ, but the effect is very convincing and it looks like separate parts. In fact, hold it to the light, and you will see a sliver through the resin. In some places, the resin is gone, and I'm thinking the best thing to do here is to gently run a razor saw down the leading edge of the rudder, just to give a little extra definition.

 

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To add the new tail, the fuselage will need to be sawed as a pre-determined panel line.

 

Stabilisers and elevators are supplied as left/right, and are marked as such with a thin web that is cast to them. Apart from the elevators, there are no casting blocks to remove at all on the stabilisers or the main tail section. A very thin strip of easily removable resin serves as the casting block on the elevators. Just a minimal clean up. Test-fitting the stabilisers to the vertical fin shows the fit to be extremely good, with perhaps just a wipe of putty being needed, if at all.

 

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Detail is excellent and commensurate with the finesse of the host kit, with finely scribed panel lines and access ports.

 

Clear Parts

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One of the criticisms of the HK kit had been the canopy. The actual F.4 canopy is a little shallow and wide, and whilst that doesn't concern us here, the windscreen does. This was also incorrect on the HK kit, so a new resin part is included here to replace that. There are also TWO main canopy parts; both early and late hoods, as well as a clear cover for the radio compass on the Australian machine, and a small piece of acetate for the gun-sight reflector.

 

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The windscreen is crystal clear, exhibiting zero distortion, and the main hoods, whilst not distorted, aren't quite as clear as the windscreen. I think a tickle with a buffing and polishing stick should sort that, and a dip in Klear may seal the deal. Frame definition is good, and the frame areas themselves are frosted.

 

 

Decals

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There are THREE sheets included here, printed by Fantasy Printshop. It's always good to see decals that I know to be of high quality. FIVE schemes are supplied with this release, with an Israeli machine in the offing still. Contact Fisher Models regarding that. Whilst there are five schemes, there are actually only 4 unique machines, as one of these was repainted in camouflage, from its original high-speed silver. I really can't complain about the decals. They are superbly thin, contain minimal carrier film, authentic colour, and they are in perfect register. Unlike the HK kit, this conversion supplies you with a full set of stencils too.

The schemes available here are:

  • Meteor F.Mk.8, WF737.V, No.63 Sqn. RAF Waterbeach, UK, 1956
  • Meteor F.Mk.8, WH359.K, No.611 Sqn. Royal Aux. Air Force, RAF Hooton Park, UK, 1953
  • Meteor F.Mk.8, WH445.S, No.615 Sqn, Royal Aux. Air Force, RAF Biggin Hill, UK, 1958
  • Meteor F.Mk.8, A77-207, No.77 RAAF, Korea, 1951

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Instructions

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There's no doubt that these have been a labour of love for Paul Fisher. Every stage is photographed and passages of text annotate the images. My only real criticism is that the photos are perhaps a little small, and it would have been good to have these in colour and not in black/white. The text certainly helps to make up for things generally, and colour notation is given throughout the conversion construction. Colour profiles are supplied for the various machines, and a stencil diagram is given on the back page.

 

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• I already mentioned that none of these machines have any information about whether they use the wide or short chord intakes.

In all, you shouldn't have any real issue in converting your Meteor if you closely study the instructions.

 

Conclusion
Wow! This really is a superb resin conversion set, with a very decent parts count. There are far more schemes available for the F.8 than there is for the original F.4 kit incarnation, and this set opens up many exciting possibilities. There are already decals slated for this release, from other aftermarket manufacturers. As well as the conversion aspect, this release also opens up a whole new depth of detail to the cockpit, which now becomes a real showpiece of this aircraft. Resin production is amongst some of the very best, and if you want to know about accuracy, then the fact that this is from Fisher should be enough for you. Paul has done his research, and there notable names from our industry, listed on the instructions front page. This is a quality product throughout and screams to be built. In fact, by the time you read this, I already will have!

 

Very highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to Fisher Models for the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

James H

 

 

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