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1:32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Volumes 1 & 2


James H

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1:32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Volumes 1 & 2
Pheon Decals
Catalogue # 32054 & 32055
Available from Pheon for £12.75 each, plus P&P

 

We usually associate Pheon Decals with WW1 decal releases, so these two new sets came as a big surprise to me, but certainly a very welcome one. Aftermarket decal sets for the new HK Models Gloster Meteor F.4 are few and far between, so Rowan and Sabine redress the balance a little with these new sets, containing two very attractive schemes each.

 

Both sets are packaged in large zip-lock sleeves, but instead of the lower-quality inkjet printed multi-scheme face sheet, these both have the glossy, laser-printed scheme sheet at the front. With only two schemes per set, and not half a dozen or so, it makes sense. There are in fact THREE gloss sheets in these sets. As well as the main sheet that is used for your guide for scheme decal placement, the second and third gloss sheets have the Meteor printed in upper and lower plan form.

 

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The main sheet also has the squadron badges printed in large scale, and could be quite nice to carefully cut out and use on a display plinth, along with your completed masterpiece. Volume 1 has schemes for No.1 and No.63 Squadrons, whilst Volume 2 contains schemes for a No.56 Squadron machine, and one from 263 Squadron. We'll look at those specifically, soon.

 

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There are two other printed sheets in here, done on an inkjet machine, but these, for me, are one of the most important factors when buying any of these sets: stencils. HK Models released a great kit, but the decals left more than a little to be desired. I found them to be thick, and needing lots of setting solution to bed down properly. When it came to stencils, these were virtually ignored by the manufacturer. The closest we got to them were the wing walkway lines, and that was it. Also, if you use the Dutch Decals set, the stencils in there are either partially or wholly in Dutch. That certainly wouldn't be correct if you wanted to build an RAF machine. The Kitsworld set does include stencils, but they certainly aren't as comprehensive as the Pheon release. A number of key stencils are missing on the Kitsworld set. It does appear that if you want a full set of stencils, and ones that have been properly researched, then Pheon is the only game in town here.

 

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A decal set which contains a mass of stencils will obviously need good illustration to show placement, and the two sheets show this with some of the best clarity I have yet seen in any decal set, whether kit or aftermarket.

 

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Each set also contains a small booklet that not only explains the best way to apply your decals, but also a little about each machine too, with the marking heritage of the No.1 Squadron bird being shown on a Siskin and Fury. As all the machines depicted on these schemes were finished in silver, notes are also supplied to explain this colour and its application. Notes also exist which pertain to the stencils and their research origin. Noted is the fact that HK Models actually missed a little surface detail, but decals have still been included for this. You will need to do a little research of your own when it comes to that missing detail (you can't expect Rowan to do everything for you!).

 

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Each set contains TWO decal sheets. The largest has the main scheme markings, complete with the fuselage flashes etc. The white colours are also double printed for absolute solidity. Decals are printed by Fantasy Printshop, and the proprietor, Ray Horwell, is absolutely anal about attention to decal and the quality of his product. It shows too, and this is why Pheon use them. I consider Fantasy Printshop decals to be possibly the very best you can buy. There are also a reasonable number of stencil decals printed on thelarge sheets too.

 

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The second sheet is entirely devoted to stencils, and the sheet itself is broken up into sections which state where the decals therein are to be placed, by airframe area. You really need to look closely at these stencils. Note that they are all readable! Quite a feat of printing. That printing is exceptional, being beautifully thin, with minimal carrier film. Colours are solid and authentic, and registration is perfect.

 

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The schemes included are:

 

Volume 1

  • VT219, "C", 63 Squadron, RAF Thorney Island, Hampshire, 1950
  • VZ420, 1 Squadron, RAF Tangmere, Sussex, 1950

scheme1.jpg

 

Volume 2

  • VT413, "W", 56 Squadron, RAF Waterbeach, Cambridge, 1951
  • VZ240, 263 Squadron, RAF Acklington, Northumberland, 1950

scheme2.jpg

 

Conclusion
Despite these sets only offering schemes in the traditional high speed silver which was commonly seen at the time, Pheon have chosen 4 very attractive and different machines which will no doubt leaving you in need of buying an extra HK Models Meteor or two. I've never been an ardent fan of silver-doped aircraft, but these are just begging to be built. I really might crack open another Meteor kit next year. Stencils add a lot to a model. It's the small details which add up, and with a set of these applied, you'll have the best-appointed Meteor that can possibly be built.

 

Very highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to Pheon Decals for the review samples seen here. To purchase directly, click HERE

 

James H

 

 

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