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Gloster Meteor FR.9

 

Classic Airframes

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 457
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 71 parts in grey styrene; 16 parts in clear styrene; 13 parts in dark grey-coloured resin. Decal sheet with three marking options. 7 pages of instructions and letter-sized colour marking guide.
Price: USD$49.97 online from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Meteor PR.9 variant not previously available in this scale; PR nose supplied as clear parts (simple to mask camera windows); beautiful surface detail; accurate outline; thoughtful engineering; high quality resin parts; good quality decals with colourful marking options; useful options - large and small intakes, belly tank, drop tanks.
Disadvantages: No gunsight; some chunky sprue attachment points; some fiddling required at nose wheel bay / cockpit assembly
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for experienced modellers.

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Meteor FR.9 is available online from Squadron

 

FirstLook

 

Classic Airframes continues its noble quest to cover the range of Gloster Meteor variants. In addition to the F.8 (in three different boxes and two different versions), F.4 and T.7, Classic Airframes now introduces their Meteor FR.9

The Meteor FR.9 was essentially an F.8 fighter fitted with a new nose, nine inches longer, to also accommodate cameras. This variant first flew in 1950. It operated in Europe, the Middle East, Cyprus and Aden. The FR.9 also saw service with Israel, Ecuador and Syria. The FR.9 nose was fitted to at least one Meteor T.7 in Australia too (a rather interesting conversion prospect!)

Reflecting the heritage of the real aircraft, Classic Airframes Meteor PR.9 kit is based on the earlier F.8 release. In fact, the box contains the entire "Early Version" Meteor F.8 kit with a new sprue of clear parts for the nose plus a "Late Version" canopy in a separate bag. Appropriate markings for this version are also included.

The model comprises 71 parts in pale grey injection moulded styrene, 16 parts in clear injection moulded plastic, and 13 resin parts.

The PR nose is presented in clear plastic. This is a terrific idea, as the modeller can simply mask off the camera windows prior to painting. The lens for the nose camera is a separate part, avoiding the messy prospect of a join line down the middle of this round window. Although the clear plastic is distortion free, a quick dip in Future floor finish lifts the parts to a stunning lustre.

 

 

The nose section on the main fuselage halves must be cut off, but the required cut is along an existing panel line. This simplifies the task considerably. Please note that cameras are not supplied, but some basic shapes could easily be added to the interior of the nose before the fuselage is sealed.

In common with the earlier releases, the quality of the grey plastic parts is excellent. The surface texture is satin, and panel lines are finely engraved. The dive brakes on the upper and lower surfaces of the wings are represented by engraved panel lines. Most of the ejection pin marks are hidden on the inside surface of parts except for one big raised pin inside each main wheel well. The only other minor problem was some disappearing rivet detail on the inside of one gear door - hardly a tragedy.

 

 

Trailing edges of most flying surfaces are nice and thin, but the inside surfaces of the rudder halves would benefit from some sanding. The trailing edge of the wing centre section (inboard of each nacelle) also seems a trifle thick but a few minutes with a sanding stick will remedy this area too.

Engineering is thoughtful. The lower centre section of the wing is moulded as a single part, onto which the inside upper wing parts (incorporating the nacelles) are joined. The outer wing panels are secured via a recessed reinforcement strip - much better than the butt-join we might have otherwise expected.

 

 

We do get a butt join for the horizontal tailplanes though, so some reinforcement with wire or fine brass rod would be a good measure to prevent later damage.

There are no locating pins, so extra time should be allocated for test-fitting and aligning parts. Also, sprue attachment points are a little thick and located in some prominent areas, so take care when removing and cleaning up parts.

Classic Airframes has supplied both the smaller, early intake and the larger, later intake in this version of the kit.

 

 

The nose, canopy, navigation lights and landing lights are all supplied in clear injection-moulded plastic.

As mentioned earlier, my sample of the PR.9 kit includes both early version canopy with the rear metal cover, and the all-clear canopy. Only the "late" version is required for this variant..

The parts are very thin and free of distortion. They also respond exceptionally well to Future. I dipped some of the parts and the sparkling results speak for themselves - no prizes for guessing which set of parts was treated!.

 

 

Resin parts are delicately detailed and as nice as we have come to expect from Classic Airframes in recent years. The complex mount for the nose wheel is pre-fabricated, saving the modeller some potentially delicate assembly. Both this part and the combined cockpit floor/nose wheel well and nicely rendered. I particularly like the Martin Baker Mk.2 seat. Careful painting of the cushions and harnesses will offer the chance to add some colour to the otherwise all-black cockpit.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Instructions are logically laid out in six pages over 14 steps. Brief notes supplement the exploded view diagrams.

Decals are provided for three aircraft. These are two RAF aircraft finished in Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey (one over Aluminium and the other with PRU Blue lower surfaces); and one Israeli Meteor in High Speed Silver (ie, not natural metal, but silver paint).

 

 

Options include the distinctive belly tank and wing-mounted drop tanks.

In common with earlier releases, the PR.9 kit does not supply a gunsight. You will need to scratchbuild one from scrap plastic or buy a resin after-market item. Also, the style of wheels seems to be more appropriate for the early Meteors. Even so, the main wheels are barely visible under the nacelles. For those of you who want an entirely accurate Meatbox, though, accurate replacements are now available from Loon Models (along with replacement wheel wells, rockets and other Meteor goodies)

 

 

Conclusion

 

It is nice to see the FR.9 join Classic Airframes' growing family of Meteors.

As I have mentioned in earlier reviews of Classic Airframes kits, the lack of locating pins will call for extra care and dry-fitting; and a little more cleanup than average will be required; but I do not see anything too alarming in construction.

Reports from modellers who have built the earlier Classic Airframes Meteor releases have reported that there are some challenges presented (especially aligning the intakes and in the location of the cockpit and the nose wheel bulkhead), but that the model is eminently buildable. The completed CA Meteors in HyperScale's Gallery and Features sections stand as testament to the attractive results that are possible.

The Meteor FR.9 boxing seems to be the best value and most flexible of all the Meteors released to date. It includes all the parts required to build not only the stated FR.9, but alternatively an early F.8 or a late F.8. It will be worth keeping this in mind as the Meteor F.8 kits get harder to find in the coming months (they are already out of stock on the Classic Airframes site, although happily still widely available through retailers).

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Meteor PR.9 will need more preparation and attention during assembly, but a great result should be possible for anyone wanting to take on a project a little more challenging than a standard Tamiya or Hasegawa kit.

Now, roll on to those great looking Meteor Night Fighters!

Highly Recommended to experienced modellers.

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.


Review and Images Copyright 2004 by Brett Green
Page Created 29 March, 2004
Last updated 30 March, 2004

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