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Gloster Sea Gladiator




S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: RD405
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 94 parts in light grey styrene; 5 parts in clear styrene; markings for five aircraft
Price: USD$24.97 from Squadron.com
Review Type: QuickLook
Advantages: Authentic surface texture; good details including cockpit and engine; positionable flying surfaces; very thin trailing edges of flying surfaces; eight marking options and decals for the tyres; extra parts also applicable to Gladiator Mk.II
Disadvantages: Some sink marks on fuselage; a little extra work needed if the arrestor hook is to be used; poorly shaped seat; mould flow lines on wings and other smaller parts.
Recommendation: Recommended to early WWII RAF, FAA and biplane aficionados.


Reviewed by Brett Green

Roden's 1/48 Scale Sea Gladiator is available online from Squadron.com




Roden's second 1/48 scale release in the Gladiator family is the Sea Gladiator.

Roden's 1/48 scale Gladiator comprises 94 parts in light grey styrene, and an additional 5 parts in clear.

Except for one small sprue with five parts, the plastic is identical to the Gladiator Mk. I release. This is a good thing, as the Gladiator Mk. I was a great kit.

The kit parts are generally well moulded, and surface texture is very impressive. The fabric over ribs looks just right. Panel lines, where appropriate, are crisply engraved. Depiction of rib tape on the ailerons is so subtle as to be almost invisible! There are a few sink marks and stress lines on the outside of the fuselage. These are partly the result of ambitious moulding of structural detail on the inside of the fuselage. There are some bigger sink marks on the front face of the propeller blade too. These will need some attention with putty and a sanding stick. Mould flow lines are present on the wings and tailplanes, but they will disappear under a coat of paint.



Locating pins are not widespread on the kit but engineering is robust. Large tabs help locate the lower wing to each fuselage half, and the upper wing is supplied as a single, full span part. The trailing edges on the three wing parts are almost razor sharp - very impressive. Furthermore, there are locating pins for the top and bottom of the outer struts on each wing. The cabane struts are secured with locating pins too. All the flying surfaces are supplied as separate parts.

Some of the parts are incredibly fine and delicate. Of special note is Part 68, the fin mast for the aerial wire. The trigger on the control column and the pitot tubes moulded to the port strut are worthy of attention too.

The engine is made up of 26 pieces not including the propeller, cowl and tropical filter. This should look great when finished, but care must be taken to ensure that it will fit in the three-piece cowl.



The cockpit is also convincing. Raised structural detail is present on the sidewalls, and the impression of the partial floor is captured quite well. The instrument panel is a clear part with decal instruments applied to the rear. The seat lets down this otherwise good aspect of the kit. It is slab-like, looking more like a refugee from a 1970s-era model than a high quality offering of 2002.



The additional sprue includes the three-bladed Fairey-Reed metal propeller, spinner, late-style intake, the bulged dinghy pack for the lower fuselage and the arrestor hook. The first three items are also applicable to the Gladiator Mk. II, so if you are too impatient to wait for the inevitable dedicated release of that version (undoubtedly with a stack of high-quality specific decal options) you can use this kit in the meantime.



Although the arrestor hook is included, there is no provision for it on the lower fuselage. In most photos the mechanism seems to be recessed into the lower fuselage when the hook is retracted. There is also a small but obvious locating point for the end of the hook rear the rear of the lower fuselage on the real aircraft. Neither of these features are depicted in the kit. It won't take long to do it yourself though, if you are so inclined (and armed with reference - I used the Squadron "Gladiator in Action" book. Plenty of photos of Sea Gladiators there).

The decals look very good. Markings for eight separate Sea  Gladiators are supplied, although there is not a lot of variety of colours. Most aircraft feature the shadow-shaded temperate sea scheme, with another subject in overall black. Colours, registration and thinness of the decals all appear to be very good. The markings even include tyre lettering - "Dunlop Aircraft Tyre"!



Instructions are called out in 15 steps using diagrams. Paint references are supplied for Humbrol, Testor, Gunze and Lifecolor. Each marking option is covered using a side profile plus upper and lower plan view. A rigging diagram completes the package.





Roden's 1/48 scale is an impressive kit in the box.

Earlier Roden releases have revealed some construction challenges, so careful preparation and test fitting is the best formula for avoiding problems. In particular, I would recommend that the basic engine part is test-fitted to the assembled cowl, and that the engine is test fitted repeatedly after each extra component is added. The cockpit components should be test-fitted in the fuselage to check width before painting and assembly too.

In common with my comments about the earlier kit, a little time and care, and a replacement seat, should render a terrific result from this impressive kit.


Review and Images Copyright 2003 by Brett Green
Page Created 28 April, 2003
Last updated 12 August, 2004

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