In-Box Review
Gloster Meteor F3

by: KiwiDave [ KIWIDAVE ]

This is an in-box review - I would normally build first but as I am temporarily incapacitated it may be some time before I start the build.


The Gloster Meteor was the first Allied jet fighter to enter service and the only one to be used operationally in WW2. A significant aircraft in the history of aviation, it provided many air forces around the world with their introduction to the jet age while the Rolls Royce Derwent engine and its derivatives were the basis for the gas turbine power plants used by many Soviet and American aircraft into the fifties.

Overshadowed these days by the myth of the allegedly superior Me262, the Meteor does not have to rely on exaggeration and distortion of fact - the record is there for those who wish to see it. Outclassed as a interceptor, the Meteor was used effectively for ground attack, night fighter, photo reconnaissance and two-seat training by the RAF and many other countries. It was used extensively as a flying test bed for all manner of research including jet engine tests, ejector seat development, prone pilot research, and in-flight refuelling trials.


The Kit
This kit is an evolution of the earlier and inaccurate Tamiya offering of the prototype Meteor and represents one of the first fifteen Welland powered examples of the F3. Unfortunately Tamiya have made no attempt to provide the necessary parts to build a 'true' production F3 with Derwent powerplant.

It contains four grey sprues containing seventy parts, and a clear sprue of nine parts. Two of the clear parts are alternative engine covers so the detailed engines can be seen. There is also a large lump of steel for ballast so the model will stand on its undercarriage.

Panel lines and surface detailing are very fine and crisp.

On my example there is an unsightly cluster of sink marks on the upper surface of both mainplanes just inboard of the nacelles. This appears to be the result of poor mold design, the top surface shrinking into the wheelwell detailing on the underside.

There is no engine intake duct provided so the nacelle lips stop abruptly in a step.

Disappointing is the lack of separate flight control surfaces, though Tamiya have for some reason supplied detailed airbrakes which would normally be retracted on the ground.

The wheels are provided with separate hubs, but these are only half hubs, which begs the question 'why bother?'.

Cockpit detail is sparse - just an instrument panel, a seat, and a pilot figure - and the canopy is cleanly molded in three pieces so it can be posed open. Everytime I look at the pilot figure it appears less like he is flying an aircraft and more like he is responding to a call of nature.

An extensive decal sheet is provided, with correct markings and serials for a Welland powered 616 Squadron aircraft. For reasons that will be obvious to experienced aircraft builders, but not to me, the roundels have separate centres which may require the application of some medicinal spirit prior to affixing (to me, not the decals).

A 1/48th scale camouflage scheme drawing is included which compares well to the references I have.


Given the high price of this kit I would have expected more detail, separate control surfaces, and more F3 parts rather than a recycling of what Tamiya already had. The NZ list price of the F3 is 20% higher than the F1 from which it is largely derived and that seems a high price to pay just to get a bubble canopy.

Once more I seem to have got myself a conversion job - my Meatbox will be Derwent powered!

Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 61083
  Suggested Retail: NZ$59.95
  PUBLISHED: Sep 10, 2003
  NATIONALITY: United States

About KiwiDave

Copyright 2021 text by KiwiDave [ KIWIDAVE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.