The Gloster Meteor is worthy of the attention of all aircraft modellers due to being the first Jet Fighter in service with the Allies during World War 2, and while it never saw jet on jet combat with German jets it proved to be a very capable aircraft from an airframe point of view. The Meteor saw service as the RAF frontline fighter from the end of World War 2 until the 1950's, that was not the end for the Meteor as it continued as a night fighter into the 1960's. That was still not the end with the rugged airframe continuing in service performing specialised roles into the 1980's and 90ís.
The following portion of this introduction is as supplied by Pen and Sword:
The Gloster F.9/40 was Britainís first jet fighter and as the Meteor F.I became the first jet-powered aircraft of any description to enter service with the Allies in World War II. Several early Meteors were despatched to Europe in the hope that 1945 might witness the first ever jet-on-jet combats between it and the much-vaunted German jets Ė a contest which, in the event, was never to occur.
Post-war, and the Meteor quickly became the backbone of the UKís day fighter defences, progressing through successive Marks as it did so, until finally being replaced on the front line by later types during the mid-1950s. With their ever-adaptable airframe, two-seat Meteors became Britainís primary night fighter too, serving for several years until replaced by the Gloster Javelin from the late 1950s onwards.
With its operational career over, the Meteorís adaptability and ruggedness was put to sterling use as an advanced trainer, the most obvious example of which was the T.7. As late as 1982, a handful of stalwarts were still soldiering on.
This offering from Pen and Sword is part of a series titled Flight Craft. This offering is authored by Martin Derry and Neil Robinson and these two authors have worked together on a number of titles within this series. The book is a soft backed offering with a stiff card that offers a reasonable level of protection to the contents. The contents themselves consist of 96 pages of gloss paper that present both text and photographs in a clear and well detailed manner.
The contents of this offering breakdown as follows:
The Gloster F.9/40
The Night Fighters: NF.11/13 & 12/14
Targets, Tugs and Royal Navy Meteors
British Meteor Miscellany
CEV Flight Test Centre Meteors
Meteor Camouflage and Markings
The Meteor in Colour
Modelling the Meteor
The aim of this series from Pen and Sword is I believe an effort to provide the modeller with a background to the models that they build and the kits available at the time of publication. Due to the fact that nearly 4,000 Meteors were produced providing a comprehensive background and reference in a title of this size is not possible; Martin Derry and Neil Robinson have therefore restricted this title to covering just the Meteors in British service and even that is a big ask for this book.
The book itself begins if you will with an apology admitting to the limitations of this offering, but that should not be looked at as a negative due to it still providing a great deal of background information on the aircraft. The text is restricted in quantity but I found it interesting and an easy read that provided plenty of detail for me as a modeller. An indication of the information I learnt is that pilots were originally instructed on flying the aircraft by someone knelt on the wing telling the pilot what does what and then sending them aloft; can you imagine doing that today and back then this would be the first introduction to jet powered flight.
While the text has been restricted I cannot say that the photographs have been curtailed by the need to meet certain publishing criteria. The photographs are a mix of colour and black & white, and they are all of a good quality for picking out details on. Each of the photographs is provided with a well written caption that should meet the needs of most modellers looking to gain the most from them. What I did like here is how the authors have managed to squeeze in so many of the aircraft variants without making you feel as if you are missing something, they also flow very well from one type to the next.
The authors have provided no less than 22 pages of artist presentations of the Meteor variants. These drawings are provided covering the Meteor from the side for the most part but top and bottom views are also included for some of the aircraft depicted. I think the biggest surprise to me was just how bright and colourful some of these Meteors were and that may encourage a modeller to dip their toes with a Meteor build.
The Modelling section of this book provides very good coverage of the 1/72nd scale kits that were available at the time of publication and I like that the text provided is written in the form of a concise review; this approach means that I would be willing to purchase a model from the information provided here. The models available in 1/48th and 1/32nd scale are also covered but these are obviously fewer in number, but are still covered well. The section covering finished models is a nice presentation, but I feel offers little beyond eye candy; with that said I did like the model covering the prone piloted Meteor which is on display at RAF Cosford.
This offering as part of the Flight Craft series looking at the Gloster Meteor looks to have been a struggle to fit into the amount of available space, but I have to congratulate the authors for doing a very good job in that respect. I thoroughly enjoyed what was offered here and found some things very interesting and informative; the colour prints are a great mix with great reference value. The section covering available models is another very well presented aspect, but I found the finished models to be little more than eye candy as no significant information is provided on the build.
Darren Baker takes a look at a title from Pen and Sword as part of their Flight Craft series on the Gloster Meteor in British Service.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...