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Tamiya 1/48 Meteor F.1 Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review May 2009 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Meteor F.1 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 61051 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed kit of Britian’s first jet fighter Cons Control surfaces and rudder molded solid
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $36.00

First Look


The Gloster Meteor was the first and only operational jet to actually participate in WWII for Britain. It was in November 1940 when the British Air Ministry presented to the Gloster Aircraft Company a specification for a new fighter powered by a jet engine. Gloster immediately started this project, and the Air Ministry soon place an order for prototypes to Gloster.

Several types of engines were installed, and among them, the Halford H.1 engine by De Havilland made one of the prototypes fly for the first time in March 1943. The final choice, however, was different. The F.1, first production version (subject of this Tamiya kit), was flown on 12 January 1944 with W.2B/23 engines manufactured by Rolls-Royce (1700lb). Except for the engines, the F.1 differed very little from the original designs with four 20mm cannons, tricycle landing gear and clear view to the rear canopy.

Twenty F.1’s were produced in total, and most of them were delivered to the No. 616 Squadron. Their first military success was achieved on 4 August 1944, when Flying Officer Dean shot down a German V1 rocket. Since it’s first kill, Meteors destroyed a total of 13 V1’s and it was a great boost for morale not only in the military but also for the civilian population in England. Although replaced by the improved F.3 and F.4 shortly after, the Gloster Meteor F.1 played an important roll, along with the German Me 262, to open the door to the “jet fighter era”.

Tamiya is a prolific model company based in Japan. In addition to aircraft kits they also do armor and ships.

This kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows a Meteor F.1 chasing a V1 rocket. It is in a wave pattern camouflage of RAF ocean gray and RAF dark green above and overall RAF medium sea gray undersurfaces. It carries the white fuselage code of YQ roundel E. There is a white fuselage band just in front of the rudder and the British tri-color on the rudder. A black letter E is carried on the nose wheel door. This aircraft is from the RAF No. 616 Squadron (this mark is included on the kit’s decal sheet)

A side panel shows a scheme for the first prototype, as a 3-view in color. It is in the same camouflage as the above mentioned Meteor. It carries a yellow letter P inside a yellow circle outline and also has a white fuselage band. (this scheme also is on the kit’s decal sheet) Below this illustration is a color drawing of the Rolls-Royce Welland jet engine.

The other side panel also has a 3-view in color of another aircraft from RAF 616 Squadron. It is identical to the first scheme, mentioned above. However the white fuselage code is YQ roundel Y this time. A black letter Y is on the nose wheel door.

[Editor's Note: Before we look at the contents, we should note that this particular kit is from the original release from Tamiya and has an interesting 'bug' in the kit - the wrong wings. The Tamiya designers based this kit on the Meteor Mk.I (F9/40) on display at the RAF Museum at Cosford. While the fuselage is good for an F.1, somewhere in this airframe's checkered past it was fitted with the wing from a Meteor F.3. The F.1 didn't have speed brakes over and under the wings, these were added to the F.3 production run. When Tamiya learned of the error, they offered corrected wings to all of the original buyers of the kit to render the F.1, and since they already had an F.3 wing tooled, they released an F.3 kit about a year later. The kit we're looking at here is now a collector's item as Tamiya has been producing subsequent runs of the Meteor F.1 with the correct wing.]

Inside the box are 3 stapled shut cello bags holding 4 medium gray trees of parts and one clear parts tree. The clear parts tree is further cello bagged. There is a barrel-shaped metal weight inside a cello bag that is stapled to the side of the tray. This is to be used to make the model sit on its tricycle landing gear, without tipping on it’s tail. Nice addition Tamiya! The decal sheet, instructions and a small sheet of IMPORTANT INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS KIT, in multiple languages (including English) completes the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of a large sheet that accordion folds out into 10 pages of 7 7/8” x 10 ¼” format.

Page 1 begins with a black and white photo of the kit made up in the box art scheme. This is followed by the history of the Meteor F.1 in multiple languages, including English.

Page 2 begins with READ BEFORE ASSEMBLY instructions in the same languages, pictures of hobby tools (suggested to use to build the kit) and a listing of Tamiya paint colors. This is followed by CAUTIONS and the first assembly step.

Pages 2 through 6 give a balance of a total of 10 assembly steps.

In step no. 6, you opt to use either solid or clear panels on the nacelles to view the engines inside if preferred.

In step no.10, you can opt for either an open or closed cockpit canopy and open or closed dive brakes.

Pages 7 through 9 show the schemes for the 3 aircraft already mentioned above, as 4-views.

Page 10 begins with written painting instructions, followed by 2 line drawings that show each side of the Meteor and where the stenciling is applied. The bottom of the page has the decal application instructions and a customer service card to mail to Tamiya with and requests for parts etc.

There are no parts tree illustrations on the instructions. A large sheet is included in the kit that shows the general camouflage pattern as a 4-view, minus the markings. Colors are called out in Tamiya paint numbers.

Large letter A parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, the pilot figure, the pilot seat, cockpit tub, solid engine nacelle doors, cockpit upper panel, bulkhead, main wheel fenders, dashboard, nose wheel, wing root fillets etc. (22 parts)

Large letter B parts tree holds: the upper and lower wing halves (lower wing half being full-span), gear doors, engine cowlings and dive brakes (11 parts)

There are 2 identical small letter C parts trees. These hold: one horizontal tail surface, one main wheel and its fender and parts for one engine (16 parts per tree)

The clear parts tree is next. It holds 2 alternate cockpit transparencies and their separate side windows, wing light lenses, clear engine nacelle doors and a reflector gun sight (10 parts)

The decal sheet, already described above, holds wing walk markings and many stencil marks and seat belts too.

It should be mentioned that Tamiya has turned the walls and floor of the tray of this box into a virtual catalog of other things that they market. 20 different box arts are shown for other aircraft kits they market, along with tools, an airbrush, paint marker pens and bottled paint.

This is a neat model of the first British jet fighter. The control surfaces are all molded solid and would take surgery to re-position. There is a pilot figure included and he isn’t too bad. Panel lines are all of the engraved variety.