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Classic Airframes 1/48 Meteor NF.11/13 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2005 Manufacturer Classic Airframes
Subject Gloster Meteor NF.11/13 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 480 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Beautiful resin castings, nice overal detail Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The Gloster Meteor was Great Britain's first operational jet fighter and the world's second (lead by Germany's Me 262 Schwalbe). Entering service in 1944, the Meteor was quickly tasked to intercept and destroy the V-1 buzz bombs that were fast enough to elude most of the RAF's propeller fighters.

After the war, the Meteor was steadily improved and saw service in many Commonwealth and other air forces. The Meteor would again enter combat over the Sinai with the Israelis and in Korea with UN forces.

One reality of post-war Britain was that its economy didn't allow for the rapid improvement of its armed forces while funding the rebuilding of its infrastructure. Consequently, radar intercept duties fell to aircraft like the de Havilland Mosquito until 1949. As the Mosquito started wearing out, the RAF looked to the Meteor to pick up the mission. Gloster answered the requirement with a two-seat aircraft that looked like its two-seat trainer at first glance, but sported a redesigned nose to accommodate the radar and a new tail.

The new radar interceptor, designated NF.11, entered service in 1951 and deployed to RAF Germany. By 1952, export orders started coming in and a tropicalized version, designated NF.13, was sent abroad. In all, the NF.11/NF/13 served with the RAF, RAAF, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Israel, and Syria.

The Meteor NF.11/13 kit is the latest version from Classic Airframes which has previously released the F.4, T.7, F.8 (early), F.8 (late), and FR.9. Where we only had Tamiya's F.1 and F.3 kits in 1/48, Classic Airframes has filled in many of the significant marks of this significant aircraft.

Molded in medium gray styrene, this kit is presented on four parts trees, plus a lower fuselage/wing section. A small clear tree is also provided containing the windscreen and canopy parts (separate canopy and windscreen). Kudos to Classic Airframes for the innovative way of packaging the clear parts separate from the rest of the kit!

The kit also includes 29 nicely cast resin parts to detail out the cockpit, wheel wells, and engines. Resin part R7, the tubular mount inside the nose for the nosegear is the most impressive casting I've seen to date. The steel frame is nicely captured without flashing. I can't even imagine the mold for this part!

Detailing on all of the styrene surfaces is all finely scribed. Aside from a pair of air intakes that mount to the underside of the fuselage for the NF.13, assembly for both versions is identical. The only options required for this kit are the communications antennas. You'll have to check your references to see the types and placement of the antennas on the aircraft you're modeling.

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • Meteor NF.11, 5 Sqn, RAF Germany, 1959
  • Meteor NF.13, 39 Sqn, RAF, Suez Crisis, 1956
  • Meteor NF.13, Egyptian AF, 1955

Three sheets of decals are included with the kit. The first contains the Suez ID stripes, Egyptian markings, and registration numbers. The second sheet has the RAF roundels and fin flashes, whilst the third sheet has the aircraft's maintenance stencils and walkway outlines.

I certainly hope that there is an NF.14 in the future. This version differs from the NF.11 with a few minor details in the vertical stab, the lack of the bulge under the nose, and a blown canopy. You can see the NF.14 along with photos of the F.3 and T.7 in our Meteor Reference Section.

In any case, we now have a nice-looking night fighter from the Meteor family to add to our night hunters collection. This kit is definitely recommended to builders with experience in limited-run multimedia kits.

My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample!