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Gloster E28/39 Pioneer Kit

Clear Prop 1/72 Gloster E28/39 Pioneer Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2019 Manufacturer Clear Prop
Subject Gloster E28/39 Pioneer Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72001 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-etch, Resin
Pros New tooling Cons See text
Skill Level Very experienced MSRP (USD) $39.00

First Look

Gloster E28/39 Pioneer Kit
Gloster E28/39 Pioneer Kit
Gloster E28/39 Pioneer Kit
Gloster E28/39 Pioneer Kit

Frank Whittle developed a turbine engine for potential use in aircraft back in the mid-1930s. Teaming up with Gloster Aircraft Company, they developed the E28/39 proof-of-concept aircraft that housed Whittle's engine and proved the feasibility of turbine-powered flight. While the E28/39 first flew in 1941, Ernst Heinkel had developed a similar proof-of-concept aircraft powered by a German-designed engine that flew in 1939, and Caproni flew an Italian turbine concept in 1940. The Whittle and the German initial concepts were based on centrifugal compressors with gas turbine power, while the Caproni design used a motor-jet engine (a compressor powered by a piston engine). The motor-jet would appear a few more times around the world before being abandoned, and the Germans set aside the centrifugal compressor in favor of axial-flow jet engines. Whittle would eventually get the RAF's attention with the Gloster Meteor becoming Britain's first turbine-powered fighter. Centrifugal compressors were later abandoned in favor of axial flow as the power produced by a centrifugal compressor engine was eventually limited by its size and weight. More power required a larger diameter compressor which meant more weight and larger-diameter fuselages or nacelles.

There is a new kit company out of the Ukraine called Clear Prop, and this is their first release. While most new companies start off with something relatively simple, Clear Prop has released a masterpiece model as you'll see in the images. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus one small tree of clear parts, one serious set of resin parts consisting of the Whittle engine and main wheels, three frets of photo-etched parts, one brass pitot tube, and a set of paint masks.

Among the features and options:

  • Beautifully detailed cockpit
  • Pilot's seat provided with photo-etched restraints
  • Photo-etched instrument panel w/acetate instrument faces
  • Choice of canopy (two different versions)
  • Super-detailed jet engine
  • Choice of exhaust duct ends (two different versions)
  • Positionable dorsal engine access hatch
  • Optional engine stand for displaying engine outside of the airframe
  • Photo-etched guide vanes down the intake
  • Detailed main wheel wells

There's some impressive detail in this kit and it is recommended for the very experienced modeler due to the multimedia parts and a number of really tiny parts that make up this gem. This kit would look great scaled-up to 1/48 or 1/32 scale!

Markings are provided for four different schemes:

  • E28/39, W4041, RAF Cranwell, 1941
  • E28/39, W4041, RAE Farnborough, 1944
  • E28/39, W4041, Brockworth, 1941
  • E28/39, W4046, RAE Farnborough, 1943

This is an impressive first offering from this new company and it provides a stunning model of this early jet pioneer. While the subject has been produced before in this scale by companies like HpM, Eastern Express, and Frog, none have even come close to this level of detail in the box. Even Special Hobby's 1/48 E.28/39 isn't anywhere close to having this much detail in their kit either. I can't wait to see what this company produces next!

My sincere thanks to Clear Prop for this review sample!