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iModeler review: 1/72 Airfix Gloster Gladiator Mk 1

June 14, 2013 · in Reviews · · 7 · 3.4K
This article has been sumbitted by Gregor de Ste Croix - Ed.

Here is perhaphs your first look at the new which hit the shops last week. Hopefully as you will see this is without doubt the most affordable (£7.99) modern tooling of this type to be released to date. Previous offering by Matchbox, and the original Airfix issues pale into insignificance when compared to this new kit.

Instructions are well presented, and very clear in 26 easy to follow stages. Build up starts in the cockpit, which is very crisply presented and icludes the two side fuselage 303 machine guns. A decal is provided for the instrument panel as there is no raised detail on this part in the kit. Completing the five stages of the cockpit internals which include the option to open the port side access hatch concludes at stage 7 when you close the fuselage sides.

The wings are provided as two parts and have very nice surface detail (hopefully clear in my photos) ribbing detail is subtle and will look convincing under a coat of paint. The construction of the radial engine involves 5 seperate pieces, with 4 cowling parts to encase the completed motor. Engine exhausts have pre drilled out lets, and are attached to the lower cowling section.

Next up is the wing bracings which come with internal sprues, which remain in place untill after the upper wing is added to aid alingnment. The engineering on this kit is very well thought out and looks to make for a straightforward build, especially for a bi-plane.

Once the wings are in place attention is turned to the undercarridge, which has the choice of flattend or fully inflated tyres. The wheel centres come as seperate pieces. Diagrams in the instructions show how to accurately allingn the wheels which sit at 83 degrees to the undercarridge legs.

With that its on to the final stages including the open or closed canopy options, and even a starter crank!

Overall this is a very nice kit, with a lot of out of the box detail, which i hope is clear from the photos. If you are feeling adventurous Airfix provide a full rigging diagram to complete your Gladiator.

The two colour schemes will temp many to buy two kits, as they are both very nice. Scheme 1 is Cobber Caine's pre war Gladiator in overall silver - Caine went on to become the RAF's first WW2 ace during the Battle of France flying Hurricanes. Scheme 2 is very colourful Irish Air Corps in standard upper camoflage, and tricolour marking on the underside of the lower wings.

This is one of the nicest kits i've seen for a while, and is a great illustration of how far Airfix have developed their product of late. I will be building mine shortly, and will post it in the Work in Progress Aircraft group.

Totally reccommended to all 🙂

Reader reactions:
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20 additional images. Click to enlarge.

7 responses

  1. Cool! Another Airfix kit with Irish markings out of the box, I am on a mission right now to build all of the new Airfix 1/72 kits. The way they are priced and boxed it reminds me of the pocket money kits I used to buy on Saturdays when I was a kid in the local Shops. Great renaissance in affordable mode lmaking for the masses, great quality too!

  2. I like new Airfix approach to kit engineering, with keyed wheels, tires flattened at the correct angle or "braced" interpane struts in this kit which hopefully will help assure correct alignment. These touches are thougtful and much compensate for the somewhat "shortrun" quality of the moulding (these thick sprue gates). Better still, Airfix seem to improve with every release, and this looks to be a very nice kit indeed. Thanks for the review.

  3. very nice gregor

  4. Good review of what looks to be a very nice representation of the Gladiator. Thanks, Gregor. I will find it difficult to resist getting one (or two).

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    said on June 15, 2013

    Many thanks folks, Gladiator is a great kit!

  6. Had one of these kits bought for my 81st birthday by my Grandson as we talk about all thing military and was showing him my original copy of the battle for Malta (Min. of info WW2 publication). Build looks a challenge but cost of paint tins to finish properly is a bit exorbitant as a lot of colours needed. Looking to mix my own with cheaper acrylics but a bit put off by my inability to buy the correct paint. Anyone have any suggestions?

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