Review: H-K 1/32 Meteor F.Mk.4 test shot
The Meteor F.4 was the result of three separate lines of research that began shortly after 616 Squadron had taken delivery of their Meteor F.1s in 1944.
The Aerodynamic Section at R.A.E. Farnborough was studying ways to improve the high speed characteristics of the Meteor; wind tunnel tests indicated a breakdown of airflow around the engine nacelles at Mach .75, which resulted in a great increase
in drag and severe buffeting, with the center section completely stalled. Further experiments demonstrated that these conditions could be delayed by increasing the length of the nacelles in front of and behind the wings. Full scale trials on EE211 in November 1944 demonstrated a very useful increase in performance with the longer-chord nacelles. Secondly, development of the Derwent 5 - a smaller version of the excellent Nene jet engine - resulted in doubling the thrust, compared with the Welland.
The first prototype Meteor F.4 was a modified F.3, EE360, which made its maiden flight on July 17, 1945. It showed a 111 m.p.h. increase in speed over the standard F.3. All of this was so successful that the G.41 was ordered into production in November 1945 as the Meteor F.4. Airframe stress caused by the increase in speed was dealt with by clipping each wing by two feet, ten inches, which improved the rate of roll considerably, but raised take-off and landing speeds while reducing the rate of climb. Post-war production was not rapid and the F.4 did not completely replace the F.3 in front-line service until 1948, though the first production examples had reached squadron service in mid-1947. 539 F.4's were produced by Gloster, and 44 by
Armstrong-Whitworth, which had entered Meteor production in 1946. The Meteor F.4 was the first of the type to be exported, serving in the air forces of Argentina, Denmark, Egypt, Belgium and the Netherlands. The R.Aux.A.F. operated the F.4 until the mid-1950s when the organization was abolished.
In answer to the many modelers who have wondered why H-K Models is bringing out the Meteor F.4, which never saw combat, as opposed to the F.8 which saw combat with two air forces and served with many others, the answer is that this was one of the projects originally developed with He Who Shall Not Be Named, who
was interested in this sub-type because it served with the Dutch Air Force. An F.8 is in development, and there is the possibility of other sub-types of the Meteor being produced, depending on the commercial success of this kit.
Overall, the kit is very simple, without additional detail such as jet engines, though the design will allow modelers to install an engine if such is produced by the aftermarket. The cockpit is simple and accurate; since it will be painted black, there will not be much to be seen there anyway.
Surface detailing is so petite that it is difficult to see until paint has been applied, and then only in good lighting conditions. Modelers who have complained about the Trumpeter mad riveter, and about “trench-like panel lines” will be happy with this. Comparing the kit to the real Meteor F.4 on display at Planes of Fame, the surface detail is accurate and highly realistic.
Assembly is easy. Even without instructions, it only took me about three hours to completely assemble this model. I used some Mr. Surfacer 1000 on the centerline seam of the fuselage and on the engine nacelles. Other than that there was no need for further clean-up.
The Meteor F.4 is a tail sitter without considerable weight, and H-K Models plans to provide a weight in the kit that will take care of the problem. I did not have the photo-etch, so I filled in the speed brake areas and then re-scribed them.
I pieced together markings for a Meteor F. Mk. 4 as operated by 56 Squadron circa 1948-50, using decals from the spares box. It has been confirmed that one of the markings options for the kit will be 600 Squadron, R.Aux.A.F., which is particularly colorful.
The price has not yet been set, but it will likely be in the mid-2 figures range. Overall, this is a simple kit that results in an outstanding model. H-K's Meteor F.4 is the best kit of the Meteor of any version in any scale.
Thanks to Neil Yan at H-K Models for providing this test shot.