Amongst my all-time favourite aircraft are several 50's jets – including the F-86, Hawker Hunter and Gloster Meteor. Xtrakit's 1/72 Meteor kit was a re-boxed MPM tooling, and looked great in the box with finely recessed detail and a nice, thin canopy. However it was far from being a straightforward build. For example the wing trailing edges were grossly over-scale and had to be ground down with a Dremel.
There were also some fit problems. A spacer was inserted in the fuselage to widen it in order to achieve a better fit. The top wing simply didn’t fit the lower one. When one wing-tip and engine halves aligned, the other didn’t. My solution was to saw the upper one-piece wing in half and remove a sliver of plastic, enabling me to adjust the fit of the wings individually.
None of the kit schemes appealed, but I'd found photos of a target-tug and was immediately drawn to the dayglo strips and black/yellow underside. All of these were masked and painted, and the serials printed onto decal paper. Tamiya Smoke and some heavily diluted grey paint were used to add weathering to the airframe, trying to match the photographs I was working from.
I'd decided early on to depict the Meteor taking off, and had installed a PJ Productions resin pilot and adjusted the undercarriage accordingly. A runway base was made by creating the graphics in Photoshop, printing it out and gluing onto a purpose made wooden base. I took great liberties with the scale – in reality, those runway dashes are 100 feet long and about 60 feet apart!
The rod supporting the Meteor was cut from a barbeque skewer with a hack-saw, bandages applied to my fingers, the rod sprayed black and then inserted into a hole drilled in the base at the correct angle.
Despite its issues the finished model looks like a Meteor, and the colour scheme and base give it some presence on the model shelf. I would love it if Airfix were to do a new-tool range of 1/72 Meteors...