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Mike Grant
22 articles

Meteoric Rise

July 16, 2015 · in Aviation · · 49 · 3.4K


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 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...

Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

49 responses

  1. Mike, congratulations on beating it into submission. I've got their Swift, and echo your description. Airfix' newer one looks infinately easier.

  2. Nice work Mike love the effect you've achieved with the base treatment, the Meteor looks super!

  3. Nice job, Mike, and a convincing setting.

  4. That's awesome Mike! A great and unusual colour scheme on the jet as well. The base is very clever and well executed, it gives a great impression of take off acceleration.

  5. Great idea for diorama! Looks very cool.

  6. What a beautiful Meteor! Love the illusion of motion you achieved with the treatment of the stripes on the base - you are indeed an artist!

  7. Surprise surprise - another Mike Grant masterpiece!

    I love the "oddball" choice of markings, it really brings out something you don't always see in the old Meatbox.

  8. Looks great !

  9. This is superb, I love it, well done Mike, well done.

  10. Nice Mike, very loud mate.
    Looks great, and the base is spot on.
    Well done mate.

  11. Nicely finished and photographed...I like it.

  12. I love the Meteor,too, this one is brilliant!

  13. All your efforts have paid off and the base is a very nice touch - excellent work, Mike!

  14. What type of "camo" is that on the planes underside? Beautiful paint job, imaginative and colorful.

    • Thanks Mike. I guess it's 'anti-camouflage'... the aircraft is a target-tug, which were painted in high visibility colors presumably so the gunners would see the aircraft and not shoot at it.

  15. Another amazing build Mike,keep em coming!, I never tire of looking at your work.Any chance of showing the guys here your Airfix Bloodhound set ?

  16. Greetings :
    That one caught my attention.
    Very nice work Mike. The color scheme is very outstanding and is one not seen on a normal basis, I am in par with Simon Whitney " very loud ", yet loving it.

  17. Thats incredible ! Brilliant build !

  18. Mike, Nice looking model, love the diorama, even though its simple it makes you look at it, very cool.
    I saw a picture once of a Meteor (an F3 or F4 I thin) that was used for carrier test. It had the Royal navy paint scheme and a tail hook. I have never been able to re-locate that pic. Have you ever seen that.

    • Thanks Terry! I hadn't seen the RN Meteor, but a Google search turned up a few. They were F.3s with a tail-hook added, they look pretty sharp in the sky/extra dark sea grey scheme. Added to the list of future projects...

  19. fine work master

  20. It looks just great! The effect of speed - amazing!

  21. Hello Mike,
    Master Modeler.
    Great job on this meteor.

  22. Profile Photo
    P.k said on July 22, 2015

    quite to my taste i'm like.
    In follow up on its work of you a years some decals im buy of you production.


  23. Beautiful job Mike! Getting a finish like that would be hard enough in 1/48 - but 1/72nd scale is amazing!

  24. Great work Mike, lovely clean separation of the colors, well posed, I like it.

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