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UK Gloster Gauntlet Mks 1 & 2

The hasn't been covered that well in any scale and all the available models have some inaccuracies to one degree or another. It's a pity as it is a charming little fighter. In 1/72 we have the HR Models, Pegasus, Aeroclub and AZ models versions; in 1/48 the Aeroclub model and in 1/32 the Silver Wings model. All are weak on the underside of the aircraft with the Silver Wings being the best. This is not surprising as good underside shots of Gauntlets are very uncommon. However, there is one which shows in detail what one needs to add

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The HR Models and Pegasus versions are difficult to get and were very poor. Every other Gauntlet available is basically a Mk. II which had certain visual differences to the Mk. 1 (which wasn't built in large numbers and only equipped one squadron). The Mk. 1 had smaller cylinder head fairings on its cowling and smaller fuselage fairings otherwise it was the same thing

. The AZ Models is the best Gauntlet in 1/72 scale with incredibly delicate molded detail. Unfortunately, there are accuracy issues. The interplane struts are the main issue - when designing the model AZ forgot to take account of the wing stagger which meant that the struts are too short. This is not an easy fix either. The rear fuselage handholds are also missing and the underside is nothing like the real aircraft. No wheel spats are included but this is not a major issue as they were only carried by a few Mk. 1s from No. 19 Squadron. The Aeroclub 1/48 Gauntlet is a much nicer kit with the usual caveats one applies to any Aeroclub kit. It also needs handholds and a more accurate underside. The best of the bunch is the Silver Wings Mk. 2 which at least doesn't pretend to be anything else. It suffers from the underside issue but otherwise is accurate and very detailed. It does mess up the combined Aldis/Ring sight mount in the instructions but the parts are accurate. A lot of Mk. 2s were initially equipped with a Watts two bladed propeller before receiving the Fairey Reed 3 bladed propeller - something to watch out for.

Accessories
Very little is available in 1/72 for UK Gauntlets and all used to be Aeroclub. These are very difficult to find, if at all possible. One can replace the engine with an SBS Gladiator engine but it's not really necessary as the AZ version is extremely good (one of the things they get right). The other two don't really need improvements. There are plenty of decal sets for the Gauntlet though. Model Alliance did a large range of different squadrons but these sheets are difficult to locate now. The decals were also very thin and very prone to tearing or damage. Xtradecal did various Gauntlets on their squadron sheets and RAFDec did a very nice No. 111 Squadron example as well. Don't expect much stenciling though. Most Gauntlets had it painted over and what did remain has been mostly ignored. In 1/48 Model Alliance did several but once again it's difficult to find now. There aren't any in 1/32.

Colour schemes
The Mk. 1 Gauntlets started out with polished panels so a very high reflective finish is needed if modelling an early aircraft. This practice was abandoned though and all Gauntlets basically had anodized aluminium metal parts and silver dope

. Tamiya XF-16 Flat aluminium is very good to replicate the anodized finish but do use the enamel version as the pigments are finer and more realistic looking. Some Gauntlets had grey painted panels so inspection of photos is necessary. Two colour schemes to watch out for in particular. No. 17 Squadron aircraft are reported to have had their rear decking painted in flight colours (red, yellow, blue) as well as wheel covers. Some sources though, say that the decking was black and others that it was blue. The rather poor photos that exist don't confirm the issue one way or the other. The other issue is No. 74 Squadron who used a very attractive yellow and black triangle set of markings. All decal sets for these aircraft include the upper wing markings. However, these did not exist. Like No. 87 Squadron's Gladiators the squadron markings were painted on the fuselage but the upper mainplane was left blank.

6 responses

  1. Great article with lots of information, Christopher @christopher
    Very helpful once you decide to build a Gauntlet.

  2. Indeed a shame this fighter is not covered better by the industry. I may add that the Danish Army bought one Mk.I as a sample and built a further 17 as license was obtained for own production. In Danish service they were called II J (second fighter-type). I sincerely hope AZ will re-start production, perhaps even an updated version with some of the issues corrected.

  3. Yet another superb article, Christopher!

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