MPM Gloster Meteor F. 8
Decals: 5 versions — all Royal Australian Air Force, Korean War Theater
Comments: Engraved panel lines, resin air-to-ground rockets, photo-etch parts for the cockpit and weapons
The Gloster Meteor was one of the world’s first operational jet fighters, seeing action over Great Britain from 1944 on when it was pressed into the interceptor role to down German V-1 buzz bombs. It has the distinction of being the aircraft from which the first airborne test of an ejection seat was made, when an early Martin-Baker seat discharged from a Meteor T7 on June 13, 1946. After the war, continued development of the Meteor resulted in the F. 8 version. Design of the F.8 began in 1947, differing from the F.4 in that it had strengthened airframe, longer fuselage, redesigned canopy, an ejection seat, and more powerful Rolls Royce Derwent 8 jet engines.
The British Royal Air Force took delivery of the first F.8’s in 1949, but the Royal Australian Air Force may have had the largest contingent of the type of any country, purchasing 94 of them from the British. In July 1950, the RAAF’s No. 77 Squadron was the first non-American unit with the United Nations forces deployed to the Korean peninsula. No. 77 Squadron was initially equipped with American P-51 Mustangs, but in April 1951 the unit was withdrawn to Japan to re-equip with Meteor F.8 jets.
Returning to South Korea’s Kimpo Air Base in July 1951, the squadron went into action with its new jet, which unfortunately proved to be no match for the Soviet MiG-15. Thereafter, Meteors were re-assigned from escort fighter duty to air support missions, carrying anywhere from ten to twenty 60-pound rockets beneath their wings in double racks. Meteors were quite successful in this air interdiction role, using both rockets and bombs on 4,836 sorties, during which they destroyed 4 MiG-15’s and an estimated 1500 vehicles. 30 Meteors were shot down over Korea, most of them by anti-aircraft artillery. No. 77 Squadron flew Meteors throughout the Korean War, returning to Australia in November 1954. They continued to operate with the F. 8 until August 1956.
MPM’s Meteor F.8 is molded in grey and consists of 84 injection molded plastic parts, 32 resin parts, and an additional 42 parts on a photo-etch fret. The level of detail in this limited run kit is remarkable, right down to the resin ejection seat and instrument panel with PE parts for the panel face. Each rocket consists of 3 resin and 4 PE parts, with more PE for the already detailed ejection seat.