Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7
Azur-FRROM 1/72, Ref. FR0045
The transition from propeller-driven fighters to the twin-jet engined Meteor fighter was soon considered too complicated, especially for pilots with little experience; the need for a two-seater trainer was soon felt. Thus was born the Meteor T.Mk.7, a two-seater aircraft specifically designed for training and to facilitate the transition from piston to jet engines.
When the Belgian Air Force took delivery of its Meteor Mk.4 single-seaters to replace the Spitfire Mk.XIV, three Mk.7 two-seaters were also delivered. When the Meteor Mk.8 replaced the Mk.4, a further nine two-seaters were ordered and by 1952, twenty former Mk.4s were converted to two-seaters by Avions Fairey. Finally, at the end of 1953, ten more two-seaters were acquired from RAF stocks.
The Belgian aircraft were registered ED1 to ED43 and were mainly used by the Fighter School. There was also a hybrid version called T.Mk.7A (or T.Mk.71/2) with the Mk.4 tail section replaced by the Mk.8 one.
For some years now, we have been used to FRROM coming up with goodies for those interested in Belgian aircraft. The SV-4bis, Nieuport 29 and more recently the superb Renard R.31 come to mind. They continue with this two-seater Meteor kit by providing a Belgian livery among the three proposed.
The kit’s 76 parts (of which only two will not be used) are spread over two sprues of medium grey injection moulded plastic, with the single piece canopy and the collimator on a third, clear sprue, in a separate plastic bag that ensures adequate protection for the excellent transparency of these parts.
The assembly guide, in A5 notebook format, shows about twenty steps. The layout of the parts is quite classical: left and right half fuselages, tail planes in two parts above and below, etc. Note that the wing is in two parts, also top and bottom; once assembled, it fits into the bottom of the fuselage. The cockpit is fairly spartan but given the number of canopy frames and the fact that everything is painted black inside, there shouldn’t be much to see once the canopy is installed. The instrument panels have raised instruments and details and there is no decal alternative. Those who wish to present the canopy open can indulge in the joy of super-detailing! It is also worth noting that some (very) fine parts have to be scratchbuilt, e.g. small rods for the landing gear to be cut out of stretched sprue or the whip antenna on top of the fuselage. It is true that the technology of injection moulding does not (yet) allow the casting of such parts. As for the options, you can choose whether or not to install the drop tanks under the wings. Finally, there is a mask fret for the canopy with no less than 19 stickers to place, thank you for having thought of that!
As already noted, the decal sheet offers three schemes: a T.Mk.7 of the Armée de l’Air at Tours in 1956, n° F9 coded 30-MY, an Israeli Mk.7, n° 15 of Sqn 117 in 1957 still wearing the black and yellow stripes of the Suez crisis. And then of course, the icing on the cake for us belgian modellers, the T.Mk.7 ED-42 of the Belgian Air Force Fighter School at Coxyde in 1958, an aluminium aircraft with yellow fuselage stripes and yellow engine nacelles. The school insignia is painted on the front of the nacelles and a red winged arrow on each side of the nose.
This is another great addition to the FRROM catalogue that will enrich our collection of aircraft with black-yellow-red roundels! Thank you Gilles for thinking about us.
Review and pictures by Didier Waelkens.