The Gloster Meteor F.4 was the first post-WWII Meteor. The big differences between the Meteor F.3 and F.4 were the engines and wings. More details can be found online or in many different publications. For the 1/144th community, there are only a few Meteor options. The ones that I know of are the F-Toys F.1, Don Schmenk's resin F.8, a Welsh Models vac-form F.8, and an Anigrand resin F.3. That would make Hong Kong Models' F.4 the first injection molded Meteor kit in 1/144th.
This review sample came to me with no box, instructions, or decals. (Editor's Note - this was added in with the 1/32 B-25) Off the bat, this kit looks like something for wargamers, very similar to the 1/144th Zvezda Bf-109, Lagg-3, Il-2, and Ju-87. The kit consists of seven parts on one tree. Of those seven parts, two parts make the stand (a nice touch) and one clear part for the canopy. The Meteor itself is made up of only three parts--one piece fuselage, one piece wing, and one piece horizontal stabilizer. The detail on the parts is very fine and crisp with recessed rivet and panel lines. However, on the bottom of the fuselage a few of the panel lines do not line up. The kit looks the part of the Meteor F.4, but the molded-in seat looks a bit under scale.
The build is quite simple, as you can only build this "in-flight." I added a pilot from the spares box due to the fact that there is no detail in the cockpit other than a seat, representations of rudder pedals, and flat instrument panel. Build-wise, only a little filler is needed where the wing meets the fuselage. Due to the slide-mold technology, the engines were molded see-through. A simple fix is to put a little piece of sprue followed by a sliver of .040" x .250" plastic strip. This solves the see-through look of the engines and really adds to the end result.
As stated above, my review sample did not come with a box, instructions, or decals. This is such a simple kit that it was easy to build without those things. However, my sample had a broken canopy. The canopy is very clear but has no frame detail. I glued the canopy back together and heat-smashed a new canopy--it only took 15 attempts until I was satisfied with the result.
For markings, I chose a simple natural metal Meteor F.4 of which I found a picture on the internet. I used Hawkeye's Talon acrylic paint and Warbird decals sheet 14401 "WWII Allied Insignia." I also painted the stand a simple semi-gloss black as I thought it was a nice contrast to the natural metal finish. All-in-all, I finished this model in 8 days working a little bit in the evenings. Any modeler should be able to knock this kit out in even a weekend, as long as their canopy isn't broken. I think the end result is a very nice Meteor F.4 and really adds some contrast to the display case. I will most likely pick another one of these kits up when it hits the market. It would be nice if HK Models were to provide decals for a camouflaged and natural metal scheme. If you are stuck in a modeling rut, this kit will be a refreshing, simple, and quick build.
My thanks go out to HK Models for the review sample and providing an injection molded Meteor (even if it is basic and can only be built "in-flight") and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.