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Special Hobby 1/48 scale Gloster E.28/39 Pioneer

Kit: No. SH 48017
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Special Hobby, available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, 972-242-8663,
Price: $32.47
Comments: Injection-molded, 48 parts (3 photoetched), decals
Pros: Historically significant aircraft, simple construction, good fit, delicate scribing, markings for two aircraft
Cons: Prominent exterior detail missing
On May 15, 1941, Gloster's chief test pilot, Flight Lieutenant Gerry Sayer, made Britain's first jet-powered flight in the diminutive Pioneer. The 17-minute flight was described as incredibly quiet and vibration-free. The aircraft is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.

Special Hobby's Gloster Pioneer kit comes with gray plastic parts and decals for both the record-setting aircraft and a second prototype. A small fret of photoetched parts is included, too. The six-page instruction booklet includes a brief history of the aircraft, a parts map, and four steps of assembly drawings. Painting instructions are keyed to Gunze Sangyo's paint line. Strangely, an intake blister clearly shown on the paint and marking profiles is not included in the kit.

The parts have small, easily removed areas of flash. The delicately scribed panel lines can disappear with light sanding, and the trailing edges of the wings and stabilizers are thin enough to be distorted if too much glue is applied.

After sanding and hand-fitting the nose-gear well (part A7), there is sufficient space in front of the cockpit for a 1/2-ounce of lead weight. After cleaning up the edges of the cockpit opening, I discovered that the canopy was a little small. I filled the gap with card stock.

The gear doors could stand some thinning. Their mating edges must be sanded and shaped to match the curvature of the wings and fuselage. I had trouble assembling the nose-gear strut; it's not clear how one of the photoetched parts (No. PP1) should be fitted.

My model is painted with Testor Model Master enamels and a handful of Floquil's out-of-production Military colors.

The decal markings are slightly off-register around the fin-flash markings but are otherwise beautifully printed. The decals are thin and tend to "grab" onto the model instantly when excess water is blotted away.

My model measures close to scale. The landing-gear legs look too long, though, like the model's on stilts. Perhaps the kit was designed with the gear-leg oleos extended.

This was an easy model to assemble. I spent just 13 hours (less than usual) working on it, most of that on the masking and painting. I'd like to build the second version with a two-piece vacuum-formed canopy, open cockpit, and shortened landing-gear legs.

- Allan F. Jones


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