KIT: HR Model 1/72 Gloster Gauntlet II
KIT #: 7351
PRICE: Approximately $17 at
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin with etched brass parts.


The Gloster Gauntlet was a single-seat, biplane fighter of the RAF. It was the last RAF fighter to have an open cockpit and the penultimate biplane to be used by that service.

The prototype first flew in 1933 and the Mk. I entered service in May 1935 with 19 Squadron. The Mk.I was replaced in production by the Mk. II after 24 had been completed. The new model used different construction methods following the merger of Gloster with Hawker-Siddeley and entered service in May 1936; 204 Mk. IIs were produced.

The Mk. I was withdrawn from front-line service in 1938, while the Mk. II survived until the outbreak of World War II flying with the RAF with 616 Sq, the last RAF squadron to fly the type, though it was used for various other duties until a few years later. Finland started using the type in November 1939 when 24 aircraft were delivered via South Africa (!) for use against the Soviets in the Winter War. These stayed on as trainers until 1950.


HR Models seems to be one of those companies that produce fairly nice resin kits for enthusiasts who are looking for a particular subject and can't find it elsewhere. Like most kit makers, they try to do as many variants as they can of a basic subject and so it is with the Gauntlet. This particular boxing is for a Finnish Gauntlet II with the updated engine and prop.

Molded in the usual tan resin, the kit is fairly well done with some parts showing some minor pitting and a few having open air pockets. There are also a few resin bubbles inside pieces, but this is pretty standard stuff for these sorts of resin kits. It is very nice that the wing struts are gang molded, fitting in large slots on the underside of the upper wing. One will have to take care when filling these as they make sections of the upper wing very thin. The interplane struts are separate with notches indicating where they fit. Resin is also used for the landing gear struts. While it all seems a bit flimsy, once the parts are glued together, things will seem a lot more sturdy.

Fuselage halves have nice detail on the inside, which will basically disappear when the fuselage halves are joined, along with the rest of the cockpit detail. Rudder pedals, control stick, seat and belts make up the interior. The instrument panel has a photo-etched face and acetate instruments. Acetate is also used for the windscreen. Be careful when shaking out the bag as I accidentally tossed out this small acetate sheet. It was later recovered. I was particularly pleased at how nicely the engine and cowling were molded.  A photo-etch fret is included for the shoulder harness, instrument panel, gun sight, and the oil cooler grille for the outside of the right fuselage. The builder has a choice of wheels or skis for this kit.

Instructions are well done with two folded sheets. One has color profiles on one side and a parts diagram and eight construction steps. A rigging diagram is also on this sheet. It is pretty obvious that parts of this are used for a Mk.I as those are shown on the sheet and crossed out! The other sheet has a very nice scale 5 view drawing that should also help with rigging. The other side has a history and some additional information in Czech and English. Decals are provided for the two aircraft shown on the profiles, both with bits of yellow on them as used in the Continuation War. You have not only the specific serials for the two shown, but also a selection of serials so you can do other aircraft if you wish. Actually, it seems as if this is a 'standard' Finnish AF decal sheet by what's shown in the instructions as you won't be using all the different sized insignia on this kit.


So there you have it. A very nice Gauntlet II for those who like these biplane fighters and a great set of markings for Finnish AF aircraft as well. Due to the rigging and the rather small pieces, it would be best to have a few resin kits and a few biplane kits under your belt before tackling this one. Aside from that, it is a very nicely done kit and I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.


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August 2006

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