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Gloster Gladiator Mk. I




S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: RD408
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 89 parts in light grey styrene; 5 parts in clear styrene; markings for five aircraft
Price: USD$23.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: QuickLook
Advantages: Authentic surface texture; important subject; plentiful marking options; good details including cockpit and engine; positionable flying surfaces; very thin trailing edges of flying surfaces; great decal sheet including five marking options and decals for the tyres!
Disadvantages: Some sink marks on fuselage and propeller blades; poorly shaped seat; mould flow lines on wings and other smaller parts.
Recommendation: Recommended to early WWII RAF and biplane aficionados.


Reviewed by Brett Green

Roden's 1/48 Scale Gladiator Mk. I is available online from Squadron.com




Roden's latest 1/48 scale release explores a significant combatant of the early years of the Second World War - the Gloster Gladiator Mk. I.

Roden's 1/48 scale Gladiator comprises 89 parts in light grey styrene, and an additional 5 parts in clear.

The parts are generally well moulded, and surface texture is very impressive. The fabric over ribs looks just right. Panel lines, where appropriate, are crisply engraved. Depiction of rib tape on the ailerons is so subtle as to be almost invisible! There are a few sink marks and stress marks on the outside of the fuselage. These are partly the result of ambitious moulding of structural detail on the inside of the fuselage. There are some bigger sink marks on the front face of the propeller blade too. These will need some attention with putty and a sanding stick. Mould flow lines are present on the wings and tailplanes, but they should disappear under a coat of paint.



Locating pins are not widespread on the kit but engineering is robust. Large tabs help locate the lower wing to each fuselage half, and the upper wing is supplied as a single, full span part. The trailing edges on the three wing parts are almost razor sharp - very impressive. Furthermore, there are locating pins for the top and bottom of the outer struts on each wing. The cabane struts are secured with locating pins too.

Some of the parts are incredibly fine and delicate. Of special note is Part 68, the fin mast for the aerial wire. The trigger on the control column and the pitot tubes moulded to the port strut are worthy of attention too.

The engine is made up of 26 pieces not including the propeller, cowl and tropical filter. This should look great when finished, but care must be taken to ensure that it will fit in the three-piece cowl.



The cockpit is also convincing. Raised structural detail is present on the sidewalls, and the impression of the partial floor is captured quite well. The instrument panel is a clear part with decal instruments applied to the rear. The seat lets down this otherwise good aspect of the kit. It is slab-like, looking more like a refugee from a 1970s-era model than a high quality offering of 2002.



Flying surfaces are supplied as separate parts.

The decals look first-rate (click thumbnail at right to view larger image). Markings for five separate Gladiators are supplied. Colours, registration and thinness all appear to be very good. The markings even include tyre lettering - "Dunlop Aircraft Tyre"!

Instructions are called out in 16 steps using diagrams. Paint references are supplied for Humbrol, Testor, Gunze and Lifecolor. Each marking option is covered using a side profile plus upper and lower plan view. A rigging diagram completes the package.





Roden's 1/48 scale is an impressive kit in the box.

Roden advise that they will also release a Sea Gladiator and a Gladiator Mk. II. They will also be welcome.

Earlier Roden releases have revealed some construction challenges, so careful preparation and test fitting is the best formula for avoiding problems. In particular, I would recommend that the basic engine part is test-fitted to the assembled cowl, and that the engine is test fitted repeatedly after each extra component is added. The cockpit components should be test-fitted in the fuselage to check width before painting and assembly too.

I really like the look of this new Roden kit. After careful test fitting, plus a little time with some filler on the small sinkmarks and a replacement seat, this should be a fabulous looking Gladiator


Review and Images Copyright 2002 by Brett Green
Page Created 12 December, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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