1/48 Lindberg Gloster Gladiator

by Richard Elman

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Here's a kit I picked up on E-bay for 3.99.  It seems there are only two games in town for this a/c in this scale: this one which I understand is over 30 years old and the more recent Roden kit.  When I saw a group build on the ARC forum, I thought I'd pull this one from the stash and paint it as one of the Defenders of Malta (of which more later).

Apart from a little filing of seam lines and flash, the kit went together pretty well.  I attempted to busy-up the rather bare cockpit a little, by adding a few knobs, levers, panels and harness, as well as a kind roll-bar affair behind the pilot's seat.  Paints used were an eclectic mix of WEM and Humbrol enamels, and the odd Xtracylix. Rigging was fishing line, tensioned off with a hot match and painted aluminium. Antenna wire was dressmaker's invisible thread, blackened with a permanent marker. The excellent decals are from Aeromaster.

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This particular aircraft was one of the Fleet Air Arm Gladiators in storage on Malta, which were uncrated and pulled into service with the RAF when Italy declared war on Britain in June 1940.  They, along with a handful of Hurricanes, fought tenaciously during that summer against Italian raids on the island until reinforcements could be delivered.  N5519 was shot down by a CR42 on 31/07/40 whilst flown by Flying Officer Peter Hartley, who survived with severe burns.

Richard

Photos and text by Richard Elman