The Gloster E.28/39, (also referred to as the Gloster Whittle, Gloster Pioneer, or Gloster G.40) was the first British jet-engined aircraft and first flew in 1941. It was the fourth jet to fly after the German Heinkel He 178 (1939), the Italian Caproni Campini N.1 motorjet (1940), and the German Heinkel He 280 (1941).

The E.28/39 was the product of a specification which had been issued by the Air Ministry for a suitable aircraft to test the novel jet propulsion designs that Frank Whittle had been developing during the 1930s. Gloster and the company’s chief designer, George Carter, worked with Whittle to develop an otherwise conventional aircraft fitted with a Power Jets W.1 turbojet engine. Flying for the first time on 15 May 1941, a pair of E.28/39 aircraft were produced for the flight test program. Following initial satisfactory reports, these aircraft continued to be flown to test increasingly refined engine designs and new aerodynamic features. Despite the loss of the second prototype, due to improper maintenance causing a critical aileron failure, the E.28/39 was considered to be a success.

The E.28/39 contributed valuable initial experience with the new type of propulsion and led to the development of the Gloster Meteor, the first operational jet fighter to enter service with the Allies. The first prototype continued test flying until 1944, after which it was withdrawn from service; in 1946, it was transferred to the Science Museum in London, where it has been on static display ever since; full-scale replicas have been created.

As far as I can tell there have been a few kits of this subject in 1/72 but they are nearly all reboxings of a very old kit by Frog. The exception is a limited run kit by High Planes Models in the 90s.

ClearProp has 3 levels of kits, each requiring different skill levels of the builder. Paraphrasing from the ClearProp site…

“…for experienced modellers it is necessary to create the kits which will include all additional parts in order to create a model copy that will repeat the original as much as possible. Such kits have been called “EXPERT”.
Despite this, many of our kits will also be available in “ADVANCED” and “STARTER” options, which will allow reducing the cost of the kit for the consumer. “

The kit comes in a sturdy box made of corrugated cardboard that covers all the sides of the box. On top of the box is a traditional box top made of thin card. Just to be clear the kit is 100% inside a corrugated cardboard box. All the parts are inside a resealable bag with various parts inside their own bags as well. The largest part of the resin engine is wrapped in bubble wrap inside the bag that contains all the resin parts. The packaging is very good. In the box we have:

  • 91 plastic parts
  • 18 resin parts
  • 39 PE parts
  • 1 brass pitot tube
  • painting mask sheet
  • 2 decal sheets
  • full colour 10-page glossy paper instruction sheet

The level of detail is very nice and the main parts have fine recessed panel lines. The attachment points are small and they attach to the mating surfaces. There are no alignment pins on the main parts of the fuselage or wings so you will have to take care during assembly. You have the option of putting the very detailed resin engine inside the fuselage or on an engine stand outside the aircraft. You can leave the engine cover off the assembled aircraft though and that will leave a lot of the engine visible. You have 2 options for the instrument panel, use a decal or use a film and PE panel with 4 extra PE handles. Depending on your choice of decal options you have 2 different exhaust nozzles and 2 different canopies. You do have a few parts not used as these have been replaced by resin, PE or brass parts.

The kit is built in 19 steps.

  1. Putting together the instrument panel. There are 2 options here, use a decal or use an instrument gauge film and PE panel with 4 extra PE handles
  2. Put together the pilot’s seat with PE lap belts.
  3. Attach the cockpit floor tot he firewall behind it.
  4. Complete the cockpit by assembling the instrument panel, seat etc and a few more plastic and PE parts.
  5. Adding PE parts that will be inside the air intake.
  6. Assemble the first 3 parts of the resin engine.
  7. Add 12 more parts to the engine – all resin.
  8. Complete assembly of the engine with more plastic and resin parts. It looks as if part PE39 is not needed if you’re not going to fit the engine in the aircraft but the instructions don’t say that.
  9. Fit 2 PE parts to the engine firewall.
  10. Attach the engine to the firewall.
  11. Add 2 parts to the engine cover.
  12. The biggest step – Join the fuselage halves and trap the engine, cockpit and air intakes inside. Add the right engine exhaust nozzle for the decal option you are building. A few smaller parts are added too. One part is optional depending on whether you’re going to put the engine inside the cockpit or not.
  13. Add 3 plastic and 4 PE parts to each of the main undercarriage bays.
  14. Join the top and bottom halves of the wings along with the ailerons.
  15. Add the rudder and elevators to the fuselage. Optional parts added if you’re building certain decal options.
  16. Mate the fuselage and wings. Fit the canopy that matches the decal option you’re building.
  17. Add the main undercarriage legs and bay doors. The legs have PE to be added and you have resin wheels to replace the 2 part plastic ones on he sprues.
  18. Build the nose wheel undercarriage leg and bay.
  19. Optional step 19 has you build the engine stand and mount the engine on it if you didn’t put it inside the fuselage.

The painting guide gives you 4 options, 3 camouflaged and 1 bare metal. Colours are named and called out in Humbrol. Colours are called out as needed throughout the instructions. Your 4 options are:

  • E28/39, W4041, RAF Cranwell, May 1941
  • E28/39, W4041, RAE Farnborough, Dec 1944
  • E28/39, W4041, Brockworth, April 1941
  • E28/39, W4046, RAE Farnborough, July 1943

This kit is available direct from the publisher here for US$41.00.

Conclusion: This is a very nice little kit with lots of detail and the resin and PE makes it a good choice. It’s easily the best kit of this aircraft out on the market right now.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
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