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Gloster Gladiator Mk.I / II

Airfix 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Description and Catalogue Number: Airfix A02052A - Gloster Gladiator Mk.I / II
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media:

59 parts in grey plastic; five parts in clear plastic; markings for two aircraft


£11.99 EU Price (£9.99 Export Price) plus shipping available online from Hannants

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High level of detail; nice surface textures; useful options including open or closed canopy, alternative windscreens, two styles of propeller, skis or wheels, weighted or unweighted main wheels; thoughtful engineering.

Some soft moulding.


Airfix has delivered another sweet little kit with their 1:72 scale Gladiator. Detail is good, surface textures are restrained, options are useful and parts breakdown is clever. This kit will be suitable for modellers of all skill levels.

Reviewed by Brett Green



The Gloster Gladiator (or Gloster SS.37) was a British-built biplane fighter. 

It was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) as the Sea Gladiator variant, and was exported to a number of other air forces during the late 1930s. 

It was the RAF's last biplane fighter aircraft and was rendered obsolete by newer monoplane designs even as it was being introduced. Though often pitted against more formidable foes during the early days of the Second World War, it acquitted itself reasonably well in combat. 

The Gladiator saw action in almost all theatres during the Second World War, with a large number of air forces, some of them on the Axis side. 



The RAF used it in France, Norway, Greece, the defence of Malta, the Middle East, and the brief Anglo-Iraqi War (during which the Royal Iraqi Air Force was similarly equipped). Other countries deploying the Gladiator included China against Japan, beginning in 1938; Finland (along with Swedish volunteers) against the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War; Sweden as a neutral non-combatant (although Swedish volunteers fought for Finland against USSR as stated above); and Norway, Belgium, and Greece resisting Axis invasion of their respective lands. 

The South African pilot Marmaduke "Pat" Pattle was the top Gladiator ace with 15 victories with the type*.

* Historical text adapted from Wikipedia





Airfix released their brand new 1/72 scale Gloster Gladiator Mk.I/II in 2013 and is still widely available in several boxings today.

The kit comprises 59 parts in light bluish-grey plastic and five parts in clear. The model is packed in a cardboard box with a separate lid – a small detail perhaps but more robust that end-opening boxes.


  • Airfix1/72 Gloster Gladiator Mk.I / II Review by Brett Green
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The light bluish-grey plastic is softer than the material used by other mainstream manufacturers. This makes the plastic easy to clean up, but you also need to be careful not to take chunks out of the kit parts when removing them from the sprues.



More recently Airfix has moved to a darker, shinier plastic with a harder surface texture. I think I prefer the newer plastic.

Surface textures are crisp and fine. The recessed panel lines are very well done.

The wings, rear fuselage and tailplanes are finished in a stretched fabric effect. This is subtly done and quite convincing.

The cockpit looks okay on the sprues. A decal overlay is provided for the otherwise flat and featureless instrument panel. You’ll have to source your own harness straps too. Eduard already has you covered there with a couple of detail sets already including the interior and canopy masks.

A seated pilot figure is supplied. He looks a bit blobby in the massively enlarged photo but he looks good in real life. You will have to treat that nasty wound in his throat though!




Kit engineering is thoughtful. The upper and lower wings are both full span single parts and there are only two interplane struts on each side. Airfix has moulded the two struts on each side joined by an "X" shaped brace. Make sure you do not cut this brace off when you remove the struts from the sprues. The brace will ensure the correct position of the two struts. The braces may be cut off after assembly when the joins between the struts and the wings are thoroughly set.

The rudder is supplied as a separate part. All other control surfaces are moulded in the retracted or neutral positions. as are the landing flaps.



The engine is simple but adequate with only nine parts including cowls, exhausts and intakes – but the moulded detail is good. Braces are moulded with the cowl ring in a single part. This is a nice touch in an otherwise potentially fiddly area. Cowl flaps appear to be moulded slightly open.



Plenty of useful options may be found in the box including the choice of two-bladed Watts propeller or three-blade de Havilland propeller, separate caps for the propeller spinners, starter cranks and more.

Airfix has supplied two sets of wheels. Once has bulged and flattened tyres to represent the aircraft on the ground, and an alternative set of unweighted tyres if you plan to depict the model in flight (a stand is available separately).



A set of undercarriage skis is also on the sprues although they don't apply to the marking options supplied in this box. There are a number of after-market decals with skis though.

Clear parts look good.

The five parts include two styles of separate windscreen and overlapped sliding canopy section if you wish to pose the canopy open.



Two different parts are included if you wish to pose the canopy closed.



Markings are offered for two aircraft:

  • Gloster Gladiator Mk.II, No. 615 (County of Surry) Sqn, RAF, St.Inglevert, Northern France, December 1939.

  • Gloster Gladiator Mk.I, 1 Escadrille, 1 Groupe Belgian Air Force, Schaffen Air Base, Diest, Belgium, 1938



Decals are glossy in finish, with good colour saturation and registration.





Airfix has delivered another sweet little kit with their 1:72 scale Gladiator. Detail is good, surface textures are restrained, options are useful and parts breakdown is clever. This kit will be suitable for modellers of all skill levels.

Sample purchased locally by reviewer

Text and Images Copyright © 2024 by Brett Green
Page Created 17 January, 2024
Last updated 18 January, 2024

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