1/48 Tamiya P-74 Meteor

Gallery Article by Nick Walton aka Aeroplanedriver on Apr 12 2019

A what-if article



Ever wondered what if?
What If WW2 dragged on and the US struggled to field a jet fighter..?

As 1945 drew to a close the allied advance into German held-Europe had slowed to a crawl. Germany's late 1944 counter attack and the crushing allied defeat in the Ardennes combined with the historically bad weather experienced throughout Europe in 1945 had left the war almost in a stalemate.

Germany continued V1 and V2 missile attacks, with Britain a main target, but allied held areas of France seeing heavy attacks too.

With rumors of new, more advanced German missiles in the works and new jet powered aircraft entering service the Allies were under pressure to match the German technological advances.

With the allied efforts to produce an atomic weapon also experiencing difficulties after the tragic death of project scientist Robert Oppenheimer in an automobile accident, the allies were pinning their hopes on a fleet of jet aircraft and other advanced weapons to break the stalemate and bring the war to an end in 1946.

The USAAF had been eager to match the RAF by bringing a jet fighter into service in 1945, but the Bell P-59 did not live up to expectations so American hopes were pinned on the promising P-80 built by Lockheed.

Germany had other plans though, and on the night of July 24th, 1945 German commandos landed via U-Boat on a remote section of the northern California coast. Two weeks later, in the early hours of August 8th they managed to launch a devastating attack on Lockheed's secretive Burbank factory, leaving he P-80 production line almost totally destroyed.

With no other suitable US jet aircraft ready for deployment, the US turned to Britain and ordered 140 Meteor F.3s. The first aircraft were diverted from RAF orders and rushed into service with the USAAF in January 1946, designated the P-74 Meteor in US service.

The first US squadron to operate the Meteor was the 61st Fighter Squadron in early 1946, replacing the P-47 Thunderbolt.

Meteors of the 61st performed well during the last year of the war and were credited with destroying a large number of V1 and V2 missile launch sites. Equipped with 6 20mm cannon (four in the nose, two in a removable underbelly cannon pack) and 5-inch HVAR rockets, the P-74 was also an effective tank buster in during the Allied push into Germany in Spring 1946.

This particular model depicts P-74 s/n 462111 flown by Captain McCauley, who was credited with the first US jet-on-jet aerial kill in May 1946 when he shot down an Me262 over the German border near Cologne.

Click on images below to see larger images

The model is Tamiya's wonderful 1/48 Gloster Meteor F.3.  The kit includes a belly tank that wasn't used until the F.4, but I used this as a cannon pack to add two more 20mm guns for a total of six. I also added six 5" HVAR rockets. Decals are a mix of kit decals for stenciling and P-47 markings from a Sky Decal set. Paints are Vallejo Model Air for the camouflage and Testors Metalizer straight from the can for the metallics.

Paints are Vallejo Model Air Olive Drab on top and Neutral Gray on bottom. All metallics are Testors Metalizer fr. 


Photos and text by Nick Walton