Corgi CC36204 Royal Swedish Air Force Gloster Gladiator J-8A with Skis Diorama - F 19 Squadron, Lake Kemi, Finland, January 1940 (1:72 Scale)
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, commenting on the British airmen in the Battle of Britain
One of the only biplane fighters to have any measurable success in the Second World War, the Gloster Gladiator was the product of a bygone era combining with modernity for one last fling. The Gladiator was obsolete by September 1939, but it still had what it took to make a significant impact on history. Air Ministry specification F.7/30 realized (correctly) that future fighters were going to be faster and better armed.
Unfortunately, the delay in placing an order lasted 4 and a half years, by which time war was approaching, and it was realized that biplanes were soon to be judged obsolete. Folland created the S.S.37, which was the best design, and was accepted. It was really obsolete by the time of its first flight. However, since nothing else had arrived to replace the aging Bulldog fighter, the Gloster was readily accepted, and was the main fighter of the RAF until the Hawker Hurricane was delivered. By 1939, four squadrons were still operational with Gladiators.
Gladiators formed the core of the British Expeditionary Force's Advanced Striking Force in France in 1939. Many served in Belgium and the Netherlands, and many were present for the collapse of France. After 1940, most that still remained with the RAF worked as Meteorological Reconnaisance Aircraft.
Pictured here is a limited edition 1:72 scale replica of a Royal Swedish Air Force Gloster Gladiator J-8A Fighter with skis bearing Finnish marking that that was based at Lake Kemi, Finland, on January 12th, 1940. Only 180 vignettes produced. Sold Out!
Release Date: January 2007
Historical Account: "Land of the Midnight Sun" - Deployed as a volunteer squadron in support of the Finns, F 19 enjoyed its first air combat success against the Soviets on January 12th, 1940. During the unit's first mission, 2nd Lt. Ian Iacobi brought down an I-15bis over Markajarvi. This proved to be the 24 year-old Swede's only air combat success in the brief Winter War, although several of his compatriots made multiple claims. Gladiator 284, which was fitted with a ski undercarriage, had silver paint oversprayed on its olive green upper surfaces as disruptive camouflage, as well as Finnish markings. This aircraft also made the next F 19 claim when the top scoring Swedish pilot, 2nd Lt. Per-Johan Salwen, destroyed another I-15 on January 17th, 1940.