The 1930s were considered the “Golden Age of Aviation.” During this time, aircraft design evolved significantly. One of the driving forces behind this evolution was air racing. Numerous pilots poured money and time into developing faster and faster airplanes, in order to compete for the prestige of being the fastest man in the air. One such pilot was Roscoe Turner.
Born near Corinth, Mississippi in 1895, Roscoe Turner grew up with a thirst for speed. He became a pilot, and after a varied career in aviation, began racing in 1928. By 1935, he had already won both the Bendix and Thompson trophies, but the need for greater speed was gnawing at him. In 1936, Turner contracted with the Lawrence W. Brown Aircraft Company in California to build him a new racer. Turner designed the airplane himself and Professor Howard Barlow of the University of Minnesota engineered it. The design was a full cantilever, mid-wing monoplane with fixed gear. Since Turner was convinced that power would overcome aerodynamics in racing, the airplane was powered by a great big honkin’ Twin Wasp Sr., 1830 cu. in. 1000 hp. radial engine, which gave the airplane its unusual shape (i.e., virtually all engine, similar to the Gee Bee design).
Turner entered his new racer, dubbed the “R-14 Meteor”, in the 1937 National Air Races (Thompson Race) and was in the lead until the final lap, when he had to recircle a pylon he had missed. Nevertheless, Turner placed third with a speed of 253.8 mph.
Turner, sponsored by Pump Engineering Service Corporation or “Pesco”, entered the Meteor in the 1938 Nationals and this time he won (speed: 283.4 mph), becoming the first two-time winner of the Thompson Trophy. In 1939, Champion Spark Plugs sponsored Turner and the Meteor in the Nationals. At this race, Turner won his third Thompson Trophy with a speed of 282.5 mph, and then announced his retirement from racing. Turner subsequently returned to Indianapolis to operate the Turner Aeronautical Corporation until he died in 1970.
The Meteor hung from the rafters of the company’s main hangar until it was restored and placed in the Turner Museum in Indianapolis. When the museum closed in 1972, Turner’s Meteor was donated to the National Air and Space Museum, where it now resides at NASM ‘s Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
Released in 1992, the Lindberg 1/32 kit of this famous airplane is a very simple build, yet looks pretty good once constructed. On opening the box, one is greeted by the starkness of the kit, typical of the older days. The kit consists of only 33 parts molded in silver plastic and two clear plastic parts. The kit includes a very simple decal sheet for Roscoe Turner’s 1939 Thompson Trophy winner, but based on the photos I’ve seen of the real aircraft, they are accurate.
The cockpit is rather sparse, and there is an equally uninspired decal provided for the instrument panel. The engine, which looks reasonable once it’s mounted in the model, is molded as a single piece, as is the three bladed prop. All panel lines and rivet detail are raised, although they are very discrete.
Lindberg 70562 1:32 Laird-Turner Meteor Racing Aircraft
This is a Lindberg 70562 1:32 Laird-Turner Meteor Racing Aircraft.
Model Number: 70562
Category 1: Model Kits
Category 2: 1:32 Scale
- Detailed cockpit with figure
- Historical deacls
- Moveable parts
- Easy to build
- Authentic scale model