|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New mold kit|
The Supermarine Spitfire was one of those few aircraft that were produced from the first day of WWII right until the end of hostilities. The other that comes to mind is the Bf-109. Both of these aircraft underwent huge transformations and in the end, there were few, if any, parts interchangeable from the first versions to the last.
Along the way, a number of 'stop-gap' versions were developed, some of which were produced in greater numbers than the originally designed variant. One of those was the Spitfire IX. While awaiting the definitive Mk VIII airframes to be ready, the more powerful Merlin 60 series engines were attached to MkV airframes (some of which had previously been Mk II or Mk I airframes), and the Spitfire IX was born.
The inclusion of the Merlin 60 engines gave the Spitfire what it had been seeking; parity and even superiority over the German's FW-190A series. Such was the success of the Mk .IX that it saw action right until the end of the war; this despite even more powerful versions being produced.
Spitfire boffins have been on the quest of the holy Spitfire; a kit that is perfect and meets all their needs. A kit that even they cannot find anything to complain about. This is not that kit.
It is, however, a very nice 1/72 kit of one of the most important variants; the Mk IXc. In fact, it is a rather interesting mixture of parts making it a nearly late version of the Mk IX. You see, it has the thin cannon fairings, wheel fairings, late elevators mixed in with an early fin/rudder. Now as we know, that will very much limit just what can be done with this kit, unless you don't care about such niceties.
Overall, the molding is quite good with nicely engraved panel lines. These are a bit more pronounced than you may have expected, but still not too badly overdone. The cockpit is rather sparsely detailed with little more than a seat, three part pilot figure and a gun sight. In fact, the interior is really in need of upgrading, however, you won't see much of it through the rather thick, one-piece canopy.
The landing gear are molded in with the gear doors, making for a sturdy construct, even if it isn't really accurate. You will get a nice pair of four spoke wheels and there is a wheels up option, which many will appreciate. A stand would be nice, but one is easy enough to make.
The instruction sheet is huge providing well drawn construction steps and the usual Humbrol number-only paint references. Markings are provided for two planes. One is Johnny Johnson's 144 Wing aircraft complete with invasion stripes. All of the various stripes are provided as decals, including the wing leading edge ones. The second option is a Desert scheme as shown on the box art. This is Stanislaw Skalski's 145 Squadron plane from May 1943, in the standard desert scheme. The decals are quite well printed with only the white parts off register (Skalski's unit codes).
OK, so the hardcore will be grossly disappointed with this. However, the rest of us will be very pleased to have a reasonably accurate kit of an important aircraft that won't send us to the bank for a loan. Thankfully, those who want more detail can get it via all sorts of aftermarket parts and decal sheets.
Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spitfire_%28late_Merlin_powered_variants%29 for oodles of info on late Merlin powered Spits.
March 2010 Thanks to me for this one. No, you
rock! If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please
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Thanks to me for this one. No, you rock!
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page