|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/48 Spitfire IX|
|KIT #:||09079 (Jt 79)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
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.
This kit was initially produced in 2001 and raised a storm of controversy amongst the modeling community when it was discovered that the fuselage was some 4 or 8 scale inches short (depending on who was doing the measuring. This doesn't seem like much, but those in the know were incensed by the difference and much was the fussing and fuming. Apparently there were other differences as there are aftermarket bits to replace the prop and the cannon access covers among the usual plethora of 'post production' bits like wheels, elevators and so on.
Acknowledging all of this, what is the kit itself like? Well, if you have built a Hasegawa kit in the last five years, this one will fall right into the same mold, so to speak. It is superbly molded and provides inserts for a number of parts of the airframe. This is to accommodate the usual variants that are so required for today's mainstream kit makers. Inserts are provided for the cannon access covers (only the skinny ones are provided), wing tips ( full span or 'clipped'), and the lower cowling (a 'normal' carb intake is in the kit). The kit also provides the late elevators, but does offer both the rounded and peaked rudder. Both three and four spoked wheel inserts are included as well as either round or 'flared' exhaust. Two different tail wheels are provided as well as tail wheel doors, though these are not germane to the Mk IX.
There is a very complete cockpit with all sorts of bits for the sidewalls and accessory compartment. Wing racks are included as are a pair of bombs. The canopy is a separate section, though I'm not sure if it can properly be posed open as these bits tend to be a bit thick in Hasegawa kits.
Instructions are excellent and use the normal (for Hasegawa) Gunze paint references as well as generic terms. Markings are included for two similarly painted aircraft in Dark Green/Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey. The box art aircraft is from 318 (Polish) Squadron while the other option is or 443 Sq, which I believe is Canadian. This latter aircraft has the peaked rudder and clipped wing tips. Decals are well printed and offer a full range of data markings. It also includes the yellow wing leading edge ID markings and Sky fuselage band for the 318 Sq aircraft. They are also a bit thick and I believe that care should be taken when using setting solutions. Best way to apply Hasegawa kit decals is with fairly hot water as that softens the decal for a good fit.
Having seen a number of these kits built over the years, I can tell you that you won't notice the shortness of the fuselage unless you place it next to one like the ICM kit for comparison. It is superbly molded and the end result is very nice indeed.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has around 300,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page