Building the Spitfire
If you are in the market for a single, thorough modelers guide to the venerable Spitfire, this new offering from Model Aircraft Publications LTD would certainly fit the bill. With photos and text of scale model builds of the plane in 1/72, 1/48, 1/32, and 1/24 scale, this book covers 17 variants of one of the most famous fighter planes of WWII. For fans of the Spitfire looking to create their own in plastic, I would consider this a must-have book. While the company currently shows this as a pre-order item with a June 2020 release, I have recently seen it available through an online retailer here in the USA.
The book begins with an eight-page introduction of the plane, and then moves into the 24 builds by various modelers, as compiled by Andy Evans. As mentioned, all four of the most popular modeling scales are covered in this book from the diminutive 1/72 scale to the incredibly large 1/24 scale. Manufacturers including Airfix, Ari, Eduard, Hasegawa, Pacific Coast, Revell, Tamiya, and Trumpeter are all represented. The reviews run from three to six pages in length, with the majority being four pages long.
The Introduction has sections covering the background, design and the Merlin engine, armament, operation, overseas operations, Griffon engine Spitfires, and the Seafire, which tell the story of this famous plane. All of the builds are beautifully done with great photography and a convenient table showing the kit manufacturer as well as the kit number. The variants covered include (as listed in the individual reviews) the FR.IX, FR.XIV, FR.18, Mk.IIa, Mk.Va, Mk.Vb (covered in three reviews), Mk.VII, Mk.VIII, Mk.IX, Mk.IXc (covered in two reviews), Mk.XIc (covered in three reviews), Mk.XIV (covered in three reviews), Mk.XIVc, Mk.XVIe, Mk.22, PR.XIX, and Seafire F.XVII.
The hits of this book for me are the array of variants of the plane, including four different popular scales, and showing the products of eight different manufacturers. As mentioned, the photography is all very good, and the work displayed is top-notch by all of the contributors. My only personal miss for the book would be “more cockpit” (yes, in reference to the Saturday Night Live skit). Seven of the reviews include photos of the cockpit prior to installation in their aircraft, but I would have enjoyed seeing a few more. Again, this is just a personal preference.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any modeler looking for an all-inclusive book on building the Spitfire. I would like to thank the folks at MA Productions LTD for providing this book to the IPMS-USA for review, and I appreciate having been afforded the opportunity to write this appraisal. As always, thanks to you the reader for taking the time to read my comments.