Spitfire Mk. IXc
The Mark IX Spitfire was supposed to be an interim between the Mk V and the Mk VII and VIII. With the Fw-190 outclassing the Mk V to the point where the RAF couldn’t operate over France, something had to be done. The fix was to put the newer Merlin 60, 62 or later 66 or 70 engine in a Mk V airframe and call it a MK IX. This fix was so successful that the Mk IX and XVI (a IX with a Packard Merlin engine) were the most numerous of the Spitfire marks. I was also confused by the LF and HF (Low and High Altitude) for the Mk IX. It had to do with the engine installed, not whether it had a long or short wing.
This is my second Eduard Spitfire IX, the first one being a Mk IXe. This one is the Mk IXc. So I had to so some research to tell the difference between the IXc and IXe. This was found in SAM Publications' Modelers Datafile, A Comprehensive Guide for the Modeler, The Supermarine Spitfire, Part 1, Merlin Powered by Robert Humphreys. On page 30, I found that the difference was that the c had either a 20 mm cannon and two .30 caliber machine guns in each wing, or 2 X 20 mm in each wing. The e had a 20 mm and a .50 caliber Browning MG in each wing. The visual difference is that the “stub” on the wing is outboard of the cannon on the e and inboard on the c.
Since this is a double kit, you get two of everything, and markings for 5 Spitfires. If you’re interested in D-Day, three of the 5 have invasion stripes. The fourth and fifth are also interesting, as it’s the same plane ML135 (YQ-D) as it appeared on June 7th 1941 and then as it appeared on July 1, with the name Dorothy added and the invasion stripes removed from the top of the aircraft. And for those who don’t like camouflage, there’s an NMF Mk IX from the RAF in Italy in 1944.
You also get excellent Eduard masks for the cockpit canopy.
I was impressed how well everything fit on the main assemblies. The fuselage halves met almost perfectly, and the wing assembly just sort of snapped in. The horizontal stabilizers went on with no problem. No need for putty on anything. I was ready to start painting in just a couple of hours, including set time for the Tamiya Extra Thin Cement I used.
I ran into a color conundrum here. The color callouts on the D-Day Spitfires just didn’t look right. So I checked. The instructions call for Dark Sea Grey and Dark Green on the top, and the gray looked too dark. So I checked several sources for color info, and all agreed that the 1941 RAF/UK color scheme was Ocean Grey and Dark Green on the top. Dark Sea Grey was used by the Fleet Air Arm on their Seafires. I kind of suspect that it’s because they call for Gunze Sanyo paints, and I couldn’t find Ocean Grey in the Gunze lineup.
I made a scan of a Spitfire and resized the image to 1/144. I used this taped to a glass table to cut a stencil from 18 mm Tamiya tape. I painted the entire top of the model with Ocean Grey and then applied the mask and painted the top Dark Green. When this was done, I pulled the mask off and applied another straight line mask and painted the bottom.
At this point it was necessary to make a new antenna for the spine behind the cockpit, as the plastic part was knocked off and lost. I used super glue and part of a straight pin to make this. It’s solid enough now, by Jiminy.
I installed the masked canopy, put some tape over the grey, and painted the canopy in minutes. Then a coat of Future to give the decals a smooth base.
The decals were very good. I found the fuselage and underwing roundels to be a challenge, as the underwing required 2 decals, the blue surround and the red center. The fuselage was even more challenging, with 3 parts, the yellow ring and white, then the blue, and finally the red spot.
The biggest problem I had was when the N in the fuselage code folded. Then it folded again. Nevertheless, I was able to straighten it out and get it on the model. A tribute to the thin but tough decal film from Eduard.
Another clear gloss with Future to seal the markings, then Testors acrylic clear flat to tone down the gloss. Then it was time to finish.
I installed the landing gear and the prop. I found that the prop and spinner didn’t fit together as nicely as all the other parts in this kit. A couple of swipes with a #11 blade in the slots for the prop blades fixed this nicely.
Highly recommended. Great fit, interesting schemes, good decals and canopy and wheel masks. And you get two kits at a reasonable price. Thanks to Eduard for the review kit, and to IPMS/USA for making me learn more about Spitfire Mk Nines.