Spitfire Mk IXc (late) and Detail Sets

Published on
June 13, 2013
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/48
MSRP
$50.00
Product / Stock #
8281
Company: Eduard - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Eduard - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Detail sets for Edward Spitfires:

  • Brassin cockpit # 648100 - $40.00
  • PE landing flaps # 48765 - $25.00
  • Color PE interior # 49639 - $20.00
  • Surface Panels # 48766 - $20.00
  • Five-Spoke wheels with block tread tires # 648098 - $8.00
  • Exhaust Stacks Fishtail # 648099 - $8.00

Every time I use superlatives to comment on a build, another one comes along to prove there is a LOT of great plastic, resin, and brass out there. This was the case with Eduard’s Spitfire! We at IPMS USA are truly fortunate to have Jan Zdiarsky and the team at Eduard supporting us by providing these most excellent kits and details to review.

Right off the bat, I had the kit on the build table; the sheer number of resin and PE parts was daunting, and it’s back to basics here. The best way to eat an elephant is to…GET TO WORK!

Looking over the whole package, I knew I had to make a lot of decisions. First off, the fishtail exhausts and block-tread wheels are applicable to Mk XIII spitfires flown by New Zealand. Markings are available from others for these birds, and I intend to do one of these on the kit I purchased for myself. As these markings are not included in the review item, I will hold off. However, in the interest of review fidelity and the fact the wheels and exhausts were included in the review package, I went ahead and assembled both sets. The exhausts are direct replacements for the kit items; hollowed out appropriately, when cleaned of their resin flashing (a two-second effort per exhaust), they fit right into their respective manifold blocks, and did not require a lot of fiddling around to line up. A bit of thin superglue, a quick spray with burnt metal metalizer, and you have perfect exhaust banks ready for installation.

Next up were tires and wheels. The wheels were carefully removed from their pour blocks, edges cleaned so they fit into the tire recess, and the backside resin flashing sanded away to provide perfect depth to the wheel cooling vents. Detail in this scale is frighteningly good; try to do it by scratch and let me know which asylum you end up in… Eduard scores again!

On to the basic kit. Starting with the external panels PE sheet, I looked at them and had the thought, “I am not building a diorama, but these are excellent!” Included are templates so you can scribe and remove access panels all over the bird. Truly a micro-detail addition; I understand there will be gun bays and engine bays eventually available; those would fall into the category where these panels will be of use.

Next up was the cockpit. As usual, the options are myriad; besides a lot of fragile but exquisitely detailed resin, the color photoetch is put to good use. You can use the enclosed decal over the instrument panel, or be masochistic and make your own; or in my case use the three-layer PE and be done in five minutes. Two types of gunsights, main bulkheads with lightening holes, seat adjustment lever and frame, the flight control lever with the characteristic circular spade grip and PE brake handle, electrical panels and wiring with levers, oxygen, and compressed air bottles –all are all included and have been properly engineered so it the builder won’t need to grind down the interior of the fuselage to get it to fit. (I absolutely hate that part on other companies’ interior kits). Use a light hand while removing the pour stubs; these are thin but can contribute to cracking the main part if you are not careful. Multi-passes with a #11 blade is the best technique.

Wing installation: first, grind off enough of the bottom of the cockpit lower part so it’s almost transparent. Next, on the lower wing, the centerline ID light dimple really intrudes into the area where the cockpit fits. On the instructions, it indicates you should grind this down…which I did not do because I missed that note. This caused much grief later when the lower wing would not fit without a lot of effort…and it screwed up the overall wing root fit. I claim all fault for this…it was a review effort so I tended to be in a hurry to get it turned around before life intervened, so be forewarned about these small but important steps.

A note here: overall detail is incredible. Surface rivet detail abounds, interior detail is beautiful, and careful assembly rewards. I know if I had not inappropriately installed the resin cockpit, fit would have been perfect. Even the forward wing roots are separate items; install these and then let the cement cure, and you won’t have any problems. The resin cockpit is truly worth the extra cash, as it adds immensely to the final effect, although in this scale a lot is difficult to see after the model is built. “I know it’s there” applies.

The flaps sheet was the most difficult item for me to work and I made a pig’s ear of it. Metalworking is a secondary skill for me, particularly the really small stuff. Each rib needs to be folded upward while not allowing the attachment to work-harden and break off the frame. That means you get one try with a little adjustment. Heat annealing helps to reduce stiffness on the brass, but at this size, a candle flame will burn the metal up instead of just annealing; you would have to oven-anneal to be successful on these parts, and I decided against it. In the end, I only broke off a couple of ribs; the hard part was getting the outline frame to align while supergluing the ribs in place. In the end, I got there and had a thick trailing edge, but the flap looked cool. You will need to provide your own torque tube rod to fit the leading edge. Just don’t look at mine with a magnifier, as I have a lot of superglue over-application and smears. There is even rivet detail on the rib frame; astounding is the right word. Included are the indicator doors and lever mechanism for the flaps; these require you to drill out the indicator well in the upper wing, thin it down from the interior, and get everything folded and into place. This is a nice detail, frequently overlooked. One more note of caution – you will have to thin the upper wing flap well to install the PE. Be very careful not to melt the thin trailing edge while doing this.

The wheel well interior is nicely detailed; a bit of care needs to be exhibited in affixing the various wheel well walls to the lower wing section. A spar runs through the wing as well, improving structural integrity.

An interior PE set is included in the kit; there are differences in the ProfiPACK PE versus the separate release, in that the ProfiPACK sheet includes the wheel covers for the first marking choice. As usual, the multi-layer instrument panel is hard to beat; Eduard has been improving their 3D appearance over time, and in 1/48 scale it looks perfect. The shoulder and lap harnesses include the cables and pulleys which route back to the aft bulkhead through the forward bulkhead slot, which is once again an excellent, frequently neglected detail. As usual, careful application of the various levers and details results in what appears to be a “get in and fly” cockpit.

Things that hang out: the tailwheel has an option of being a single-piece unit or a fork with separate wheel/tire. I used the single unit for strength; this assembly fits into a socket which you should remember to install before closing up the fuselage. BEFORE CLOSING UP THE FUSELAGE! (foot stomp from a stupid guy)

Landing gear fits into the previously installed trunnion and main gear well assembly. It seems like a tight fit, but everything worked out. As noted before, I used the kit’s plastic wheels and tires with the covers over the outside; they fit great and look the part. Resin is not needed…except for the knobby tires which were previously expounded upon.

Two decal sheets are included; both are perfectly in register and legible. One contains the stenciling elements and the other has markings for six different aircraft, including one in overall bare aluminum. I used the markings for the box art aircraft; it had the pointed rudder and was a bomb carrier. Standard Dark Green/Gray over Light Gray with Sky spinner and fuselage band. I tried to emulate what I had seen on the D-Day stripes by undercoating with flat primer white, masking those areas, then applying the camo scheme. In retrospect, I should have also shot the yellow ID markings on the wing outer leading edges; as it was, I had to brush paint them on after the decals because I totally slid past that requirement early on. I next applied the decals over a gloss finish (Testors Boyd one-coat clear lacquer; GREAT stuff!), and had zero problems – no silvering, no bubbles, and no settling solution required. If you are weathering the aircraft, remember the prop is all wood and does not have aluminum leading edges to show as chipped.

I then hand-painted the black D-Day stripes over the white primer, and roughened up the white edges with more flat white to simulate a job by hand and brush on the real thing.

The last bits I added were the canopy, the underwing pitot tube, bombs, rearview mirror, and the upper fuselage antenna. The five-part bombs thankfully do NOT have PE fins; those tend to be problematic, and it’s easier to use plastic liquid welding cement to align everything and then put on the fin barrel after the fact. I painted them Khaki.

In the end, a magnificent build. We finally have a decent Spitfire Mk IX with all the correct dimensions! Buy them by the squadron – we need to keep Eduard in business to provide plastic junkies further new releases. Thanks to Jan and Eduard for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the review space.

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