Spitfire Mk. VII/VIII

Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/48
MSRP
$40.00
Product / Stock #
07321
Company: Hasegawa - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hobbico
Box Art

Introduction

This Spitfire kit is a limited edition by Hasegawa and features new wingtip and canopy parts, plus decals for three RAF. planes. The Mk. VII and Mk. VIII versions had extended wingtips – rather pointed, actually – that allowed them to meet the Luftwaffe aircraft that had an operational advantage at higher altitudes. One of the therr schemes included on the decal sheet is that of Pierre Henri Clostermann, a French ace who scored over a dozen victories while flying the Mk. VII. It is Clostermann’s markings that were chosen for this review item.

The Clostermann scheme, as previously mentioned, is one of three sets of markings on the decal sheet. The three selections are:

  • RAF No. 602 Sqd, Pilot Officer Pierre Henri Clostermann, 1944, England
  • RAF No. 124 Sqd, Operation Starkey, September 1943, England
  • RAF No. 417 Sqd, (Canadian) 1944, Italy

The Instruction Sheet

Since there are parts for more than one version of the Spitfire, it is important that the builder selects which version will be built and then studies the instruction sheet, becoming familiar with the call-outs for that version. Failing to do so will cause problems down the line.

There is a typo on the instruction sheet on the Marking & Painting guide pages. Operation Starkey is labeled as 1944 on the instructions, when, in fact the correct date is September, 1943.

The instructions use clearly drawn illustrations, color call-outs, aircraft variant call-outs, and part numbers to indicate to the builder what needs to be done. In only 8 construction steps this project moves from sub-assembly of the cockpit (the most complex step) to the attachment of the prop and canopy parts, the last step. Again, it is important that the builder studies and identifies the variant being built so that the proper parts are attached. I stress this point because I failed to be consistent in this aspect of the project and, even though I was focused on the Pointed Wing variant, I stupidly attached the wrong wing tip parts.

The Parts

Without exception, the parts are molded cleanly with crisp, sharp detail. The cockpit is a joy to build, and even a builder of moderate skill (my hand is raised here) will be able to produce a cockpit which is very impressive. Be aware that if one actually wants to see the cockpit, it is advisable to open the hatch on the left side of the pilot’s position. One will also need to display the canopy in the open position. The sliding canopy actually snaps into the sliding grooves and requires no cement. As for the hatch, I waited until the model was painted before cutting the hatch away. I found this sequence easy to do, and it also served to protect the interior during the painting process without having to add additional masking tape to fill the gap where the hatch would be.

The detail on the fuselage is stunning. Clean and crisp, the panel lines, rivets, circular hatches, and access plates all can be found in abundance and are all uniformly of the highest quality.

The fit is, overall, best described as excellent. I can say that this model is one of the best models I’ve ever worked on in regard to fit. There were a few parts that, for whatever reason, required just a little trimming, but those parts were few and far between. The exhaust stack on the right side caused some fit issues, but that was immediately solved by clipping away the locating biscuit and simply fitting the exhaust into the awaiting slot in the fuselage. The wing roots, both for the main wing and the horizontal stabilizers, for the most part were filled with a mix of putty and liquid glue. There simply wasn’t much seam that needed attention. The seams along the leading and trailing edges of the main wing required only a light sanding after assembly to remove any trace of the seam. The windscreen and canopy parts fit so well that the small amount of Gator Glue used to attach them to the fuselage also filled any small gaps.

Some of the parts are incredibly small and you will find a clean and sensitive tweezer will be your new best friend when attaching these small parts.

Some slight modifications were made in alignment. The control surfaces on the horizontal stabs were removed and then attached with a slight “droop” to them. In photos of Spitfires, more often than not, one sees the droop when the aircraft is at rest. As mentioned elsewhere, the cockpit hatch was also cut away from the fuselage and then reattached in the open position.

Decals

The decals are of excellent quality. The decal colors are all clean and crisp, with no alignment issues. The model surface was given a base coat of Future, and the decals were applied over that base coat using water and Micro Set. I found that soaking the decals for about 30 seconds to a minute was just about right. The decal remained in place on the carrier paper until nudged gently onto the model. The decals were a bit sticky and it was important to get them into their final position with some speed. Sometimes, sticky decals tend to tear, but that did not happen with any of the decals applied to this model.

A final coat of Micro Set on the decals was sufficient to get them to conform to some of the small bulges and panel lines over which the decals were positioned.

Conclusion

This was one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve completed in many years. The quality of the kit, in all respects, is outstanding. The value, as related to the cost of the kit, is very much on the plus side of the ratio. If you are a beginning modeler, then this kit is your opportunity to up your game. The high quality of engineering that went into the design of the model goes a long way in negating many of the issues, such as seams, fit, parts that need to be cleaned before assembly (not necessary on this model!), and decals that are difficult to apply. All of these problems are non-factors on the Hasegawa Spitfire Mk. VII/VIII.

This kit is highly recommended for modelers of all skill levels.

Thanks to Hobbico-Hasegawa for providing this kit for review and IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.

Comments

Submitted by Alan C (not verified) on Thu, 2019-02-14 13:27

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Lovely build Dick, but never believe what you read on model decal sheets! Here is the official history of the subject of your lovely model!

After being built at Eastleigh, MD114 was delivered to 39 Maintenance Unit in December 1943 before being allocated to the Station Flight at Skaebrae on the Scottish Orkney Islands, (its only combat unit), arriving there on the 9th of February 1944. The 'DU' Squadron codes carried by the aircraft actually relate to 312 Squadron, but pilots from 118, 312, 313, 453 AND.... 602 Squadrons sent to the North of Scotland for a rest period, were afforded the opportunity to fly the station flight's Mk VII's in the high altitude defence of the Royal Navy anchorage at Scappa Flow, Pierre Henri Clostermann among them.

Far from being an aircraft famous for having been flown by M.Clostermann, MD114 was in fact the Spitfire in which Pilot Officer Ian Blair shot down a Bf109 G-6/R-3 (Werk No. 20357 flown by Oblt. Helmut Quebnau) on the 20th of February 1944.

According to official records, MD114 was 'Written Off Strength' after sustaining a Category E Flying Accident that same day. Thereafter, the aeroplane was  allocated to the Controller of Research & Development at Boscome Down. Subsequently, our friends at Hasegawa should have referenced the decal option as 'Spitfire HF Mk VII MD114, flown by Pilot Officer Ian Blair, Skaebrae Station Flight, Scotland, February 1944'.

As for the build, leaving the well discussed inaccuracies of the Hasegawa kits aside, while I appreciate your comment re opening the side hatch to show off the cockpit detail, unfortunately, the Mk VII didn't have one! The pressurized cockpit was pemanently skinned on both sides (as per the Mk XIX) and only had a sliding hood for access. This was actually mounted on heavier than normal canopy rails, and sealed with rubber gaskets when closed. Early mark VIIs even had the highly unpopular non-sliding canopy as per the Mk VI, bolted in place by the ground crew once the pilot was seated!

A really nice build though, it portrays the aircraft well.

 

Well done!

 

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