Spitfires, Naši se vracejí
This is another issue of Eduard’s marvelous 1/144 Spitfire IXe kit. This time you get FOUR Spitfires in the box, with eight possible markings.
I was curious about what the Czech language phrase means. I tried several translation sites, but none of them worked. I finally went to Eduard’s web site and contacted them, asking what Naši se vracejí means. I got an almost immediate answer from Libor Havranek of Eduard support. It means “The boys are back”. Cool. Thanks very much for the info.
Since all 8 of the schemes offered in this kit, and they’re all late WW2 or post war, it makes sense. They’re all Czech nationals who flew Spitfires, either for the RAF or the Czech AF. And Eduard pays homage them.
You get 4 Spitfires, one with a rounded tail, three with pointed tails, plus two each of the long wings and clipped wings. You also get one mask, but it has enough “parts” to do four kits. The decal sheet has 8 sets of markings. No PE, but this kit doesn’t really need much upgrading. Eduard does sell a PE set for the Spitfire, and if you really want to, you can add a very complete cockpit interior, flaps and new gear doors.
The kit is very well engineered. The two fuselage halves fit nicely. After installing the two underwing radiators, the wing just slid into place, and I used no putty on this model. I did have to scrape the top seam on the fuselage.
I put the mask on the canopy and installed it. At this point I encountered another “adventure”. I dropped the masked canopy. I usually wear a jeweler’s apron to catch falling parts, but I forgot it. So I began to look for the canopy on the floor. I couldn’t see it. I got the broom out and swept the area around my desk. No canopy. And then I had one of those horrifying thoughts. I looked on the sole of my shoe. There it was, in a crevice in the sole of my running shoe. Amazingly, the canopy was only scuffed on the top, not broken. I ran a fine sanding stick over the damaged area and applied some Future. It turned out as good as new. The mask was a little damaged, but only the part where I had to put a piece of tape over the gap the mask leaves. Easily fixed. I also managed to bend the antenna, but fixed that with a touch of CA.
I left the horizontal stabilizers, exhausts and landing gear off until later. I was ready to paint.
I painted the entire top of the aircraft Ocean Gray (36152).
I used a master drawing of the camouflage scheme taped to a sheet of glass to make the mask I used to cover the gray areas and painted the Dark Green (34079). The trick I use for the mask is to put the drawing on the sheet of glass, then put the glass on a glass table with a bright light under it. With the light, I can see through the “Kabuki Tape” (AKA Tamiya tape) to cut the mask.
I also masked and painted the horizontal stabilizers, which I left off to make masking and decal application easier.
Once the green was applied and the paint was dried, I removed the mask and put on a straight mask between the upper colors and the underside. I then painted the underside Medium Sea Gray (36270). When that paint was dried, I put a mask on the rear fuselage and painted the white area for the invasion stripes. When the white was dry, I applied another pair of masks and did the black invasion stripes. I painted the sky band after masking the area. I applied a coat of Future to give the decals a smooth surface.
The decals were simply wonderful. I have found that the less time a decal takes to come loose from the backing paper, the better the quality. These decals took only about 10 to 15 seconds and they were ready to apply. I had to be a little careful, because I generally put the decal in the water, then put a bit of Future or white glue and water on the spot to allow the decal to be moved more easily. I was hard pressed to get this done before the decal was more than ready.
The one problem I had with one decal was purely my fault. I touched the VY on the left side of the fuselage, and my finger was dry. The decal stuck to my finger and then folded. I managed to get the decal off my finger, and got it back in place, but the V was damaged. I used one leg of a U from the decal sheet to fix the V.
The small decals on the nose of the aircraft were a little tough too, as they’re so small that the surface tension of the water made them “run away” from the tweezers when I was trying to pick up the decal and backing paper. I had to use a toothpick to herd the paper into the tweezers.
I installed the exhausts and assembled the propeller/spinner assembly. I had masked and painted the wheels, and assembled the landing gear. I decided I needed to put the horizontal stabilizers on before the prop or gear, and discovered I had made another classic error. I had switched the left and right stabilizers, and painted the top Sea Gray and the bottom Green and Ocean Gray. I got the paint and airbrush out and fixed this. Then I put on the stabilizers, the gear and the prop.
I then put a quick mask on the canopy and sprayed clear flat on the entire plane to flatten the Future shine and put a protective coat over the decals.
I highly recommend this kit. I did some pretty stupid things during assembly, painting and decals, and was still able to turn out a decent aircraft model. I have to give a LOT of credit to Eduard’s engineering for that. The language info I got from the support section was also marvelous.
My friend George Reny, who got me into IPMS back in the 60’s, used to say, “There’s nothing on a model you can screw up that you can’t fix.” This kit may be proof of that.
Many thanks to Eduard for the kit, and to IPMS USA for the chance to foul things up and the joy of fixing it.