PM 1/72 Spitfire Mk.Vb Floatplane Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||June 2009||Manufacturer||PM|
|Subject||Spitfire Mk.Vb Floatplane||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||216||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Possibly the only kit of the floatplane version in 1/72nd scale||Cons||Out of register decals. No interior parts provided. Swirls in surface of wings. Raised panel lines may not please some modelers|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$4.95|
Supermarine developed several versions of the Spitfire fighter to a floatplane configuration. During 1940, a single Spitfire Mk. 1 was converted for operations in the Norwegian Fjords, but this project was abandoned once Norway fell to the Germans.
During 1942, another floatplane Spitfire project was undertaken for operations in the Middle East, using Spitfire Mk. VB’s and six conversion sets were sent to the Middle East. Three aircraft saw service, flying from Alexandria, Egypt.
PM is a model company based in Istanbul, Turkey. This kit comes in an end-opening type box. The box art shows a Spitfire Mk. Vb floatplane on a takeoff run from the water. It is in a wave pattern of dark green over sea gray above a yellow undercarriage. The serial number is W3760. It carries the British roundels in 6 positions and behind the fuselage ones is a yellow P outlined in a yellow circle (for Prototype). The propeller spinner is black. The British tri-color is carried on the tail. This is the only marking provided in the kit.
Inside the box is a single sealed cello bag that holds 5 medium tray trees of parts, a single clear cockpit canopy part, the decal sheet and the instructions.
The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 6 pages of 4 ½” x 6 ¾” format.
Page one has the history of the Mk. Vb floatplane in Turkish, English and German.
Pages two through four have 6 exploded drawings, that are un-numbered, to use for assembly. One of these drawings shows to whittle away the bottom of the rudder and glue a ventral fin extension in the notch. Although the history in the kit tells of the cannon and machine gun armament, apparently this floatplane was unarmed. This is because the instructions tell you to remove the molded in barrels on the wings. There is also a head on illustration of the aircraft that tells you that the 2 floats should be positioned 53mm in from the wing tips on each side.
Pages five and six have a 3-view drawing spread across them for the boxart scheme (already mentioned above). Below this is a paint color listing in no less than 9 different hobby paint brands: Humbrol Authentic, Humbrol, Revell, Xtra color, Molak, Model Master, Polly S, Gunze Sangyo and Tamiya.
There are no parts tree illustrations in the instructions. The parts shown in the assembly drawings are numbered and so are the trees. However, the trees are not alphabetized. So, modelers will have to search a little bit for the parts on the trees. This is not a big deal, as there are so few parts in the kit.
The first medium gray parts tree is common to PM’s kit of the Vb on wheels. So, some parts are excess. It carries: the horizontal tail surfaces, a 3-bladed propeller (excess), propeller spinner for the 3 bladed propeller, aerial, main gear wheels and doors (excess), belly scoop, exhaust pipes, tail wheel (excess) and small under wing scoop (16 parts)
The second medium gray parts tree holds: a 4-bladed propeller, halves of one of the wing floats, the ventral tail fin and propeller spinner for the 4-bladed propeller (5 parts)
The third medium gray parts tree holds the 2 halves of the other wing float. (2 parts)
The fourth medium gray parts tree holds the 2 fuselage halves.
The fifth medium gray tree holds the two wings. There are swirl marks on these wings that developed from the plastic flow into the wings. I don’t know if these will be visible later under a coat of paint or not.
The single clear cockpit canopy completes the parts contents of the kit.
The kit has absolutely no cockpit interior parts. Bad move PM. Sadly, the cockpit transparency in this kit is thick as a Coke bottle bottom and a vacuformed replacement would be needed to show off any cockpit scratchbuilding done.
The panel lines are of the raised variety and the control surfaces are molded solid too.
The decal sheet, already described above, completes the kits contents. The smaller roundels on it are badly out of register. The yellow prototype letter P in the yellow circle appears to have a yellow cast to it between the P and the outline. Don’t know if this will disappear when it’s finally applied or not. The rest of the decal sorely needs replacing by a good after market one. I don’t know if that P inside the circle mark is offered by a aftermarket decal company or not however?
This kit has numerous problems, that are not all insurmountable. Far as I know, this is the only show in town for a Spitfire floatplane. Recommended, with the few reservations mentioned already, to modelers of all skills.