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Spitfire Kit

Trumpeter 1/24 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb/Trop Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2005 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb/Trop Scale 1/24
Kit Number 2412 Primary Media Photo-Etch, Styrene
Pros Very nice Spitfire Vb/Trop! Cons Photo-etched flight control hinges
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $129.95

First Look

Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit
Spitfire Kit

The history of the Supermarine Spitfire and its contribution to the defense of Britain and the air war in general is well documented in articles and reviews on the subject. We'll focus on the Spitfire Mk.Vb/Trop in particular.

The Merlin 45 started arriving in quantity and provided yet another improvement in performance over existing installations. This engine was easily adaptable to existing Spitfire Mk.I and Mk.II airframes and when this engine was added to the existing production line, the resulting designation was Mk.V. The Spitfire Mk.III was supposed to be next, but development problems led to the 'interim' production of the Mk.V.

The initial version was the Spitfire Mk.Va which was armed with eight Browning .303 machine guns. This combination, which also armed the Hawker Hurricane, lacked enough punching power. This led to the Mk.Vb which replaced four of the Browning machine guns with two Hispano 20mm cannons. The installation significantly improved the Spitfire's firepower, but the 60-round magazines limited the engagements. The Mk.Vc would solve this by restructuring the wing to accommodate the canon with 120-round magazines.

Despite being an 'interim' solution, the Spitfire Mk.V was the second-most-produced version of this aircraft and saw service in all theaters of operations.

This kit is Trumpeter's previously released Spitfire Mk.Vb with a new sprue tree and decals. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and is a beautifully detailed model. From what I could gather from the experts who examined the previous Spitfire Mk.Vb release, the kit is accurate in shape and dimension and only had a few minor nits.

The 'worst' nit was the top of the kit's horizontal stabilizers having a molded texture of a fabric covering while the undersides are metal. On the Mk.V, the top and bottom of the stabs were metal, while the elevators, rudder and ailerons were fabric covered.

To facilitate a Mark Vb/Trop version, Trumpeter provides a new sprue tree with the another propeller/spinner option; your choice of Vokes air filter, Aboukir air filter, or standard carburetor intake; the conformal belly external fuel tank; and, clipped wingtips for the LF version.

The engine builds up into a nicely detailed Merlin 45 and is a super-detailed model of its own right. To show off all of tat detail, the kit includes optional clear cowl sidepanels.

As you can see in the photos, the kit provides access panels to see the four nicely detailed Browning machine guns and two Hispano 20mm canons.

Three absolutely stunning resin figures are included in ths kit. One is ready to fly, one is wearing his flight jacket, and the third is wearing normal uniform sans flight gear.

Markings for two examples are included:

  • Spitfire Mk.Vb, IR-G, AB502, 244 Wing, Gabourine South, Tunisia, Wing Cdr Ian R. Gleed, April 1943
  • Spitfire Mk.Vb, AN-T, BR195, 417 Sqn, Flt.Lt. Pentland, 1942

As I said earlier, this is a beautifully detailed kit and makes a great Mark Vb straight from the box. With the new parts, you have your choice of tropicalized versions complete with clipped wingtips. The added bonus of these three figures is a definite plus!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

References:

  • The Supermarine Spitfire, Part 1: Merlin Powered, by Robert Humphreys, SAM Publications, 2000, ISBN0-9533465-2-8
  • Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb/Trop-XVI, Aero Detail #27, ISBN 4-499-22709-7
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