Eduard 1/48 Spitfire Mk.IXc (Late) Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2013||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||Spitfire Mk.IXc (Late)||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||8281||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Probably the best Spitfire Mk.IX in 1/48||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$49.95|
The Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V ruled the skies over Great Britain during the early years of the Second World War. It was able to match the Luftwaffe's best fighter of the day, the Messerschmitt Bf 109E. However, with the appearance of the Focke Wulf Fw 190A in the skies, it was quickly apparent that the Spit had finally been outclassed.
Recognizing that a major upgrade to the Spitfire was necessary, the RAF set out to develop the Spitfire beyond the anticipated capabilities of the Luftwaffe. Also recognizing that such a major upgrade would take time, time that the RAF could ill afford, an interim solution was needed. That interim solution would become the Spitfire Mk.IX.
By taking the existing Mk.V airframe under production, installing the new Merlin 61/63 series (which added 100-200hp and an improved supercharger) which turned a four-bladed propeller, and adding such refinements as a gyro gunsight, additional fuel tanks and (later) the E-wing, the new Spitfire was able to regain its superiority in the skies over Europe. The Mk.IX was the second-most produced version of the Spitfire, with some 5600+ examples built. The most numerous version was the Mk.V.
Eduard announced the Spitfire in 1/48 scale a few years ago and here is the first installment: the Spitfire Mk.IXc (Late). As you know, the 'late' distinction refers to a number of engineering changes added to the aircraft during its production run. The 'early' Mark IX was essentially a Mark V airframe with the larger Merlin mounted to the firewall. During the production the Mark IX, a different horizontal stabilizer and elevator design was added and even later in the series a taller (pointed) rudder replaced the original. These are two of the more visible differences between early and late production versions of the Mark IX series. Of course Eduard has captured these details nicely.
The kit is not as modular as some of the contemporary Hasegawa kits which reduces potential assembly challenges and unwanted gaps. Nevertheless, you can see in the parts layout that we could see the LF (clipped wing) and HF (extended wingtip) versions in our future. The chin is also separately molded so we may see the tropical version as well.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nice cockpit with separately molded sidewalls
- Color photo-etched instrument panel and seat belt/harness
- Positionable cockpit entry door
- Choice of open or closed canopy
- Reasonable Merlin fishtail exhaust stacks
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable elevators (Mk.V/early Mk.IX stabs/elevators are also in this box)
- Positionable rudder (choice of early or late (pointed) rudder)
- Positionable radiator flaps
- Optional underwing bomb racks w/bombs
Markings are provided for five aircraft:
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, MH712, 302 Sqn, WX-D 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, ML296, 312 Sqn, DU-N, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, MJ596, 602 Sqn, LO-D, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, MJ250, 601 Sqn, UF-Q, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, ML135, 401 Sqn, YO-D, 1944 (two time variants)
The decals are nicely printed and include a set of airframe stenciling.
From what I see here as well as some of the build-ups already online, Eduard has produced probably the best Spitfire Mk.IX in 1/48 scale and we can wait in anticipation for what version will come in our future. The only down side to this kit that I've seen is not with the kit itself, but the Profipack concept. I remember when Eduard first introduced the Profipacks as these kits were loaded with resin and photo-etched details that made each new Profipack a must have. Over time, the number of multimedia detail parts have diminished and this kit stands in stark contrast to those earlier days.
What is in this box is little more than a Weekend kit with a Profipack price. What is included in this Profipack are a small set of color photo-etched parts (smaller than their normal 'Zoom' sets), a set of masks, and the five-option decal sheet. All of the details you would expect to find in this box are now sold separately. These include a landing flap set (the kit flaps are not positionable), exterior detail set, color photo-etch detail set, resin tires, resin exhaust stacks that do represent the hollowed out stacks, and a nice resin cockpit set.
Don't get me wrong, this is a nice kit, but I'd wait until the Weekend Edition is released at a much lower price since you were going to get the resin and photo-etched details anyway, and chances are that you have or will get other decals for your Spitfire project in any case. Please bring back the proper Profipack kits Eduard!