Eduard 1/48 Spitfire Mk.IX Royal Class Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2013||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||Spitfire Mk.IX Royal Class||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||R008||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin|
|Pros||Still the the best Spitfire Mk.IX in 1/48||Cons||Not-so-Royal Class|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$124.95|
For a brief description of the Spitfire Mk.IX's history or a look at Eduard's first 1/48 Spitfire Mk.IX release, look here.
Eduard announced the Spitfire in 1/48 scale a few years ago and here is their second installment: the Spitfire Mk.IX Royal Class. In past Royal Class kits, Eduard usually bundles two complete kits with a few new options together the available aftermarket resin and photo-etched parts that the also sell separately. They also include a unique feature which ranges from a replica Iron Cross to a pewter beverage cup, depending on the subject of that Royal Class release. In this case, Eduard has produced a special beer glass with matching coaster.
There are two complete kits + options in this box, duplicate sprue trees are not shown. Where the previous release rendered a late-model Spitfire Mk.IXc, this kit steps up the options. Let's take a look:
- 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
- Choice Merlin fishtail or round exhaust stacks
- Includes 2 x c-wing and 1 x e-wing
- Choice of standard wingtips or clipped LF wingtips
- Positionable ailerons
- Choice of early or late horizontal stabilizers
- Positionable elevators
- Positionable rudder (choice of early or late (pointed) rudder)
- Positionable landing flaps (photo-etched)
- Positionable radiator flaps
- Choice of four or five-spoke resin main wheels
- Optional underwing bomb racks w/bombs or resin beer kegs
- Optional resin external conformal centerline fuel tank
Markings are provided for fourteen aircraft:
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, MH358, 65 Sqn, TY-J, RAF Kingsnorth, 1943
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, EN398, 402 Sqn, AE-B, RAF Kenley, 1943
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, EN526, Northolt Wing Cdr, SZ-G, RAF Northolt, 1943
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, MH779, 453 Sqn, FU-N, RAF Ford, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, 309 FS/31 FG/USAAF, WZ-GJ, Pomigliano AB, 1943/44
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, MH763, 72 Sqn, RN-S, Ramatuelle Afld, France, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc, MJ628, 324 Wing, R-V, Italy, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXe, NH432, 485 Sqn, OU-D, Maldegen Afld, Belgium, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXe, PV181, 132 Wing, RAB, Twente AB, Netherlands, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXe, PT766, 345 Sqn, 2Y-A, Deanland AB, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXe, 26 GIAP, Soviet AF, 1945
- Spitfire Mk.IXe, SL632, 101 Sqn, 26, Israeli AF, 1949
- Spitfire Mk.IXe, MH978, 132 Sqn, FF-M, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXe, MK329, 144 Wing, JE-J, 1944
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 this Royal Class release. If you read my comments on the original Profipack release, you'll recall that most of the items that were included in previous Profipack subjects are now sold separately, making that kit little more than a Weekend release at a higher price.
I had hoped that Eduard would have produced the ultimate Spitfire IX release with this Royal Class kit, but like the Profipack, this Royal Class isn't what it once was. Yes, there is the beer glass and coaster; there are two full kits; two sets of color photo-etch for the cockpit; two sets of external details; two sets of landing flaps in photo-etch; two sets of conformal resin tanks; three sets of resin wheels (2 x five-spoke and 1x four-spoke); and one pair of beer kegs. Let's not forget the great set of decals. So why am I not pleased? Where are the resin cockpits that are currently available? The cockpit is one of the central show points of any aircraft build. Even the resin exhaust stacks are not included. Once again, after purchasing a super kit like this, you still have to purchase some of the essential details like that cockpit set separately.
Don't get me wrong, this is still a nice kit, but only you can assess if the value of this release meets your expectations.