Hasegawa 1/32 Spitfire Mk.IIa 'Douglas Bader' Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2017||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Spitfire Mk.IIa 'Douglas Bader'||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||08247||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin|
|Pros||Easy build, great details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$69.99|
Most modelers and aviation historians know the name of Douglas Bader, the famous RAF fighter pilot, ace, and war hero. Bader was also a pioneer for those who've experienced severe injuries and still came back to serve. It has only been in the last decade or so that military personnel who have lost limbs could continue to serve, the practice previously was to put them into medical retirement. So imagine a pilot in the early 1930s that crashed his aircraft and lost both legs. Such was the case with Douglas Bader. He fought his way back from the brink of death, fought his way back to walking on prostetic legs, and even fought his way back into the cockpit. Nevertheless, he too was medically retired.
When World War II began in 1939, Douglas Bader was accepted again as a pilot and scored 22 aerial victories plus a number of shared and probables. He also rose in rank to eventually become one of the first wing leaders in the RAF. On one mission over occupied France in August, 1941, Bader was shot down and when he bailed out, he lost one of his prostetic legs that was jammed in the cockpit. Bader was well known by the Luftwaffe and permitted the RAF to drop replacement legs for their 'guest'. Despite being treated as a VIP, Bader repeatedly tried to escape and was sent to a POW camp for the remainder of the war. You can read more about Douglas Bader and his experiences in his book 'Reach for the Sky'.
Hasegawa released their first installment of their 1/32 Spitfire series with the Mk.Vb in the late 1980s. In addition to periodic reissues of the Mk.Vb, the kit was also used to render the Spitfire Mk.I, Mk.IIb, Mk.Va, and Mk.VI. You can also find aftermarket parts to convert the kit into the early and late Mk.IX. The kit is an easy build and features finely raised surface detailing. I built this kit not long after returning to modeling in the late 1980s and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
In this release, Hasegawa has released their first Spitfire Mk.IIa which is molded in gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. A nicely sculpted resin figure of Douglas Bader is also included. The kit is an interesting hybrid as trees A, C, and D (clear) are all common to the original Mk.Vb release. With Hasegawa's Mk.Va release in 2001, they tooled a new wing to render the 'a' wing armed with eight .303 machine guns. The new-tooled wing (tree D) follows contemporary standards and features finely scribed surface details. Tree F rounds out the kit with the rounded spinner and Rotol wide propeller blades.
Molded in tan styrene, the kit is presented on three parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. Surface detailing is fine but raised. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Choice of Mk.IIa or Mk.Va versions
- Reasonably detailed cockpit though with the number of new Spitfires in this scale, there are numerous aftermarket options available
- Positionable cockpit entry door
- Positionable canopy
- Choice of streamlined or blown canopy
- Choice of internal or external armored windscreen
- Choice of:
- Standard 'chin' (standard carburetor)
- Vokes tropical filter 'chin'
- Aboukir tropical filter 'chin'
- Choice of two Rotol or de Havilland propeller types
- Choice of standard, clipped, or high altitude wingtips
- Flight control surfaces (ailerons, elevators, rudder) and flaps are all molded closed/neutral
- Nice figure of Douglas Bader
Markings are provided for two examples:
- Spitfire Mk.IIa, P7966, Tangmere Wing Commander, D-B, 1941
- Spitfire Mk.Va, W3185, Tangmere Wing Commander, D-B, 1941
I have very fond memories of this kit as I built the Mk.Vb release for an IPMS/Albuquerque contest and was amazed at how easily it went together. With just a little work in the cockpit with painting and some creative use of wire, you can really set the cockpit off without an aftermarket set, but you can really dress this up with a resin replacement cockpit.
While there are other Spitfire options available in this scale, this Hasegawa tooling is still a delight to work with and offers nice detail options. The AMS modeler has access to a wide array of aftermarket parts to dress up the front office as well as other aspects of the airframe as well as decals for a variety of subjects. If you're not interested in this particular subject, you'll have to wait for another release to get the combination of parts for the Mk.IIa, but if you're looking for the Mk.Vb, you'll find these available at reasonable prices at hobby shows and elsewhere.
My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!