Italeri 1/48 Spitfire Mk.XVIe Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||August 2005||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVIe||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||2646||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed, interesting decal options||Cons||Spartan cockpit|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$31.50|
The Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI was developed from the Mk.IX to address performance improvements to keep the edge in aerial combat at lower altitudes. The Mk.XVI used the Packard Merlin 266 engine rated at 1,372 horsepower and optimized for lower-altitude operations.
In addition, Supermarine adopted the same concept that North American, Republic and others were applying to their fighters - the cut-down rear fuselage to accommodate the bubble canopy. This change allowed the pilot virtually unrestricted visibility 360 degrees around the aircraft.
The Mk.XVI would serve through the end of the war, many of which adopted the clipped wingtips. A total of 1,054 Mk.XVIs were produced.
Italeri has released the Spitfire Mk.XVI with the 'E' wing. If this kit looks somewhat familiar, it is the Ocidental kit that has been 'tweaked' to correct the nose profile.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and features nicely scribed details. The cockpit interior is a bit spartan, but features all of the essentials including the seatbelt/harness in decal form. More experienced modelers will want to add some detail in here as they would similarly plain Hasegawa interiors.
What's nice about this kit is that the cockpit assembly installs in the fuselage AFTER the fuselage is assembled. This allows you to accomplish any sanding/filling without getting any dust/debris in your cockpit.
The E-wing has the canon access doors molded in-place, but these are designed to be cut away from the inside so you can display the gun bays open. If you opt for this, separate gun bay doors are included, but you're on your own for interior gun bay details.
The aircraft provides a separate canopy and windscreen, so you can position the canopy open or closed.
The kit provides only the clipped LF wingtips. In addition, three weapons pylons with bombs are included.
Markings are provided for four examples:
- Spitfire LF.XVIe, 349 Sqn (Belgian), late 1945, Fassberg, Germany
- Spitfire LF.XVIe, 21 Air Group, RAF (overall gloss black w/gold wingtips and propeller spinner
- Spitfire LF.XVIe, 340 Sqn (Free French), RAF, late 1945, Germany
- Spitfire LF.XVIe, 349 Sqn, Royal Belgian AF, late 1945
A complete set of maintenance stencils are included on the decal sheet.
I'll leave it to the Spitfire 'experten' to judge whether the revised profile is correct, but from here it looks like the updated Italeri/Ocidental Mk.XVI kits looks nice. The basic kit will be an easy build, and the way the kit is laid out will allow the super detailer plenty of room for more. Recommended!
My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!