Italeri 1/48 Spitfire Mk.IX Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2006||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||2651||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build||Cons||Spartan cockpit|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$28.00|
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.
One of the more overlooked versions of the Supermarine Spitfire in 1/48 has been the Mark Nine series. While we've had previous offerings of the Mark IX by several companies in the past, none have quite captured the unique blending of the Spitfire Mk.V airframe with the Merlin 61 under the cowl.
Italeri has released the Ocidental 1/48 Spitfire Mk.IX. This kit was the subject of much debate years ago as the first release had a serious nose profile problem, something the manufacturer quickly remedied in the second release. When I looked at aircraft outlines for dimensional accuracy, only two Spitfire Mk.IXs were very closely matched - this kit and the ICM 1/48 Spitfire Mk.IX. Surprisingly the Hasegawa and Tamiya kits were notably too short in fuselage length. In the end though, all of the kits build up into nice representations of the Spitfire IX. Only an IPMS Judge with a micrometer would know the difference...
Molded in light grey plastic, the Mk.IX kit retains the parts to offer the appropriate bumps and bulges to represent the armament fit of the C-wing or the E-Wing. The kit includes the earlier Mk.V style of rudder, which corresponds appropriately to the early version of the Mk.IX that first came off of the Supermarine production line.
Detailing in the kit scribed throughout, with no flash or ejector pin marks located in any visible portions of the model. The fuselage and wing halves fit together nicely, indicating little or no need of any fillers during construction. In fact, the only filler that I anticipate in construction of this kit is in the same place that many other kits face the wing-to-fuselage joint. With the cockpit installed, and with perhaps a little shimming from inside the fuselage, the upper wing-fuselage joint should be fine.
The kit decals provide four options:
- Spitfire FR Mk.IX, 16 Sqn, X, France, Sept 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IX, High Altitude Flight, Northolt, Sept 1944
- Spitfire HF Mk.IXc, 32 Sqn, Foggia, Italy, 1944
- Spitfire LF Mk.IX, RCAF CO, Tangmere Wing, 1944
This kit still looks nice out of the box and will definitely look great after assembly. The AMS modeler will want to find an aftermarket cockpit detail set, but this will definitely look nice on your scale flightline.
My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!