Ocidental Replicas 1/48 Spitfire Mk.IXc Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||December 1999||Manufacturer||Ocidental Replicas|
|Subject||Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||0212||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Corrected nose profile over earlier Mk.IXe release||Cons||Spartan cockpit|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
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.
Ocidental Replicas of Portugal entered the hobby market with the release of their 1/48 North American SNJ Harvard/T-6 Texan series. These kits were an immediate success. Their next kit would be the 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXe, which unfortunately sported a slightly misshapen and difficult to correct nose. Well Ocidental accepted the criticism of their first Mk.IX and released this new Mk.IXc.
I first saw this kit built-up and on display at the Chicago Hobby Show at the beginning of November, and it was on display with the troublesome Mk.IXe kit. With the two kits displayed side-by-side, it was immediately obvious that the new Mk.IXc kit had a re-contoured and nicely accurate nose!
Molded in light grey plastic, the Mk.IXc kit retains many of the parts from the earlier kit, and offers the appropriate bumps and bulges to represent the armament fit of the C-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. There is only a slight gap on the bottom of the fuselage where the lower wing half is installed. The kit decals provide two options, JE-J which was the personal mount of Wing Commander Johnnie Johnson and one of the highest scoring Spitfires of WW2, and WD-L which was one of the 4 FS/52 FG USAAC aircraft based in North Africa. What is also nice about this decal sheet is the array of maintenance stenciling provided as well.
The first Spitfire Mk.IX kit from Ocidental was a nice kit with the exception of the incorrect nose profile. With this latest offering, Ocidental has finally provided us with the best 1/48 scalw Mk.IX currently on the market. Since this version of the Spitfire was a souped-up Mk.V, any of the existing Spitfire Mk.V cockpit detail sets can be adapted to detail out the cockpit.
It would be nice if Ocidental were to also release a correction set to provide the revised parts for the Mk.IXe already on the market, much like Tamiya did with its Meteor Mk.I kit. I would recommend this kit to any Spitfire lover. Straight from the box, it will make into a nice model. This kit also provides an excellent starting point for the super detailer too! With so many Mark IXs that served during and after WW2, and in so many different air forces, you wouldn't run out of creative subjects anytime soon.