Kit: No. AP42
Manufacturer: Hasegawa, distributed by Marco Polo Import, 532 S. Coralridge Place, City of Industry, CA 91746
Comments: Injection molded, 52 parts (4 vinyl), decals.
The last time I built a 1/72 scale Spitfire Mk.IXc (Prototype and Production: Supermarine Spitfire, December 1993 FSM), I used four kits. Now I need only Hasegawa's new one.
This kit provides the late c wing, a choice of carburetor intakes, standard or wide-chord rudders, and standard or clipped wing tips. The decals provide markings for two aircraft.
The kit features finely recessed panel lines and overall accurate detail. The cockpit is spartan, but you can't see much through the small one-piece canopy. If you choose to cut it open, consider an aftermarket cockpit detail set.
Study the instructions before starting to build; you must decide which of the included decals to use. There are a few errors in the instructions. The main landing gear are shown facing inward -- they should face outward. The tail-wheel configuration shown in step 7 is a carryover from the previous Spitfire Mk.VIII kit. Mk.IXs had a fixed tail wheel. Instead use part B5 (which the instructions show grayed out on the parts map as not used).
The kit fits together well. I deviated from the instructions and built the model as a series of subassemblies to make painting easier. I found I could install the cockpit tub up into the fuselage after the fuselage halves were joined, so I first assembled and painted the fuselage, wing, undernose fairing, and exhaust stacks separately.
I used Humbrol's dark green, ocean grey, and medium sea grey for the camouflage, then applied sky for the tail band and prop hub. Here's where the subassembly pays off: The medium sea grey demarcation line falls along the seam of the wing's trailing-edge fairing and the undernose fairing, so you won't have to mask them.
When the paint is dry, carefully unite subassemblies and touch up the seams if necessary.
I found the red in the decal's roundels and fin flashes too bright, so I substituted aftermarket items. I didn't use the tail-band decal as it wasn't a good sky color. Instead of painting the canopy frames, I painted the interior and exterior colors onto decal film and cut strips for the frames. The kit decals went on fine with a touch of setting solution.
Hasegawa's late-Merlin Spitfire is an easy 12-hour build. Compared with the data in Squadron/Signal's Spitfire in Action, the span is six scale inches short and the length is OK.
Beginners may have trouble with some of the small parts, so I recommend this kit for intermediate modelers.
- Ross Whitaker