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Kotare 1/32 scale Spitfire Mk.Ia (Mid) plastic model kit review

A World War II warbird kit with a Wingnut Wings heritage
Kit:32001 // Scale:1/32 // Price:$109
Kotare (Sample courtesy of manufacturer)
Popular subject; overall great fit; excellent tooling design
Issue with the fuselage code decal colors
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 108 parts; decals
As the undisputed hero of the Battle of Britain, the Supermarine’s Spitfire Mk.I, needs no lengthy introduction. Surprisingly, the early marks of Spitfire have not been well served with state-of-the-art, newly tooled kits in 1/32 scale. That has now changed significantly.

If you’ve built a Wingnut Wings kit, you’ll immediately feel at home with the Kotare 1/32 scale Spitfire Mk.Ia (Mid) plastic model kit. Designed and produced by many former Wingnut Wings team members, the parts count may be lower than WNW offerings but count on the luxurious and accurate detail. The instruction sheet is another nod to the makers’ former company and includes all the expected wealth of images and callouts for this early Spitfire. Pay close attention to these handy photos, notes, and auxiliary drawings to help your build.

The complete cockpit comprises parts representing the interior of the lower fuselage, fuselage sides, bulkheads, and details. The kit came with comprehensive painting instructions and included stencils. A clever attachment point molded to the flare chutes on the rear frame assists the control cable rigging. Injection molded seat belts are included, although they needed to be cut to properly fit. Engineered to tight tolerances, I needed to trim the slots in the sidewall parts to fit the tabs on the floor. The ejector-pin marks on the back face of the sidewalls needed a bit of cleanup as well. The entire assembly fits pleasingly snugly inside the fuselage.

Assembling the fuselage goes quickly with perfectly fitting separate cowl panels, top cowling, fuel tank cover, and upper fuselage spine. Remember to insert the light on the top of the spine. The stabilizer fits snugly in a slot, followed by a fairing that covers the elevator connection rod. I used white glue to tack the elevators and the faring in place so they could be removed to easily paint the inside edge of the stabilizer.

The three-part wing has an internal spar that forms part of the main gear-wells. Wheel-well inserts and detail molded into the upper wing take care of the rest of the main gear-wells. Remember to open holes in the inserts to allow the undercarriage jacks to fit (parts B15 and B16). Insert the tips representing the Browning .303 machine guns before closing up the wing — and be careful with alignment.

The radiator and oil cooler housings fit perfectly in their assigned depressions. Test-fitting the main gear-legs confirmed they are an extremely tight fit, so much so that I decided to attach them before gluing on the top of the wings. This helped me see where and how much needed to be trimmed for a safe fit, although it meant tricky masking later. Still, it was worth the sequence change. Despite my initial skepticism, the wing-to-fuselage attachment, including the separate wing fillets, fits well.

I used the closed canopy and access door as masks for painting. Both it and the included open option fit well — the aft portion needs a bit more persuasion than the windscreen.

The decals went down fairly well, but take care with the walkway lines. I am not a fan of how blue and dark the codes appear, as they seem incorrect. After the painting, decaling, and weathering were complete, I added the smaller details, like the sturdy tailwheel, radio mast, open canopy, and remaining landing-gear parts.

The Kotare 1/32 scale Spitfire Mk.Ia (Mid) plastic model kit took a little under 40 hours to complete, mostly due to the multicolored paint scheme and masking. It was pure joy for every step, but make sure to test-fit the landing gear and decide what assembly sequence is best for you. Awesome first release, Kotare! Worthy of the Wingnut Wings legacy!
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