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Julien

Spitfire Mk.IX - The Longest Day - 1:48 Eduard - Limited Edition

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Spitfire Mk.IX - The Longest Day

1:48 Eduard - Limited Edition


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Without going in to the whole history of the Spitfire the Mark XI was developed by mating a Merlin 61 engine to a Spitfire Vb to combat the arrival of the Fw190.

The Kit
Eduard have released a few boxings now of the Mk.IXc and Mk.IXe and this brings together the plastic from both as the options in the kit feature four Mk.IXc's and one IXe. The boxing is to celebrate "The Longest Day" or D-Day and features Spitfire XI's wearing D-Day stripes, some very quickly applied. The kit arrives in six sprues of gray plastic, a clear sprue, a fret of colour photo etch parts,a set of masks, and in resin a 500lb centre line bomb & its rack. I am reliably informed the kit is superb. The mouldings look great, and I am told the fit is spot on. Depending on which Mark you make there will be more than a few parts for the spares bin.

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The build begins with the cockpit, and here some of the sidewall detail is moulded into the fuselage, with the rest being supplied as separate parts that fit to the lower sidewall inserts. The frame that holds the pilot's seat has recessed lightening holes that could be drilled out if you feel the need, and a sturdy mount for the seat and its two armoured plates behind it and in the head/shoulders area. The frame behind the pilot's seat is supplied as a top portion only, but little should be seen of that below the small rear glazed area anyway. Under the pilot's feet are the control linkages, as well as a further strengthening attachment point for the seat. The seat is built up from back and side parts, with the adjustment lever on the starboard side, and a flare rack in front, under the pilot's knees, which is then dropped into the cockpit with its PE armour panel, and the pre-painted seatbelts from the etched fret can be draped over the seat in a realistic way. The control column and linkage is built up from three styrene parts and one PE part, and then added in front of the seat along with a few additional sidewall details.

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The instrument panel is the forward bulkhead, and is supplied as either a single styrene part with raised instrument bezels on the surface, which you can paint or decal, or the more sophisticated lamination of three pre-painted layers to create a highly detailed panel with instrument dials that is glued to a styrene back-plate for strength. The gun-sight and compass assemblies are then added to the panel, with the compass glued on the backside of the panel and protruding through the bulkhead opening between the pilot's knees, just like the real thing. Rudder pedals sit within the bulkhead, after which the other sidewall can be added, creating a neat assembly that is sandwiched between the fuselage halves after fitting the bulkhead to the engine-bay, the final frame to which the spinner attaches and he socket for the tail gear leg. If you're going to close the canopy, a couple of small segments of the sills are removed, as they won't be seen under the canopy, and would baulk its fitment if left behind. At this point, the leading edges of the wing root fairings are also attached.

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As is standard with the Spitfire wings in this kit the lower wing is a single full-span part, (make sure you select the right wing for decal option being modelled) there is then a stub spar that crosses the mid-line with around 3cm on each side providing a little strength to the wings which must be fitted. This forms part of the front wall of the landing gear wells. The upper wing section has been moulded with a thinner skin within the wheel well to give a more realistic depth, and also has details of the ribbing moulded into its surface. The balance of the wheel bay walls are constructed from short sections, which allowed Eduard to put some wall detail on them where appropriate, but take care getting alignment and orientation correct before committing to glue. Once the upper wings and separate wing tips are attached, the fuselage can be dropped into the gap and secured in place.

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The top cowling is a separate assembly, made up from two halves, and again you have a choice which depends on which markings you intend to use. The exhausts that are fitted to each side of the cowling are slide-moulded to have a hollow exit, although the edges are a little thick when compared to the resin replacements. The exhausts fit into a pair of backing parts that give an impression of the engine within the cowlings, which must be almost unique on a stock kit at this scale, but it means that they have to be inserted before the top cowling is added, so must be painted and masked beforehand.

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The elevators are separate from the tail plane, and they are supplied as a single part with some impressive fabric and rib-tape texture on the surface. They must be installed before the rudder, and are locked in place by a pair of small parts that should allow then to remain mobile if you are careful with the glue. Ailerons are also separate, and these are of the metaltype, so devoid of any fabric detail, as is correct. They can be posed at any sensible angle, and have small tabs at the hinge-points to improve the strength of their join.

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Because of the almost scale depth of the wheel wells, the landing gear is built up the same way whether you are choosing to model it up or down. The only difference is that a small portion of the dished leg cover is removed so that they can fit within the bay recess. The tyres are provided in halves, with separate front and rear hubs, with a flat PE hub-cap installed on only one of the marking options. If posing them down, the gear legs sit in a pair of keyed holes that ensure the angle and orientation are correct, but a pair of scrap diagrams provide clarification if you are unsure. The tail wheel is a single part that fits into the two-part yoke that terminates in a long shaft to plug into the socket within the fuselage that was installed earlier.

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The Spitfire IX had a four-blade prop, and this is one of the last assemblies, consisting of single part for the blades, around which the front and rear plate of the spinner are clamped. This then fits into a small hole at the front of the cowling, and will need to be glued in place unless you do a little scratch-building. The cannons in the leading edge of the wing are installed to the inner stations, while the outer ports are faired over with a pair of hemispherical bumps. The canopy gives you the option of a two-part closed assembly, which has the sliding and rear portions moulded together, or a three-part open assembly to display your hard work in the cockpit. The windscreen is fitted with a circular rear-view mirror on the very top of the roll-over loop, and the sliding portion has a small PE grab-handle/latch added to the front, which is a nice addition. The side door is detailed with locking mechanism that is also made from PE, and you use different parts for open and closed canopies. Lastly the aerial mast if attached to the fuselage via an insert followed by a small clear tear-drop shaped bubble just aft of the mast and only used with certain marked aircraft.

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If the modeller is going to make the last decal option a Mk.IXe then bomb racks are fitted. Czechoslovak pilots flew the Mk.Ie for the first time during the Normandy landing as they were fitted with bomb racks and more suitable for operations over the Beaches. These aircraft were put into operations rather quickly and some did not receive full identification strips. Two 250lb bombs are provided for the wings in injected plastic. In addition a resin 500lb bomb with its rack is supplied for the centre line.

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Clear Parts
The clear parts are on one of Eduard's familiar round clear sprues. Both an open and closed canopy are provided (in this case one part has come adrift but this is unusual for Eduard). Also supplied are the wing tips and a variety of navigation lights.


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Decals
There are two sheets of decals in the kit. The first is a smaller sheet of stencils printed by Eduard. The second decal sheet for this kit gives the modeller the choice of 5 schemes, and is printed by Cartograf.

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  • Spitfire Mk.IXc, ML214, No. 126 Squadron RAF, Harrowbeer Air Base, June 6, 1944
  • Spitfire Mk.IXc, MK924, No. 302 Squadron, Chailey, June, 1944
  • Spitfire Mk.IXc, MK892, No. 222 Squadron RAF, Normandy, June 10, 1944
  • Spitfire LF Mk.IXe, PL124, No. 312 Squadron RAF, June, 1944
  • Spitfire Mk.IXc, MH819, No. 310 Squadron, Appledram Air Base, Mid June, 1944

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Conclusion
All of the parts are upto Eduard's usual high standards. If you like Spitfires, or aircraft with D-Day Stripes; this one is for you. Highly recommended.


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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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