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Mike

Spitfire Mk.XVI Limited Edition Dual Combo 1:48

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Spitfire Mk.XVI Limited Edition Dual Combo
1:48 Eduard


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I'll not bore you with the birth and progress of the Spit, and I'm even beginning to get bored of saying that! Suffice to say that the XVI was a variation on the IX that was license built in the US using Packard Merlins that were optimised for low level operations, and had a slightly bulged cowling to accommodate the changes. They were armed with two 20mm cannon with an additional pair of .303 machine guns inboard, and a great many of them had the reduced fuselage spine or bubble-canopy. Just over a thousand were built overall.

The Kit
This is a special limited edition that includes two options in the box, and you can build both a low-back and a traditional razor-back Spitfire from the parts within. It arrives in a standard sized box that has some extra weight to it, part of which is due to the sprue count, the rest can be attributed to the instruction booklet, which deals with the construction of each model separately, so has approximately twice the pages. There are nine sprues in dark grey styrene, two in clear, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) metal, which are nickel-plated and pre-painted, a sheet of pre-cut kabuki-style masking material, a large decal sheet and two smaller ones containing stencils. If you are familiar with Eduard's superb Mk.IX kits, you'll see a lot that's familiar here, due to the commonality of parts between the two types. Mould quality is up to the highest standards, and the detail that has been squeezed out of styrene injection moulding is phenomenal.

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Construction of each airframe is handled separately in the instructions, as already mentioned, but the main differences are easily spotted. The low-back has the option of clipped wings, an additional set of wings with extra bulges over the gear bays to accommodate a larger set of wheels, as well as the necessary differences at the rear of the cockpit to accommodate the lower fuselage. This causes a slight change to the harness, and of course a totally different set of clear parts for each type. The cowlings for the low-back are also different top and bottom, but the exhaust stacks, the majority of the cockpit parts and tail-feathers are identical. You will need to pay careful attention to the options to ensure that you build your low-back up properly, as only one decal option has the larger wheels, and only one decal option will need the un-clipped wing tips that are included. The high back uses un-clipped tips for all three markings options, and the only options are to have the canopy open or closed, which necessitates a little removal of plastic rails around the cockpit if the closed option is chosen. The kabuki tape masks are provided for both canopies on the one sheet, so there is no spare room for wheel masks, however a quartet of small triangular(ish) shapes are provided to facilitate masking of the very tip of the aerial mast behind the cockpit.

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The pre-painted PE sheets are used extensively in the cockpits providing laminated instrument panels with detail instruments already painted at a resolution that us mere mortals could only dream of. The pilot's armour and seatbelts are also rendered in PE, as are the optional landing gear scissor-links to replace the kit's plastic offerings. The rest of the sheet is used in small parts that are dotted around the airframe to good effect.

Both fuselage types have optional 250lb bombs on small pylons under the wings, which are attached via a pair of small holes drilled in the underside of the wings during construction.

Markings
The choice of markings are skewed toward the low-back XVI, which has five options, while the more mainstream high-back has only three. For the most part they're all green/grey over light grey, but one of the low-backs has a PRU Blue finish that looks very nice. From the box you can build one low-back and one high-back of the following:

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Low-Back

  • TD341 No.433 Squadron, Uetersen Airfield, Germany, Aug 1945.
  • TB900 No.349 Squadron, Wunsdorf, Germany, Summer 1945.
  • TD240, Flown by S/Ldr. Boleslaw Kaczmarek, CO of No. 302 Squadron, Varrelsbuch Air Field, Germany, Summer 1945.
  • SL721, Flown by AVM Sir James Robb, 1948.
  • SL718, No. 612 Squadron RAuxAF, Cooper Air Race, Elmdon Air Base, July 1949.

High-Back

  • RR227, Flown by S/Ldr. Otto Smik, CO of No. 127 Squadron, Grimbergen Airfield, Belgium, Nov 1944.
  • TB752, Flown by S/Ldr. Henry Zary, CO of No. 403 Squadron, Belgium, April 1945.
  • TB300, Flown by G/C Stan Turner, No. 127 Wing, Evere Airfield, Belgium, April, 1945.

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The main decals are printed by Cartograf, while the two stencil sheets are printed in the Czech Republic by Eduard. Colour density, sharpness and registration is excellent, and the decals are all covered by a close-cropped glossy carrier film. Instrument decals are included if you want to use the kit's supplied plastic panel, although the PE parts will do a much better job.

The stencils for each aircraft are printed separately on sheets marked Mk.XVI Stencils and Mk.IX Stencils, with the final page of the booklet containing the stencil placement of the XVI with all extraneous detail stripped away for clarity. The stencil page for the high-back airframe clearly wouldn't fit in the booklet and although isn't mentioned, it is to be found on the last page of the online PDF booklet, which you can find here.


Conclusion
A nice way to get hold of a couple of interesting sub-variants of the popular Mk.IX, and some varied decal choices that will please many of us. Detail is up to their usual standards, and the inclusion of the PE and masks just adds to the appeal.

Highly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of
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It's a good deal isn't it? And as you probably already know, Eduard's Spits are just lovely ^_^

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Thanks Mike,

Looks very nice, indeed!

I'm very far from running after French aircraft scheme, but in this case, if it's nice to get a Belgian machine, it would have been also fine (to me!) to have one from either 340 or 341 sqn.

But you never know, maybe in a latter profipack, if there is one scheduled?

Anyway, all the options seems very nice.

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Mike,

TB752 as depicted in the kit is wrong.

It should have clipped wings with wheel bulges on the upper part of the wing.

This Spitfire is just up the road from me at the old RAF Manston.

Eduard are aware and have asked me to write an article for their on line magazine about this aircraft.

Dick

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Thanks for the info Dick - as the parts are in the box, people can now build that decal option correctly thanks to you :thumbsup:

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Thanks Mike.

If any one wants to see what she is like today here is a link to the museum.

http://www.spitfiremuseum.org.uk/

Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

And yes it's a fab kit.

Dick

Edited by jenko

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This is a very nice set but just a quick correction to note, they had the E wing with 2 20mm cannons and 2 50cal machine guns.

thanks

Mike

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Thanks Mike.

If any one wants to see what she is like today here is a link to the museum.

http://www.spitfiremuseum.org.uk/

Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Dick

I'll second that. Never managed to get in the café though.

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Another fabulous addition to the Spitfire family. I have been drooling over mine for a few days now. Between Airfix and Eduard, we really are spoilt for state of the art Spitfire kits at the moment.

Great review Mike and a big thank you to Dick for his excellent knowledge!

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Limited editions do run out. It'd be a shame to miss out :hypnotised:

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Very true. My other half is now starting to give me some dirty looks as I keep amassing kits faster than I can build them lol.

How does one avoid this?

Hmmm

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Blame me as a bad influence? :shrug:

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Blame me as a bad influence? :shrug:

Works for me!

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Let her chose between you with models or leaving?

Wait, don´t.. ;)

Make sure she gets some hobby? :)

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