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Spitfire Mk.IXc Late Version Profipack - 1:72 Eduard


Paul A H
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Spitfire Mk.IXc Late Version Profipack

1:72 Eduard


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When the prototype Spitfire took to the air for the first time on 5 March 1936, few involved could have foreseen where the development of the type would lead. By the end of the Second World War, the type had earned itself a place in the history books as well as the nation's psyche. One of the ultimate Merlin powered variants was the Mk.IX. The Mk.IX was a response to the appearance of the Focke Wulf Fw190, which proved itself more than a match for the Spitfire Mk.V. Powered by the two-stage supercharged Merlin 61, the performance of the Mk.IX was a quantum leap over its forebears, enabling the Spitfire to meet its German foe on equal terms. By the end of the War, over 5,600 Mk.IXs rolled off the production line at Castle Bromwich.

Eduard have earned an excellent reputation in recent years with world-class models such as their 1:72 Hellcat, Bf110 and MiG-15. Their models typically feature a mixture of exquisite detail and superb if complex engineering which puts them right at the pinnacle of modern kit manufacturers. The latest all-new 1:72 kit to roll off the Prague production line is the Spitfire Mk.IXc Late Version, the first in a series of new Mk.IX Spitfire kits from the Czech manufacturer. The kit arrives packed into a glossy, top-opening box adorned with a picture of Pierre Clostermann's aircraft in combat over Europe.

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Inside the sturdy box are five sprues of parts moulded in the blue-grey plastic often used by Eduard and a single sprue moulded in clear plastic. Altogether there are well over 150 plastic parts and, as this is a profipack edition, the plastic parts are accompanied by a small fret of pre-painted photo etched parts and a set of die-cut paint masks. The instruction book is a glossy, stapled A5 affair which includes full-colour painting diagrams. The overall impression is of a really premium quality package. The quality of the mouldings is up to the usual Eduard standard, with clean, crisp details and no flaws anywhere. As with other recent kits from Eduard, there is plenty of fine detail, with parts such as the cockpit comparable to high-end resin items (which, in turn, should tell you how good Eduard's resin cockpit is). The surface detail on the outside of the airframe is exquisitely rendered, with fine recessed panel lines and delicately engraved rivet and fastener detail.

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It's clear from the outset that Eduard have taken an uncompromising approach when it comes to detail. The cockpit is fabulous, particularly so in this Profipack edition with its extra photo etched parts. I don't think I've ever seen a Spitfire kit in this scale with a seat made up of three parts, so it's just as well that a set of pre-painted harnesses have been included too. There is a choice of plastic or photo etched parts for the pilot's armour, and further tiny photo etched details for the control column and throttle controls. The instrument panel also benefits from the addition of photo etched parts, with a detailed plastic alternative provided if you don't fancy using the metal parts. Unusually, the cockpit sidewalls have been moulded separately. I can only think that Eduard have done this in order to maximise the amount of detail they have been able to pack in, as well as paving the way for their resin cockpit, which uses the same approach. Once the cockpit has been assembled and painted, it can be fitted between the vertically split fuselage halves, along with the engine firewall, a blank part into which the propeller is fitted later on, and the pilot's head armour. The leading edge wing root also has to be fitted at this stage. The fact that these parts have been moulded separately to the rest of the kit is testament to Eduard's commitment to detail, if not buildability!

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The breakdown of the wing is no less complex. As you might expect, the lower wing has been moulded as a single span, with separate upper wing surfaces. Between the two you must sandwich seven parts which together make up the walls of the main landing gear bay. The ailerons and wing tips have been moulded separately, which allows multiple version to be built from the same moulds (alternative parts are included but marked as not for use for the aircraft depicted on this kit's decal sheet). The same applies to the rudder and elevators. Multiple alternatives are included on the sprues, so make sure you use the correct version for your intended subject. Choice is good though, as it makes for a very comprehensive package. The upper and lower cowlings are moulded separately, with the former split along the middle. Even the wing radiators are made up of six parts each, with the surface of the radiators themselves picked out in photo etched metal in this boxing.

Turning the model over, the undercarriage is just as detailed as the rest of the kit. Each of the main landing gear legs is made up of seven parts, with the tyres moulded separately to the hubs and photo etched parts to represent hob covers (where fitted). The separate tyres will make painting easier, which is just as well as the included paint masks don't cater for the landing gear. A long range fuel tank and a couple of small bombs are included, as are a two different types of slipper tanks. The wing cannon barrels are moulded separately, which means they can be added at the end of the build in order to avoid accidental damage.

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Two different canopies are included depending on whether you wish to finish your model with the canopy open or closed. This is just as well given all the superb detail in the cockpit. As this is a profipack edition, a full set of canopy masks has been included. Ive used Eduards pre-cut masks a number of times now and have always found them to be excellent for turning a time consuming chore into a quick and easy job.

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Eduard are usually pretty generous with the decal options in their profipacks, and this is no exception. Choices are provided for the following six aircraft:

  • Spitfire LF Mk.IXc MJ586, No. 602 Squadron, flown by Pierre Clostermann, Longues sur Mer Airfield, July 1944;
  • Spitfire HF Mk.IXc ML296, No.312 Squadron, flown by F/Lt Otto Smik, RAF North Weald, August 1944;
  • Spitfire LF Mk.IXc MH712, No.302 Squadron, flown by W/O Henryk Dygala, Summer/Autumn 1944;
  • Spitfire LF Mk.IXc MJ250, No.601 Squadron, Italy, Summer 1944;
  • Spitfire LF Mk.IXc ML135, No.401 Squadron, flown by Jerry Billing, RAF Tangmere, 7 June 1944; and
  • Spitfire LF Mk.IXc ML135, No.401 Squadron, flown by Jerry Billing, France, 1 July 1944.

All of the aircraft are finished in a variation of the Ocean Grey/Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey scheme with the exception of MJ250 which is finished in silver/natural metal. Each option is illustrated with a four-view colour profile. The decals look crisp, thin and glossy and the colours used are nice and bold.

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Conclusion

Given Eduard's track record with their recent 1:72 scale kits, it should come as no surprise that their Spitfire is so good. It is both accurate and highly detailed, putting it some way ahead of most other 1:72 kits on both counts. The addition of photo etched parts and masks makes this edition as close to a complete package as its possible to get, as well as being superb value for money. The only downside is the kit's complexity, with the part count alone exceeding Airfix's new Spitfire Mk.I in the larger 1:48 scale. Other than that, this kit looks mighty impressive on the sprue and can be highly recommended.




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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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