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Spitfire Mk.Ia ProfiPACK (82151) 1:48


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Spitfire Mk.Ia ProfiPACK (82151)

1:48 Eduard

 

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The Spitfire was the champion of the Battle of Britain along with the Hurricane and a few other less well-known players, and it’s an aircraft with an amazing reputation that started from a bit of a damp squib in the shape of the Supermarine Type 224.  The gull-winged oddity was the grandfather of the Spitfire, and despite losing out to the biplane Gloster Gladiator, designer R J Mitchell was spurred on to go back to the drawing board and create a more modern, technologically advanced and therefore risky design.  This was the Type 300, and it was an all-metal construction with an incredibly thin elliptical wing that became legendary, although it didn’t leave much space for fuel, a situation that was further worsened by the Air Ministry’s insistence that four .303 machine guns were to be installed in each wing, rather than the three originally envisaged. It was a very well-sorted aircraft from the outset, so quickly entered service with the RAF in 1938 in small numbers.  With the clouds of war accumulating, the Ministry issued more orders and it became a battle to create enough to fulfil demand in time for the outbreak and early days of war from September 1939 onwards.

 

By then, the restrictive straight sided canopy had been replaced by a “blown” hood to give the pilot more visibility, although a few with the old canopy still lingered.  The title Mk.Ia was given retrospectively to differentiate between the cannon-winged Mk.Ib that was instigated after the .303s were found somewhat lacking compared to the 20mm cannon armament of their main opposition at the time, the Bf.109.  As is usual in wartime, the designers could never rest on their laurels with an airframe like the Spitfire, as it had significant potential for development, a process that lasted throughout the whole of WWII, and included many changes to the Merlin engine, then the installation of the more powerful Griffon engine, as well as the removal of the spine of the fuselage and creation of a bubble canopy to improve the pilot’s situational awareness.  Its immediate successor was the Mk.II with a new Mk.XII Merlin, followed by the Mk.V that had yet another more powerful Merlin fitted, which returned the fright of the earlier marks’ first encounters with Fw.190s by a similar increase in performance of an outwardly almost identical Spitfire.

 

 

The Kit

This is a new tool from Eduard, following on from their other later marks of the Spit in their usual manner, providing us modellers with a wide selection of types and sub-variants as they proceed through their launch schedule.  This is a thoroughly modern tooling with immense detail squeezed into every part, and for the inveterate upgraders, the kits are moulded with that in mind, to be augmented by a raft of super-detailed resin and brass sets from Eduard themselves, which benefit from concurrent launch and excellent fit.  The outer skin has been fully riveted with fine lines and rivets everywhere, plus different widths of engraved lines, Dzuz fasteners on cowling panels, and even some lapped panels such as the fuel tank in front of the canopy.  It arrives in Eduard’s standard ProfiPACK box, with five sprues in their grey/blue styrene, a circular clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) that is nickel-plated and pre-painted, a small sheet of pre-cut kabuki masking material (not pictured), a large decal sheet with separate stencil sheet, and the glossy instruction booklet with painting guide at the rear in full colour.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, which will probably be familiar to most, although maybe not in so much detail if you’re not used to the Eduard way.  It is built up on the starboard sidewall insert, with equipment, controls and a choice of seat-carrying fuselage frames depending on which decal option you have chosen.  The seat is next, having the flare rack at the front removed and replaced by the daintier PE part, as well as some nice PE seatbelts and rear armour.  The control column is also made up, and has a PE trigger added before it and the flight control box (more of a tangle, really) are joined to the seat and inserted in the next two fuselage frames forward.  The next frame forward holds the instrument panel, which can be plastic with decals, or the more complex and detailed lamination of PE parts with those lovely glossy dial faces on a separate backing plate, either of which then glue to the frame, with the gunsight at the top of the panel, and the compass just below, then the rudder pedals are outfitted with PE straps and footrests, before being put just inside the cut-out below the panel.  Forward of that frame is a blanking plate that is glued in place along with the spinner back during the fuselage closure procedure.  The socket for the tail wheel and the leading edge of the wing fairing are also glued in, and take care here, as there are two diagrams below the fuselage closure that cover the painting and decaling of the cockpit sidewalls, which must be done before closure, as you’d imagine. The canopy will require small parts of the sidewalls removing to accommodate the appropriate glazing, so make sure you cut those parts off too.  They slip in a mention of a panel line on the very front of the nose that you need to fill in, so don’t forget that one, as it’s called out with a line and the word “fill” during the attachment to the wings later on.

 

The lower wing is a single part out as far as the clipped wing rib, and there are two small holes that need drilling out on both undersides before you go any further.  A long wing spar bridges the gap between the wheel bay cut-outs, then the rest of the bay walls are made out of short sections and the wing-gun barrels are dropped into their slots ready for closing up the wing, then placing the fuselage into the gap and gluing home.  The tail feathers are next, with separate elevator fins and flying surfaces, plus the rudder and its control link.  Back to the wings, and the elliptical tips are slid into place along with the ailerons, which you can pose deflected if you wish.  Staying with the wing, the model is flipped over, and the radiator, oil cooler and chin intake with fairing are all added in, the radiator and oil cooler both having PE mesh inserts, L-shaped feeder pipes at the rear, and a scale-thickness PE flap with two actuators for open and closed positions.

 

The narrow track landing gear has replacement PE details fixed to the leg after removing the plastic representation, and these then have the captive doors attached to the rear, and wheels made up from a tyre and two hub parts, with a split yoke and wheel for the tail, which slots into the socket buried in the fuselage.  The canopy has a choice of fittings on the windscreen, and a choice of open or closed canopies with a PE pull-handle in the top.  The fixed rear glazing is fitted first for the open option, but is moulded into the closed canopy for better fit.  The locations for the masks are shown in a diagram at the end of the instructions, using liquid mask for highly curved areas of the blown canopy.   The cockpit door can be mounted open or closed, then the aerial is glued to the rear of the canopy on a base, two small holes are opened up on the upper wing for the PE landing gear markers, with a fuel filler cap on the cowling in front of the windscreen.  The exhaust stacks have been moulded carefully to give hollow tips, and the prop is a single part, covered front and back by the two-part spinner, with the peg on the rear sliding into the front of the fuselage.  The final steps show two aerial wire layouts for the different markings, which you will need to provide from your own toolbox.

 

Markings

There are a generous seven marking options from the box, including some very early war aircraft with the black and white underwing markings, and the over-sized roundels with yellow outer rings under the wings.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • R6709, flown by P/O Colin Falkland Gray, RNZAF, No. 54 Squadron, RAF Hornchurch, United Kingdom, March 1940
  • N3250, flown by P/O Allan R. Wright, No. 92 Squadron, RAF Croydon, United Kingdom, late May/early June 1940
  • R6690, flown by P/O John C. Dundas, No. 609 Squadron, RAF Middle Wallop/RAF Warmwell, United Kingdom, August 13th, 1940
  • R6835, flown by F/O Brian J. Carbury, No. 603 Squadron, RAF Hornchurch, United Kingdom, late August 1940
  • P9386, flown by S/Ldr Brian J. Lane, No. 19 Squadron, RAF Fowlmere, United Kingdom, September 1940
  • X4253, flown by P/O Wilfrid G. Duncan Smith, No. 611 Squadron, RAF Hornchurch, United Kingdom, February 1941
  • X4828, flown by F/Lt Wojciech Kolaczkowski, No. 303 Squadron, RAF Speke, United Kingdom, September 1941

 

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The decals are printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  The stencils are marked on the rear page of the booklet, separate from the rest of the markings to avoid confusion from trying to read overly busy diagrams.

 

 

Conclusion

There are bound to be some moans about another Spitfire model, but other people’s kits don’t make money for Eduard.  They’ve done a great job of this early mark, and the detail is second to none from the box, with nothing else needed to create a great replica other than paint and glue, with a sprinkling of talent.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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You can also get an ART poster of the full box art, which really is a nice one.  You can see that below:

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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3 minutes ago, John Masters said:

Looks beautiful.  Any idea if they will release it in 1/72nd?

None at all John.  Might be worth an email to them :)

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On 13/12/2020 at 19:17, avro683 said:

I didn’t think that the flare rack was fitted to Mk1’s.

Not sure. I’m not expert in that level of detail, but it’s a simple job to cut off the plastic and just not install the PE part, as appropriate. :)

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On 12/13/2020 at 3:44 PM, Mike said:

None at all John.  Might be worth an email to them :)

 

They worked with Special Hobby to release a downscale of their Bf-109E to 1/72 and it appears from their newsletter that they intend to do this more often. So who knows.

Edited by sroubos
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12 hours ago, Paramedic said:

Seems like a great kit, but i have yet to build my Mk. IXa and VIIIs in the stash..! ;)  I might still pick one of these up though, that temperate (?) scheme is really nice..

Has to be done ;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Mike

 

A question about the decals, please. Are those also wet transfers as the ones shown in the videos about the "the view" boxing. I have the kit but can't tell. The carrier film of the stencil page definitely seems thinner then on the main sheet.

 

thanks

Uwe

 

 

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On 10/01/2021 at 22:27, anj4de said:

A question about the decals, please. Are those also wet transfers as the ones shown in the videos about the "the view" boxing. I have the kit but can't tell. The carrier film of the stencil page definitely seems thinner then on the main sheet.

Yes, they're all wet-slide traditional decals.  So far in my experience there haven't been any Eduard kits without carrier film.  Sometimes they have their decals printed at different places for cost reasons - you don't need Cartograf quality when you're just printing black stencils for example.  Unless someone's forgotten to put the carrier film down (unusual, but Roden did it once), the film is probably just really thin :)

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