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Spitfire Mk.IIb ProfiPACK (82154) 1:48


Mike
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Spitfire Mk.IIb ProfiPACK (82154)

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 as a bit of a damp squib in the shape of the Supermarine Type 224.  This 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 building, the Ministry issued more orders and it became a battle to manufacture 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By then, the restrictive straight sided canopy had been replaced by a “blown” hood to give the pilot more visibility, although a few with the old canopy still lingered for a while.  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 that had a better Merlin engine and higher octane fuel to give it a healthy boost in performance.  The IIa was armed identically to the Mk.Ia with four .303s in each wing, while the IIb carried the two 20mm cannons of the Ib and two .303s in each of the wings.  It was 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 from an outwardly almost identical Spitfire.

 

 

The Kit

This is a reboxing with new parts of 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 new ProfiPACK box featuring a gold banner, with five sprues in their grey/blue styrene, a 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.  It is nearly identical in terms of sprues to the Mk.IIa that we reviewed recently apart from the new wing sprue, so four sprues and the clear parts in common with its sibling.  The differences between the two versions are otherwise small, but you use alternative parts on the sprues for the cannons and for some decal options, plus the decals themselves.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, which will probably be familiar to most, although there is a huge amount of detail when it’s done 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 added from PE, as well as some nice painted 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 footwell 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.  There is also a hole to be drilled in the port wing root fairing as well.

 

The lower wing is a single part out as far as the clipped wing rib, and there are two pairs of 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 just the two wing-gun barrels per side are dropped into their slots ready for closing up the wing, then placing the fuselage into the gap and gluing it home.  The empennage is next, with separate elevator fins and flying surfaces, plus the rudder and its control link, chopping off the short tube on the top of the fin.  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 20mm cannon parts simply slide into their sockets in the leading edge of the wings, which explains the requirement for the new sprue with the small circular fairings moulded into it.

 

The canopy has a choice of PE or styrene rear-view mirror 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 pointed spinner, with the peg on the rear sliding into the front of the fuselage.  The final steps show two aerial wires from the fuselage sides to the elevators, which you will need to provide from your own toolbox.

 

 

Markings

There are a generous six marking options from the box, including some early war in Dark Earth/Dark Green and later examples with Ocean Grey and Dark Green camo.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • P/O Frederick A O Gaze, No.610 (County of Chester) Sqn., RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex, 1941
  • P8519 No.306 (Polish) Sqn., RAF Northolt, July 1941
  • P8646, No.616 (South Yorkshire) Sqn., RAF Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire, Oct/Nov, 1941
  • P8505 Sgt. Eric S Dicks-Sherwood, No.266 (Rhodesia) Sqn., RAF Wittering, Cambs., Sept 1941
  • P8533 S/Ldr. Percival S Turner, CO of 145 Sqn., RAF Catterick, North Yorks., Oct 1941
  • P8348 No.52 OTU, RAF Debden, Essex, Summer 1943

 

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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 on a separate sheet, and are marked on a page of the booklet, separate from the rest of the markings to avoid confusion from trying to read overly busy diagrams.

 

 

Conclusion

There are always some moans about "yet another" Spitfire model, but other people’s kits don’t make money for Eduard, and they do it their own unique way.  They’ve done a great job of these early marks, and the detail is excellent from the box, with nothing else needed to create a great replica other than paint and glue, a little bit of fine wire for the aerials, and some of your hard work.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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I have one of these kits.  Is it just my imagination or has Eduard got the colour of the fuselage Squadron Codes completely wrong for Options A (DW - G) and B (UZ - Z).  They are almost black and I believe should be light grey, as per the Instruction Sheet?

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8 minutes ago, P51Fozzy said:

I have one of these kits.  Is it just my imagination or has Eduard got the colour of the fuselage Squadron Codes completely wrong for Options A (DW - G) and B (UZ - Z).  They are almost black and I believe should be light grey, as per the Instruction Sheet?

Does not look right to me but im no Spitfire expert. Any ideas @Mike ?

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There was a lot of discussion about the dark shade of grey on the code sheets produced by Modeldecal, some decades back.  The argument then was that the transfer codes look rather less dark when applied to a camouflaged aircraft, and that they can be seen to be dark on some photos of the time.  There was an RAF stores code quoted, quite correctly I understood, and that the codes matched this colour.  Since then it has been confirmed that this reference was the same colour as Medium Sea Grey.  MSG is not a light grey by any means, if somewhat bluer than usually noted.

 

I suspect, from the colour in the posting and your need to comment, that these Eduard sheets may be a little too dark, but surely not "almost Black".   I don't have it myself, for better comparison and a more definite opinion.

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In reality, the decals for Option B are combined with the aircraft serial codes, which are black, and there is hardly any discernible difference in colour to the naked eye.

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17 minutes ago, P51Fozzy said:

They are almost black and I believe should be light grey, as per the Instruction Sheet?

I think that calling that grey shade black is a little severe perhaps, but on my screen those decals are the same colour as they are in my workshop.  Darker than the profiles, both digital and print, but not almost black :shrug:

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 16/06/2021 at 17:45, P51Fozzy said:

In reality, the decals for Option B are combined with the aircraft serial codes, which are black, and there is hardly any discernible difference in colour to the naked eye.

 

On 16/06/2021 at 17:46, Mike said:

I think that calling that grey shade black is a little severe perhaps, but on my screen those decals are the same colour as they are in my workshop.  Darker than the profiles, both digital and print, but not almost black :shrug:

 

Hopefully this might help, as I too wondered about the apparent dark shade of the code letters. I bought 'The Spitfire: First of the Few' boxing and the decal sheet codes look very much like those in Mikes review, I.E I though they looked too dark. This is my sheet after I have cut out the 'QV H' codes for my model.

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But once applied to it. they are much. much lighter and look fine to me.

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Overall view:

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Ok, I accept my photos have been done in a hurry in the fading gloom of the evening, but they do make the point that once off the sheet, the decals are considerably lighter.

Hope this helps,

 

John

 

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