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MK1a Spitfire. Recommended 1:72 scale kits 2021


Lindsey C
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Hi Guys,

 

I have found various threads re: Recommended/Reviewed Mk1 Spitfires at 1:72 but nothing recent and not sure if any can help. I am slowly working away (read: when I get the time) on my BoB shelf. Fabric Wing Hurricane has got to painting stage ūüôā and Panel Wing in Stash.

 

There seems to be a dearth of Mk1 1:72 Spitfire kits! I have the Airfix A68206 starter kit for my ongoing BoB aircraft shelf/shelves but am looking for better. Am dreading it a little given the horrendous flashing on the sprues! Might start the BP Defiant next. lol The only others I can find at present are the Tamiya 60748 & Airfix 01071B. There are lots of great Mk1 Hurricane & Me109E-3 Kits (some of which I have obtained already). I presume to build one of the 30 rare Mk1b, one would have to fit the canons etc. and create/find a decal set?

 

Any thoughts/info welcome.

 

Regards,

Lindsey

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In my personal view there isn't at the moment a really good Spitfire Mk.I kit in 1/72 scale, something say at the same level of the Arma Hurricanes or Eduard later Spit variants. The Tamiya kit is, as usual for this company, well moulded and fits nicely but suffers from a number of inaccuracies. The Airfix kit is more accurate in general, although still has a few things I don't like, but in terms of mould sharpness and surface detail is not as good and is lacking in certain details. KP offers a Mk.Ib straight from the box, so this may be an option, but I wonder what it's like in terms of accuracy ( I don't have this kit) and I'm not a huge fan of other KP Spitfires. Still, if the shapes are right (I'll leave this to others to comment on), this may be a simple solution, already having cannons and decals. The same company has recently announced a Mk.Ia, hopefully this will be a good accurate kit.

With what is on the market at the moment, the choice is between Tamiya, with superior mould quality, and Airfix, with better accuracy. Two quite different options that may satisfy most modellers but don't completely satisfy me. I have both in the stash and will build both, but for the ultimate Mk.I I'm waiting in hope for Eduard to issue something similar to their Mk.IX/VIII.

Of course there are other Mk.Is around, but none can IMHO compete with the two I mentioned.

 

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I like the KP one, in the box anyway, which is the only one to offer Mk.Ib, but has the same slightly short span as the Sword kit.  Nothing visible but just a bit: I doubt i would have noticed just by eyeballing it if i hadn't been pre-prepared.

 

I would rate the Tamiya as well below the new Airfix because of the too-wide wing chord, the fat fuselage and the poor exhausts and propeller.  The last is fixable but the first two aren't.  It does however fit beautifully.  I would place the old Airfix Mk.I above the Tamiya.

 

I think the new Airfix is the right shape, but needs working on the fit and lacks the obvious wing/fuselage panel fairing join.  It has a slightly longer nose than most but I haven't been able to prove it either way.

 

However, I would disagree about the plethora of good Hurricane Mk.I kits.  There is the Arma Hobby, well ahead of the competition.  The Airfix has detail faults and fit problems.  I have a soft spot for the Sword/AZ tooling, but they aren't in the same class as  AH..  

 

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New(ish) Airfix kit (not starter version although I would expect them to be the same). Softer detail but superior shape. I’ve built three of them and have more in the stash. When Tamiya redid their 1/48 Spit I, I had hopes they would redo their 1/72 but it hasn’t happened yet

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Here we go- again! :worms: I  know that the Spitfire is one of those modeling subjects that everybody wants to get right, and I also agree with all of the posters who have said there is no really outstanding injected 1/72 Mk 1/II kit that checks off all the boxes. That being said, I have the Tamiya Mk 1a and Vb kits,  the new-tool Airfix Mk 1/IIa kits, as well as the KP kits, and I can offer the observations below. When and if I get around to doing a Mk 1a or Mk IIa model, and I get off my bum and get a photo hosting site, I will post measurements and photos; like many of you, I am holding out a faint hope that Tamiya or Arma Hobby will indeed do a new-tool kit of either/both variants, but until such time as that happens, I will most likely do what I think needs to be done to the Tamiya kit to get a good Mk 1a or IIa.

  • If you take the LH or RH upper wing half of a Tamiya kit and place it over an Airfix¬†wing half from the opposite side, they match perfectly in chord and outline, as do the corresponding lower wing halves, so I am puzzled by the statements that indicate the Tamiya kit has a too wide chord. (I think it's the incorrect placement of the wing that causes the chord issue- read the section on the fuselage length below or clarification.)
  • The 'shoulders' of the upper cowling on the Tamiya kit are too broad and angular, but some judicious sanding will take care of that
  • Not sure what is meant by the statement that the Tamiya fuselage is too fat- is that in plan view or profile view? Placing one fuselage half from a Tamiya kit against the opposite half from an Airfix kit, they match in both views except the upper cowling contours.
  • If you align the fuselage halves from both kits so that the front panel lines of the fuselage fuel tank covers align, that is where you can see the problem with the Tamiya kit- the cockpits do not match, neither does the wing location, and the nose¬†is too short, compared to the Airfix kit. If you make a vertical cut in the fuselage at the rear¬†edge of the fixed rear transparency and put in a 3-4" plasticard spacer, the cockpits align, the wing is moved forward, and the overall lengths of both kits match. You would have to fill the front panel line for the fuel tank covers and rescribe one in the correct location, as well as make sure the wing fillet at the rear¬† is correct. ¬†You could also use the prop, spinner, and exhausts from the Airfix kit or an aftermarket¬† source to replace the ones from the Tamiya kit, which has been stated¬†could use improvement.

I personally think the Tamiya kit is a better beginning platform for me that the Airfix kit for two reasons: the surgery to make the fuselage correction is an easy one, and the Airfix kit, despite its better dimensions, has trenches for panels lines- too deep is an easy fix, but too wide is an exercise in futility and frustration and a  lot more work than making the changes and  getting additional detail parts to make the Tamiya kit more accurate. That being said, I hope somebody else who also has both kits will check them against my observations to either confirm or confound what I have deduced.

 

Bottom line- we are all waiting for a gold standard Mk 1a and IIa kit, but until either Arma Hobby or Tamiya get around to doing one, we will all have to be content with a lot of kit bashing or cross-kitting, from whatever kits we feel are the most workable. Is this a great hobby or what?

Mike

 

I think the travesty of the Bolingbroke nacelles on the new-tool 1/72 Airfix Blenheims is a lot more tragic, frustrating, and difficult to correct than the Tamiya Sptifire Mk 1 kit. issues.  (It had to be said.  I know- back to the Naughty Corner!)

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KP has announced new 1/72 kits of the Mk.I, Mk.II, and Mk.V:

 

"Another September novelty is the Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IA model in 1/72 scale from new metal molds. The new frame containing a complete new wing for the version with machine gun armament and parts for the version of the Spitfire with a double-bladed propeller is completed with two original frames for versions Mk.IB, IIB, VB. With this new model, you now have a comprehensive and complete line of parts for all versions of these Spitfires. The moldings are again made of medium gray plastic with a fine negative engraving, with a velvety surface, without burrs and depressions. The accuracy of this kit has been described in several foreign reviews, where the model is ranked among the best that can be bought in 1/72 scale on the topic of Spitfire Mk.I / II / V today. The new Spitfire Mk.IA line will go on sale during September. In October and November, we will launch the Spitfire Mk.IIA version, including the long-range Mk.IILR version and the Spitfire Mk.VA. The amount of camouflage patterns, including aircraft Czechoslovak pilots gives the choice really anyone with an interest in this type of famous fighter."

 

http://www.modelarovo.cz/supermarine-spitfire-mk-1a-1-72-kp-kovozavody-prostejov/

 

These should be worth waiting for, although the newer Airfix kits are quite good, needing only the panel lines to be filled.

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I disagree that the chord matches between the two kits.  They have the same root chord and tip chord, and much the same leading edge, but Tamiya believed that the ellipse started at the root (or rather the end of the fairing), so begins at right angles to the centre line.  On the real aircraft, the ellipse was drawn from just outside the centreline of the aircraft, so by the time it appears into the open air, it is already making a slight angle. and the trailing edges of the two kits diverge until mid span and then come together again.  The result is that the Tamiya wing appears fuller in plan and, well, wrong.

 

I no longer have my Tamiya Spitfire to make comparison, having binned all except the better smaller parts, but memory has it that the fuselage is too wide aft of the wing.  It looks podgy.  I am not the only poster to feel this way.  However, you are not the only poster not to notice (or care) about these things.

 

I agree that the Airfix Spitfire trenches are excessive, but these can be filled.  My main problem with the Blenheim is not the faulty nacelles but just getting it to fit together.  Like other recent Airfix kits, an imaginative approach to assembly that just doesn't work well.

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I built the Tamiya kit a long time ago just after it was issued and I can only endorse the comments already made.

 

My solution was to replace the prop and spinner with an Airfix item and the canopy was eventually replaced by the excellent Rob Taurus vacuum example which dealt with the most obvious errors. However the kit has no seat or head armour, fine if you want to model a early Mk 1, and it also lacks the gun heating vents under the wings which is trickier to solve. On the plus side the moulding and fit are excellent and the engraving is vastly superior to the Airfix kit.

 

HTH.

 

Regards

Colin.

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Thanks guys,

 

It is all as I had guessed. No definitive MK1a (or b) kit out there. I will get a KP Mk1 in my next order though to me the detail looks fairly poor on it. Maybe I am being unjust here and if I see it in the flesh it may be better than it looks on 'Tinternet'!

 

Regards,

 

Lindsey

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It seems the 'new' KP Mk 1 is just a rehash of their existing early marque Spitfire kits with a new sprue for the 'a' wing plus a two blade prop (and logically) a flat canopy as well?

 

I'm not a great fan of the KP Spitfires based upon the Vb that I have as the moulds seem less precise than the Tamiya and Airfix kits and the canopies are also less well detailed and defined but a good model can be made from them all the same. I'd be a bit more excited if SH/Eduard were releasing the Mk 1 or perhaps even an updated Tamiya kit as I'm sure these would become the definitive examples we are still hoping for.

 

Regards

Colin.

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Just to add that the Osprey publication on the Spitfire, 'Aircraft Of The Aces - The Legendary Spitfire Mk I/II' has some scale plans at the back which feature the Mk 1b wing arrangement which may be of some help. I can't vouch for their accuracy but this is the only plan that I know to have been published to date of this version and shows the wings with one canon and two machine guns each although I believe the initial trials of the canon armament involved just having the canon only.

 

Pictures are pretty rare of Ib's but there are a couple of interest in Shacklady which may help if you decide to go for this version.

 

Regards

Colin.

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4 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

It seems the 'new' KP Mk 1 is just a rehash of their existing early marque Spitfire kits with a new sprue for the 'a' wing plus a two blade prop (and logically) a flat canopy as well?

 

KP says it's from "new metal molds." I interpret that to mean an all-new kit. Do you have concrete evidence that it is in fact a "rehash" of their earlier kit?

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If you can wait, Eduard or Special Hobby will produce a 1/72 Spitfire early Mark  in a few years. Scaled down of there 1/48.

 

Alain

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1 hour ago, Space Ranger said:

KP says it's from "new metal molds." I interpret that to mean an all-new kit. Do you have concrete evidence that it is in fact a "rehash" of their earlier kit?

 

Hi Mike,

 

It depends how you read the KP statement:

 

7 hours ago, Space Ranger said:

The new frame containing a complete new wing for the version with machine gun armament (...) with two original frames for versions Mk.IB, IIB, VB.

 

As the Ib, IIb and Vb have already been released I read that as being a new sprue for the Ia wing and the other sprues being the same as the previous kits.

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

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I concur with the assessment of Stew and others above. I imagine this is KP trying to get as far ahead of the game as they can with regards to a potential Eduard early-mark Spitfire in 1/72.

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8 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I am not the only poster to feel this way.  However, you are not the only poster not to notice (or care) about these things.

I take a great deal of offence with  this remark. Since I am unable at the present time to post photos showing how the wings of the two kits in question match up, and you have 'binned' your Tamiya kit, we will both have to take each other's words/observations at face value.  The upper and lower wings of each kit have exactly the same chord at the root and the leading and trailing edges match each other perfectly; in fact, if you make allowances for the different ways the front and the back of the lower wings of each kit are engineered, you can use either lower wing on either kit- the LE's and trailing edges match perfectly.  If you have read any of my posts, you will see that there isn't much that gets past me when it comes to contour, dimension, or accuracy. To say I don't care or notice 'these things' is totally inaccurate and condescending on your part. This is not something I choose to argue any further, nor was I disparaging the Airfix kit or promoting the Tamiya  kit as the standard, but when the parts are actually laid one upon the other and they match, then I wonder why the Airfix kit wing is considered by some to have the correct chord and trailing edge shape and the Tamiya kit is not?

Mike

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I'm very sorry about that, I was intending to point out that I am well aware of there being two sides to this argument and that many people have a different position to me, for various reasons.  I have valued your previous postings/opinions on many subjects, but for that very reason cannot understand you on this one. 

 

I should perhaps add that I did not just bin the Tamiya kit parts out-of-hand, in fact held onto them for many years and only abandoned them recently with the (late!) realisation that time was advancing and I was never going to make all the Spitfires in my collection.  I had not limited  myself to a visual comparison but had placed a good Spitfire wing against the Tamiya and trimmed away the excess on the Tamiya, only then realising that this left very narrow flaps and abandoning it (Actually them, as I had a Mk.V too.)  At this time I had the Monforton book and was using that as reference.  I presume that I was using it for reference for a mid-span chord,  but cannot confirm this.

 

However, I do have unstarted Airfix Mk.1s, of both generations.  (Discounting the 1956 kit as being of doubtful identity anyway.)  As the current Airfix kit was not available when the Tamiya kit appeared I was not using it, so find your comments worrying.   I only have Monforton in electronic form now, which is less convenient for comparisons, but I think his tabulations will answer the questions raised.

 

It would be interesting if some third party with access to both these kits could make independent comparisons, and perhaps with other Spitfire kits - excluding the broad chord Airfix Mk.IX/XIX and the short-span Sword/AZ/KP kits but including the earlier Airfix Mk.I, which I actually prefer to the newer one apart from the simplified lesser parts and the outstanding query over the nose length. 

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1 minute ago, Graham Boak said:

It would be interesting if some third party with access to both these kits could make independent comparisons, and perhaps with other Spitfire kits - excluding the broad chord Airfix Mk.IX/XIX and the short-span Sword/AZ/KP kits but including the earlier Airfix Mk.I, which I actually prefer to the newer one apart from the simplified lesser parts and the outstanding query over the nose length. 

 

I was pondering exactly this exercise after having read Mike's post this morning... since the Eduard Mk,ix seems to agree well with Monforton's measurements my plan would be to use this as "benchmark", although this would not give any indication regarding the length of the engine cowling.

Would be very interesting a comparison with the very recent Airfix Mk.Vc, as if I understand right this was designed with the help of a laser scan of a real aircraft, something that should give reliable information on the external shapes and dimensions. Unfortunately Covid and Brexit have resulted in a dramatic increase in the cost of Airfix kits in this corner of the world and as much as I love Spitfires I've yet to find the guts to spend on this kit the kind of money that I usually spend on larger kits from other manufacturers. One day I'm sure things will be easier in the next few months, then I'll be able to compare all "modern" early Spitfire kits

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Thanks for the tip about using the Eduard kit as a match to Monforton, and doing so suggests that both Airfix kits have a slightly too curved leading edge.  Which isn't entirely relevant here., but interesting (just about) in itself.  Otherwise they are a match.  Checking other upper wings showed that the Italeri one was OK, and the Hasegawa (Mk.VIII) one a little short in chord - perhaps in keeping with the more gracile appearance of the kit in general!  However I did find that I have not yet thrown out my Tamiya Mk.I (the Mk.V has gone) and I had an immediate surprise when the Airfix wing appeared to match the Tamiya one pretty closely.  I did a bit of fiddling and peering to try to identify areas of difference until I realised that this was a modified Tamiya wing - and the signs of scraping at the trailing edge confirmed this.  So my Tamiya wing with a reduced trailing edge matches both old and new Airfix wings, and by extension Monforton's data.

 

So I stand by my comments on the wing and the inferences drawn from it.  Tamiya (or, more probably, their sources) had drawn an ellipse starting at the root fairing rather than near the centre line, so producing a fuller chord at midspan.  Thee may be some other explanation but I can't think if a simpler one, and therefore plead Occam's Razor in support.

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I have both the new Airfix Spitfite I/II and the Tamiya Spitfire as well as a photo hosting service. I’ll be otherwise tied up for the next couple of days but will do, photo, and post comparisons of the wing and fuselage.

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Reading KP's description of their 'new' Mk 1a it suggests to me that they are seeking to maximise the value of their base set of moulds for early marque versions (anything from a 1 to VI in theory) by adding additional bits/sprues as required and I have no issues with that at all.

 

I think I'm correct in saying that their recent 'new' Vb with the 'Aboukir' filter was their existing Vb kit with the new filter added and I'm pretty sure their 'new' Seafire 1b was also the existing Vb but with a new fuselage so again not a brand new kit as such.

 

As I have my modified Tamiya with the Airfix prop/spinner and Rob Taurus canopy I'm in no great rush to build another at the moment but if I had to then it would be the latest Airfix kit even with its known issues as overall it looks good. However I suspect I'll wait for an Eduard/SH version to hit the shelves as this will probably become the market leader in due course. The same reason why I've not been tempted by the new KP Tempests and have cancelled my back-order for the Airfix kit (due out this time next year) as Eduard/SH are allegedly planning to issue their own some time later in 2021. Of course this could just be spoiling tactics by Eduard/SH, a well worn marketing ploy, but I'm happy to take the risk.

 

It would be interesting to know what a genuinely 'new' KP kit looks like such as their Tempests as this would indicate the direction they are going in terms of accuracy and moulding finesse.

 

Regards

Colin.

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18 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

Just to add that the Osprey publication on the Spitfire, 'Aircraft Of The Aces - The Legendary Spitfire Mk I/II' has some scale plans at the back which feature the Mk 1b wing arrangement which may be of some help. I can't vouch for their accuracy but this is the only plan that I know to have been published to date of this version and shows the wings with one canon and two machine guns each although I believe the initial trials of the canon armament involved just having the canon only.

 

Pictures are pretty rare of Ib's but there are a couple of interest in Shacklady which may help if you decide to go for this version.

Thanks Colin

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The 1978'ish Airfix kit should be around for next to nothing. Yes, it was designed to a budget on the basis of their Vb, but IIRC corrected the aileron error. If you don't mind raised detail vs. trenches (and some simplified parts like the u/c), it may be an alternative.

Regarding Ib drawings, Mark Rolfe covered Spits over various AvNews issues in 1994. The real Ib/IIb should be very similar to the Vb, as opposed to the "cannon Spitfire" Mk I conversions, *** I think***. His DB605 Vb was very widely off the mark, however (pics of which have been published since ca. 1975, so no excuse for not looking at them), so one can only hope that the rest was better-researched.

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Lindsey,

 

If you want/need a copy of the plans let me know and I'll scan and e-mail to you.

 

Re' the old Airix Mk 1a with raised panel lines it could be made into a very good kit indeed as this is the one used by Ray Rimell in one of his his long out of print articles from Scale Models magazine back in 1990-ish showing how to build all the aircraft from the BoB in 72nd scale. The complete set of articles was subsequently sold in one paper back book in 1990 from Argus Books but I suspect this may now be tricky to find and it probably isn't that relevant now given all much newer kits that are available now.

 

Regards 

Colin.

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