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Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk.XI "USAAF" (KPM0291) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov


Julien
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Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk.XI "USAAF" (KPM0291)

1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov

 

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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By then, the restrictive straight sided canopy had been replaced by a “blown” hood to give the pilot more visibility, although a few with the old canopy still lingered.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. 

 

With the development of new Merlin 60 powered Spitfires, both the Mk VII and VIII were to have photo-reconnaissance (PR) variants. T he Mk XI was based on a combination of features from the marks VII, VIII and IX. It was the first PR variant to have the option of using two vertically mounted F52 cameras in the fuselage behind the cockpit. Other configurations could also be fitted, depending on the mission. The Mk XIs had a deeper nose fairing to accommodate a larger 14.5 gal oil tank and used the unarmoured, wrap-around PRU windscreen. Booster pumps for the wing tanks were fitted these being covered by teardrop shaped fairings under the wings. Retractable tailwheels were fitted as standard and the majority of the Mk XIs built had the later large-area pointed rudder. 260 Mk XIs were powered by Merlin 61, 63 or 63A engines, while the remaining 211 used the high-altitude Merlin 70. All of the Merlin 70 and 198 of the Merlin 60 series aircraft were fitted with the Vokes Aero-Vee dust filter in the extended, streamlined carburettor air intake under the nose. All Merlin 60 powered aircraft featured the fuel cooler in the port leading edge wing root. Additional slipper drop tanks could be fitted under the centre-section; in common with the Mk IX these could be 30, 45 or 90 gal capacity and, for the Mk XI, a tank of 170 gal capacity was also available. The aircraft  were capable of a top speed of 417 mph (671 km/h) at 24,000 ft and could cruise at 395 mph at 32,000 ft. Normally Spitfire XIs cruised between these altitudes although, in an emergency, the aircraft could climb to 44,000 ft. However, pilots could not withstand such altitudes for long in a non-pressurised cockpit.[info from Wikipedia]

 

 

The Kit

This is a new tool 2022 boxing in KP's line of Spitfire kits. As is usual, they have produced a number of boxings that vary in decals and parts , giving the modeller plenty of choice which one(s) to get.  The kit arrives in a small end-opening box, and inside are two sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and A5 instruction booklet, with the decal options printed in colour on the back of the box.  Detail is excellent for the scale.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, the front bulkhead gets its instrument panel, with the instruments being provided as decals. The seat back and head armour attaches to the rear bulkhead and this is fitted to the floor members. The control column is added followed by the seat. Belts are supplied as decals.  At the front of each fuselage half blanking plates go in for the exhausts and then the cockpit can go in the and halves can be closed up. 

 

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Moving onto the wings the left and right uppers can be added to the single part lower wing making sure the small parts for the wheels wells go in first.  The radiators go on. The wing can now be fitted to the fuselage and at the rear the tail surfaces and rudder are fitted, along with the tail wheel. The main gear can be built up and added along with the chin intake and prop. On top the canopy and aerial mast is added.  At the front the prop is fitted.

 

 

 

Markings

There are three decal options in the box to represent The USAAF 14th Photographic Squadron of the 8th Air Force, which operated Spitfire Mark XIs from November 1943 to April 1945

 

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Decals are printed in-house and have good registration, colour density and sharpness, with a very thin carrier film cut close to the printing. 

 

 

Conclusion

Another great release from KP with excellent detail, and plenty of choices. Recommended.

 

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Looks like a nice kit, I'd probably buy it for the boxart though, anyone know where that back ground is? That is a neat painting to my mind.

Steve.

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Is it me, or does that canopy look more like the early Mk I windshield than the rounded type of the PR variants?

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44 minutes ago, lasermonkey said:

Is it me, or does that canopy look more like the early Mk I windshield than the rounded type of the PR variants?

You sir are correct, I have just checked all 3 boxings and its the same. We will be dropping KP a mail to see if they sent us the wrong canopies?

 

It would not be too much work though if you have one to buff it out though.

 

Julien

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5 hours ago, stevehnz said:

anyone know where that back ground is?

 

I'm gonna go ahead and say Venice. The town square below Spit's wing radiator looks like Piazza San Marco.

Now what in Venice was important to reconnoiter is beyond me... Maybe te US pilot just diverted for some sight see- uhm 'recce-ing'.

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8 hours ago, warhawk said:

I'm gonna go ahead and say Venice.

My first though but looking on google earth no, I've also looked at St Petersburg, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Taranto, & Marseille. None of them appear to fit the physical boundaries shown in the painting. Maybe it is a figment of the artists imagination. I don't want to derail @Julien's thread so maybe he could put my first post & these last two into a new thread in chat?

Steve.

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Posted (edited)

In my view, the creator of the box art took some fair amount of artistic license in case he really tried to depict an aerial view of Venice. The Spitfire featured on the box cover is an aircraft of the 14th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron which was based at Mount Farm in the UK just like the other two decal options that are included in that box. The Adriatic coastline would be a bit far off for a regular sortie. My educated guess is that he rather had tried to depict Bournemouth and the Isle of Wright.

 

 

 

Edited by 112 Squadron
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9 hours ago, 112 Squadron said:

Bournemouth and the Isle of Wright.

Portsmouth & the Isle of Wight I could buy, accepting things have changed a bit around there in the last 78+/- years. :)

Steve.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Ive just received my 4 boxings, and im in construction at present. one thing that the kit has an issue with and that the cockpit floor, its too short. if you mate up the rear bulkhead/armor plate and then affix the control panel, go to locate it on the side wall of one of the fuselage halves snags the detail on the wall and the CP is approx 5-8mm too far back and is not located under the cockpit coaming. As first i thought this was user error so i separated the CP and bulkhead with seat from the floor and located them in the slots they should go into and its confirmed the floor is too short.  How they allowed this oversight is anyone's guess.

 

Thought people should know, and see if their boxings/builds have the same issue.

Edited by Hardtarget
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/11/2022 at 3:12 PM, Julien said:

You sir are correct, I have just checked all 3 boxings and its the same. We will be dropping KP a mail to see if they sent us the wrong canopies?

 

It would not be too much work though if you have one to buff it out though.

 

Julien

Hello Julien

Have you got any answer or news from the KP regarding those canopies ?

 

Best Regards

Teemu H.

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8 hours ago, hajt said:

Hello Julien

Have you got any answer or news from the KP regarding those canopies ?

 

Best Regards

Teemu H.

They said it was correct. I see very feint lines there but TBH they will polish out. 

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7 minutes ago, Julien said:

They said it was correct. I see very feint lines there but TBH they will polish out. 

It’s not, it’s just the closest thing they have (from their early Mk I). The windshield should have a smooth, continuous curve. It’s quite noticeable on the real thing and KP have rather stuffed this up. Again, it’s not exactly new information and  if they’d spent five minutes on the internet, they could have found plenty of photos. 

Hopefully someone will come out with an accurate replacement soon.

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I have just spent a few hours trawling the internet for images of period photos of Spitfire XIs to check the windshield shape. Interestingly, it looks like there *might be* examples of both curved and flattened windshields. Now, photos of that particular area of the canopy are not exactly common or clear and it is possible that only one shape was used. If this is the case, the flat at the front end is very subtle and not at all like the canopy supplied by KP, which really does look like the early Mk I style. 
 

I was about to apologise for posting misleading information, but from the images I have seen, the kit canopy really doesn’t capture the subtle curves at all. It’s not easy to post links from my iPad, but if you Go ogle for images of the PR.XI you’ll soon see what I’m getting at. I will have a look through my books to see if there’s anything better in there, but as it stands, a replacement canopy is still needed.


Cheers,

Mark.

 

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Some of the best photos I have been able to find can be seen here.

Also this pic.

 

 

141210-F-IO108-007.JPG

 

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Having seen a completed model here on Britmodeller recently, I think today's luncheon may consist of headwear. I'm still not convinced KP have got the subtle shape of the windscreen quite right, but you can tell from the completed model that it's a lot better than the photos of the canopy part on its own suggest.

 

Anyway, apologies to KP and anyone else I may have inadvertently misled. Hopefully the pics will help you make up your own mind.

 

Best regards,

Mark.

 

 

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