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Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk.XI "RAF" (KPM0292) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov


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Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk.XI "RAF" (KPM0292)

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By then, the restrictive straight sided canopy had been replaced by a “blown” hood to give the pilot more visibility, although a few with the old canopy still lingered.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

 

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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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