by: Adie Roberts [ ]
RAF’s iconic Supermarine Spitfire in one of its more unusual roles – dropping kegs of beer for allied troops fighting in Normandy during World War Two.
According to rumours, the Heneger and Constable brewery donated free beer to the troops. After D-Day… there was no room in the logistics chain for such luxuries as beer or other types of refreshments. Some men, often called “sourcers”, were able to get wine or other niceties “from the land” or rather from the locals. RAF Spitfire pilots came up with an even better idea.”
Pylons mounted beneath the wings of Spitfire Mk IX fighters, designed to carry fuel tanks or bombs, could be modified to carry kegs of beer. In some cases, an adapted version of a long-range fuel tank was also used for ale carriage and even received an official designation, Mod. XXX. Spitfire Site reports how aircraft equipped with the necessary beer keg mountings or Mod. XXX often had to return to the UK for “maintenance” or “liaison duties”, only to arrive back in Normandy carrying vital supplies for the war effort – chilled to perfection at 2,000 feet.
It wasn’t long, however, before Britain’s HM Customs and Excise caught on and warned the brewery that it was violating the law by exporting beer without paying tax. And as Spitfire Site reports: “It seems that Mod. XXX was terminated then, but various squadrons found different ways to refurbish their stocks. Most often, this was done with the unofficial approval of higher echelons.”
Being from ICM the first thing you can expect is your kit reaching you in good condition, even if delivered by a really bad delivery service because their boxing of their kits is incredible with a full cardboard carton which is solid and then comes with a separate thin cardboard lid. The artwork is very pleasing to the eye and I am sure it will help with the sales. The other thing you will be impressed with or at least I was the actual size of the box is more like a 1/72nd scale than 1/48th! impressed with how much that is in this box.
Six light grey sprues which are the all of the plane
One clear sprue which is the cockpit
One Instruction booklet
One decal sheet
Decal options for three planes
1a Spitfire Mk IX No 412 Sqn RCAF, Tangmere, England, late June 1944
1b Spitfire Mk IX N0 412 Sqn RCAF, Normandy, France, July 1914
2. Spitfire Mk IX No 308 (Polish) Sqn, Normandy, France Late July 1944
I am certainly impressed with what I am seeing as a first look around the sprues, I have done a few of their kits now review wise and I have to say that all of their new tooled kits have been very pleasing.
So starting with the business end of the kit the office or cockpit depending on what side of the pond you come from, is a very eye-catching superbly detailed framework on which you place an armoured back plate then the seat and armoured headrest with cushion. All of these were very detailed more like that of a bigger scale version with a seriously high price tag! You have to see some of this detail to believe it. This all sits on a frame where you will add the rudder pedals and control stick, then your attention switches to the instrument panel which has been molded in the plastic, again the result are astonishing the detail is clear enough to know what each part is supposed to be. Also, there are some very tiny parts to this that you would normally only get in photo-etch so you have to be careful during removal from the sprues.
The engine is a full engine that you build up in the normal way you would do with some of ICM larger scale kits like their new tooled trucks, you start with the block and sump detail is good all round detail on these parts. The twin heads are next to some really good bolt detail on the top, sitting in the famous V position it starts to take shape. It really does appear that they have thought of almost everything when comes to the engine with a super detailed supercharger all of this then builds into a frame that fits the front of the engine mounts then on to a very well detailed backplate, with various moulded fittings.
The fuselage halves come next, as I have already said this includes a lot of detail that you would expect to have to buy separately in the form of resin and more often photo- etch parts. Now ICM have changed this by including many of these detailed parts in molded plastic by nature of the molding process some of these parts may to the purest be a chunky, My own opinion I really like what they have done here it is an amazing way of one saving you money and to point out that this type of work can be done in with the molds of the aircraft at the factory! Some of these parts will be tricky to cut off, but with the winder for the cockpit glazing really small control parts will really enhance the interior. At this stage, you are also given the choice to carefully cut out the door into the cockpit and the side engine cowlings should you want to display the very realistic engine details.
The cockpit is then inserted into the main fuselage before starting work on the lower wing section. Also included in this kit are two full machine guns which fit into the wing space with panels that can be left of to see the detail and/or for a diorama of re-arming. Once in place it is the top of the wings to be placed, there is so much detail with recessed panel lines as well as rivets and small inspection panels that it is quite difficult to find any fault in any of the parts used so far.
The placing of the main fuselage onto the wings follows and includes an aerial and front screen of the glazing, further options are available here where you can have a closed cockpit or an open cockpit with all parts provided for you to make a decision. The Ailerons come next as separate parts allowing you to be able to position them.
The stabilisers and rudder are also well detailed and fitted nice a snug on a dry fit there is so much to be impressed with this so far. The propeller blades are all singular fitting onto the front plate then onto the shaft
The undercarriage comes in two parts the leg which has got some detail to it these are very sturdy looking, the wheels are ok again the sort of detail you would find in an average kit with hub detail some minor flash around the seam line of the wheels. Although this is only minor and will be easy to rectify.
The last parts are the two barrels which are well detailed and add some realism to the rest of the kit which is very well presented.
I am fast becoming a fan of ICM kits the attention to detail and their new tooled kits really are of a high standard add to this the price of this particular kit, then it has to be a winner in so many ways. I know that prices have to go up for the companies to be able to make money, I am aware that making new tooling has to be expensive, yet so how they have managed to keep the price down to what I would call a minimum at retail of £11.99 How many other 1/48th scale new tooled kits can you buy for that money? I am pretty sure it would not be many at all, Long live ICM I say and please keep up the good work that you are now doing.