More than any other vacuform producer, Falcon has practically come to define just what can be achieved when it comes to aftermarket canopies. Their reputation for excellence is second to none and their products are consistently the standard against which other vacuformed canopies are judged. As well as releasing their products under their own Clear Vax brand, Falcon produce the excellent Squadron range of aftermarket canopies.
Clear Vax Set #51 - Spitfire Special
This is a real boon to anyone building 1:48 Spitfires and a great set to have on standby. Arriving in a slim end-opening box, the single vacuformed sheet contains no less than 16 exquisitely moulded canopies for pretty much any imaginable Spitfire or Seafire, from the first prototype through to the Spitfire Mk. 24 and Seafire Mk. 47. The full list covered, and the kits recommended is:
1. Spitfire prototype/ early Mk.1 - Tamiya Mk.I
2. Early Spitfire Mk.I with bulged hood - Tamiya Mk.I
3. Standard Spitfire Mk.I / Mk.II, early Mk.V - Tamiya Mk.I / Mk.V
4. High Speed Spitfire - Tamiya Mk. 1
5. Standard Spitfire PR canopy - Tamiya Mk. I
6. Spitfire PR IG (PR.VII) - Tamiya Mk. I
7. Spitfire Mk.VI - Tamiya Mk. Vb
8. Spitfire Mk.VII - ICM Mk.VII
9. Spitfire Mk.V late-style - Tamiya Mk. Vb
10. Spitfire Mk.VIII / Mk.IX - ICM Mk.VIII / Mk. IX
11. Spitfire Mk.IX / PR XI - Occidental Mk. IX
12. Spitfire Mk.XIVc - Academy Mk.XIVc
13. Spitfire Mk.XIVe - Academy Mk.XIVe
14. Spitfire Mk.22/24 - Airfix Mk.22/24
15. Seafire Mk.47 early type - Airfix Seafire Mk.47
16. Seafire Mk.47 late type - Airfix Seafire Mk.47
The moulding quality is basically perfect, with crisply defined frames and a clarity which, if you've never seen Falcon's work before, will amaze you. These canopies really are immaculate.
The instructions assume you have a degree of modelling experience and, along with general suggestions for using vacuformed parts, give just a brief outline of the work needed to fit the canopy for each version and any other modifications needed. Note: This isn't a full conversion set, so you will need to scratch-build or find other aftermarket sets for some of the Spitfire marks featured.
Any improvements? Well, I'd like to see Falcon put the vacuformed sheet in a plastic bag, because sliding it in and out of the cardboard box risks scratching the highly polished canopies.
Falcon's Spitfire Special is a great set and good value, with the individual canopies working out at about 60p each. Beware though - even if you don't set out with the intention of building a full collection of quarterscale Spitfires, one look at the canopies is bound to get the creative juices flowing and, if you're like me, you'll start planning builds just to go with the canopies rather than vice versa! Unreservedly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Perfectly moulded with immaculate clarity.Lows: Packing the vacuformed sheet in a plastic bag would lessen any risk of scratches.Verdict: Another superb set of vacuformed canopies from Falcon that covers Spitfires and Seafires from the first to the last.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...