When I first clapped eyes on Tamiya's remarkable 1/32 scale Spitfire Mk IX I didn’t think that there was any need for photo etch, especially as the kit includes some photo etch details, including seat belts. Eduard, of course, has other ideas and has produced sets for both early and late marks. I am looking at sets for early aircraft, seat belts and interior.
Seat belts #32669 - $ 14.95
The seatbelts are of the pre-painted variety and will look reasonably good once installed. However I believe that the colour is wrong, as it is a sickly green colour with brown ends (simulating leather?), where the eyelets are. I always believed that RAF seatbelts were made of (and therefore the same colour as) the webbing used by the British Army of the time. This would make them a light Khaki or buff colour with brass fittings. The buckles may have been some alloy but the eyelets, and the anti fray ends to the belts were, I believe, brass. Of course the belts and buckles can be painted so all is not lost.
The buckles are separate and require threading onto the belts. Here in lies the biggest drawback to painted seatbelts, in my experience; you have to virtually bend the belts double to thread them through the second opening in the buckle. This will make the paint peel off the belts. It may be possible to thread the belts, keeping them relatively flat, but I have never managed it and, when I have tried it, the paint tended to get scratched and I ended up bending the belt to get it through. However, having said that, and taking another look at the instructions belt 3 is shown threaded through buckle 9 by bending it in half. So I gave it a go to see if I could be proved wrong. Well I was, happily, proved wrong, see the photo, the belts will bend in half without the paint flaking off; and I really abused belt 2. This might be down to the fact that there is an etched surface detail on them. Anyway, well done to Eduard for that.
The belts will, if painted the correct colours look good adorning the seat in Tamiya Spitfire. However you could simply use the belts in the kit painted the correct colour.
Interior set #32666 - $ 24.95
It is clear that Eduard had to look very closely to find interior details to provide/replace in the photo etch medium. Personally though I would buy this set for the pre-painted instrument panel, and other details, which will look stunning when completed. I’ll come back to the instrument panel later. Photo etch is very good at providing scale detail of thin items and shallow relief. It is also very good at reproducing some items by allowing a flat profile to be bent to the desired shape. What it is no good at all at is replicating items with a round cross section, so I won’t be using the crow bar (60) or the wire harness(43), which will look far better made from plastic rod, for the former, and brass, or copper wire for the latter. In other areas Eduard show plastic rod used, so why not for the crowbar? Another item not for use is the flare holder (44); this, I believe, was only seen on the early metal seats. The fret also includes the mounting frame for the compass but this is included in the etched parts in the kit. Certainly though, the compass face in the Eduard set is much better than the kit decal. Many of the items on the fret go to make up the door which should look really good, if put together carefully, in its prominent place on the side of the aircraft.
Without doubt the best part of this set is the instrument panel and other pre-painted details such as the compass face and the gear retract mechanism plate. The fret also includes the gun sight support bracket, which is a good choice to replace the kit item. There are plenty of other very useful little details on this fret, which will go a long way in giving the Spitfire that authentic look.
This fret is of the self adhesive variety. I can see this presenting a lot of problems if not handled the right way. The main one is; that if you let the adhesive face touch the surface it is intended for, before it is correctly placed, then it might become attached there permanently. There are adequate instructions but part 5 is a little confusing. “5. Lightly place the component in the desired location and position. Adjust as required. The component will be permanently affixed when pressed onto its intended location, its location can be adjusted.” My “bold”, as I believe this should read “cannot”? From my experience using my paint masks I will use the following method to position the larger items. Cut out a spare piece of the backing sheet and position the cut out piece on it so that only a small portion of one edge overlaps it. Carefully position this edge, hold it in place while you, carefully, remove the backing paper. Doing it this way will prevent the item becoming attached before you are ready.
The seat belts are disappointing as they will require re-painting, the interior fret is useful but some items are inappropriate. However this is more than made up for with the instrument panel, and other pre-painted details, which will really enhance the cockpit of Tamiya’s already wonderful job.
Mal Mayfield looks at Eduard's interior details for the Tamiya Spitfire Mk.IX in it's early configuration.
About Mal Mayfield (Holdfast) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
Hi, my name is Mal Mayfield and I have been modelling seriously for about 25 years. My main interest is 1/48 scale second world war. I build all types and all combatants. I have built 1/35 scale "targets" and 1/72 scale modern aircraft, plus a couple of cars. I have also dabbled with figure painting...