After the release of a Spitfire Mk.Vc in "Malta Defender" markings (see review HERE
) and the release of a Seafire Mk.III (see review HERE
), here is the third boxing of Special Hobby's excellent Spitfire kit, this time in a "Czechoslovak Squadron" box.
The Mk. VC appeared in October 1941and was externally very similar to the Mk.VB. Internally, however, the wing was much stronger and was known as the so-called "universal" wing, which could house an armament of eight machine guns, two cannon and four machine guns, or four cannon. The cannon were supplied with double the ammunition of the Mk. VB. A further change was that the undercarriage was raked forward by 2 inches to improve ground stability.
The kit is packed in a very solid conventional box with the parts bagged separately for protection. The kit comprises:
- 6 sprues of grey styrene parts (of which approx. 70 parts are used)
- 1 sprue of clear styrene parts (of which 9 are used)
- Several resin detail parts castings (for a total of 23 parts)
- 1 etched fret (with 17 parts)
- 2 decal sheets (tactical markings and stencils)
- 1 instruction booklet
The quality of the plastic is typical of today's MPM production standard. The surface of the parts is smooth with delicate but crisply engraved panel lines, subtle surface rendering and only a very small amount of flash. For more details and photos, please refer to the aforementioned reviews of the "Malta Defender" and Seafire Mk.III kits.
Sprue A is composed of the fuselage halves, some parts for the cockpit interior, the tail wheel and the rudder. It is common to the all Mk.Vc kit.
Sprue B holds the three pieces wing (one underwing part and two upper wing parts) and the seperate ailerons. There is no interior wing structure in the wheel wells but it is provided in resin. The typical type C wing is well represented. This sprue is also common to all Mk.Vc kits.
In Sprue C you will find most of the smaller parts such as the air intakes, the wing radiators, the wing wells inserts, the gear legs, the wheel hubs, the tyres, the wing gun blisters, the cannon barrels, the antenna mast, the horizontal tail planes etc... This sprue is also common to all the Special Hobby Spitfire Mk.V based kits. It is to note that many parts are optional (wheel hubs and gun blisters for example).
Sprue D is optional and comprises three Rotol propeller blades and a spinner.
Sprue E is optional and comprises a De Havilland propeller with spinner.
Sprue F is optional and… very small. It is composed of two wing tips. That's all!
Sprue H is optional and has three additional fuel tanks and are not used on this kit. They are not even mentioned in the instructions.
Sprue K is made of transparent plastic and holds the three piece canopy as well as other smaller parts such as the gunsight. The clear parts are nice and bagged separately to avoid scratches.
Unless in the previous boxings, there are resin parts included this time. They mostly replace plastic parts (cockpit sidewalls, seat, cannon barrels etc…) but movable surfaces and landing gear bay detail are also provided. Their quality is very good but it is a shame Special Hobby hasn't included a set of hollowed exhausts. However, the overall detail, especially the cockpit interior, should be much better than the plastic version, even if the latter is very nice already.
The PE parts will add all the smaller bits needed for an accurate replica of the cockpit interior: seat belts, levers, crowbar, rear view mirror, etc… However, there is no instrument panel unless in the Seafire boxing, so one will have to use the plastic parts and the decals this time.
The decals will give you the choice between five markings:
1 - Spitfire Mk.Vc, EE768 NN-Y, No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Sq. RAF, Exeter, Spring 1943.
2 - Spitfire Mk.Vc, probably AR502 KM, personal mount of W/Cdr Karel "Charlie" Mrazek, Exeter (Czechoslovak) wing, 1942.
3 - Spitfire Mk.Vc, unknow serial no. RY-A, No.313 (Czechoslovak) Sq. RAF, Churchstanton, Spring 1943.
4 - Spitfire Mk.Vc, AR511 DU-U, No.312 (Czechoslovak) Sq. RAF, Harrowbeer, September 1942.
5 - Spitfire Mk.Vc, AR511 DU-U, No.312 (Czechoslovak) Sq. RAF, Churchstanton, Spring 1943.
If you are searching for fancy camouflages and markings, pass your way! All the planes have the same Dark Green/Ocean Grey upper camouflage over Medium Sea Grey on the underside with markings applied in a very conventional way. Only Option D and E wear a small Czechoslovak roundel under the cockpit. In fact D and E are the same machine only that the latter has been modified with clipped wings.
The instruction are printed on three black & white A4 sheets and one A5 sheet folded so to make a 14 pages booklet. Inside you have a brief history of the plane, a part layout, a 11 step assembly guide and five pages of decalling and painting guides. Colors references are given for the Gunze Sangyo range of paints. An extra page has some more descriptions of the camouflages and some facts about the machines and the pilots who flew them.
This is another fine Spitfire kit by Special Hobby. Since it is a short run kit I would recommend it at least to intermediate modelers. This boxing is of course recommended to builder who have an interest in Czechoslovak aviation history but although to Spitfire fans who want the best Mk.Vc kit in 1:48 scale. This one is, thanks to the inclusion of many resin parts and the presence of optional parts.
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