by: Martin Ramsden [ ]
The kit.The kit is moulded in light grey plastic. It has recessed panel lines, which are nice and fine and crisply done. The parts are held on two sprues plus one for the clear parts. There is very little flash and only a small amount of clean up of the parts will be needed during assembly.
The cockpit detail is customary in this scale with framing molded on the fuselage interior sidewalls. The instrument panel has raised dials and should look good when painted and drybrushed. There is no option to have the side access door open. The spade grip on the joystick is square shaped, I'm pretty sure they were round on all spitfire variants.
The fuselage comes in two halves with a separate top engine panel. A part is included that depicts the top of the engine. Whether this is to allow the panel to be left off is not indicated in the instructions, but I'm not sure just how realistic this would appear. The engine exhausts for both sides are in one piece, the assembly being as follows: glue the exhausts in place on the assembled fuselage, glue the engine part on top of the exhaust part and add the top engine panel. The disadvantage of this is that it does not allow the exhausts to be added after painting the assembled kit, therefore involving unnecessary masking or extreme care when painting this area.
Behind the cockpit on the left side of the fuselage the radio access panel is depicted as a raised surface. The same method depicts an access panel on the right fuselage near the tail. Why it is done in this way rather than recessed lines is not clear to me, my references show these access panels to be a quite flush fit.
There are two small sink marks on each wing upper surface near the tips, and ejection marks on the underwing radiator interiors which will need some attention. Both radiators glue to the flat undersurface of the wing rather than into recessed areas, depending on the fit, some filling may be needed.
All the paint and decal options in this kit are for an E-wing armament. However, the wing has cannon access panels for the B-type armament. A separate correct panel is included, but it will mean cutting away the existing panel in the wing. The plastic in the wing interior for this panel is thinned down to aid cutting.
The four blades of the propeller are separate parts, so care may be needed to align them correctly. A small raised line at each tip shows where the yellow tips should be painted. Two small bombs are included for under the wings and one larger one for under the fuselage.
Instructions and decalsThe instructions are the usual assembly diagrams and appear quite straightforward. Paint numbers are given for Model Master paints. Paint diagrams and decals are provided for four aircraft. These are:
349 (Belgian) squadron RAF
349 squadron Royal Belgian Air Force
340 squadron (Free French) RAF
21st Air Group RAF.
The options give a variety of interesting paint and marking schemes. The decals themselves are in register and quite thin. No instrument decal is included and seat harnesses decals are included.
ConclusionsThis kit looks like it will be quite impressive when built. Although somewhat simplified compared to Tamiya or Hasegawa Spitfire kits, it has crisp surface detail and, aside from one or two strange assembly steps, should give no problems. The paint and decal options do look interesting and I'm looking forward to building this one. All in all pretty good value for money.
Editor's note: If this kit looks familiar, it's because Italeri have re-issued the Occidental Spitfire Mk. XVI. The original Occidental Spitfire, a Mk. IX, came in for a degree of criticism - particularly concerning the nose contours. There was talk at the time that Occidental were addressing the problem in subsequent releases, but I never had the opportunity to judge for myself. Comparing this kit with the original does show a markedly different contour and thrust-line, so it looks like Occidental listened to their critics.