Eduard have re-issued Special Hobby's well-received Spitfire Mk Vc as a Limited Edition kit, combining the styrene parts from the original with resin extras, a massively expanded set of etched details, painting masks and new decals, plus a set of RAF figures. The kit arrives in quite a compact top-opening box that is absolutely stuffed with goodies and comprises:
98 x grey styrene parts (up to 28 spare, depending on how you use the etched details)
9 x clear parts (1 not needed)
2 x resin parts
145 x etched parts on two frets - one pre-painted - plus film for the gunsight
Decals for 4 x colour schemes
36 x blue-grey styrene parts for the RAF personnel
The main styrene parts are unchanged from Special Hobby's version (reviewed HERE
), so I won't go over the same ground in depth. Suffice to say, the style is somewhat different from a kit designed and produced by Eduard themselves, but the parts still display nicely engraved panel lines and subtle fabric surfaces.
What is new is a sprue containing parts for a Rotol propeller and its longer, more pointed spinner. The original de Havilland unit is also included, but isn't required for the featured colour schemes. The full-span wing tips have been omitted this time - all the aircraft have clipped wings - but you do get the chance to use the standard carburettor that went unused in Special Hobby's "Malta Defenders".
So what else is new?
The big change in Eduard's Mk Vc is the sheer level of detail. The designers have really gone to town with a set of etched parts that completely transform the cockpit. The original wasn't bad (apart from the obvious omission of a compass) but Eduard's version should be a real eye-popper, increasing the original parts count of 36 (including an etched harness) to over 90! Of course, the option is there to mix and match the styrene and etched parts according to your taste and skill level, but the new parts include a multi-layer pre-painted instrument panel, a seat to fold to shape, plus a myriad of levers, control boxes, brackets and straps - the cockpit really becoming a kit in its own right.
The use of etched details extends to the exterior too, with brake-lines, towing eyes, new doors and wheel-well liners for the undercarriage, new radiator core faces, along with delicate bomb shackles, a rear-view mirror and new aerial mounts.
(For a useful reference, see our Walkaround photos of the RAF Museum's Spitfire Mk. Vb
and its Cockpit
The resin parts are for a new set of 6-stack exhausts needed for one of the decal options. These are exquisitely cast with hollowed-out ends. The quality is so good that it makes you regret that similar resin exhausts weren't also provided to replace the original styrene 3-stack set, but the latter are provided with etched pieces to dress them up a bit.
The figures are old friends - first released in 2007and reviewed HERE
by Jean-Luc Formery. Jean-Luc was critical of the sculpting, but what is nice to see this time is that the sink-marks that he found are no longer present.
Instructions & decals
The A-5 assembly diagrams are based on the Special Hobby originals, redrawn to include the many new parts. Despite the complexity, the layout is straightforward enough, breaking construction down into 10 main stages. Gunze Sangyo paint numbers are keyed to most details. Full page guides are included for the painting masks and stencil decals placement. The instruction for the figures are printed separately and are unchanged from the stand-alone original set.
4 colour schemes are provided:
A. EF736, GR II/33 Savoie, 1944 - wearing desert camouflage, plus Free-French markings and a sharksmouth under the nose.
B. J-MC, AB509, No 142 Wing, RAF, early June 1944
C. J-MC, AB509 - as above, but now wearing full invasion stripes and modified squadron codes for D-Day
D. WR-O, JK792, 40 Sqn., SAAF, Sicily 1944, in Dark Eath/Dark Green with Azure Blue undersides with the distinctive orange-centred SAAF roundels.
The decals look to be good quality - thin and glossy with crystal clear carrier film. The colours and registration look good, but I noticed a slight overlap evident around the centres of the upperwing RAF and SAAF roundels where the dark blue ink is slightly translucent - whether this will disappear when they are applied, only time will tell. It won't effect my build - you don't often get the chance to build a Spit wearing a sharkmouth, so the Free French scheme is just too good to miss!
Eduard's kit represents easily the most detailed Mk.Vc available - taking what was already a very good kit and packing it with extras. The price is necessarily higher than the original, and whether that represents good value to you will largely depend on the extent to which you use the etched details. Getting the best from them will require a fair degree of modelling experience, and if you don't feel up to it, the basic Special Hobby version might be a wiser choice.
However, if you want to go the super-detail route and were to buy the original kit, plus the etched extras, resin exhausts and figures separately, the combined price would be around $80. That makes this kit a much more affordable option, recommended for experienced modellers.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE