After the Mk.Vc (see review here
) here's another superb Spitfire kit from Special Hobby. This time it's the Seafire LF Mk.III in a interesting "Last Fights Over Pacific" boxing.
In 1939, the Admiralty decided to order a naval version of the Spitfire that should feature folding wings. However, the Royal Navy's first Seafires (code name for the naval version of the Spitfire) featured solid wings which limited their use aboard aircraft carriers. In Spring 1942 begun the development of the folding wing mechanism. The first Spitfire to take off with such an equipment was a Mk.II in November of the same year. After the folding mechanism was approved, production could start at the Westland and Cunliffe-Oven factories under the designation Supermarine Type 358 Seafire Mk.III. Initially the production started with Seafire F. Mk.III and subsequent versions were designated as LF. Mk.III and were powered by engines tuned for high performance in lower altitudes.
Seafires Mk.III were assignated to combat units in november 1943. They fought over Norway, Mediterranean and Pacific Theatres. The post war users, except Great Britain, were France and Ireland.
The kit's content is packed in a medium size top opening cardboard box with a nice representation of a Seafire LF Mk.III of the 849 FAA Squadron squadron (HMS Indefatigable) fighting an A6M5 Zero (Zeke). The artwork is quite disturbing at first sight because you don't usualy see a Spitfire errr... sorry, I meant a Seafire! opposed to a Japanese aircraft. One would rather expect a Messerschmitt or a Focke Wulf but that's what makes this boxing so interesting after all.
Unlike many short run kits, there are no resin parts included this time. Only injected plastic sprues and a small photoetched sheet. While this will probably make the build easier, it also means that one will have to hollow the exhausts for example. However, the overall detail, especially the cockpit interior, shouldn't suffer too much from the absence of resin castings, mainly because the plastic parts are very nice and crisp and also because the PE parts will add all the smaller bits needed for an accurate replica.
The content of the kit is of course very similar to the Mk.Vc boxing by the same manufacturer (see review here
), it comprises:
- 6 sprues of grey styrene parts (of which approx. 90 parts are used)
- 1 sprue of clear styrene parts (of which 7 are used)
- 1 etched fret (with 20 parts)
- 1 sheet with masks (of which 3 are used)
- 1 acetate film (instruments)
- 2 decal sheets (tactical markings and stencils)
- 1 instruction booklet
- 1 painting guide
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.
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 Mk.Vc kit.
Sprue B holds the three pieces wing (one underwing part and two upper wing parts), the seperate ailerons and the folding mechanism of the wing that is visible through the wheel wells opening. As Rowan Baylis pointed out in his review, there is sadly no interior wing structure. however, the typical type C wing is well represented with an accurate folding line for example. This sprue is new.
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 the Mk.Vc kit. It is to note that many parts are optional (wheel hubs and gun blisters for example).
Sprue D is new and hss all the extra parts needed to do a seafire: four blade propeller, new spinner, new exhausts, new chin air intake and arrester hook mechanism. The latter can be build in the extended position.
Sprue F is very small! it is composed of two wing tips. That's all...
Sprue H is composed of three additional fuel tanks and are not used on this kit. They are even not 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.
A photo etched fret is also provided in the kit. It is composed of parts for the cockpit such as an instrument panel and seatbelts. Unlike in the Mk.Vc kit, this time a small acetate film will allow you to do a nice instrument panel using the "sandwich" method (plastic part - acetate film - PE part). It is also to note that the compass under the instrument panel is present. This was not the case in the Mk.Vc kit as mentioned in the review by Rowan Baylis. Two PE parts representing strengthening plates located near the arrester hook mechanism are also present.
An extra sheet with masks is provided in the kit although they are not meant to be used to protect the clear parts during painting. In fact they are meant to be positionned on the fuselage sides and they represent stiffeners. Two sets are included in case something goes wrong on the first attempt.
The decals will give you the choice between three markings:
1 - Seafire LF Mk.III, PR256, S-146 FAA 849 Squadron (HMS Indefatigable).
2 - Seafire LF Mk.III, PR240, N/155, FAA 880 Squadron (HMS Implacable).
3 - Seafire LF Mk.III, NN212, S-112, FAA 887 Squadron (HMS Indefatigable).
All the planes have the same Dark Slate Grey / Extra Dark Sea Grey upper camouflage and Sky on the underside. They were all used in the Pacific area late in the war. S-112 even flew a mission on August 15th, the day when Japan surrended!
The instruction are printed on two black & white A4 sheets folded so to make a 8 pages booklet. Inside you have a brief history of the plane, a part layout, a 11 step assembly guide and the decalling guide for the stencils. An additional color A4 sheet is provided to help you paint to your model accordingly. Colors references are given for the Gunze Sangyo range of paints.
This is another fine Spitfire errr... Seafire kit by Special Hobby. Since it is a short run kit I would recommend it at least to intermediate modelers. However, it is composed of a relatively small numbers of parts and it should not represent a major challenge for most builders. The days are over when you had to be an real expert to build such kits.
Special Hobby's Seafire LF Mk.III is available from www.cmkkits.com
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AeroScale