login   |    register
Tamiya, Inc. [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEB SITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

In-Box Review
132
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc
  • move

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Few kits have managed to create such a storm of excitement prior to their release as Tamiya's 1:32 Spitfire Mk. IXc. Announcing it in the lead up to the Tokyo Model Show, Tamiya did a masterful job of keeping the kit essentially under wraps whilst "letting slip" just enough tidbits by way of rumours and photos to keep the interest cranked up to "11".

A few pre-release final test shots were sent out to lucky modellers who were sworn to secrecy as they built the model for magazine reviews (see the truly astounding job HERE that our own Jean-Luc did for France's Tamiya Magazine! ), but for the rest of us it was simply a case of sitting and waiting.

Until now! The full production model is on sale worldwide and, not surprisingly, is selling out as fast as Tamiya can produce it! Any doubts about the wisdom of releasing such an ambitious kit at a time of continuing global economic hardship has proved groundless - Tamiya obviously know their market, and the kit looks set to be a stunning success.

The kit arrives in a surprisingly compact box that is satisfyingly heavy and stuffed to the brim when you lift the lid off. The Spitfire IXc comprises:

366 x grey styrene parts
6 x grey high impact plastic parts
18 x clear styrene parts
69 x etched steel parts
6 x rubber parts
A pack of steel pins, screws, poly-caps, magnet and a screwdriver
Decals for 3 x colour schemes
A sheet of painting masks
A black styrene stand with adhesive metal nameplates
A 36-page instruction booklet
A 15-page reference booklet including walkaround photos

The first thing that impresses you is the quality of the moulding. Obviously, we've come to expect absolute crispness in any new Tamiya kit and, true to form, there's not even a hint of flash or any sink marks that I could find. But what does irritate slightly - to get one minor gripe out of the way early - is the number of shallow ejector pin marks, some in quite awkward places and which will be visible unless cleaned up.

Other than that, the moulding is simply superb, with a very delicate embossed fasteners and rivet effect on the exterior surfaces, with fine engraved panel lines along with some lightly raised panels. The fabric surfaces have rib tapes which are a bit exaggerated for my taste (this is true of almost every mainstream kit), but they will polish down to a more true-to-scale appearance.

Many sprue attachments are on the mating surfaces of parts to give a really clean exterior finish, so preparing the main components for a test fit takes a minute or two. That done though, the way the pieces clip together precisely is very encouraging and the panel line-up is exact. The fuselage wing joint is excellent and there's a short "spar" across the lower centre of the wing to maintain the dihedral. The tailplanes fit so neatly, I'm tempted to leave them off until almost the end of construction to make painting easier - they certainly won't need any filler.

A few details
Working through in roughly the order of the instructions...

The cockpit is made up of a mix of styrene and etched parts, and includes a number of optional pieces. Depending on the version you build, there are around 70 parts in the "office", with a choice of instrument panels and gunsights, and the option to fit a pilot figure. The instrument panel is a mix of styrene and etch, with glazed inserts and decals to go on the rear for the instrument dials. An etched seat harness is provided which seems a little basic on the fret compared with aftermarket harnesses, but will probably look very good when painted and weathered carefully.

All the control surfaces are separate and movable, with small metal hinges and the landing flaps can be modelled raised or lowered. The wing features a choice of tips and gun covers, and all the access panels on both the top and bottom are separate. No gun bays are included, but it seems an open invitation to add some if Tamiya don't have a set of extras already up their sleeve.

The undercarriage is unusual on two counts. It can be fitted raised or lowered - and it's not an either/or decision, you can change it after the model is completed - and the legs have metal strengthening pins to fit inside. Brake lines are included, and there's a choice of wheel hubs for the rubber tyres. Rubber tyres? These aren't exactly my favourites, but Tamiya's are certainly well done and there's a choice provided, depending whether you want the gear raised or lowered.

Much has been made of the Merlin engine, and it's easy to see why! 4 pages of instructions are devoted to it and over 80 parts must make this one of the most detailed engines yet in a mainstream kit. Of course, the other feature that everyone's talking about is the removable engine panels, held in place by magnets. These are moulded in a different plastic to the main kit parts and are amazingly thin. I think Jean-Luc found that they didn't stay in place as well as he hoped on his build, so I'll have to see if I have any better luck.

For external stores, a pair of nicely detailed 250 lb bombs is supplied with impressively thin tails, and a slipper tank. What seems odd is that 2 x tanks are provided, until you realise that it also serves as the attachment mount for the display stand. Having two is a very neat idea - you modify one to fit the stand and it means no ugly hole in the underneath of the kit if you want the option of displaying the model in flying mode.

The propeller is beautifully moulded in two parts, with a nicely detailed boss and is held in place with a poly-cap. The spinner seems to capture the shape of the original very well.

Lastly, for the Spitfire itself, there's a set of crystal clear transparencies. The canopy parts are very thin, with crisply defined frames and no distortion, but to allow the sliding section to be moulded with its correct blown cross-section there's inevitably a fine mould line to polish off. Kabuki tape painting masks are included for the canopy. You must cut these out yourself - admittedly only a minute or two's work, but it does seem a little quaint when other companies die-cut their ones ready to use.

Completing the kit are a pair of multi-part figures; the seated pilot mentioned earlier and a standing figure. The detail is pretty good (the seated figure even has separate clear goggles), but I can't help but think I've seen crisper on Tamiya's recent figures.

Instructions & Decals
The main instruction booklet is very well illustrated and clearly laid out. You can seldom go far wrong with Tamiya's instructions and that seems to be the case here too. Quite detailed colour notes are given throughout and these are keyed to Tamiya's own range of paints.

Along with the standard instructions, there's a rather neat little full-colour reference booklet. This includes 41 walkaround shots of preserved Spitfires. You do need to be a little bit wary of some of the details in the museum exhibits (a blue seat harness, for instance...) but, although small, the photos are excellent quality and will certainly be useful.

Decals are provided for 3 x colour schemes:

A. s/n EN398, JE-J, Wing Commander "Johnnie" Johnson, Kenly Wing
B. s/n EN315, ZX-6, 145 Sqn., Tunisia, 1943
C. s/n TD202, P, GC 1/4 "Dauphiné", Armée de l'Air, Nha-Trang, Indochina, 1948

The decals are printed on two sheets with a satin finish and seem to be very good quality. The registration is perfect, with accurate colours and there's a comprehensive set of stencilling provided. Tamiya decals always look a little bit thick on the sheet, so I was wary of them for years until I built their recent 1:48 Zero and found that they actually snuggled down beautifully with a little setting solution and allowed all the rivet and panel detail to show clearly.

Conclusion
Whichever way you look at it, Tamiya's 1:32 Spitfire Mk. IXc is a stunning kit. Is it perfect? Not quite, but no kit ever has been or probably ever will be. From the parts breakdown it's clear that more versions will follow, and aftermarket companies are no doubt hard at work on extras to tempt us with, but make no mistake - straight from the box this will build into one of the most detailed mainstream kits yet produced. Tamiya are to be applauded for taking such a bold step in difficult times, and the gamble has surely paid off - the Spitfire looks set to be the big hit in the aircraft kit market this Christmas.

It's not cheap, but it is gorgeous - the kit that Spitfire fans have been waiting for for years - and it must be a hot contender for kit of year. If it doesn't win, I think a lot of people will want to know why not! Highly recommended.

Tamiya's Spitfire Mk.IXc was kindly provided for review by HobbyLink Japan. Visit HLJ for Japanese kits at Japanese prices.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.



SUMMARY
Highs: Possibly the most detailed mainstream kit yet. Superb design and moulding. Etched details and other accessories. Multiple options. Excellent quality decals.
Lows: Some annoying ejector pin marks.
Verdict: Tamiya's milestone Spitfire sets new standards for mainstream kits in many respects. It is a stunning kit at the cutting edge of what's possible with injection moulding.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: 60319
  Suggested Retail: 9,800 Yen
  PUBLISHED: Dec 04, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.85%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.93%

Our Thanks to HobbyLink Japan!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2018 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Cheers Mal Yes, there's definitely the option of a Mk.VIII in the future with the way the tail breaks down, so get cracking designing your sharkmouth masks! The tyres? No, in fact it's the other way round - the "wheels down" ones are moulded solid, while the retracted ones are slightly hollow, so I'm afraid they aren't likely to bulge much under the weight of the model. All the best Rowan
DEC 05, 2009 - 11:22 PM
Have you thought of trying the tyres the other way around? The desert scheme that Jean-Luc did is very attractive, I may possible require a third kit I'm hoping though that Eduards kit is also very good but cheaper
DEC 05, 2009 - 11:36 PM
Hi Mal Sorry - it wouldn't work. The retracted ones are only half-round - they're hollow at the back, not inside. All the best Rowan
DEC 05, 2009 - 11:45 PM
..looks fabulous, I'm very envious Rowan, have fun.. I did see that Graham at Relish models had his stock on sale at 'only' 84 GBP ...would love to get one, but the kids have to eat next week..
DEC 06, 2009 - 12:42 AM
Do they have too, if mine are anything to go by, they wouldn't be grateful. Great review Rowan. Andy
DEC 06, 2009 - 12:53 AM
Oh well, it was just a thought. It would have been a clever trick if Tamiya had thought of it though. Maybe they'll read this and give it a go next time Errrr, Neil, I think that you have your priorities totally wrong there, I do believe that Spitfires come before the kids (they do in my house anyway)
DEC 07, 2009 - 07:04 AM
I've waited with bated breath for this kit but the price....No Instead I got the Eduard BF109-E3 coming as am Xmas pressie in the hope their Spitfire (If released) will be a suitable period match and realistically priced alternative. Time will of course tell and maybe I'll find a Tamiya one reduced once the fever dies down...till then I spose I'll plod on in WW1 and my Jug. ~k~
DEC 11, 2009 - 07:37 AM
Hi Keith Tamiya's kit is fantastic. There's no two ways about it. Obviously, in reviewing so many kits, I've seen a lot - but every so often there's a bit where I just have to stop and think "Ohh you clever b*ggers!" But still, I'll definitely be keen to see how Eduard tackle it! The benchmark has been set and the gauntlet thrown down... I reckon we could be in for a real treat! All the best Rowan
DEC 11, 2009 - 11:10 AM
With Eduards Spit on the way it will be like all my birthdays and Christmases coming all at once It is disappointing that Tamiya's price is high and I would never normally say this but it does look worth it. It is probably a kit that you only ever buy one of and I'm hoping that Eduard's example is as good in shape but a lot cheaper, so that I can have my Squadron There is always the Pacific coast example, but it just doesn't compare for quality but it can be built into a nice example and will be joining my Squadron
DEC 11, 2009 - 11:59 PM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

What's Your Opinion?


Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move