by: Magnus Fridsell [ ]
Right in the middle of the current Spitfire onslaught, AZmodel treat us with a series of Mk.I and Mk.II Spitfires. Airfix has reigned for the last thirty years (at least) with their very accurate but model-wise quite dated kit. One further option has been the Hasegawa kit that includes flat canopy and two-blade prop, that kit looks nice in the box but has some serious flaws accuracy-wise.
For the sake of completeness, these are the different kits that are included in the series at the time of writing:
AZ 7287 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I "Early"
AZ 7288 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa "Aces"
AZ 7289 Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk.IG
AZ 7290 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.II LR
AZ 7295 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I "Late"
The subject of this review, the "Mk.I early version" boxing, comes with the early flat canopy, Watts two-blade propeller (for the first 74 Spitfires built) and three different decal options from No. 19 squadron during the 1938-1939 period. Included on the sprues are both DH and Rotol propellers as well but there is no bulged canopy in the kit making this boxing a bit less flexible.
The plastic is grey and quite soft with very delicate and well defined surface detail. A closer inspection shows that AZmodel has gotten most detail like hatches, bumps and blisters and intakes right. Interior is better than required with a closed canopy and a good basis for further detailing if built with an open canopy. The one thing that is not up to scratch is the chunky seat with a massive ejector pin mark right in the seat bucket that will be very uncomfortable for the pilot and almost impossible for the modeller to remove! It doesn't look much like a Spitfire's seat either...
The canopy is one-piece and rather thick and the windscreen looks suspect. Compared to photos of early Spitfires without the armoured glass panel the angle to the fuselage is much too steep giving it a wide and squashed look. The thickness of the plastic will also make it impossible to build the kit with an open canopy. Falcon has a "Spitfire Special" Clear-Vax set (No. 41) that includes a correct canopy, this might help but there is no guarantee that it will fit the AZmodel kit.
On the subject of accuracy: apart from the canopy it looks good to my eyes. I have checked it against a set of plans by Alfred Granger and outline is more or less spot-on. Some discrepancies exist when it comes to hatches and panel lines but in all cases it seems as if the model is correct when checking against photos!
Decals are well printed, in register and look commendably thin. A full set of stencils is included and one nice touch is the inclusion of fuselage roundels showing sloppily overpainted yellow outer rings for one of the decal options.
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