Airfix's new 1:72 Spitfire Mk.IX is a vast improvement over its ancient predecessor and provides a very sound basis for a fine model, one which experienced modellers will want to take to the next level in terms of detail. Pavla Models have produced a series of resin upgrades that not only address the kits shortcomings, but also open up new possibilities for modelling other sub-variants of the Mk.IX.
Set # 72-089 - Cockpit
For me, the weakest point of the Airfix Spitfire is the cockpit, or rather, the lack of one - put simply, there is almost no interior detail at all, and what little is provided bears no resemblance to the real thing.
Pavla have really gone to town, transforming the "office" from non-existent into a real head-turner. 12 well cast new resin parts include a highly detailed new sidewalls along with a bottom section of the fuselage. Cast integrally onto the latter is a nicely detailed instrument panel. Into this new basic cockpit fit a resin seat and a supporting frame/bulkhead, rudder pedals, control column, compass and gunsight. The seat has cast-on lap belts, but there's no shoulder harness, so you'll need to add this.
Of course, all of this detail would be largely invisible if you use the kit canopy, so Pavla also provide a decent vacuformed replacement that's thin enough to slice up to pose open (sadly, only one is provided so be careful), along with a resin entry door to show off the interior further still.
If you don't want to go the whole hog detailing the cockpit, the seat and canopy are also available separately.
Set #72-114 - Exterior Details
Airfix have captured the shape of the Spitfire nicely, but Pavla provide refined versions of some of the kits details, along with alternative parts. The casting again excellent and the set includes:
A much better propeller, along with a new spinner
Crisp new exhausts
Replacement 4-spoke wheels
Radiator baths with separate doors
New cannon barrels
Alternative gun covers with two styles of blisters
New cowling blisters and a delicate little rear-view mirror
Sets # 72-115/116 - Control Surfaces
The Airfix kit features a standard rounded rudder and late-style elevators, so Pavla have opened up fresh options with two sets providing replacement early- and late-style tail surfaces, plus separate ailerons.
The detail is crisply cast and quite intricate - the elevators even have positionable trim tabs! - but I would definitely want to knock back the depiction of the ribs on the fabric surfaces a bit or they will look rather heavy for this scale.
The cockpit and main exterior sets come complete with excellent instructions. These not only feature much higher quality illustrations than you find in many aftermarket sets, but in the case of the cockpit include detailed painting notes.
Pavla's aftermarket sets feature some great extra detail to lift the basic Airfix kit to the next level. Fitting some of the parts will require some simple surgery, so the sets aren't suitable for absolute beginners, but should present no problems for modellers with a little experience working with such upgrades.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Excellent casting and detail.Lows: fabric surfaces are rather heavy for this scale.Verdict: Pavla's upgrade sets will make a dramatic improvement to the new Airfix Spitfire Mk.IX, piling in extra detail and alternative parts.
Our Thanks to Pavla Models! 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.
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...