After the release of a Spitfire Mk.Vc in "Malta Defender" markings (see review HERE
), the release of a Seafire Mk.III (see review HERE
) and the release of the new "Czechoslovak Squadrons" version (see review HERE
), here is the fourth boxing of Special Hobby's excellent Spitfire kit, this time in a "Torch & Avalanche" limited edition.
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.
The kit's content is packed in a medium size top opening cardboard box with a representation of a Seafire Mk.II of the No. 809 NAS landing on the deck of the Carrier HMS Unicorn, wearing a rather unusual (for the Spitfire) shark mouth.
The content of the kit is the following:
- 7 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. For more details and photos, please refer to the aforementioned reviews of the "Malta Defender", Seafire Mk.III and "Czechoslovaq Squadron" kits.
Sprue A is composed of the fuselage halves, some parts for the cockpit interior, the tail wheel and the rudder. It is common to all Special Hobby Mk.Vc kits.
Sprue B holds the three pieces wing (one underwing part and two upper wing parts) and the separate ailerons. There is no interior wing structure in the wheel wells but it is provided in resin. The typical type C wing is well represented. This sprue is also common to all Mk.Vc kits.
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 all the Special Hobby Spitfire Mk.V based kits. It is to note that many parts are optional (wheel hubs and gun blisters for example).
There are two sprue D provided in this edition. The first has all the extra parts needed to do a seafire: four bladed Rotol propeller, new spinner, new exhausts, new chin air intake and arrester hook mechanism. The latter can be build in the extended position. The second D fret has an optional three bladed Rotol propeller
Sprue F is very small! it is composed of two wing tips. That's all...
Sprue H is composed of three additional fuel tanks.
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.
Unless in the previous Seafire Mk.III kit, there are some resin parts included this time: Gun barrels, wheel wells details, separate tailplane surfaces, Upper gun cover bulges, etc…
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. 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 four markings:
1 - Seafire Mk.IIc, MB218 S-A, Major Wright, RM, No. 809 NAS, HMS Unicorn, September 1943.
2 - Seafire L Mk.IIc, LR642 8-M, No.807 NAS, HMS Battler, September 1943.
3 - Seafire Mk.IIc, MB156 06-F, Sub. Lt. Buchanan, No. 885 NAS, HMS Formidable, December 1942.
4 - Seafire Mk.IIc, MB156 06-F, Sub. Lt. Buchanan, No. 885 NAS, HMS Formidable, November 1942 (Op. torch).
All the aircraft wear a Dark Slate Grey/Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky camouflage except variant B which wears a Dark Green/Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey camouflage. The plane of variant A wears a shark mouth and the Operation Torch machine (D) U.S. roundels on the fuselage sides in place of the British ones.
The instruction are printed on three black & white A4 sheets folded so to make a 12 pages booklet. Inside you have a brief history of the plane, a part layout, a 11 step assembly guide, a decalling guide for the stencils and four pages of marking and painting guides. Colors references are given for the Gunze Sangyo range of paints.
This is another fine 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.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE