It is almost impossible to find a man in the civilised world, especially amongst modellers, who has never heard about the Spitfire. This airplane is one of the symbols of the air war, standing in a line with the P-51 Mustang or the Messerschmitt Bf-109. Many of us, the enthusiasts, strongly believes that the Spitfire was the best fighter in the Second World War, other thinks is was the most beautiful. I am almost sure that many kids, especially in the UK, have even fought with fists arguing which fighter is better: Spitfire or Mustang lol. Well, I fought at least once...as everybody knows that Spitfire is better. OK, let's get a bit more serious. Spitfire served the pilots well through the war, right from the first to the last day on probably every battlefront, being produced in many versions and used by the pilots from many countries fighting in the RAF. Having all this in mind the Spitfire became also one of the most popular topics for the scale model kit producers. Although there are few painting schemes to choose from in each kit, there are still plenty of great marking or machines of top scoring aces to be made. Here the decal producers arrive with a helping hand.
This time Techmod from Poland has provided us a good looking sheet of the Mk.IX schemes. The set 72057A gives us a chance to fully decal one of the three machines. These machines are: LF.IX – NH342, SZ-G, an individual machine of the W/Cdr Aleksander Gabszewicz in summer-autumn of 1944.
F.IX – EN526, SZ-G, an individual machine of the W/Cdr Aleksander Gabszewicz in summer 1943
LF.IX – MJ250, UF-Q, described as 601 Squadron RAF “County of London”, Italy, summer 1944
In the set we can find all the individual markings for each plane (code letters, serials, squadron badges, Polish chequerboards etc), a set of roundels, fin flashes and stencils to fully decal one model. There is also a “sky” coloured band for the fuselage and red patches for the .303 machine guns. Techmod has kindly given us the painting masks for the canopy and leading edges of the wings (originally painted in yellow). In my opinion Techmod has made a great improvement in production quality in comparison to the sets from two or three years ago which I got (or used).
Carrier film is very thin and delicate, sometimes it is even hard to feel on the paper under a finger. Colours are nicely saturated, none of them is misaligned or overlapping. Even the smallest stencils are fully readable, although with some effort to the eyes.
The set contains also a very nicely printed in full colour instruction sheet. Planes of Aleksander Gabszewicz are shown in four sides view. The British UF-Q is shown as well, except the lower surfaces. There are also schemes which shows the placement of the stencils and other markings common for each version, including propeller blades and the internal side of the cockpit door.
Required colours for painting are given only as a Federal Standard (FS) numbers, there is no reference to the popular paint brands dedicated for modellers. All descriptions in the instruction are bilingual: Polish and English.
Now a bit of bitterness. I have found some imprecision's in the drawings of the Spitfire EN526. My private investigations of this machine history led me to the conclusion that it was equipped with the early style elevator and short carburetor intake. The painting scheme shows the late style elevator and late (long) intake. The original plane was painted with the exceptionally light shade of the “Ocean Gray”, much lighter than usual. Existing pictures of the plane shows that clearly, especially for the fuselage. It is also mentioned in the publications of Wojtek Matusiak, a well known Spitfire authority. Please keep this in mind while building your model. I haven't found any other mistakes in the schemes or especially on the decals. The known pictures of the NH342 shows this plane as a rather dirty and battle weary with the roughly painted D-day stripes on the lower and side fuselage surfaces. It is shown in the instruction that the stripes were not very straight nor painted with the masks. It may be a good opportunity to practice the weathering and post-shading techniques.
As an interesting piece of news few words about UF-Q. This scheme can be used while building one of two different versions of the Spitfire. How come? One of them, shown in the instruction, was used during the war in 601 squadron. The machine was flown by the Flt Lt Desmond Ibbotson DFC and was based in the Southern Italy. The second one still exists till the present day and is still airworthy in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF). It was originally MK356 but since 2008 it is presented as MJ250 (according to the Imperial War Museum website). To build this plane in the current state we have to change the C wings for the E type in the model.
Special thanks to Techmod for providing the review sample.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.
Highs: Complete set of all the necessary markings and stencils. Includes the useful painting masks. Good quality.Lows: Imprecision's in the drawings which may be misleading for some modelers.Verdict: Good set of decals in a very reasonable price. Interesting choice of the original planes which are reproduced in the set.