by: Jonathan Bellos [ ]
My first impression was that the box felt rather light. The other thing you’ll notice is the superb box art by Harada. Indeed, there are only 78 pieces to the entire kit, including Sir Douglas’ figure. The parts are arranged on four sprues of gray, shiny plastic, one clear sprue, one set of resin figure parts, one decal sheet, and one set of detailed instructions. All of the sprues were individually wrapped in clear plastic poly material.
The gray plastic is crisply molded and shows fine details such as engraved panel lines and panel hardware. There are also raised panel lines covering the fuselage. Unfortunately, there was not a single rivet molded anywhere on this otherwise beautiful plastic. Not a deal breaker, by any means, but a noticeably missing detail from this kit, as the new tooling release by Revell of Germany of the Spitfire Mk IIa, does have included the rivet details, this was a bit disappointing to be sure. The clear sprue was perfectly clear with very little distortion, if any, except on curved sections of some parts, which was usual and to be expected. I found it strange that there were out of order sprues in the kit, i.e., Sprue A and, well, the rest of the Sprues. There is no Sprue B included, do not look for it. Of the included Sprues (A, C, D, E, F, and UR) nearly half of Sprue C (26 of 61) and 2 on Sprue D are not used for either the Mk. IIa or Mk. Va variants available in this kit.
Specifically, Sprue A contains both fuselage halves with molded on tail and rudder, cockpit parts and some undercarriage parts. Sprue C contains propeller blades and parts, main wheel halves, tail wheel halves, vertical tail planes with modeled on stabilizers, a seated pilot figure in front and back halves, the main wing tips (two types), scoops and other small parts. Sprue D contains all the clear parts. Sprue E contains the lower and upper wing halves. Sprue F contains alternative propeller blades, spinner and exhausts. Sprue UR contains the resin figure of Douglas Bader in 4 pieces, including his pipe.
The Sir Douglas Bader resin figure is lovely. Hasegawa gives no artist credit for the finely molded 54 mm figure. He comes with his legs, torso, and head all molded as one piece, his two arms are separately molded, as is his tobacco pipe. The resin itself is very finely detailed and will make into an very convincing Sir Douglas.
The decal sheet is printed by Hasegawa and appeared to be all in register and have good color matching for the era. However, there did seem to be thick carrier on all of the decals.
The instruction manual was one sheet, accordion folded, printed on both sides, showing 15 steps to complete the model, all in glorious black and white, including all the color call outs. Currently, these black and white instructions are very old school and simplistic, compared to some of the all color CAD renditions of instructions. This instruction is, however; easy to follow and understand.
For markings and painting guides, this kit comes with two options. First, the March 1941 Spitfire Mk IIa and the other, again in 1941, but a Spitfire Mk Va. Both versions were noted as being flown by Tangmere Fighter Wing Commander Douglas Bader.