It hardly seems possible that it’s now four and a half years since Jean-Luc reviewed
the first release of Eduard’s quarterscale Spitfire Mk. IX. As Jean-Luc noted at the time, the kit eclipsed all previous attempts at a stroke, and Eduard have gone on to produce a series of Mk. IX kits, plus the Mk. VIII and Mk. XVI based around the same core set of parts.
Now the kit is back in a new guise as the LF MK. IXe in Israeli service, with added Brassin accessories and markings for 6 colour schemes including, arguably, the most spectacular Spit of all - Ezer Weizman’s all-black mount which survives to this day in airworthy condition.
The kit arrives in a very attractive conventional box with Weizman’s aircraft (what else?) on the lid. Inside, the sprues and accessories are neatly packed in re-sealable bags, and the sample kit reached me in perfect condition despite two trips through the post.
Eduard’s LF MK. IXe comprises:
9 75 61 (51 spare)
11 (6 spare)
30 x resin parts
34 x etched metal parts
A sheet of kabuki tape masks
Decals for 6 x aircraft
Despite the kit remaining in pretty much constant production since its first release, the mouldings show no sign of wear. There’s no flash or any sink marks to worry about, and in terms of the surface finish, Eduard’s Spitfire still ranks among the most impressive 1:48 kits ever released, easily holding its own among the current mainstream crop (and far surpassing most of them).
Previous builds have demonstrated the superb fit of parts - in fact, the only problem I’ve encountered in the past has been the seam running through the cowling to allow the contours to be captured accurately. It’s undoubtedly been my fault, not the kits, but it’s proved unexpectedly stubborn to remove all trace of, and every time I’ve thought I’ve got rid of it, a subsequent coat of paint has revealed it faintly again.
As a “ProfiPack” kit, the Spitfire offers a choice of how tackle some of the details. For instance the instrument panel can be built from styrene parts (with a decal provided for the instrument faces) or as a pre-coloured photo-etch “sandwich”. As usual, Eduard’s printing on the photo-etched parts is excellent, with some quite minute detail that would be nigh on impossible for most of us to match with a paintbrush. Based on previous experience, the only downsides to the pre-coloured parts is that the finish is delicate (be particularly careful bending the seat harness to shape), and there’s a speckled dithering to reproduce some colours that’s visible if you look close enough. Plus, of course, they can’t match the 3-d fefect of crisply moulded styrene parts when it comes to knobs and switches. So, the choice is there for the modeller on which approach to take, and I normally mix ‘n match styrene and etched parts to get the best of both worlds.
This latest incarnation of the Spitfire is a little different in that it also includes some Brassin upgrades that are normally available separately as aftermarket parts. The resin casting is essentially perfect in the sample set and the pin-sharp detail ranks amongst the best in the business.
The replacement exhausts are provided as both round and fish-tail and are a significant improvement over the original styrene parts, with weld seams and hollowed-out ends.
The Brassin wheels are unweighted and feature the block tread pattern typical of postwar Spitfires. The 4-spoke hubs are separate and crisply detailed, while the sidewalls of the tyres are complete with raised maker’s text which is perfectly legible, even in this scale. I’d say the text is a bit too heavy for scale appearance so, ironically, I’ll probably knock it back a bit to make it less prominent.
The kit comes complete with a set of kabuki painting masks for the canopy and wheels. The masks are pre-cut, so they are simplicity itself to use and kabuki tape is the ideal material for coping with curved surfaces. The bulged canopy would defeat even kabuki tape as a one-piece mask, though, so you’ll need to fill the centre area with masking fluid or spare pieces of tape. The tape leaves no residue and is reusable if you’re careful, so it’s worth saving the masks if you plan on building one of Eduard’s “bare bones” Weekend Edition Spitfires.
The instructions are printed as a 20-page colour A4 booklet on high quality glossy stock. Construction is broken down into manageable stages (not numbered), with very clear illustrations and “info diagrams”. The sequence is pretty logical, but experienced modellers will no doubt follow their own course at times to make painting easier. Talking of which, Gunze Sangyo paint matches are given throughout.
Eduard provide decals for five very attractive and varied colour schemes which offer something to suit pretty much every taste:
1. Spitfire LF MK. IXe 2057 (ex- s/n TE554), 105th Tajeset, Ramat David Air Base, 1955
2. Spitfire LF MK. IXe 2010 (ex- s/n SL628), 101st Tajeset, Hatzor Air Base, 1949
3. Spitfire LF MK. IXe 2058 (ex- s/n TE515), 105th Tajeset, Ramat David Air Base, 1953
4. Spitfire LF MK. IXe 2035 (ex- s/n TE575), 105th Tajeset, Ramat David Air Base, 1950
5. Spitfire LF MK. IXe 2079, 105th Tajeset, Ramat David Air Base, 1954
6. Spitfire LF MK. IXe 2003 (ex- s/n TE531), 105th Tajeset, Ramat David Air Base, 1953
With a mix of paint jobs ranging from silver, through standard RAF European camouflage and Israel’s distinctive desert scheme to, of course, Ezer Weizman’s famous all-black aircraft, Spitfire fans are spoilt for choices.
The decals are a little different from those I’ve seen recently in Eduard kits, but look good quality with crisp registration and a semi-matt finish. Eduard’s previous “home produced” decals which I’ve used have responded superbly to setting solution, snuggling down perfectly for a “painted on” look, so I’ll be very interested to see how these behave. I hope they are as good.
Eduard’s new Israeli Spitfire LF MK. IXe offers an interesting twist on a familiar theme and is well timed for the run up to the anniversary of the founding of Israel. The kit itself is still the definitive Spitfire Mk IX in this scale and the addition of Brassin extras is the icing on the cake. With these decals it offers something very different for Spitfire fans looking for something a little exotic and, of course, deserves a place in any collection of Israeli Air Force types. Recommended.
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