Format & Contents:
64 pages, with 150 colour illustration. 248 x 184mm, softback.
The book begins with a short history of the Spitfire, which gives a useful summary of the fighter's development. This is followed by a survey of the various kits which have appeared over the years up to when the book was published in 2001.
Then it's onto the builds and what follows is basically a masterclass in modelling and finishing, with five 1/48 builds; two Hasegawa Mk Vs, a Tamiya Mk1 plus a Tamiya Mk V converted into a Mk IX and, finally, a really rare bird - Casadio's Mk XIX.
The first build is really the star of the show and is covered in the greatest detail - a superdetailed Mk VB, incorporating Eduard photoetched interior and flaps. The quality of the work is superb and the build is well illustrated with excellent photos of every stage. The Eduard metal flaps are particularly noteworthy, since fitting them entails replacing a large chunk of the wing's upper surface - not a job for beginners.
If Rodrigo's modelling skills are excellent, his painting and finishing are awesome, as can be seen in the front cover photo. To avoid any problems with silvering, he scraps most of the decals and sprays on the markings. The model also shows off his weathering techniques, which include some really effective chipped paint and rivet effects.
The following builds are simpler, but feature a good variety of subjects and highlight a number of improvements which can be made to the kit parts. The Mk IX conversion has obviously been overtaken by the arrival of the ICM and Hasegawa models, which weren't available when the article was written, but it's a very impressive model. The chapter on the Casadio PR XIX is well worth reading for anyone who has one of these tucked away and also includes useful detail for building PR versions in general. It's great to see what can be done with what was, in effect, one of the multi-media kits.
A lot of the models featured are painted using Tamiya acrylics and the authors give more accurate colour mixes than found in the kits' instructions. Very clear colour photos are included for each build and the illustrations, in general, are excellent - although I'd be very wary of an artist's cutaway view showing a Spitfire cockpit with a wooden floor...
Following the builds is a useful series of walkaround photos of a preserved MK IX - presumably maintained inn flyong condition, because the cockpit looks decidedly non-standard. After this is a series of scale profiles showing the important stages in Spitfire development, followed by a neat guide to the camouflage and markings worn by Spitfires in their long career.
The book wraps things up with a look at available accessories and conversion sets, plus a very handy list of references which includes a list of Museums in the UK.
This book isn't a Spitfire "bible" and it doesn't claim to be, but it is a very useful general guide to modelling the aircraft. The featured models are excellent and the detailed builds will provide plenty of help and inspiration for Spitfire models and WW2 aircraft in general.
PO Box 140
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(01933) 443 863
Thank you to Osprey Publishing for kindly supplying the review sample.
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