The Spitfire Mark IX series was a reaction to the introduction of the FW 190A in late 1941. The 190 shocked RAF Fighter Command because it was superior to all British fighters then in service. Losses got so bad the RAF ceased operations from september 1941 until, for a short time, March 1942. It was soon decided that the loss rate was unacceptably high and operations were again limited until there was a proper answer to the 190 available.
A Mark VIII was designed, but the modifications were complex enough to make series production impossible in a timely manner. When a FW 190 pilot landed an intact aircraft on British soil trials started almost immediately. The result was unsurprising: The 190 was superior to the Mk. V. The RAF desperately needed something to counter the 190, and with the VIII and VII still a long way from series production the British opted for another solution: mounting the engine used in the VII and VIII on a Vc frame with some modifications.
The Mk IX proved to be a good performing aircraft, able to counter the 190A and series production started in early to mid 1942. The Mk IX served throughout the rest of the war and saw continued service with the Air Forces of a number of other countries after the war.
Let’s first talk a little bit about Eduard. Eduard is a Czech company that’s well know in the modelbuilding world for making excellent aftermarket parts like PE, barrels, decals and masking sets. They also make/rebox their own kits that come in several classes:
- Weekend Edition – the cheapest with just the kit and 1 or 2 marking options
- ProfiPACK – The mid-tier. Has a lot of marking options and PE and masks
- Royal Class – The most expensive kit with every aftermarket part available
To put it into car terms: the Weekend Edition is the barebones but functional trim level for a car. No powered windows, no aircon. The ProfiPACK is the mid-level with some nice amenities and the Royal Class or Limited Editions are the full-option Turbo S RS GT3 Black Editions. But I’ve never seen a Eduard kit that’s too expensive for what you get, unlike other manufacturers tend to do *cough* Italeri with their World of Tanks range *cough*
So Eduard has quite the reputation to live up to, can they deliver with this kit? This is the ProfiPACK class of the Spitfire IXe, so it features a nice orange box with beautiful artwork. The box is nice and sturdy but if a bit hard to open, but it keeps your kit safe. After opening the box we’re greeted with a bunch of very nicely packed sprues, a full color manual, a large decal sheet, PE parts and the masks.
Everything oozes quality, the plastic is fairly hard but not too hard and everything seems nicely molded. There are almost no ejection marks visible, and if there are any they are hidden. Flash is also non-existent and other defects are also not present. And to my mind construction is quite logical, I doubt I will need to consult the manual often.
Detail wise there is a lot to be happy about. The cockpit is a miracle of engineering, with even separate side walls, and tiny details inside the cockpit. This will be further enhanced by the two-part instrument panel that’s on the PE sheet, and a lot of the PE will also go into the cockpit as well, and I’m sure you’ll be able to build a magnificent looking cockpit. The only problem I can see is the separate cowling cover, and it does look like it will fit well enough. It’s still something you need to be aware of though, as a misaligned cover would result in some sanding. Apart from that, most parts seem to go together well.
Clear parts & masks
The clear parts come on a round sprue, which was a first for me. I suppose it helps with manufacturing, because the parts are attached with one sprue gate, and that helps speeding up the clean-up of the parts. The parts themselves are excellently molded. Not too thick or too thin, and they are very clear and show no distortion whatsoever. The included masks also seem to fit very well, he cuts are barely visible, and you have to take care removing these. Having used Eduard masks in the past I have no doubt they will fit and work brilliantly.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the PE sheet is dedicated to the cockpit, with the most striking feature the two-part instrument panel. The lower part shows the dials and you’re supposed to glue the other part on top of it, taking care to align the holes in that part with the printed dials on the other part. This will
Color options & decals
This kit comes with a lot of color options and decals:
- RAF, 312 Sqn., DUoJ, B-10 Airfield Plumetôt, France, June 1944
- BAF, Vorderings Vliegschool, SM 26, Brustem, Belgium, 1952
- RAF 73 Sqn., Z, Prkosh, Yugoslavia, April 1945
- IAF 105 Tayeset, 03, Ramat David AB, Israel, September 1953
- SAAF, 3 Sqn., CAoG (Maj. C. Golding), South-Africa
- Italy, 1945
And a lot of these options have some interesting color schemes. The decals come on two sheets. The biggest sheet covers the markings and other large decals and is printed by Cartograph and are as usual of excellent quality. The other sheet covers the warning labels and other small decals and is printed by Eduard. Both sheets are really nicely printed and will be a great addition to your spare decal box.
A great kit with some great aftermarket and always useful canopy masks for a decent price. I can’t find any showstopper here.. Eduard is a bit like Tamiya, except cheaper. Reviewing kits like these is hard because it’s hard not to use superlatives all the time. This kit is well worth it’s official €18,95 pricetag even if you’re not a fan of PE.