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Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a (mid) - Kotare Models 1/32


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Well folks, here we are.

The brand new model company from New Zealand, Kotare Models, which literally rose like the mythical Phoenix from the ashes of Wingnut Wings, announcing that they had assembled the majority of the amazing talent from Wingnut Wings, and were actively developing a brand new model kitset.
Speculation was typical WNW levels as the modeling community guessed everything from a CAC Sabre to a Blackburn Blackburn.  
The only thing I personally was fairly certain of, was that the new kit would have a solid history with New Zealand’s history through the 20th Century.  
When Kotare announced the Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a (mid) as the new model, the typical modeling community speculation reached feverish heights. “Will it be accurate?”  “Will it be Wingnut quality?” “Will it be followed by other Spitfire marques?”, etc, etc. 

Introduction and a history of the famous Spitfire isn’t needed here. It, along with the P-51, A6M, and Bf.109, are truly legendary aircraft that even non aircraft affectionados know about.

Then the kit arrived on my doorstep….

Well, let’s just see if this new kit satisfies our lofty expectations.

The Kit:

If appearances mean anything, at least from the outside, this kit twangs the heartstrings of even the most jaded of Wingnut fanboys.  
The kit itself arrives in a very familiar box layout, topped by an absolute masterpiece original work of art by Darryl Legg on the box top. The sides and ends of the box harken back to the old dead Company’s layout, as well.    
So far at least, I have a warm and fuzzy feeling.






In the box.

Upon opening the box, we find a neat and tidy packaging of 4 light grey sprues of plastic, a single sprue of clear parts, an instruction and reference manual, and a full sheet of Cartograf decals.  In essence, the exact opposite of the absolute trainwreck packaging we received with the Border Lancaster kit, with too small a box, broken, cracked, and crushed sprues, etc.
We also have a very moving essay from Mark Robson, the Proprietor of Kotare Models, and how he came to love aircraft modeling, and goes on to explain his personal reasons for building this Company. A very decent, classy, and human touch indeed!

My first impression upon digging it out of the box?  Where are the rest of the sprues?  Is this the entire kit? 
But yes it is, and the sprues are beautiful   











As you can see, parts breakdown is very cunning and strategic….   
This allows for future versions of the short nose Spitfire to be issued with only a simple unique Sprue exchange.  Certainly a nice thing to see. This kit sure isn’t a one-off…    
Major parts join lines appear to be on prototypical panel lines, so except for the bottom, a slight seam will be normal.  

I’m liking what I see at a glance, and my hope-O-meter is starting to inch slightly upward, so now let’s look closer.





The instrument panel is truly exquisite. Beautifully molded, without being soft or overdone. No 3D decals required here.  With a bit of care in using the individual instrument decals, it’ll build up beautifully. 
Cockpit side panels are full of molded on detail.  Personally, I prefer separate details that I can add myself, but these are done amazingly, a d other than slightly complication any painting of different colors, it’ll stand up to any separately built up unit.  
Two types of seats are supplied, one without seatbelts, and the other with molded on belts. 
Most modelers these days seem to not use kit supplied PE belts anyway, so giving an easy option, and an option for the AMS afflicted is smart thinking. 
However, given the price of this kit, a set of supplied seatbelts would be in order. This is NOT a $45 Revell kit, but a kit that costs over twice as much.
As for mouldings, there are NO obvious pin marks in spots that will be visible upon completion, so kudos to Kotare. Nicely done. 
So far, other than a personal dislike of one piece molded side panels, this I’d looking very promising, and the hope-O-meter is inching up…

Next, let’s look at the major airframe parts. 











The molding is exquisite.  Puttied smooth surfaces where they are supposed to be, and flush rivets where they are supposed to exist.  Pin marks are strategically located out of view.  Notice here, not a lot of extra doodads and complexity adding silliness. Just a pure, smooth, clean Spitfire. 
The sprues are completely free of flash, with no unfinished mold marks whatsoever. The Meng 1/32 Dr.1, this is NOT!  Very, very nice! 
The one piece control surfaces have attached tabs for a positive and strong join, and are also molded off center, in a typical Spitfire resting pose, in order to provide some life to the static model.   If you want to position them differently, eith need or break off and reattach. Nice touch and beautifully done.  
One thing pointed out by a couple other builders is that the fuselage rivets are a bit vague on the fuselage belly.  I checked my kit, and they appear less obvious on the bottom, but OK, I’ll see how it looks under primer. 
hope-O-meter:  creeping up…

Two types of propellers as issued on Mk.1s..



The Paperwork:

Now doesn’t this look familiar? 
We have the exact same format as used by the previous company, and which was also adopted by Copper State Models, and Kotare upped the standard even more for the research challenged like me, I have historically relied on others to perform that tedious task, but Kotare has taken that burden off our shoulders. Oodles of period pictures of in-Service (not restored museum) birds give us all the info we need to produce a correct show stopper of one of the four schemes offered in the kit.  
The hope-O-meter is way up, y’all  

This is the best example of an instruction manual I’ve ever seen.  Rigging diagrams are clear, although you’ll need to supply the EZ Line or monofilament lines for the rigging  it’ll add that little extra that’ll make the cockpit pop!  













Am I clear, yet? 

Here’s a few shots of our clear parts.  As I’m sure everyone remembers, WNW was a WW1 aircraft kitmaker. The opportunity to show the world it’s prowess in making clear parts was limited to minuscule windscreens, and a half greenhouse on one of the big kits, so, if there’s a spot where New Zealand’s premier kitset manufacturer would possibly stumble, this might be expected to be where it’d happen.

But alas, foiled again!  The clear parts appear superb. Two canopies, open hood or closed, and no obvious oddities. Plus, like the grey parts, these are free of flash 







The decal sheet is very complete, and contains marking for three aircraft. 
Individual instrument decals are supplied as per the previous New Zealand kitset maker. 
I can find no fault with these decals from high quality decal printer Cartograph. Cartograph IS THE decal printer of choice in the business for a reason. 
hope-O-meter is at the top of it’s scale and smoking  


Odds and ends

If you preordered this kit, you would be treated to two things.  First is a farmable print of Darryl Legg’s box art, and second I’d a gorgeous set of 3D printed exhaust stacks. These will save you having to drill out the plastic kit parts.  
Also, an aforementioned essay by the proprietor is truly an amazing read, and a peek into the mid of a regular guy like us with a passion towards model building, and the means and drive needed to see projects like this to fruition.  Mr. Robson, we truly thank you! 





This Kotare kit is going to to make people like me VERY happy.  

From some others, I’ve heard a mixed bag of reviews, with most of the negative centering around the incredible simplicity of the kit. No Merlin engine with removable cowl, no little extras like we all came to love in the Wingnut kits: tail support trestles, flare guns, teddy bears, a map with holder, a pilot’s handgun, etc. in other words, nothing BAD, but just missing the little “pop” you got with the bonuses in a Wingnut kit.  
The kit is SO simple that it’d be an easy no nonsense weekend build if you build in the grey.

But, Kotare has done exactly what people like myself have been screaming for for years: A superbly engineered model airplane kit that looks like it’s ready for flight. No panels hanging open, no extra junk that does absolutely nothing for guys like me other than raise the kit price and add hundreds of unused parts to my spares pile.

I DO bemoan the lack of seatbelts, though. For a kit that’ll set you back an easy hundred quid, I’d expect to see some kind of separate seatbelts. 

For me, why worry about the lack of a Merlin. I never build the engine unless it’s needed as structure, like Tamiya kits require. Besides, there are dozens of 1/32 Merlin models out there, both from other kits, and standalone models. If you want one, the market is full of them. Go get one. Or nick it from a buddy’s Spares box. 
I LOVE the avoidance of PE. Now don’t get me wrong. I love PE. I use PE. I’d probably shrivel, die, and blow away as dust if I didn’t have PE. But I rarely use kit supplied PE. 
These guys have done exactly what we all hoped they would do: give us a fitting replacement for the previous New Zealand manufacturer that set new standards on how a kit should be marketed, produced and released. 
There are several of these already being built, one or two of which is right here on LSM by GazzaS who got his quickly in Australia. He states the fit and finish is first rate, and for the most part, effortless.  But you must be mindful of the tight tolerances the designers gave us with the previous company, and how to ensure perfect fit, aLl making surfaces need to be paint, flash, and debris free! Failure to do so will guarantee all sorts of fit issues down the road. Just bear that in mind when building the model.

The sprue markings list Spitfires right up to a Mk.V, and as I write this, Kotare has already announced an early Mk.l and Mk.V to be released in the near future, so I’m sure we’ll see plenty of new creations from these molds.

Cost to me so far?  A thrilling feeling inside, as many of the old feelings gather their creative talents together once again.  How could I have doubted them? Shame on me!  
This’ll be on my bench soon, and as for now, I thank my wallet for the new Kotare kit. 

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