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1:32nd Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIa

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1:32nd Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIa

Revell
Catalogue# 03986




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In August 1940 611 Squadron RAF became the first unit to be equipped with the latest MkIIa Spitfire. With the Battle of Britain at its height the MkII sealed its position as part of the Battle legend. Despite early production troubles the MkII had the distinction of being the first variant to be produced at the Castle Bromwich aircraft factory, it incorporated a number of improvements over the MkI chiefly the latest Rolls Royce Merlin XII which used a Coffman cartridge starter rather than the electric start allowing the MkII to be started independently; this also gave the MkII a small blister under the exhaust which is one of the few external distinguishing features between the MkI/II. Other additions such as armour plating would increase the all up weight of the MkII meaning it actually had a slightly lower performance than the MkI although thanks largely to a decision to equip it with a Rotol Propeller the MkII had a superior rate of climb. Eventually 921 Spitfire MkII's were manufactured, and today the Battle of Britain Memorial flight still operates MkII P7370 which is the only airworthy MkII and also a BOB survivor.


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Due to its role in the Battle of Britain (The conflict and the Motion picture) the MKI/II is one of the most famous variants of the ubiquitous Spitfire, despite this a new kit of the early variant hasn't been produced in 1/32 since the 1980's (also by Revell ) and this was actually based on the 1970's vintage Hasegawa kit. Not a bad kit at all and thanks to its Hasegawa origins also a very accurate one, the newer parts like the wings had recessed panel lines but the more elderly Hasegawa parts such as the fuselage all had raised detail. High time we had some fresh plastic then!! Thankfully Revell have come to our rescue with an all new tool kit of the early Spitfire. Keep your eyes on the sun, here its comes!! TAKKATAKKATAKKATAKKA!!



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Presented in Revells characteristic blue end opening box, the artwork depicts a Spitfire of 19sqn engaging marauding HE111's and really captures the elegant lines of the Spitfire; Stunning. Inside we find 11 sprues moulded in the pale grey plastic Revell have favoured for a while now and three in clear, the main parts have a smooth surface finish and don't seem to suffer from the pebble like finish previous kits such as the HE219 had, these are bagged together in small groups which is fine for the main parts but the clear sprues are all shoehorned in to one bag and the armoured windscreen in my example had some scuffs on it unfortunately. A medium sized decal sheet is provided along with Revells typical black and white instructions. I can't really understand why Revell chose the MkIIa sub variant for this new release as it saw rather limited service and externally is little different from the MkI which surely would have been a better choice from a marketing perspective? In fact as we'll see they have missed several of the MkII's distinguishing features. Read on...



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Sprue A&B
Revell start quite naturally with the fuselage halves, these are moulded in the traditional way divided vertically down the centre and unlike their Bf109 kits there's no modular break down to attempt to extract the maximum number of variants from common parts; although this fuselage could still yet be used for the early "baby spits" like the MkV/VI who knows. Unlike their Bf109 series Revell have chosen to fully rivet their Spitfire and the fuselage is peppered with rivets, it seems Trumpeters mad riveter has relocated to Germany! I'll reserve final judgement until I have seen them under a few coats of paint but my initial feeling is that they are a tad clumsy and overdone but nothing a heavy coat of primer or something like Mr Surfacer couldn't correct, the early Spits featured raised domed rivets on the rear fuselage but no attempt to depict these has been made; the engine panels on the nose have the correct dzus fasteners which should look great once a few layers of paint have been laid down.



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One feature that had me scratching my head is the small square panel on the fuel tank, this has even made it onto the box art and as far as I can see this is only a feature of a very limited number of early Spitfires such as the Photo Reconnaissance variants like the ones below, the BBMF's MkI also has this window anyone know what it's for? Revell would have you fit a small clear part into it so I'm guessing maybe some sort of visual check on fluid levels? Answers on a postcard please.



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No stringer or raised detail for the cockpit is really present on the inside other than on the starboard cockpit wall where some ribbing and an oxygen hose are moulded in situ, although the lower portion of the cockpit side wall is a separate part anyway. My example had some faint sink marks along the top of the front fuselage and they correspond to the alignment pegs on the inside, sink marks are also present on the outside of the starboard fuselage and correspond to the raised cockpit wall detail but they are again very slight.



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Sprue C


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Here we have the lower section of the wing which is moulded as one whole piece as is logical with Spitfire kits, I feel it captures the dainty elegant shape of the spits wing perfectly and is commendably thin (unlike Hobbyboss's spit for example) again the wings surface is fully riveted and for a reason I can't quite put my finger on looks a lot more convincing than the fuselage rivets. The ejection slots for the empty round casings are moulded open but other than the most outboard slots seem a little on the large side to me, the vents by the outboard ejection slots are solid and would also benefit from being opened up with a pin vice to add more realism.



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Another odd feature I can't understand is the inclusion of a raised plate in front of the two middle gun slots, this I believe is a result of measuring the MkI Spitfire R6915 that has just been moved from the Imperial War museum London which exhibits these plates; this had a busy service life so the plates are possibly some sort of strengthening due to fatigue. You'll find that the wing tips and control surfaces are moulded separately including the landing flaps (insert anecdote here about Spitfires never having their flaps down on the ground, possibly mention a fine from the CO etc).

Sprue D&E


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These sprues deal with the upper wings, just like the lower portion they are nice and thin and again fully riveted more convincingly than the fuselage, the strengthening plates seen on the Imperial war museums example have been depicted here again but removing them shouldn't pose any problems.



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The bulges for the wheel wells don't look quite correct, I believe they were a little more asymmetrical and more of a kidney shape but they are barely discernable in period photos. On the underneath we find the detail for the flaps and the roof of the wheel well, the wheel well detail is rather basic and a little scratch building will liven the whole area up.

Sprue F


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Sprue F mainly handles the interior as well as some external detail, although the Spitfire cockpit didn't exactly have a floor one is provided to represent what would be the top of the wing to which all the rudder pedals etc are fixed on the kit, the rudder pedals and their control rods are a multi part assembly and should look suitably busy once complete adding plenty of interest. The seat is also made up of multiple parts and represents the composite seat (very early spits had metal seats of a similar design) the strange depression on the back rest would benefit from some milliput or similar to add a back cushion that was a typical feature of the spitfires seat. The support structure for the seat is nicely done including the mechanism used to raise and lower the seat and the structure would just benefit from having the lightening holes drilled out.



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The bulkhead behind the pilot is well moulded, the lightening holes are slightly flashed over so take a couple of seconds with a pin vice to take care of that; the instrument panel I'm glad to say has been corrected from the early test shots in which it was reversed, it also looks to of been improved as well and features some excellent detail, they have resisted moulding on dial faces so all it really needs is some Airscale decals to bring the gauges to life.



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We also get external details such as the radiator ailerons and flaps, the ailerons are depicted as metal with rivet detail to match the wings, however while later MkII's were converted to metal ailerons BOB era MkII's left the factory with fabric ones; the kit options are both circa 1941 so they're probably correct but bare that in mind should you want to depict a BOB machine.



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The armoured head rest looks the part and has a separate cushion and the slot for the harness cut out already, conspicuous by its absence was the armour plate that was fitted behind the seat, this was added after early combat experience showed it was necessary and was a production feature of the MkII. The access door has the crowbar moulded in place although as the photo below shows early Spits didn't have the crowbar initially so sticklers might want to sand this area smooth.



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Sprue G


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The rest of the control surfaces make up most of this sprue, the rudder, elevators, tail plane and wingtips have raised fabric detail which looks a little square to my eye and would benefit from a light sanding to soften the edges. The elevators are separate to the tail plane so can be posed drooped as usually seen on a parked spit but strangely the rivets on the underside of the tail plane seem to of been done by the fuselage team while the upper surface seems to of been done by the wing team!!



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The cockpit sidewall detail is here as is the rear most bulkhead and the front firewall, the control column has a well moulded spade grip with the correct round brass fire button rather than the later rectangular rocker switch, and this is otherwise devoid of any other detail so you might like to add the cables that run down the column.



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The circular walls for the wheel wells are a simple way of achieving a similar effect to that seen on Tamiya's MkIX with the correct angled wall but there is no other detail inside, I believe Eduard have this covered in their update set. A couple of puzzling features are the insulator moulded onto the top of the rudder mast which is more akin to a Luftwaffe bird, and also the aerial mast itself which is poorly done looking nothing like that seen on a Spitfire and more like a cocktail stick.


Sprue H


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Two sprue H's are provided carrying the radiator matrix and a rudder pedal each, not a lot to say here but the rudder pedals certainly look decent although consider that MkI's and early MkII's would have had the single step pedals.

Sprue Q


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The stand out part here is the lower engine cowling which is moulded to fit all the way up to the carburettor intake and also incorporates the pointed back end of it, again it seems like the wing team have done the rivet and fastener detail here, the carb intake itself is a good replica of the real thing.



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The exhausts are also good with hollowed ends, Revell have taken an interesting approach to the undercarriage by moulding the legs separate to the knuckle joint used to retract them accurately depicting them which is refreshing as is the way they've moulded the undercarriage doors and their inner detail separately which again is a new approach.



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Then there's the oil cooler, ahh the oil cooler! It must have been the BBMF's MkII that they measured for this kit as that has a few modern concessions to keep her flying, were they looking forward to producing a MkV? Because that's what this one's off! They've provided a circular oil cooler not the semi-circular oil cooler fitted to the MkI/II, it's a nice depiction of the MkV oil cooler though made up of 4 parts so that's sorted should they decide to produce a MkV.



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Sprue S


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Again two sprues are provided here with two halves of the wheels and two propeller blades per sprue, to my eye the prop blades start off well from their base but don't taper back to a fine enough tip giving a slight paddle blade appearance; no doubt some sanding could get them looking more convincing.

Sprue T


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This small sprue appears to hold the MkII specific parts such as the Coffman starter bulge and various lumps and bumps along with the spinner and backplate. From looking at my reference photos most MkII's seem to have two bulges (large and small) above the exhausts the same both sides, the BBMF's MkII has a distinct scoop (like Revell supply) adapted from the larger bulge on the starboard side and next to this is a much smaller scoop as seen on wartime MkII's, Wartime aircraft would only of had the small scoop (no scoop at all in some cases) and the two bulges in the same place each side.



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One of the first issues apparent once preview photos of this kit began to circulate was with the spinner, based on the propeller blades supplied im assuming that it is supposed to represent the Dehavilland spinner; the main issue here is that it's too pointy and five minutes with a sanding stick should get it looking more like the Dehavilland spinner.



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The bigger issue is that the vast majority of MkII's were fitted with the blunt Rotol spinner with the wide wooden propeller blades, most MkII's I've found with the de Havilland spinner are from second line units such as the Air fighting development unit (AFDU) so the lack of a Rotol spinner in the kit is a bit of a stumbling block, especially since the aircraft on the decal options provided actually had the Rotol spinner (although if they'd gone for YT-W from 65 squadron instead of YT-L problem solved as that had the de Havilland!)



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Clear sprues (R, U, I)


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The clear parts are a highlight of this kit, being crisp, clear and numbering 13 parts. The armoured windscreen of the MkII is well represented and the external armour is given as a separate part that will require very careful placement when you come to glue it (Krystal Klear perhaps?).



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Revell also supply the rear view mirror, gun sight, navigation light and even the compass comes as a clear part which is a nice touch. Not forgetting the small square windows for the fuel tank. Just bag them separately please Revell!!


Instructions


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Love them or hate them Revell have done their instructions this way for years, Black and white with lots of steps. I actually enjoy them and find them reminiscent of Matchbox's old instructions, they're always clear and concise and easy to follow I just wish they'd give the colour call outs by name such as Dark earth rather than in their own colour ranges codes.



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Colour schemes
Bit of a Model T Ford situation here, any colour scheme as long as it's Dark Earth/Dark Green over Sky! To be fair the MkII really only wore Dark Earth or Ocean grey during its short career. The options provided are:


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YT-L 65 Squadron July 1941



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QV-J 19 Squadron June 1941




Decals


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Not always Revell's strongest point, this sheet however appears to be different to their usual standard and has more of a glossy finish than previously seen. In the bottom right corner it says "Printed in Italy" and although it doesn't say Cartograf they are very reminiscent of their style so I wouldn't be surprised if they had some input. All the decals are in perfect register with the red centre of the roundels being separate, the font of the stencils is spot on for the period.



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A decent instrument panel decal is provided and they even give you a few cockpit placards for the undercarriage lever and the font on these is still readable despite being microscopic! I'm looking forward to trying these out.



Conclusion


I'm very aware that this review has almost amounted to a list of the errors I've found, being such a popular subject reference material on the Spitfire is in abundance and if an enthusiast such as myself can find the answers easily then why can't one of the biggest Kit manufacturers who've been in the business for 60 years? I'm certainly no rivet counter and a few mm here and there don't concern me at all, but visible errors do. That said if it looks like a Spitfire I'm happy, having seen and fondled a built up test shot of this kit it certainly captures the look of the Spitfire and builds up superbly with no fit problems. Most people won't even notice most of the issues I've raised and to be fair they won't detract from the finished kit at all, others will want to make corrections and no doubt this kit will be well served by the aftermarket with Eduard in particular being quick off the mark; the huge potential locked up in this kit will keep modellers happy for years and at the price Revell knock them out for it'll sell by the bucket load. Now where did I leave that tin of PRU Pink?!

Recommended.

Ben Summerfield

My thanks to Revell for this review sample.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en, @RevellGermany or facebook.com/revell




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Cheers Ben. This is what I've been waiting for. I've been working on the test shot for weeks now, so it's good to see an honest appraisal of the finished kit.

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Now THAT is an informative review, thanks for taking the time to put it together.

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2 on order as of 3 days ago ... fixes are easy-peasy, really ... 

 

Rog :)

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A very nice review Ben :)

 

I picked up 2 of these kits today and your appraisal basically matches my own. I have started to build one kit which will be out of the box with a few necessary altereations and it will be in Geoffrey Wellum's markings K9998, so an early Mk I. I am building it for the Mullion Heritage centre. The second kit will be in the same markings but will have a modified Aires MkV cockpit with a scratch built manual pump for the undercarriage, plus the other changes necessary; this one will be for me :)

 

I do think that Revell missed a trick in not doing the Mk I and getting the details accurate, they could have easily included the MkII option. I expect that fabric covered ailerons will be available in resin soon. To do these yourself shouldn't be beyond most modellers and the other fixes are also quite easy, if annoying that they need to be done. I keep looking at the surface detail on the wings and fuselage; it is a pity that they don't appear to have been done by the same designer but it looks to me as if that on the fuselage, and on the underside of the tail fins, is just a little deeper. However what makes it look to be less sophisticated is that they are closer spaced. I am hoping that this is an illusion caused by the depth of them, maybe they are a fraction bigger. What ever the reason I am hopeful that a couple of coats of paint will make it all look much better, we will see.

 

I for one welcome this kit, although I was hoping that Tamiya would do a Mk I, but if they did it would be vastly more expensive!  Maybe Revell have left the door a little open so that they still might :thumbsup2:

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Hi Ben, good review, mate!

 

As for the decals; when there is a "Z" behind the product number, as is the case with the decals in this kit, it is produced not by Cartograf but by Zanchetti.

 

http://www.zanchetti.it/ 

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Hi Ben, good review, mate!

 

As for the decals; when there is a "Z" behind the product number, as is the case with the decals in this kit, it is produced not by Cartograf but by Zanchetti.

 

http://www.zanchetti.it/

Cheers for the comments chaps, definitely a good kit in there just some simple & frustrating errors. I didnt know that's what the Z meant, the decals are a big improvement for Revell so I hope they stick with them. I can't wait to see what the after market produces for this kit. I have a hankering for a early PR spit or a very early Mk1.

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Ben I'd like to see a review on the Revell 4704 Supermarine Spitfire Mk 22/24 1/32 Scale Plastic Model Kit. I've fallen in love with that kit but haven't purchased it yet.

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Ben I'd like to see a review on the Revell 4704 Supermarine Spitfire Mk 22/24 1/32 Scale Plastic Model Kit. I've fallen in love with that kit but haven't purchased it yet.

The Mk22/24 is the OLDMatchbox kit, it's not bad value for money but is a 70's vintage kit. It's very toy like and the panel lines are like trenches! Not in the same league as the MkII I'm afraid.

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Great review Ben,

Converting the ailerons into fabric is easy. Just fill the rivets and place thin strips of masking tape.

Sanding the spinner to a less pointy appearance is easy as well.

The aerial on top of the rudder was designed to move with the rudder and keep the aerial wire

taut at the same time.

Cheers

Cees

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The Mk22/24 is the OLDMatchbox kit, it's not bad value for money but is a 70's vintage kit. It's very toy like and the panel lines are like trenches! Not in the same league as the MkII I'm afraid.

 

Thanks for that! I had thought that it was a newer kit also. I guess I'll just have to build both and then compare, lol!! They both certainly have beautifully classic lines.

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I must say, even as a proud father, this has to be one of the best reviews I've read on LSM for a while. Well done son for a balanced review of what is an honest kit let down by Revells lack of attention to detail. I feel sure it'll build well when we see Jim's magic worked on it!

 

Steve S.

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Now that is how to write a review!! Thank you very much for an honest unbiased review, even though the kit was supplied to you by Revell.

 

I guess one has to as one's self the question, "Is the Tamiya Spit really worth the cost of six of these"??

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Good point.

Nick, you started a very nice topic over on LSP, care to start it here too?
Cees

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Great review Ben..

 

Roy at Barracuda has told me that he has a couple of things in the pipeline for this kit.

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