Tamiya 1/32 Spitfire XVIe
Yen 7,700 (US$100.65) at HobbyLink
|NOTES:||Lifelike Decals “Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIe Part 2" 32-011 used.|
The Mk. XVI utilized the taller pointed rudder and the
“E” wing with 20mm cannon and 50-caliber machine gun.
Almost all Mk. XVI Spitfires were produced with clipped
wingtips to improve low-altitude performance, since the type was primarily
utilized by 2TAF in
This is the third release of Tamiya’s Merlin-60 series Spitfires. Like the Spitfire IX and the Spitfire VIII releases, it includes a full Merlin engine, in this case the Merlin-266. There are different parts for the wheel well if one chooses to do the post-war conversion with the blister on the upper wing surface, as well as different parts for the cockpit to fit the cut-down fuselage. The parts for the engine include the different supercharger and intercooler that visually distinguish the Packard-Merlin-266 from the Rolls-Royce version. The fuselage differs by providing the cut down fuselage with the sliding bubble canopy.
The canopy is the correct shape and amazingly clear, though it has a mold seam right down the middle. For purists, this is easily dealt with: a light scrape-down with an X-acto blade, sand smooth with 3000 grit sanding pad, then polish out. Or you can leave it alone since it is not that visible.
Decals are provided for three different aircraft, along with full stencil decals.
I began by painting all the interior of the fuselage and the various cockpit parts. While that was drying, I assembled the wing, horizontal stabilizer, elevators and rudder. I also attached the side panels of the cowling to the interior frame, getting them attached in perfect position, then gluing each to the respective fuselage half and reinforcing that joint with some Evergreen sheet. This will considerably ease the assembly of the cowling if you choose not to build it with the engine displayable.
I then assembled the cockpit, following the instructions closely, then finished by assembling the fuselage. I then attached the wing sub-assembly to the fuselage.
I assembled the front plate and the oil tank from the engine, and then glued them to the cowling side panels. I then attached the lower cowling, following that with the upper cowling. If you take care, you can fit them together perfectly. I set things aside to set up for awhile, then finished off by attaching the radiators and their housings, the horizontal stabilizers and elevators, and the rudder.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I had been planning to do Air Marshall Robb’s light blue Spitfire, but at this point I learned from Robert “Mr. Spitfire” Swaddling that Robb’s Spitfire had been modified with different upper panels to the cannon bays that did not have the bulges, and that it had full-span wings from the outset of his use. This would have requited some major parts removal and changes at a stage where more harm would have been done than good. With that option closed, I decided to do the well-known silver Spitfire XVI flown by the Central Gunnery School at Leconfield in 1946-47, which is an option on the Lifelike Decals sheet, “Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIe, Part 2" (32-011).
I painted the model with Tamiya Flat Aluminum, then masked off the fabric control surfaces and applied a thin coat of Talon Acrylics “Aluminum.” With a final coat of Xtracrylix Satin Varnish, this would give a good approximation of “Speed Silver,” the aluminum lacquer paint used on RAF aircraft of the period. The Spinner and cannon barrels were painted with Gunze-Sangyo “Red Madder,” a glossy scarlet red. The exhausts were painted with Tamiya “Metallic Grey” while the prop was painted Tamiya “Flat Black.”
I used Lifelike Decals “Spitfire Mk. XVI Part 2". This sheet includes an addendum sheet with very fine stenciling, which looks better on a silver airplane like this than the heavier Tamiya kit decals. The Lifelike Decals are very thin and melt down beautifully into the very petite surface detail on this model. Caution: they are thin enough you must take care not to let them fold up on themselves, and use plenty of water on the surface while moving them into position; blot the water with tissue, then apply a light coat of Micro-Sol and all is well.
When decals set up, I washed the model to get rid of decal solvent residue, then applied the coat of Xtracrylix Satin Varnish to get the final look.
I attached the exhausts, the main wheels, and the prop. After unmasking the canopy and windscreen, I mounted the canopy in the open position and then attached the open side flap. I gave light exhaust staining on the cowling aft of the exhausts with Tamiya “smoke”, as well as a light “oil stain” on the lower wing center section and aft fuselage.
I still wish that Tamiya followed Hasegawa’s example and did these kits as “curbside” models without the engine. The kit price would be half what it is (which means I would buy more), and those who want to display an engine could get a resin set for the difference in price of that kit and this one, and all would be happy. I note that several “advanced modelers” have recently admitted that they too have had sufficient difficulty getting the cowling panels to fit and stay in position with the magnets that they have also glued their cowlings shut, so I do not think I am being a Luddite on this matter.
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