Hasegawa 1/48 Spitfire IX






Mk.IX of 316 Sq; Mk.XVI of 443 Sq


Tom Cleaver




There are five fighters of the Second World War that qualify as "immortal": the Spitfire is one of them, and the Spitfire IX was the most-produced, most-used version of all. Any modeler interested in this kit who is not knowledgeable about the Spitfire IX should hang their head in shame and head off to their library for some serious study.

The rest of us want to know about the kit.


To date, there are state-of-the-art, as-close-to-perfect-as-you-can-get kits of the Bf-109 in all its versions, the Fw-190, the P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning, Hurricane, and Zero. There are very good kits of the Spitfire I and the Spitfire V, there are even acceptable kits of the Griffon Spitfires. Has there ever been a really accurate, state-of-the-art, high-quality model of the most famous Spitfire of all? The answer echoes: Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!

Modelers had high hopes for the ICM Spitfires, which unfortunately crashed and burned on the cliffs of production quality, which was atrocious in the first release. I hear the later releases are better, but still not up to par; sorry to say, the damage has been done. One hopes the company has learned that lesson for their upcoming releases.

The cry was heard throughout the land: why can't a major, mainstream, quality model company release a Spitfire IX? Well, the cries have finally been heard, and Hasegawa has released the first of what could be many Merlin-60 series Spitfires, a late-production Mk.IXc, the most-produced sub-version of the most-produced version.

What do you get?

Basically, if you have bought a Hasegawa kit recently, since the Ki.84 Frank, you know the quality. This model is fully up to the latest standards as demonstrated in the Ki.84, the N1K2-Ja/b, and the A6M5 series of Zeros.

Finally, a model company has caught the subtle shape of the Spitfire IX fuselage, with all the curves and angles that have eluded all others who have released "definitive" Spitfire IXs. It even has the very subtle shape of the rear cockpit glass, in which the upward angle of the fuselage line continues, so that the forward end is higher than the rear.

The wheels come with separate three-spoke hubs and the covered 5-spoke hub; obviously the other hubs will appear in the appropriate versions.

The lower section of the cowling is integral with the Vokes universal filter, and the cannon fairing bulge is integral to the gun bay housing, in the "c" wing configuration. However, these are separate parts, so any modeler who knows how Hasegawa stretches their molds to cover every sub-type need only wait for the earlier "IXB" and later Mk.IXe to appear. Three different cannon fairings are included, so that a modeler can do the longer and later shorter versions as per sub-type. Both rudders are included.

The wing has a bulge molded on the upper surface over the wheels. While the Mk.IX did not have this, I have examined my extensive collection of Spitfire books and can confirm that this fairing was present on the Spitfire XVI, as well as appearing as a modification to post-war Spitfire IXs fitted with larger tires. Correcting this for a wartime Mk.IX will take all of five minutes with a sanding stick to remove it, and a coat of Mr. Surfacer to have everything looking perfect. It should be noted that while this kit has a "c" wing - and most modelers "know" that the Mk. XVI had the "e" wing - there are drawings and I have discovered photos of early Mk.XVI Spitfires with the "c" armament, so the alternative markings for an early Mk.XVI that are included in the kit are not wrong. You will also want to close up the outer shell ejection port of the main gunbay in the lower wing to do the "c" version.

One can see in the molding of the wing that it is easy to shorten the span of the ailerons to fit the Mk.VII and Mk.VIII Spitfires, by merely filling in the outer 3/16" of the aileron hinge line. Coupling this with the fact that the kit includes the later pointed rudder, and all the separate parts for the tail assembly - the differences between the retractable tail wheel and fixed wheel are catered for with separate parts for the lower rear fuselage - it is a snap to turn the kit into a Mk.VIII with no further modification.

The kit includes the underwing bomb racks for the 250 pound bombs carried, but not the centerline rack (which is in the Mk.V kit).

The cockpit is as well-detailed as one has come to expect with recent Hasegawa releases. The "floor" is curved and blanks out the wing fairings, while all the other things like radio, throttle, gear retraction mechanism, etc., are included as separate parts. The only things the cockpit lacks are seatbelts and an open side flap. Any modeler who has built other Spitfires will have no trouble opening the side flap of this kit, but the fact that it isn't done in the kit is my only "complaint."

I particularly like the fabric effect of the elevators - which are the later version - and the rudders, which include the "rib tape" in the effect.


The only place where Hasegawa has tried to cut corners in the production of this kit is creating a wing what will be useable for the Mk.VII, Mk.VIII, Mk.IXB, Mk.IXc, Mk,IXe, and Mk.XVI, which is pushing it just a bit. However, the changes necessary to "correct" the wing for the specific sub-type are well within the capabilities of anyone but a complete novice, and only require that a modeler check their references.

Past that, we finally have a state-of-the-art, acceptably-accurate Merlin-60 series Spitfire!! It is obvious the entire series will eventually show up.

Will I build more of these kits? Do all the felis domestici who share my house have posteriors????

Review kit courtesy of Marco Polo Importers.

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