Revell 1/48 Spitfire IX/XVI

KIT #: 04554
PRICE: £16-99 (about $27.00)
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Frank Reynolds
NOTES: Rebox of Hasegawa kit


The Spitfire IX is the most prolific of the Spitfire series, produced in great numbers and was the most widely exported variant. Many regard it as the purest and most attractive variant and even in the 21st century it is the most sought after in the full size warbird market place. In simple terms, the Mk XVI is a IX fitted with a US-built Packard Merlin engine, but there is a raft of detail variations between different airframes at different points in the service history of the type.

My Spitfire and Seafire collection in 1:48 scale has gone from representative to near-obsessive and over the last five years has grown to 48 completed airframes, with no sign of getting to the end of the line.  In order for the collection to provide a comparative overview of the development of the line, I have evolved a policy of default kits for the collection. For the Merlin engined variants:

Mks I, II, V & VI – based on the Tamiya Mk1 and MkV

Mks VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XVI – based on the Hasegawa VIII/IX

The Hasegawa 1:48 Spitfire series has been hotly debated many times; there is little doubt that the fuselage is too short, but in spite of any dimensional flaws - it works for me, it looks like a Spit IX, it is straightforward to build and I like its predictable and precise engineering. Revell Europe has re-boxed the Hasegawa mouldings in its familiar letterbox type end opening box and at a price in the UK that makes it an absolute bargain. At around £16-99, as low as £15-00 at some outlets, it is a steal compared with over £30-00 being charged for the Hasegawa original.

An overall build and review of the Hasegawa kit is provided by Scott van Aken’s MM article of March 2007, so I will confine my comments to an overview of what is in the box and how it relates to my collection.


 The kit provides five parts frames in crisply moulded medium grey plastic and one frame of clear for the transparencies, gun sight and wing tip lights.

 There are parts for rounded or pointed rudder; standard or clipped wing tips; two types of exhaust; fixed or retractable tail wheel; under wing bombs; three types of wheel hub; three types of wing cannon. Not all of these build options are applicable to the two decal  options offered, but this is ideal for my purposes so I can mix and match my way through different versions for the World’s air forces.

 The wing panel inserts allow for an inboard cannon location only, the lower cowl moulding only offers the late type carburettor air intake and the horizontal tail planes are  of the late type.

 On each of the last six examples of the kit that I have examined there has been some flash around the four bladed propeller but this is the only visible flaw to be seen.

 I find that the kit flows together easily, the parts well engineered with only very minor fit issues requiring no more than a brush over with a sanding stick.

 The neat and crisp decal sheets provides a choice of two finishes for the RAF in Europe just after the end of World War 2; a Mk IXc of No 43 Sqn and a Mk XVI of No 308(Polish) Sqn. Both are in the standard camouflage of the period with upper surfaces of Dark Green and Ocean Grey, lower surfaces of Medium Sea Grey. The IX has standard wing tips and inboard wing cannon; the XVI has clipped wings and is drawn showing outboard wing cannon so cannot be built from the kit without modification to the upper wing panels. The sheet also includes a full set of stencils, wing walks, instrument panel and seat belts, so even if I intend changing the colour scheme, this sheet has much if what I need as standard.


So having a box of raw material from Revell, I have a reasonably priced and flexible package to work into my collection. Focussing on the Mk IX as the basis for the widest variation of users and colour schemes I have evolved a check list of the characteristics that need to be covered, as follows.

 Wing tips – standard elliptical or clipped.

Horizontal tail – standard type or later version with enlarged horn balance.

Rudder – rounded or pointed tip.

Wing cannon fairing – three types, large early bulged fairing, late skinny type with either inboard or outboard cannon location.

Carburettor air intake under chin cowling – early small type or later enlarged filer type.

Underwing/fuselage bombs.

Wheel hub pattern.

Good reference sources are essential, preferably backed  up with photographic evidence, but with over 24,000 Spitfires and Seafires built and about 30 military air arms using the types, a bit of inspired guesswork and logical deduction is necessary.

 With such a popular subject, there is an extensive range of aftermarket parts and accessories available and many decal sheets.

 My current collection includes eight variations on this very good Revell/Hasegawa package: The most common modification required is the replacement as necessary of the covers over the upper wing cannon bays with either the large teardrop type or the skinny type with the bulge in the outer wing position. Injection moulded replacements have been issued by Aeroclub in the UK in the past or  they are available as a by-product of building a Mk Vc or Seafire from the Special Hobby range since all three types seem to be included in these kits.


When finishing I use an undercoat of auto primer applied from a rattle can. For camouflage colours I always look first to the Xtracrylix range. Primary colours such as black, white, reds, yellows and silvers come from the Tamiya Color range. All applied with my trusty Iwata HP-C airbrush. After a gentle pass over the paint finish with an ultra fine sanding stick, two coats of Future/Kleer provide a base for the decals, applied with Microsol and Microset as required, finally sealed with a coat of Xtracrylix varnish

Shown in various locations within this article are Spitfires from :

Czechoslovakia “A-717” LF MkIXc, 1947-48. Tally Ho Decals 48041 “Spitfires Mk.IX Part one”

Denmark “41-404” Mk IXe, 4 Squadron 1949. Ventura Decals sheet V4820

Egypt “664, L”  LF IXe, 1 Squadron, 1948. Techmod Decals sheet 48064

Israel “26” LF IXe, 101 Squadron 1949. Techmod Decals sheet 48064

Italy “MA617” F IXc, 51 Stormo, Treviso 1947. Italeri decal sheet from their 1:48 Spitfire IX kit no 2651.

Norway “A-CI”  LF IXe,  332 Sqn, 1948. Ventura Decals sheet V4820

Turkey “YV-17” LF IXc, 4TH Air Regiment 1950. National insignia from Turquoise Decals of Turkey, sheet TD002; serial number from Aviaeology Sheet  AOD-48C05

USSR “78” Mk IXe, 26 GIAP, Leningrad 1944-45. AML Decals sheet 48 018

All decal sheets are out of print once they have been made and many of these are not going to be easy to find.


 Spitfire International by Helmut Terbeck, Harry van der Meer and Ray Sturtivant, Air Britain (Historians) Ltd 2002.

 Spitfire, the History by Eric B. Morgan and Edward Shacklady, Key Publishing, 2000

Frank Reynolds

February 2012

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