Kit: Spitfire VIII

Scale:  1/72

Kit Number:

Manufacturer:  Hasegawa

Price: $

Media: Injected Plastic


Date of Review  15 January, 1997

I call this a Spitfire Mk VIII-1/2 since they have etched both short and long ailerons into the wings, the instructions don't mention that one will have to pick & fill one or the other. There are wheel well bumps on the upper wing which are present on MH 434 as currently flying, but which did not appear on Mk VIII or IX's from the factory, 'C' wings or 'E' wings. The panel lines are accurate, and finely recessed engravings, good cockpit detail, which I used for a ModelNews Spit XII, and tried to fit a Re-heat Spitfire XIV interior, abandoning that, using the parts from a Ventura kit!

The kit is engineered to allow for a deeper chin Mk XI, and a late Mk IXC can be built with the parts in the box. Unfortunately the cannon blisters are integraly molded to the wing, so the earlier, wider breech blisters would require a major re-do. The fixed tailwheel and later pointed rudder is included. The wing tips are a separate part, and a poor fit. There will be noticible anhedral if not trimmed, and the trimming leaves an inequality at the leading edge and panel lines.

There are 1mm gaps - wings to fuselage- at both the sides and rear joints The nose intake halves are molded integrally with the lower front cowl halves, making for another nasty fit. All in all, too much putty and sanding to make a nice natural metal finish Australian version. The canopy is clear, decals OK, instructions otherwise clear, painting instructions in Gunze Mr Color mixtures. Nice gull-wing trailing wing root section, a common shortcoming in Matchbox and Airfix Mk IX's, also to some extent in the KP kit.

No ordinance is supplied. Wheel well detail is decent, the underwing scoops are molded integrally with the wing, which was warped in my two examples. The trailing radiator doors are separate, allowing an open position, which is a nice touch. With just a little different engineering, this kit could have been the basis of cross-kitting, or minimal mold-tampering, for earlier Mk IXC or Mk VC. As is, kit bashing is required just to get it together!

I will build several of these and hope to get better with practice. It is less work than the Esoteric resin or Ventura short run kits.

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