Tamiya 1/48 Spitfire I






Two Aircraft: See review


Scott Van Aken






One of the few aircraft to remain in production from the beginning of the war to the end, the Supermarine Spitfire gained popular acclaim during the Battle of Britain as its pilots bravely fought against the Luftwaffe during the Summer of 1940. Ignoring the fact that the Hurricane was the more numerous of the two and that it did most of the bomber interception, the Spitfire is the one that strikes our fancy of 'the few' who fought during those perilous time.

Designed about the same time as it's adversary, the Bf-109, the Spitfire was a much more elegant aircraft; full of curves where the 109 was all angles. This curvaceous design also meant that it was more difficult to construct and repair, but gave it excellent maneuverability compared to the faster 109E.

Like the 109, the Spitfire was designed as a point defense fighter and not a longer range bomber escort. The Spitfire I and II was never fitted with the bulky long range drop tanks as eventually was the 109E since most combat between the two occurred over British territory and bases. Subsequent Spitfire designs changed that and the Spitfires of 1945, while still obviously a Spitfire, had no parts in common with the 1939 versions.


Back in the early 1990's, Tamiya decided to re-enter the 1/48 aircraft market. They did this by concentrating on WW2 single-engine fighters, and one of those kits was the Spitfire I. Needless to say, the buying public showed their support and gratitude by snapping them up as they came out. It was about time that a modern mold of this aircraft was produced and it was well worth the wait.

Consisting of about 50 parts on three sprues (one clear and not shown), the Tamiya Spitfire appears to be a very simple aircraft to build. With no add on parts like rockets, bombs, or drop tanks, it is the essence of pure fighter. Add to that the interesting color schemes of the early war RAF and you have a very desirable kit. The only real option is for an open or closed canopy as the Spit didn't have any leading edge slats and Tamiya chose not to make lowered flaps an option. Frankly, the Spit only lowered them upon landing and they were immediately retracted to prevent damage during taxiing.

Decal options are for two aircraft: First is DW*O from 610 Squadron in standard colors of Dark Green and Earth uppers with a Sky lower surface. The other is QJ*B of 92 Squadron, in similar colors to DW*O, but with the left wing underside in black. The size of the wing and fuselage roundels is different between the two. Tamiya thoughtfully supplies white circles to underlay the roundels so there is no color bleed-through from the underside camouflage. Also included is a full page camouflage marking scheme for those that want to use it for a pattern, as the camo schemes of the day were done by using large rubber masking mats.

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet! If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has over 800 visits a day, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.