|KIT:||CMR 1/72 Spitfire VII|
|KIT #:||CMR 178|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin multimedia kit|
Though not really the threat that it was thought at the time, there was a considerable effort in combating the German high altitude recce planes, mostly diesel powered JU-86Ps. These planes were able to overfly just about any British military establishment, snapping photos at their leisure, while RAF fighters of the time crawled up to their max altitude, there to watch the Germans fly by several thousand feet higher.
Naturally, the Spitfire was chosen for this task and
fitted with a special engine, long wings and a cabin pressurized to a lower
altitude for pilot comfort. The first one of any abilities was the HF.VI,
but it was still lacking in power and was soon replaced by the
the Spitfire HF.VII. This was an extensive redesign based
on the HF.VI. The extended span wing was retained, while the chord and area of
the rudder were increased. In an effort to squeeze even more performance out of
the Merlin, Rolls-Royce had developed a two-stage supercharger with
after-cooler, often incorrectly called an intercooler. The result was the Merlin
60 series: longer and heavier than the previous engines, but which doubled the
available horsepower at 30,000 ft (9,150 m ), giving an unprecedented
performance increase at high altitudes. The Merlin 61 was fitted to the Mk VII,
needing extra cooling capacity, and one of the identifying characteristics of
this variant was that it had two large radiators, one under each wing. The
tailwheel was retractable, as had been proposed for the Spitfire III. The HF.VII
was slightly longer than previous Spitfires, mainly to accommodate the extra
length of the engine. Service ceiling was increased to 42,500 ft (12,962 m), and
maximum speed rose to 408 mph (656 km/hr). Rate of climb was vastly superior at
higher altitudes. This type was pretty well similar in many ways to the Spitfire
VIII, IX and XVI family of aircraft, sharing a lot of similar components.
As you know by now, CMR is committed to producing the most complete and accurate range of 1/72 Spitfires on the market. It continues with this one on the Spitfire VII. The kit is boxed with the parts inside the compartmentalized polybag that is so common with Czech resin kits. This keeps the big bits from crunching the little ones and for that reason, I don't open these bags to show all the bits. I can tell you that many of the bits are common from one model to the other, such as interior bits, landing gear, sometimes the fuselage, and sometimes the wings and tail planes.
Each kit includes an Eduard color etched fret, though in this one it is hidden behind the Eduard wheel and canopy mask that is included in this one. The set includes duplicates of two types of canopy, one with a small window in the forward quarter window.
As all the options are the long winged variant, only one wing is included and it has cut-outs for the clear resin tip lights that are part of the kit. The kit also includes early and late rudder/horizontal stabs depending on the variant you are building. Also optional are the canopies, depending on the markings option. A single piece prop is provided in addition to one where the spinner and blades are separate. I have to tell you that getting the one-piece prop from the resin is a bit of a challenge and I've never done it without breaking at least one blade. But I do appreciate the option. Most of the photo etch that is provided is for the interior and it is quite detailed, though not overly complex. I should also point out that the fuselage on this kit is correct for a pressurized version in that there is no access door nor any canopy slides as the canopy was fit in place and then latched.
Instructions are like a little reference book in that there are no fewer than seven full pages of well done b&w photos of the lone extant Spit VII. Markings are included for nine aircraft, which has to be a record for this type. There are all possible camo options for the Spit VII and the decal sheet provides several optional code options for aircraft as it was not always know exactly what colors they were. The Tally-Ho printed sheet is very well done and should be a pleasure to use. A full set of stencils is also part of the set.
Another high quality kit from CMR. This one is not for the beginner due to the number of small parts, but if you can handle the challenges of a multimedia kit like this, you will be rewarded with a superb replica.
My thanks to Czech Master Resin for providing the review copy. If you cannot find these on the shelves of your favorite hobby shop, ask them to order it for you. You will not be disappointed.
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