|KIT:||Italeri 1/48 Spitfire XVIe|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Reboxed Ocidental kit|
The Spitfire XVI was basically an adaptation of the Spitfire IX. Powered by a US built Packard-Merlin, the Spitfire XVI incorporated all the improvements of the later Merlin powered Spits. This includes the larger area elevators, bigger rudder with the pointed tip, and, something relatively new to the Spitfire, a full blown bubble canopy. The last item really helped to improve the rearward vision, but by this time, the threat level of the Luftwaffe's Jagdwaffe had been seriously minimized by lack of trained pilots and lack of fuel. Nonetheless, the Spitfire XVI was a spirited performer and used mostly for ground attack with the 2nd TAF. Following the war, those European based RAF squadrons kept their aircraft when returning to their home countries. Amongst the ones flying the Spit XVI were those of Belgium, who continued to fly the type for many more years.
When I first saw the box, my first thought was to whose kit this actually was. I thought that perhaps it was the ICM kit in a new box, but the more I looked at it, the less it looked like anything other than a new mold kit. (Late note: I've since been told by many [thanks folks] that this is, in fact, a reboxing of the Ocidental kit. I was unaware that they did a XVIe, but apparently they did).
Spitfires are notoriously easy to build kits. The simple fact is that the Spit is a basic aircraft. None of the usual tons of junk hanging from the wings. No super complex cockpit, just a nice, simple aircraft.
When looking over the sprues, I couldn't help but notice that there are a number of holes for the lower wing that could be opened to provide for various racks and intakes. The cannon access panel is also quite thin compared to the rest of the wing, and included in the sprues are panels with the bulge on the opposite site (which one apparently needs for this boxing). The wheels are separate from the tires and the tires have Dunlop embossed on them.
Elevators are the later type as is the rudder. Only clipped wingtips are provided. One also gets a large and two small bombs, as would be appropriate for its ground attack mission. The cockpit is well appointed and there is raised detail on the instrument panel. No dial detail though and no decal supplied for the panel, which many of us would have appreciated. A decal is given for the harness, which I appreciate as it adds a lot to the model. A nicely detailed upper engine section is provide on which one attaches the exhaust. Separate prop blades will fit into the spinner backing plate.
The overall level of detailing is really very nice. Well done engraved panel lines, no flash, only a few tiny sink areas and the only ejector marks I found that might need attention were on the radiator intake/exhaust section. A slightly thick but clear two piece canopy is provided so that one can display it open should one wish
Instructions are really well done with color information given throughout in Testors Model Master acrylic and enamel colors. A very comprehensive decal sheet is included that offers markings for four aircraft. Two are 349 Sq, one with RAF and one with Belgian roundels. A 340 Sq (French) is also provided, with the appropriate French roundels. The more unusual markings are a gloss black 21 Air Group version with subdued RAF roundels and gold lettering for the serial. The wing tips and spinner on this one are gold as well. Can't say I've seen anything quite like this one before. A Sky tail band and rather complete stencil suite is also given on the sheet. I've had pretty good success with newer Italeri kit decals so these should work quite well. I don't doubt that the aftermarket crowd will provide us with more options in this regard.
Here you have it. What is to me, a brand new mold Spitfire. It looks quite nice and should be a relatively straight-forward and satisfying build. This kit has made it to the bench so there will be a full build review shortly.
Thanks to for the review kit. You can find Italeri kits at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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