Sword 1/72 Seafire IIc
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Multimedia kit with resin parts|
The second semi-navalised variant of the Seafire, and the first to be built as such, was the Seafire F Mk IIc which was based on the Spitfire Vc. The Vc had several major refinements over the Spitfire Vb. Apart from the modifications included in the main batch of Seafire Ibs this version incorporated catapult spools, and a single slinging lug on either side of the fuselage, just behind the engine bulkhead. Three basic subtypes were produced, the F Mk IIc and FR Mk IIc (fighter reconnaissance), powered by a Merlin 46, and the L Mk IIc powered by a low altitude Merlin 32 specifically manufactured for naval use This version of the Merlin used a "cropped" supercharger impellor to provide greater power at low altitudes than the standard engines; delivering 1,585 hp (1,182 kW) at 2,750 ft (838 m). Both engine models drove a four bladed 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m) diameter Rotol propeller. Because this version used the "C" wing the Hispano cannon were now fed from a 120-round belt magazine, otherwise the armament was the same as that of the Ib; the FR also carried two F.24 aerial cameras. After trials of Rocket Assisted Take Off Gear (RATOG) apparatus (small rocket engines which could be attached to the fuselage or wings of aircraft to help shorten the take-off run) in February 1943, this equipment became a standard fitting available for all Seafires.
The IIc was the first of the Seafires to be deployed operationally in large numbers, with Supermarine building 262 and 110 being built by Westland, who also built 30 Seafire Mk III (Hybrid) (Mk IIIs without folding wings). Although developed for aircraft carrier use, this version still lacked the folding wings needed to allow them to be used on board some Royal Navy carriers, some of which had small aircraft elevators unable to accommodate the full wingspan of the Seafires.
Well, as you can guess from the historical background, this kit is pretty much Sword's Spitfire V with additional bits to make a proper Seafire. You can see the additional sprue section in the parts image. That consists of new fuselage halves, new four blade prop and spinner, new radio mast and the arrestor hook bits.
Overall, the kit is very well molded and comes with a nicely done one-piece canopy. Detail is engraved panel lines, which are quite well done. I found a very slight depression that ran the length of the rear of each upper wing half. Not sure if it is enough to bother filling, but it does exist. Ejector towers are found inside the major pieces. One of these on the nose of the Seafire fuselage half has a sink area on the outside. Also inside the fuselage halves is very well done side panel detailing. The rest of the cockpit is quite complete with the usual suspects. No belts are molded on the seat so you may want to consider aftermarket for this detail. The instrument panel has nicely done raised detail.
As noted, some of the bits are for the Spit V so may not be required for your build. That includes the two three blade props, one which has separate blades. There are five spoke wheels as well as those with a solid disc. Two sets of exhaust are provided and you get a Volkes Filter for the underside of the nose. Clipped wing tips are included as well. Not only that, but there are separate wing fairings for the cannon that are different sizes. Depending on the markings option you choose, you will be using some of these bits. Fortunately the instructions indicate which bits are for which markings variant. This means you will need to make a choice early in the build process. The resin bits are strictly for the cannon barrels.
Instructions are typical Sword with well drawn construction steps that are illustration heavy. Generic construction colors are provided with the camo and markings section being a bit more specific. There are three markings options and each of these planes are a bit different from the others. The first is 6Q from 899 NAS in 1943. This one has a three blade prop, five spoke wheels, and Volkes filter. It is in standard FAA colors. Next is the box art plane from 885 NAS in 1944 in RAF shades minus the yellow ID stripe on the wings. It has a four blade prop, solid wheel discs and clipped wings. The last is K, which has the four blade prop, disc wheels, full wing tips and standard FAA colors. It also has SEAC roundels as 814 Sq was in the British East Indies Fleet during mid 1944. The decals are superbly printed by Techmod and include stencils.
This one looks like a real beauty. Looks to be pretty accurate as well, but I hesitate to go out on a limb in this regard for fear of stirring up the Spitfire fan-boys (...everyone knows that starting with serial Kxxx, the framistat was on the RIGHT side of the lower O2 bottle....). Anyway, I'm sure that most all of you will like it, especially as it is thankfully light on the etched and resin stuff.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours at your local retailer.
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