|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Multi-media kit with resin parts|
The Seafire F Mk XVII was essentially a modified Mk XV; the most important change was the reinforced main undercarriage which used longer oleos and a lower rebound ratio. This went some way towards taming the deck behaviour of the Mk XV, reduced the propensity of the propeller tips "pecking" the deck during an arrested landing, and the softer oleos stopped the aircraft from occasionally bouncing over the arrestor wires and into the crash barrier. Most production XVIIs had the cut down rear fuselage and teardrop canopy (the windscreen was modified to a rounded section, with narrow quarter windows, rather than the flat windscreen used on Spitfires) and an extra 33 gallon fuel tank fitted in the rear fuselage. In addition the wings were reinforced, with a stronger main spar necessitated by the new undercarriage, and they were able to carry heavier under wing loads than previous Seafire variants. 232 of this variant were built by Westland (212) and Cunliffe-Owen(20).
Sword's Seafire XVII is quite typical of their recent releases. The molding is very good with fine engraved panel work. There are ejector towers on all the major pieces with some requiring removal prior to assembly in order to get parts to fit. This kit is obviously part of multiple boxings as the fuselage halves that would come on the main sprue have been removed and a smaller sprue of replacement halves is included. The kit comes with a clear sprue that includes a one-piece canopy, gunsight and a couple of other small pieces. Resin is limited to cannon barrels and exhaust.
The kit's cockpit is nicely done with well represented detail molded in the fuselage walls along with a rather detailed interior molding that includes seat, bulkheads, stick, O2 bottles and a nice floor with rudder pedals molded in place. A section of armor plate with head rest goes behind the seat.
For the wings, there are sections to box in the wheel wells. Landing gear has separate oleo scissors and the gear doors for both main and tailwheel are separate. There is a choice of three or four spoked wheels, though it appears the three spoked versions are not for this boxing. The prop has separate blades with each blade having a key that fits into the backing plate. The exhaust pipes fit into a small box that is then glued to the upper cowling prior to installation. I would hope that one could put in the exhaust after the upper cowling is installed to ease painting.
Instructions are well done with generic color references and indications as to what to paint the small bits during construction. The decal sheet provides markings for three options. One in the 'old' scheme is from 741NAS, the Operational Flying Training Unit, Air Warfare School in 1947 and has large areas of yellow on the elevators, ailerons and wing tips. The other is from1833 NAS At RNVS Bramcote in 1949. THe final option is from 767 NAS, Deck Landing Control Officer Training Unit in 1950. The latter two are in the Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky scheme. A full stencil suite is provided and the instructions have an excellent placement guide. The decals are superbly printed by Techmod.
It seems like 1/72 Spitfire enthusiasts are getting a goodly number of new kits to build and this nice Seafire just adds to the mix.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer
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