Eduard 1/144 Spitfire IXe
KIT #: 4428
PRICE: $24.95 SRP
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Two kits per box


The Spitfire IX was supposed to be a stop gap fighter while the Spitfire VIII was fully developed. The IX initially was the new Merlin in an older airframe. As so often happens, the stop gap version became that which was the most widely built. The number of variations in terms of wings, rudder and elevator designs, for instance, is almost as bewildering as Bf-109G variants. Yet these planes were widely used in the last years of the war, even as newer planes came into RAF service. Such was their popularity, that the type, mostly late builts, was adopted by a number of air forces just after the end of WWII and into the early 1950s. Several are still flying the warbird circuit and many others are in museums around the world.


Eduard sure knows how to get the most out of its design work and has made a foray into 1/144 by offering a pair of Spit IXe kits for enthusiasts. This is not their first 1/144 kit, but judging by their release of the MiG-15 in this scale as well, it may become a staple of Eduard production to give the enthusiast a small version of their larger kits. I hope so.

Each of the two kits consists of just under 20 parts. There is no cockpit, as that is a bit of a rarity when it comes to small fighters in this scale. Each of the wing options is a single casting as are the tail planes. Interestingly, the prop is in three sections; backing plate, prop, and spinner. The same goes for the landing gear which has separate wheels and gear doors. The tail gear is molded in place as is the radio mast. There is a single clear part to cover the top and there are twin under wing radiators and exhaust stacks.

Included in my kit, but not shown in the instructions or parts layout, is a set of Lilliputian masks for the canopy and wheel hubs. As you can see, the wings are a set of clipped wings and a set of standard wings. This allows you a choice of three of the six markings options for each wing type. I guess you could do two clipped wing planes with a bit of surgery. Instruction are basically a single sheet providing Gunze paint references.

Eduard provides a nice variety of markings options on this one with five of the six options in the standard European WWII camouflage scheme. I have to say that the colors on the painting diagram are so close to each other for the upper surface as to make them nearly indistinguishable. Not a zing at Eduard as others do this as well, but it would really be more useful to make each camo color distinct, even if the shades shown are not correct. Heck, I'd be happy with greyscale if it would help. There are two British, one Czech, one French, one Norwegian, and a lone high speed silver painted Israeli plane in the mix. Some of these planes have yellow wing leading edges and sky fuselage bands which the modeler will have to paint. The decal sheet is very nicely printed and offers all your insignia and such. Many of the insignia are in sections to help with dealing with registration issues. The instruction booklet itself is in full color since 85% of it deals with painting and markings!  


Considering the minimal parts count, you would think this would be a quick build. Yes and no. First, I painted the interior and inside of the gear doors as well as the area in the center of the wing with RAF Interior Green. It looks like there was supposed to be room for an interior as the inside fuselage walls have thin cutouts, so perhaps that will be a future boxing. I found when cementing the fuselage halves together (step 1), that I needed to thin the inside of the right fuselage's upper fin or it would not fit flush. There is also a rather prominent lip on the lower left fuselage that would best be removed to get a good fit.

You can get the fuselage filler free with a lot of test fitting, but mine were not. The wings are a fairly good fit, though the gaps they leave when installed are larger than the panel lines. Your choice to fill these. I did on one and not on the other. I also found that the radio mast is easily broken.....

Tail planes are next and these are handed so take care when installing. If they don't fit relatively flush, you have it on the wrong side. The canopy fit rather nicely and I was pleasantly surprised by the fit. I then masked them using the included masking set. The bits are very small and I used a fine point scalpel blade to remove and transfer these. I'd painted the wheels aluminum and so used the masks for these. They work very nicely. Unfortunately for me, I painted the wheels too light a grey so ended up brush painting them later.

Now to choose markings. I wanted post war planes and wasn't all that impressed with the RAF options, so chose the French and the Israeli option. The Israeli plane was sprayed with Tamiya AS-12, while the French one was going to be a bit more complex. With it, I painted the underside medium sea grey, then masked the underside bits and painted the upper surface dark green. I wasn't about to mask the camo pattern so used a nice brush to paint on the ocean grey. I used Agama acrylics for the upper grey and it went on beautifully. The Israeli plane had the anti-glare panel area masked and sprayed with black. For both planes the prop spinner is red and backing plate aluminum. Aluminum was used for the landing gear.

With the planes painted, the French one got a coat of Future and both were decaled once the main gear legs and wheels were attached. The decals are quite good. They are thin but not easily torn. I used setting solution on them to help them snuggle down. As a note, the white is not completely opaque, a situation that often occurs with thin markings.

I then glued in the exhaust, losing one to the carpet monster. Not to be dissuaded, I cobbled up something that sort of looks like exhaust from a small section of plastic card. I used the French plane for this bit as it already suffered from the broken radio mast and was the plane getting the propeller that had the broken blade. I used a small bit on my motor tool to open up the carb intake and glued on the landing gear doors. The French plane was provided with a matte clear coat and then the masking was removed from them both. I used a bit of pastel for exhaust and then glued on the prop. That was it.

I was looking for a kit that I could finish in a relatively short time as my other projects were taking longer than expected. While these were not, for me, week end builds, they were not difficult and did not offer much in the way of issues. One thing for sure, these kits are a lot nicer than their earlier Bf-109F. I was less than happy about having to replace the broken blade and radio mast, but having these separate would have been a bit much. The canopy masks are a must-have so it was nice to have them included, even if Eduard didn't tell you how to attach them. I also appreciated the multiple markings options as it would encourage some to buy multiples of the kit to do them all. While the small and somewhat fragile bits are not for youngsters or beginners (the overall models are about 3 inches), most will find these a nice deviation from the usual aftermarket-crammed build.

February 2016


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