|PRICE:||$2.99 when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||1982 rebox of Airfix kit.|
Late in 1940, the RAF predicted that the advent of the pressurised Junkers Ju 86P bomber series over Britain would be the start of a new sustained high altitude bombing offensive by the Luftwaffe, in which case development was put in hand for a pressurised version of the Spitfire, with a new version of the Merlin (the Mk VI). It would take some time to develop the new fighter and an emergency stop-gap measure was needed as soon as possible: this was the Mk V.
The basic Mk V was a Mk I with the Merlin 45 series engine. This engine delivered 1,440 hp (1,074 kW) at take-off, and incorporated a new single-speed single-stage supercharger design. Improvements to the carburettor also allowed the Spitfire to use zero gravity manoeuvres without any problems with fuel flow. Several Mk I and Mk II airframes were converted to Mk V standard by Supermarine and started equipping fighter units from early 1941. The majority of the Mk Vs were built at Castle Bromwich.
The majority of Spitfire Vs were those with the B wing of two cannon and four machine guns. The Vb did not carry bombs, as that was an upgrade in the Vc variant. The later Vc also introduced wider tires, necessitating upper wing bulges and reinforcement strips. The introduction of the FW-190 in August 1941 meant that the Spitfire V had become obsolescent. Still, it continued to soldier on in western Europe until the advent of the Spitfire IX. It also contintued to be in front line service in areas that were not also serviced by the FW-190, which meant North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East.
Many of us grew up building Airfix kits. They were inexpensive, lacked the 'fiddlyness' of many current kits, and went together well. This particular kit in in an MPC box. MPC had a partnership with Airfix throughout the 70s and into the 80s, by reboxing their kits. At times, the decals changed, but often they were the exact same thing you would find in the UK.
These were all the raised panel line variety with minimal cockpit detail. Indeed, only a floor, seat and rear bulkhead are included. A pilot figure was supposed to mask the lack of detailing. The instrument panel was molded into the fuselage halves and the thick transparencies were enough to hide the fast that there were no instruments on the panel.
As befits the variant, a Rotol prop is included that is trapped between the fuselage halves. Exhaust is separate so you can paint the model before attaching them. Wing is a lower section with two upper halves. No boxed in wheel well is provided. While there is a 'gull' in the lower wing, it may be too shallow for some tastes.
Once the wing is attached, one moves on to the tailplanes, tail gear, guns and the lower fuselage coolant intakes. The main gear is molded into the gear doors and a gear up option is provided.
Instructions are nicely drawn and markings for a single option are provided as shown on the box art. Fortunately, there are aftermarket sheets for this version of the Spitfire so you can do something a bit different if you choose.
It has been almost 20 years since I last built this kit and I can tell you that it makes into a very nice model for your shelf when it is finished. These are easy to find and can be picked up for very little money. Well worth the effort to locate one.
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