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   home > pictures / catalog > wwii > Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb    [Model# 1266]


 
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
 

Review of plastic model kit

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24

Kit: Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
Producer: Trumpeter
Item No.: 24003
Scale: 1:24

Detailing:
Decal set; Extratech

Evaluation: 2/5


Aircraft models in 1:24 scale are not a novelty to our market, but until recently there have only been grossly "outdated" kits, which were both pricey and of poor quality. Perhaps that explains the small number of our model builders, who would now devote much of their time to 1:24 scale.
The Chinese Trumpeter certainly brings new excitement into this category of plastic models; as my first attempt at this series I decided to test the legendary Spitfire Mk. V

Preconditions:
I had two complete kits at my disposal, which presumably allowed me greater objectivity in evaluating their true quality.
I mainly used Humbrol glue and Tamiya filler, some joints were done with the help of superglue. Transparent parts were glued with Herkules dispersant glue.
The basis for my model was Tamiya filler [spray] and silver Tamiya enamel in spray. I painted the camouflage with synthetic Agama colors, which allow for more weathering techniques possibilities.
I applied decals using the GS softening solution.

Kit:
The box cover is certainly not one of the most attractive, just like the other Trumpeter covers from this era. On the other hand, I must give credit for the cardboard material, which is very sturdy, thus perfectly protecting the kit's components: i.e. 233 grey plastic parts, 6 of transparent plastic, metal parts set [for the attachment of control surfaces], rubber parts [wiring, tires], and a sheet of photographic film representing the instrument panel dials.
The quality of plastic components is quite good, but definitely not adequate for the scale of the model and its recommended retail price. I was immediately baffled by the riveting represented by thousands of "holes" covering the entire fuselage surface. Another shock came when I noticed that the component's surface was "covered with canvas", and since they were molded under production of Trumpeter, the ejector pin marks were bound to be found everywhere.

The transparent plastic parts, i.e. transparent canopy components, are a different story - although they are not very detailed, their thickness puts them into the category of high quality 1:48 models. Unfortunately, the instrument panel body is made from a "different sort" of transparent material: the manufacturer apparently assumed that the Spitfire was using armor plating from the captured "koenigs tigers" - so amazingly thick is the panel. The side engine covers are also made of the transparent plastic, but I'd be very surprised, if our model builders could find some use for this "see-through" version.
My smallest complaint concerns the rubber components, i.e. the pieces forming wiring, engine hydraulics and the 3 landing gear wheels. They all look quite realistic, they are also very "elastic", but the tires are "without tread" and other details desirable for such scale [producer, size...].
Trumpeter found an interesting solution for the attachment of all movable control surfaces. These parts are "suspended" on small hinges, thus really "movable".
The graphic design of decals displays perhaps the lowest quality out of the entire kit. Not only does the producer offer only one marking scheme - "RF-K[rysia]" - which wouldn't be a major problem, but the number of blunders and measurement errors in this case is unheard of [what is more, I am talking about a marking, which has been well documented on high quality full-color photographs!].

Detail sets:
As you can guess from reading the description above, to give my model a decent look I had to use an alternative decal set from a Polish producer Extratech [presently offering two sets]. Furthermore, I had to invest into the "Chinese version" of the interior [see below] and had to exchange the "old" propeller type - both parts can be easily replaced with the aged components from AIRFIX [if you have the opportunity]. At the time of my construction I couldn't find any other available accessories on our market.

Shape precision:
I didn't try to examine the shape precision of main components in the hope that in such scale potential "millimeter" variances could not have a big impact on the final appearance of my model.
The more I focused on assessing the interior dimensions - I immediately noticed that the pilot's seat reassembled the seat from the airport latrine; also the size and location of other cockpit details didn't match the available photo documentation.
I have already suggested that the use of the kit's default propeller and spinner is disputable. The manufacturer's type was used mainly in the older Spitfires; although some documentation shows that the propeller was mounted even on the aircraft version Mk. Vb, on all photographs I could find the planes with "RF-K" marking already carried the new propeller version.

Equipment and weaponry:
The kit allows "unpaneling" - the panels covering all weapons installed in the wing are revmovable (see wing photos below). Another option is to "display" the engine behind the transparent side panels [I am, of course, quite skeptical about this option], or you can leave the engine uncovered [i.e. without the side and top panels]. In the case of my test model I made a compromise - with the right panel firmly adhered, I took the left and top panels away [the photos illustrate the final stage of my "straight from the box" build - Spitfire experts will surely discover numerous flaws and missing details].

Assembly:
All components fit almost perfectly and they are adequately flexible. The kit's creators designed a very smart joint scheme for almost all parts, with the exception of the front cockpit panel [no indication of a joint line] and the "movable" landing flaps [the inner details are missing and Spitfire experts can, once again, find many factual errors].
"Loosening up" of the aforementioned movable parts on a static model poses a small technical challenge. The straight from the box build has unnaturally big gaps in the joints, movable parts spoil the wing profile [they stick out], not mentioning the valid laws of gravity; it is thus quite difficult to set all the movable parts in their desired position. The trailing edge is highly unrealistic and abnormally thick. To demonstrate the result on my test model, I let the edge practically unmodified, i.e. without sanding [however, even a less experienced model builder should fix this problem].

Preparations:
Before the construction, you need to decide whether you want to struggle with the problems described above or whether you want to build the model just for fun. In the first case, you need to acquire at least the new pilot's seat, and if you chose the manufacturer's camouflage scheme, you will also need the new propeller; if you purchase extra decal sets from the Polish Extratech, then you can use the "old" propeller.
Next step is to reduce the width of all joints constituting the trailing edges. I recommend that you make a "dry" test assembly of the entire fuselage using masking tapes [or yellow Tamiya tapes]. This way you can get a general idea about the upcoming construction, so that you can optimally plan your build procedures [e.g. before joining the centerline with the fuselage you must complete the cockpit's interior and glue the main wing components first, i.e. the top and bottom parts, together with gluing in the movable wing components].

Build process:
I started off my model with the engine assembly, then sprayed it and painted an adequate weathering scheme [according to available literature]. While I was "reviving" the engine, I was also assembling, painting and applying weathering to individual cockpit components.
Faithful to the build progression in the manual, I then assembled the fuselage, putting the engine inside a "cage" - nevertheless, I would suggest a different order. First, I would "cut off" the cage locking the engine inside the fuselage, then join the fuselage halves together, insert the cockpit from the bottom, and leave the engine for the very end, after the fuselage has been painted with camouflage and weathering.
While I was assembling the fuselage, I was also putting the various wing components together: I assembled the weapon systems, prepared the bays for their installation, then assembled the movable wing parts by gluing the hinges, and finally connecting the various components to form the wing. I was pleasantly surprised with the result. The main fuselage components fitted nicely together and the entire "construction" looked quite solid, and compact, contrary to my bad experience with some other models in 1:32 scale - e.g. Revell's "Lightning". The last step was to add the horizontal stabilizers and "center" the geometry.
When all of the main joints were ready, I started with gap-filling. As usual, I chose the time-tested Tamiya filler in spray form. After carefully sanding the repaired joints, I let the result "ripen" for couple of weeks. I almost always use the Tamiya filler [spray, "FINE"] as the base layer; in this case, however, I used two layers: first coat / filling / second coat / "wet" sanding with 1500 grit.
After several days of "hardening and drying" and after another wet sanding with 1500 grit, I assembled the fuselage with dispersion glue as much as possible, whereas the weapon covers on the wings held well enough even without any adhesive. I then prepared the model for another layer using a silver spray - Tamiya enamel TS22, recommended for large fuselages.
While my "Silver Spitfire" was drying in a waiting room for couple of weeks, I used this spare time for assembling smaller components like landing gear, propellers etc. Several weeks after the "silvering", I re-polished the entire fuselage in running water with a very fine sandpaper plus Tamiya finishing compounds; after drying thoroughly, I followed with camouflage painting [see below] and weathering. I complemented the nearly finished model with pre-assembled landing gears, propeller and few other details - you can judge the result for yourself.

Painting:
The guide to my painting scheme was a model with "RF-T" marking - the Extratech version. Although there are some references in technical literature to the "old" propeller being used with this specific model, my assembly assignment required the "new" propeller; you can thus compare the different appearance of both versions by looking at the finished model.
Before spraying on the camouflage, the fuselage received its "third" coat of paint - a light great camouflage color. After two days of drying, I carefully masked the lower fuselage components and sprayed on a dark grey color on the top surfaces; after another 48 hours, I prepared the masking using "an oil-free modeling clay" for spraying on a dark green color. When dry, I removed the masking from the entire fuselage and let the colors "ripen" in a waiting room.
Here I must draw your attention to a peculiar quality of "green Agama Colorstop", which after several days of "drying" changed its characteristics from a colorstop to a high quality "base color". I thus had to apply Tamiya finishing compounds [fortunately, they disposed of the colorstop]. With these compounds I also polished the entire fuselage. In accordance with available photographs, I tried to realistically "wear down" the aircraft's strained areas to bare metal with sandpaper 600, 1500 and a scalpel. Then I sprayed the whole set with two layers of synthetic Humbrol enamel [warning: based on my bad experience from the past, do not use acrylic enamels on a synthetic surface!] and after 24 hours, when the enamel layer was still pliable enough, I started applying decals.

Decals:
The manufacturer's decal sheet allows for only one marking - "RF-K[rysia]". Alternatively, you may use one of the available Extratech sets.
In both cases, the decal quality was very good, which shouldn't be surprising for a 1:24 scale model.
The kit's decals are glossy, those from Extratech are rather semi-matt.
Having the glossy enamel in the "base", the decals' adhesive power was excellent, the kit's decals were even slightly better. The decal's "fragility" posed a small problem [especially those from Extratech]: for example, I couldn't "stretch" the royal emblem on the wing's bottom over the bumps on the panel.
With regard to the decals' size, I definitely recommend an application of a softening solution. In my case, I successfully used a GS solution - I suggest the following procedure:
- Dip the decal in warm water for about 5 seconds and place it on newspapers until the twisted base paper straightens out.
- "Wash" the decal's contact area with a softening solution.
- Slide the decal carefully into its position, let it react for about 30 seconds and then dry it with an absorbing cloth. Apply solution so that it soaks under the decal, and immediately dry it out again.
- Wait for about one minute, then apply solution one more time and let it dry out and harden completely without intervening [even though the decal's surface won't be "corroded", as is common with some other decal sets, there is still a danger of "tearing" the softened decal by rough handling!
- If, despite the previous steps, there are still some trapped "air bubbles" under the decal, then you have to apply solution one more time and let it dry again. The second "application" usually fix the decal perfectly.
After following the procedure above, you should be happy with the result. Nevertheless, to the experienced model builders I strongly recommend using the kit's decal sets as a mere "template" for making your own masks - i.e. model of such scale certainly deserves "spraying up" most of its decals.

Weathering:
I weathered the model using my favorite method for "big planes". It is a very simple technique, which I developed my 1/35 armor vehicles builds. The procedure is basically as follows:
1) Model received a complete camouflage including decals and a protective layer of synthetic glossy transparent enamel [I recommend Humbrol, Agama colors need tens of hours for drying, and I don't use Revell at all, due to its short durability],
2) After masking the transparent parts, I sprayed the entire model with a matt or semi-matt synthetic enamel and left to dry for at least 48 hours,
3) When dry, I sanded the entire fuselage in water with a very fine sandpaper, so as to distinguish the "glossy" and "matt" areas [see real aircraft documentation],
4) After drying from the "bath", I filled several cans with different tones of Humbrol synthetic grey and brown, then two cups with gloss and matt black color - next to them I placed a can with a clear thinner S6006,
5) Then looking at the photographs of the real aircraft I used a small brush to apply color on areas that were "worn down", and with a big brush dipped in thinner I tried to blur the transition places and soften the weathering contrast (beware: You need to blow dry the thinner, otherwise it will blotch the model),
6) The finished model received a coat of transparent enamel; I also gave it another sanding in water and a polish with finishing compounds, where needed.

Conclusion:
In my personal view, this kit doesn't stand a chance to become popular among model builders, not mentioning the resurgence of interest in 1:24 scale aircraft models. I recommend this model only to the experienced and patient builders, who are able to create many components out of nothing. Not recommended for novice builders. Otherwise I cannot guarantee a better result than what you can see on the attached photographs. At the same time, I hope that this negative evaluation doesn't apply to the new 1:24 kits from Trumpeter.

US IP proxy

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
 
 
 
Spitfire Mk. Vb
Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24
Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24
Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24
Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24
Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24
Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24 Trumpeter Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb 1:24
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