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KIT REVIEW


Eduard #8287
Spitfire HF Mk. VIII ProfiPACK Edition -- 1:48 Scale

The Supermarine Spitfire took many forms and was produced over many legendary variants, but the HF series were the highest-flying of all the Spitfires, specially modified to function as a high-altitude interceptor.  Eduard’s Spitfires are the best in 1:48 scale, and recently, they added the HF Mk. VIII to their family of Spits.  We just received the ProfiPACK edition of this kit, so let’s take a look.  

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Before 1941, early versions of the Spitfire found themselves relatively evenly matched against the Bf 109.  Yet, when the Fw 190A came on the scene and significantly outclassed the Spitfire Mk. V, the Germans started to move to attaining air superiority.  The response featured the development and introduction new and improved variants such as the Mk. VII and Mk. VIII centered around either the Merlin 60 or 70 series two-stage supercharged powerplants.  The need for a stopgap Spitfire was urgent.  The first of these new versions ready for combat was the Mk. IX in June 1942.

The Mk. VIII followed the Mk. IX into service.  It was itself derived from the Mk. VII but featured an unpressurized cockpit, a stronger fuselage, and retractable tail wheel.  Mk. VIIIs were powered by either the Merlin 63, 66, or 70 powerplants.  Also, Spitfires from the Mk. VIII onward used only three basic wing types; C, D, and E.  The C-type wing was known as the "universal wing" seen on most Spits after mid-1942.  This standardized wing design was simplified for faster manufacturing and could be fitted with various armament options.

The Spitfire HF Mk. VIII was optimized for high altitude flight, powered by the Merlin 70 and could reach 44,000 feet.  Many featured extended wingtips.  Up in the rarefied air, the HF found its prey – high flying German bombers and reconnaissance aircraft.  The HF served widely in the European theater, North Africa, and Asia.  The RAF was the primary operator of the type, but the USAAF was another operator of smaller numbers of HF Mk. VIIIs as well.   

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Eduard’s 1:48 scale Spitfire HF Mk. VIII kit contains four blue-gray injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 206 parts.  Approximately 66 of these parts go unused on the HF Mk. VIII.  Panel lines, rivets, and fasteners are all delicately represented by engraved, recessed details.  Seventeen clear parts are present on a single radial sprue, but only nine of them are used in this kit.  Thirty-seven photoetched metal parts are included on one fret, and some of these parts are indeed pre-painted (e.g., instrument panel, seatbelts).  There’s also a pre-cut self-adhesive masking set used for the windscreen, canopy, and underwing lights.  The decals come on two sheets: one primary sheet and one consisting of stencils.  The full-color instruction booklet organizes the build over some 55 steps, though each step is not numbered).  Decals and the markings guide cover five HF Mk. VIIIs:

Strengths:  Eduard’s Spitfires continue to reign be the best Spitfires in 1:48 scale since their Spitfire family was launched in 2013.  They are beautiful and virtually flawless, with delicately engraved surface details, great fit, and airtight engineering.  This kit really does justice to the legendary Spitfire.  Here, scale modelers will find a very well-appointed cockpit, enhanced by the beautifully made pre-painted photoetched instrument panel and harnesses.  The cockpit entry door can be displayed open or closed, just as with the canopy.  Ailerons, elevators, rudders, and radiator flaps are all separate parts and are positionable.  Exhaust stacks are hollowed out at their ends.  The pre-cut paining masks also go far to save time in producing a precision masking job.

The instructions are impeccably rendered and easy to follow.  The decals appear to have been printed in-house by Eduard, and overall look quite good (but see below).  The markings options are also equally irresistible.  They are great choices, and it’s hard to know which one to start with, but the two-tone grey RAF high-altitude interceptor is very unique, and the USAAF HF Mk. VIII in a three-tone desert paint scheme is also immensely appealing.  Technically, you can only choose one, but I suppose this is one reason why Eduard offers “overtree” sets of many of their kits!    

Weaknesses:  The only shortcoming I can identify is that the orange circle at the center of the South African national insignia and the red circle at the center of the No. 92 Squadron Spit’s cockade are both just ever so slightly our of register.  It’s subtle, and only a close look will reveal this observation.    

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This is a great addition to Eduard’s Spitfire family in 1:48 scale, and with the great decals, photoetched metal parts, and masking sets in the box, you can’t go wrong.  Still, if you are looking for more detail yet, Eduard produces an entire range of Brassin sets for their 1:48 Mk. VIII, including a cockpit set, and engine set, replacement wheels, exhaust stacks, and photoetched detail sets for the exterior and landing flaps.

Sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample.  You visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
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Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
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