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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Spitfire HF Mk. VIII Weekend 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, 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.  Here, we examine the Weekend Edition of this kit.  

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Before 1941, early versions of the Spitfire found themselves relatively evenly matched against the Bf 109.  When the Fw 190A came on the scene and significantly outclassed the Spitfire Mk. V, the tables turned and the Germans started to move toward attaining air superiority.  The response featured the development and introduction new and improved Spitfire 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 – the highest 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.

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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.  The decals come on two sheets: one primary sheet and one consisting of stencils.  The full-color instruction booklet organizes the build over ten pages.  Decals and the markings guide cover two HF Mk. VIIIs:

Strengths:  Eduard’s Spitfires continue to be the best later model Spitfires in 1:48 scale since their Spitfire family was launched in 2013 (Tamiya has the market on the Spitfire Mk. I, of course).  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 decent injection molded cockpit.  The cockpit entry door can be displayed open or closed, just as with the canopy.  Instrument panel details can be painted or represented by decals, and in the Weekend Edition of the kit, the seat’s shoulder harnesses and lap belts are also decals.  Ailerons, elevators, rudders, and radiator flaps are all separate parts and are positionable.  Exhaust stacks are hollowed out at their ends. 

The instructions are well rendered, as usual, and are easy to follow.  The decals appear to have been printed in-house by Eduard, and overall look quite good.  The markings options are also both great choices, but the three-tone desert paint scheme is also really quite appealing, at least to me.    

Weaknesses:  I cannot offer any substantive critiques of the Weekend Edition this kit.  

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The Eduard 1:48 scale Spitfire HF MK. VIII Weekend Edition is a no-frills boxing of this kit.  If that’s what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong.  Still, if you are looking for more detail, Eduard produces an entire range of photoetched metal and Brassin sets for their 1:48 Mk. VIII, from seatbelts to landing flaps and just about everything else in between.

Sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample.  You can 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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