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KIT REVIEW


Eduard The Longest Day -- Dual Combo Limited Edition
1:72 Scale



The Allied invasion of Europe is commemorated as one of the most momentous events of the 20th Century and as the beginning of the end of the brutal Nazi regime.  The combined sea, land, and air elements of “The Longest Day” – D-Day – involved an invasion force the likes of which the history of war had never seen.  Air support for the landings at Normandy was provided by all available air arms, and the RAF committed a vast number of their Spitfires into the fray.  In this Limited Edition kitset, Eduard provides TWO full kits of their 1:72 scale Spitfire Mk. IX, photoetched and resin detail parts, pre-cut masks, and decals for six airplanes.  Let’s see what’s in the box.    

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Until 1941, early versions of the Spitfire were relatively evenly matched against the Bf 109.  Yet, when the Fw 190A came on the scene and significantly outclassed the Spitfire V, this precipitated a crisis for the British.  If things remained unchanged, the Germans would be certain to gain air superiority.  Losses were mounting to the point that Spitfire Mk. Vs were held back from nearly all daylight RAF operations over mainland Europe.  To gain the upper hand against the 190 and yet newer and more capable 109s, the response featured a few new and improved Spitfires such as the Mk. VII and Mk. VIII built around the Merlin 60 or 70 series powerplants.  The two-stage supercharged Merlin 61 engine which powered its first Spitfire in September 1941.  This engine and the follow-on Merlin 63s in 1943 provided markedly improved speed and climb performance especially between 20,000 and 40,000 feet where German opponents had seriously outclassed the Mk. V.

The need for a stopgap Spitfire was urgent.  By late February 1942, a Merlin 63 had been adapted to the standard Mk. V airframe and the first prototype Mk. IX took to the air.  The type was rushed into full-rate production by June.  Soon after, the Mk. IX began to directly replace the Mk. V.  By this time, the majority of the Spitfires from the Mk. VIII on used 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 manufacture and could be fitted with various armament options.  The D-type wing was specifically tailored for PR Spitfires (recce Spits with no armament and more gas).  In 1944, the E-type wing was introduced.  It was structurally a C- but the outboard .303 cal machine guns were deleted in favor of a mix-and-match configuration of .50 cal Browning M2s or 20 mm Hispano cannons for maximum offensive punch.

The introduction of the Mk. IX allowed momentum in the air war to shift back towards the RAF allowing them to resume offensive Spitfire operations over Europe.  Its first kill came on 30 July 1942, downing (in a telling fashion) an Fw 190.  Other Mk. IX distinctions include the highest-ever interception of WWII with a Mk. IX shooting down a Ju 86R at over 43,000 feet.  In October 1944, the Mk. IX was the first allied aircraft to down an Me 262.  By the end of the war, more than 5,600 Mk. IXs had rolled off the production line and many continued their service with the RAF and smaller air forces well into the early jet age.

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Eduard's The Longest Day – Dual Combo Limited Edition in 1:72 scale contains parts for two Spitfire Mk. IX kits.  You get ten blue-gray sprues holding a total of 330 parts, though about 70 or so will go unused here.  Twenty-six clear parts come on two clear sprues.  Two frets of mostly pre-painted photoetched metal parts containing a total of 62 parts are provided.  Four cast resin parts are included along with one pre-cut self-adhesive masking set for the clear parts of both kits.  The instructions guide the build over nine pages.  The airframe markings are provided on a single Cartograf-printed decal sheet and two Eduard-printed sets of airframe stencils for the following airplanes:

Strengths:  Eduard’s line of 1:72 scale Spitfires, first released in 2016, has garnered a great reputation and a significant following (your reviewer is in that crowd!).  It’s an awesome kit simply on its own terms, and further, really is the very best of all the 1:72 scale injection-molded Spitfires.  And in this set, you get TWO of them (including parts for a Mk. IXc and Mk. IXe) in addition to some great detail parts and markings options.   

First, parts breakdown is excellent – simple, straightforward, and logical.  Test fitting of the wings and fuselage revealed a perfect fit.  Detail is exceptional, especially the exterior surfaces (just rich with detail, especially for a 1:72 scale kit).  Second, interior detail is also very nice, from the complete cockpit to the main gear bays.  There are also parts for a centerline drop tank and air-to-ground bombs.  For the last markings option (Spitfire Mk. IXe, MK329), you get a pair of cast resin wooden barrels.  As legend has it, Wing Commander Johnson ferried beer inside these bomb-rack fitted barrels to his men in Normandy in this airplane, itself unarmed and cobbled together from spares and wrecked airframes.     

This photoeched metal details add a great deal (I’d say some critical features) to the base plastic kit.  The pre-painted photoetched parts are awesome and bring out the details of the instrument panel is ways that very few scale modelers could do on their own, especially in this scale.  The pre-painted belts are also quite impressive and well done, and the underwing radiator faces are beautifully represented, especially in 1:72 scale, as photoetched parts.  Builders everywhere can also appreciate the value in the masking set, too, which saves a lot of time and provides very precise edges and geometry for all the masking on the clear parts.

The markings options are all great.  Invasion stripes (unsurprisingly) abound.  The markings options do capture a representative cross-section of Spits as they appeared during the D-Day timeframe and include several examples of provisional markings as well.  All the decals are very well printed.  In fact, each one of them is very inviting (practically inspiring) to the point that I think I will get a few of the Eduard Mk. IXc and IXe Overtrees to indeed do a few more of the schemes included in the kit.  

Weaknesses:  About the only critique I can offer is that there is are mold seam on the engine exhaust stacks (should not be there) that extends across the exhaust port itself (definitely should not be there).  Fortunately, a few swipes with a sanding stick and they’re gone.

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Eduard’s 1:72 scale Longest Day Dual Combo Limited Edition kit set is an excellent offering, and you cannot go wrong with this set model.  It’s great.  If you DO seek more detail, Eduard also produces a range of Brassin detail sets including a new cockpit and a gun/cannon bay detail set, resin wheels, the top cowling, a landing flaps set, and an exterior PE detail set for their 1:72 scale Spitfire.  However you choose to proceed, this set represents a great combination of fit, detail, great markings, and overall allure that’s hard to beat.  Since it’s a limited edition release, get one while you can if you are so inclined!

Sincere thanks are owed to everyone at 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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** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


 

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Just Released!

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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

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