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KIT REVIEW


Eduard EduArt #11100X
Rise of the Bubbletops: Spitfire Mk. XVI & FW 190D-9 Limited Edition Dual Combo
1:48 Scale



Key dictums of air combat, such as those developed during the First World War by Oswald Boelcke and Mick Mannock, underscored the relationships between seeing your opponent and victory in an aerial combat.  In the early phases of WWII, that lesson seemed to some degree lost in some fighter designs, but soon, new variants of airplanes such as the Mustang, Spitfire, and Thunderbolt started to sport blown canopies with excellent 360° visibility – so-called ‘bubbletop’ canopy configurations.

Here, Eduard launches their new EduArt series with this new 1:48 scale dual kit combo limited edition kit of which only 999 were produced.  Eduard has packaged together a dueling pair of a late-war “bubbletops” – a Spitfire Mk. XVI and an Fw 190D-9.  But there’s even more to this kit combo: it also includes a 16 ½ x 23 ½” print of the exquisite box art by famed aviation artist Koike Shigeo in the first of the new EduArt series.  Here, we’ll take a look at this new kit and print combo.

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The Spitfire Mk. XVI was a direct evolutionary development of the Mk. IX, differing little from the earlier variant with the exception of three key features.  First, the Mk. XVI’s powerplant was Merlin 266, which was produced under license in the United States by the Packard Motor Company.  Second, all production Mk. XVIs had clipped wings for optimized roll performance at lower altitude.  Third, many Mk. VXIs, especially those produced after January 1945, featured cut-down rear fuselages with bubble canopies.

The Mk. XVI was in production between September 1944 and August 1945 with just over 1,000 airframes manufactured.  Early Mk. XVIs were equipped with the “C” wing (four 20mm cannon or two 20mm cannon and four .303 machine guns).  Later models used the “E” wing (two .50 cal. machine guns instead of the four .303s).

In many ways, the Mk. XVI was a counter to the new generation of Focke-Wulf Fw 190s that emerged and outclassed earlier Spitfires.  The FW-190D (otherwise known as the (Long-Nose) Dora (Langnasen-Dora) which got its name from a new powerplant that quite noticeably extended its nose: a 12-cylinder inline engine that replaced the radial engine of earlier models.  Production began in 1944, and some 1,800 Ds were produced.  Despite its high altitude capabilities, the Fw 190D found its true niche as a medium altitude interceptor tangling with P-51s and Spitfires as well as conducting air-to-ground attacks.  The D-9 variant also had improved visibility in the form of a ‘bubble’ or teardrop shaped canopy that provided good overall visibility, though perhaps but not quite on par with its contemporaneous Spitfire rival.

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Eduard’s dual kit combo contains, in essence, the equivalent of Eduard ProfiPack kits for both the Spitfire Mk. VXI and Fw 190D-9 with the baseline plastic kits in addition to photoetch metal detail parts, and painting masks.  Also included is a color print of the box art – to my knowledge, it ships separately in a large, flat mailer when the kit combo is purchased.

The Spitfire Mk. XVI kit contains 226 gray injection molded plastic parts on four sprues, 11 clear parts on one sprue, 37 photoetched parts (with a pre-painted instrument panel and seatbelts) on one fret, and one precut vinyl mask for the canopy and windscreen.  The Fw 190D-9 kit contains 169 gray injection molded plastic parts on five sprues, 11 clear parts on one sprue, 62 photoetched parts (with a pre-painted instrument panel and seatbelts) on one fret, and one precut adhesive mask for the canopy and windscreen.  Markings are printed by Cartograf and come on two relatively small decal sheets covering airframe markings and airframe stencils for each aircraft. The schemes included are:

  • Spitfire Mk. XVI, TB886 AU-J, Flight Lt. Bill Harper, No. 421 Squadron, RCAF, Late April/ May 1945
  • FW 190D-9, 7./JG 2, Rommelhausen, Sockheim, Germany, May 1945

Strengths:  Both the 1:48 scale Eduard Spitfire and Fw 190 families have been around for several years and both have garnered an excellent reputation.  Whatever Spitfire variant you’re modeling, if it’s an Eduard Spitfire, you can be confident that it is indeed the best-detailed, best fitting, and best engineered Spitfire available in any scale.  Molding is crisp, recessed panel and rivet/screw surface details are elegant, internal and external details are accurate, and the fit is airtight.  Ailerons, elevators, and the rudders are separate parts and are positionable.  The pre-painted photoetch metal detail parts are also excellent and the painting masks are a highly useful and beneficial inclusion.

Similarly, the Fw 190D-9 is a beautiful kit, and shares the high level of detail, outstanding fit, separate control surfaces, optional open gun and cannon bays in the wing roots and nose, open or closed cowl flap options, and the option to hang either a drop tank or a bomb on the centerline pylon.  The prepainted photoetch parts and painting masks share the same standard of quality as the Spitfire Mk. XVI.  As with the Spitfire kit in the box, it’s a beautiful thing just to look at on the sprues.

The inclusion of the print of the box art (ready for framing) makes this kit combo just that more appealing.  I’ve long held the opinion that Koike Shigeo is one of the greatest aviation artists of all time who captures his subject matter, mood, and nuance in ways no other aviation artist achieves, and I think it’s great he’s doing art for Eduard. If one chooses to frame it, the print of these dueling classic aircraft will be a beautiful addition to the walls of your workshop or anywhere else.

Weaknesses:  I cannot identify any worthwhile critiques in this offering from Eduard.  Some scale modelers might feel the kit combo runs short on marking options with only one set of markings for each airplane (corresponding to the planes depicted on the box art and print), but if anyone wishes to build something in different markings and paint scheme, there are plenty of aftermarket decals out there (though, admittedly, there’s more available for the Dora than the Spitfire Mk. XVI).

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This is an excellent offering from Eduard that brings together two outstanding kits of classic aircraft, great detail parts, and beautiful aviation art.

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,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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

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