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KIT REVIEW


Eduard #70123
Spitfire Mk. XIe ProfiPACK Edition -- 1:72 Scale

The legendary Supermarine Spitfire is an aircraft that needs no introduction.  Similarly, Eduard’s 1:72 scale family of Spitfire kits is also one of the best regarded of any of their injection-molded products over the last several years.  Recently, a sample of the ProfiPACK edition of their 1:72 scale Spitfire Mk. IXe arrived on our review bench. 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 V, this precipitated a crisis for the British.  If things remained unchanged, the Germans would gain air superiority.  In fact, losses were mounting to the point that Spitfire Mk. Vs were held back from nearly all daylight RAF operations over mainland Europe.  The response featured a few new and improved variants such as the Mk. VII and Mk. VIII centered around the Merlin 60 or 70 series powerplants.  These airplanes centered around 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 immensely improved speed and climb performance especially between 20,000 and 40,000 feet where German opponents had seriously outclassed the Mk. V.

The first of these new versions ready for combat was was the Mk. IX.  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, they began to directly replace the Mk. V.  By this time, the majority of the Spitfires from the Mk VIII on 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 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 late 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 Spitfire Mk. IXe in 1:72 scale comes in a fairly standard top-opening box.  The kit comes on five dark blue-gray sprues holding a total of 165 parts, though only about 116 will be used on the Mk. IXe.  Likewise, nine of the 13 clear parts are used in this version.  One fret of mostly pre-painted photoetched metal parts containing 31 parts and one pre-cut vinyl mask set for the masking of the clear parts are also provided.  The instructions guide the build over some 30 steps.  The markings come on a single Cartograf-printed decal sheets for the following airplanes:   

Strengths:  Eduard’s growing line of 1:72 scale kits, such as their Grumman Hellcat and Bf 110, have garnered a stellar reputation and great following.  Their line of new tool 1:72 scale Spitfires, first released in 2016, is consistent with the excellent quality seen in Eduards’ other 1:72 scale kits.  It’s a knockout simply on its own terms, and further, it strikes me as the very best of all the 1:72 scale injection-molded Spitfire kits.  First, parts breakdown is excellent – simple, straightforward, and logical.  Test fitting of the wings and fuselage revealed perfect fit.  Detail is exceptional, especially the exterior surfaces (just rich with detail, especially for a 1:72 scale kit).  Interior detail is also very nice, from the complete cockpit to the main gear bays.  There’s also parts for a centerline drop tank and air-to-ground bombs.   

This ProfiPACK edition adds 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, and the decals look to be 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 Overtrees (70123X) of this kit to indeed do more than one of the schemes included in the kit.    

Weaknesses:  Only two critiques that can be entertained.  One is barely a critique – several part were loose and off the sprues upon opening the box, but were still nicely located within their parts bags.  Also, look out for the mold seam on the engine exhaust stacks that extends across the exhaust port itself.

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Eduard’s Spitfire Mk. IXe is an excellent kit of this legendary aircraft, and you cannot go wrong with this model.  If you seek more detail, Eduard also produces an aftermarket gun/cannon bay detail set for the 1:72 scale E-wing Spitfire.  However you choose to proceed, this kit represents a great combination of fit, detail, great markings, and overall allure that’s hard to beat.     

We extend our sincere thanks 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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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
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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
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