Saturday, September 21

Review: Eduard’s Brassin Spitfire Drop Tank in 1/48th scale

The latest review of the new Spitfire bits from Eduard of their “Brassin” range is again handled very well by Gary with historical pictures and reference for whoever likes a good read…

Eduard Brassin Spitfire Drop Tank 1/48

Kit No: 648 108
1/48 scale
Resin parts: 3
Photo Etch parts: 1 fret
Available from: Eduard directly & most model shops

The Spitfire Mk IX was an evolved version of the Spitfire, with pylons under the wings for bombs or tanks. Whilst originally designed to be a close support fighter with a action radius of no more than 200 miles, as the war progressed and expanded on different fronts (such as tropical and desert theatres) the need for the fighter force to fly longer ranges became more common.

Much experimentation seemed to have been undertaken with different types of tanks on the Spitfire (including fitting commonly available US drop tanks) however only a few types were ever seen on combat Spits during WWII.
One relevant story about the Spitfire and use of external tanks is recounted by Flight Lieutenant William “Bill” McRae in his book “Spit Bomber”

“Some of us had already used the external so-called "slipper tanks" of either 30 or 90 gallon capacity. While occasional problems were encountered with these tanks, they were minor compared with the troubles that lay ahead with the 45 gallon "cigar" tank when 401 Squadron converted to Mk IX Spitfires in October 1943. Unlike the slipper tank, which fitted snugly against the aircraft’s belly, the cigar tank was slung some distance below the belly, which some of us believed might be the cause of our problems. (Only recently I have learned that the fault was eventually traced to the carburetor.) The problem was failure of the engine to continue running when switching from main tanks to external or from external back to mains. The latter of course was more serious, since this would usually take place over enemy territory. In fact, almost one quarter of the pilots lost by 401 Squadron during my tour were lost due to this cause. None of the ORs (Operational Records) that I have come across make any mention of tank problems, referring to the incidents only as "engine failure" or "engine trouble". There was a third problem with this tank; frequently it would refuse to jettison, whether empty or full. My aircraft at the time, MH887, for some reason was a particular offender in this regard.”
In the 648 108 Brassin set, Eduard have provided the 45 gal “Cigar” tank in two resin pieces and the mounting bracket and braces in resin and PE.
All three resin parts are crisply molded with easily removable casting blocks. The single small PE fret contains the one part for the brace for the tank to fuselage bracket.
As usual the Eduard instructions are clear and show exactly where the tank should be mounted on the model (in this case their own Mk. IX kit).
In one typically British story, it was discovered that the bomb pylons could also be modified to carry beer kegs. A variation of this was a long range fuel tank modified to carry beer instead of fuel. The modification even received the official designation Mod. XXX. Propaganda services were quick to pick up on this, which probably explains the "official" designation.
So regardless of whether you want model an aircraft with the Mod. XXX beer tank or a long range Spitfire this Eduard part will do the job very nicely. Highly recommended.

Gary Wickham

Thanks to Eduard for this kit to review