Tuesday, June 28

Build review: Jono takes on Eduard's 48th scale Spitfire Mk.XVI Bubbletop ProfiPACK

Jono was a big fan of the late war Spitfire Mk.IXc - late version from Eduard, so when the chance came to make another – even later model spitfire he was a natural choice. See how he detailed his Spitfire Mk.XVI Bubbletop ProfiPACK kit in today’s build review…

Build review: Spitfire Mk.XVI Bubbletop ProfiPACK
Eduard Models
1/48th scale
Kit No #8285
5 decal options
Photo Etch parts
Cockpit Masks included
RRP $ 49,95US from the Eduard site

As a big fan of the Spitfire I will always remember what one of our I.P.M.S. NSW members once saying “you can never have too many Spitfires” - well it would seem that Eduard must have heard this and have produced another beautiful Spitfire to add to their 1:48 scale range of them.

This kit features five schemes that are from the period of 1945-49 and suit the “Bubbletop” Spitfire Mk.XVI. I have reviewed this kit in the earlier Spitfire Mk.IXc - late version from Eduard, so when the chance came to make this post-war “Spitty”  I was eager to take it on.

Colour schemes for these late and post-war birds are varied and often unknown to many modellers so it's a chance to do something a little different.
The sprues in the kit are all clean and sharply moulded, but great care needs to be taken when removing some of the finer detail as they are just so very fine. We will quickly look at each one before we get on with the build…
Sprue D & L
The Wing sprue is here in both easy to assemble upper and lower halves.  The details are very sharply moulded and the rivet detail will be a synch to pick up in the painting and finishing part of the build.
 Sprue K is the same with an alternate wing…
Some closer detail on the top of the wing...
…And the undersides.

 The insides of the wheel wells are detailed here on the insides of the wings.

Sprue F Sprue F has a fair few parts that are unused in this boxing, but the cockpit firewalls, the seat and pit floor along with the instrument panel. The whole of the cockpit is moulded here very nicely although the Eduard “BRASSIN” cockpit is an even bigger improvement in quality. This injection moulded cockpit, however, is quicker and easier to make and more than matched most people’s expectations.
Sprue G
This sprue features some more spare parts but otherwise houses the engine exhausts, the propeller and undercarriage gear. Again we see finely detailed rivets on aluminium, hollowed exhausts made with slide moulds and finely sculpted contours on skin and propeller blades.

Sprue L
The two sides of the fuselage are here as well as the horizontal tails moulded as one part but able to be posed. The underside of the cowling of the engine is a bit delicate to be moulded in two separate halves I think. IT will take some care here to not mess up surface detail.

You can see here the rivet detail, which again is a great thing to have on the model to pick out. IF you don’t like it then just give the kit an extra coat of Mr Surfacer. I like it a lot, however.

Transparent sprue
All you need to make your bubble top see-thru is here – the transparencies are clear and thin enough to be acceptable in this scale.

Photo Etch sheet
The photo etch sheet is what Eduard do the best – and this one will help you a lot while making this kit. The seatbelts, the instrument panel and the other tiny details are fully coloured which helps a great deal when putting this together.

Canopy Mask
A handy (and free in this box) canopy mask is here in this boxing – it’s great to have it included and it sure does save time and effort doing this masking yourself.

The instructions let you know exactly how to use the masks included – this will be a help to those who have not used them before.

The instructions:
Eduard does nice instructions and these are just as the usual – clear and nicely drawn whilst easy to follow. Special attention is drawn to important parts of construction at all the relevant places.

There are five marking choices in this kit. They cover some interesting schemes; mostly from very late war and post-war periods of service (1945-49) which is different as this period is not often covered. The colours are given out in Mr Color

A stencil page showing where to add the aircraft stencils is a welcome addition.

The decal sheets (x2)
Printed by Cartograf, these two decal sheets cover both the national markings and the individual unit and aircraft markings as well as the instrument panel and aircraft stencils in full colour.
As you can see by the close up compared to this UK I pence coin the register of the decals is sharp and the colours, for the most part, are very well reproduced. The colour of the roundels in the top left is just that little dark. More about the decals in the review.
Making the kit
All the sprues were given the warm soapy wash treatment and then thoroughly dried for a couple of days. 

As with the last one I did for review, this is a stunning representation of the Mk.XVI with Eduard’s exceptional attention to detail. At times it seems that this kit is a little over engineered, so much care must be taken with assembly so as not to lose any of the rivet or fastener detail that has been moulded in. I know that there are after-market parts available but the one part I thought they would have sorted by now is the two-piece engine cowling which no matter how careful you are you will need to re-scribe some of the rivet detail.

For this review, I only used what was in the box with no additional resin parts at all. I did find with the cockpit that it was much easier to deal with than the Eduard resin one that I have reviewed before, and with some parts drilled out it gave more depth when fitted and I added a small bit of wire that is always missed on the left-hand side just below the Instrument panel. I was quite happy with the end product.
 This is the start of the build and with me, as always the cockpit is first.

One thing I do believe is that just by drilling out the undercarriage locks and the perforations in the bulkhead behind the pilot’s seat all add to the final look.
This is the difference created to the pilot’s door just by adding the photo etched parts.

I chose the Tamiya XF71 for the cockpit colour and as you can see there is a marked difference in all three brands colour perception of British interior green. The Tamiya one I feel is the closest.

The cockpit, installed and weathered with the Tamiya colours - nice detail here picked out and enhanced with the photo-etched parts in the box. IT sure does save time and effort and it looks great.

This is my idea of the office so to speak which I have not gone too overboard with the weathering process.
There is no doubt that everything goes together beautifully and the wing to the fuselage, under wing radiators and undercarriage all clipped into place and even though the die-hards out there will gasp as no glue was used on them which helps to not damage any detail.

The fuselage went together perfectly and the cockpit was a great fit. 

According to the build notes, this particular aircraft was painted silver by the ground crew for an air race hence no gun sight or cannon barrels. Once I had got rid of all the seam lines and scratches the whole model was given two coats of Humbrol gloss black enamel and left to dry for a week. I have used Humbrol because I have never had much success with the Alclad gloss black.

Now the underside of the undercarriage doors were painted with polished aluminium and then covered over and I used matt aluminium in two light coats to give a bit of depth then highlighted with a little highly polished aluminium from a height then left to dry again for a week.
As you can see by this picture I have not tried to make it look like an even silver paint finish. I wanted the dark and light shades but done by using the one colour not using other silver paint shades.

The next part was a tricky bit with cotton wool buds in the direction of the airflow, the aircraft was gently polished. Then with the hose from my airbrush, it was blown over to remove any residue.

Three light coats of Future floor polish were applied before the decals went on. I had no trouble with decals application at all and with a dab of Micro-Sol they pulled down beautifully into all the rivet detail. With only a bit of weathering done to give the silver some additional depth and a final coat of Future to seal everything

Here is the real thing at the time of the markings on this model...

...And this is the finished Spitty. I am very happy with the paint job and have at long last got the finish on the exhaust pipes I have been after for years.
This has been a very enjoyable build and I have always wanted to display a Spitfire with the EPU plugged in on a scenic base. I just need to make a better looking electrical cable that goes from the EPU to the aircraft. The plastic tubing, they give you in the Airfix set is too thick.

Jono Willis

My sincere thanks Eduard for letting me build this kit.