Thursday, August 9

Build Guide: Spitfire Mk HF VIII in 48th scale from Eduard - see Bruce get it all together...

Our man Bruce has taken on Eduard's 48th scale Spitfire Mk HF VIII in 48th scale in one of the latest boxings to come from this prolific brand. He has already begun painting and weathering the kit but he has paused so we can catch up on his build process in today's guide...
Build Guide: Spitfire Mk HF VIII
From Eduard Model accessories 
1/48th scale
Product Link 

Now here’s an aircraft that needs no introduction.  The Supermarine Spitfire.

The early mark Spitfires have always been well served by the manufacturers in 48 scale.  

The IX/VIII ……Not so much.  In 48 scale we had the old Otaki kit, followed by the over complicated ICM kit, and then the nicely detailed, but too short Hasegawa kit.

These were all rendered obsolete when Eduard released their Mk IX in 2102, quickly followed by a MK VIII. TMN gave an in depth appraisal of the Mk IX kit here so I will not go over old ground as the Mk VIII boxing is pretty much the same.  

The Spitfire IX was a stop-gap measure made by mating a Merlin series 61 engine to a Vb airframe until the purpose-built VIII came along.  The VIII differed from the IX in having a retractable enclosed tailwheel and fuel tanks in the leading edges of the inboard wings, and Eduard have reflected this with a completely new fuselage and wing parts
No one set of fuselage parts with drop-in parts or panel lines that require filling to represent another version here!!

As this boxing depicts the High Altitude fighter, you actually get to use the extended wingtips which Eduard have included in all the MKVIII boxings to date.  Five new marking options are provided.

I could not go past the machine superbly pictured on the box top. 
In my opinion, Eduard currently have the best artwork out there, closely followed by Airfix.  But enough of this.  Let’s get on with the build

First thing was to remove all the parts called out as “not for use” in the instructions prior to commencing assembly.

This stops you inadvertently gluing on the wrong elevators for the version you are doing, or using the wrong canopy, tailcone, or whatever, which is inevitably discovered once the glue is well and truly set.  

Apparently one can also achieve the same result by actually reading the part number and correlating it to the part pictured in the instructions before cutting it off the sprue, but who has time to do this, Right??

In the case of the Eduard Spitfire, this leaves you with an  impressively large amount of spitfire spare parts

With that little job done, assembly proper could now start.  These days, I try and build up as much of an assembly as possible to ensure solid glue joints before painting.  With this kit, that meant the seat, sidewalls and floor.  I found I could keep a lot of the parts attached to the sprues to assist with painting
The parts locate positively with locating aids provided for all parts.  I found small sink marks on parts F26 & F27, but didn’t bother removing them as you will never see them.

Eduard provide  a choice of seat bulkheads, one to which you attach a PE head armour plate, the other has a plastic armour plate moulded on.  I thought the plastic one had a bit more detail so used that, part F82.  If using this part, note the slot for the seatbelts needs opening up.  I did this with a scalpel and repeated passes with a Tamiya scribing tool

 I also opened up some of the bigger lightening holes.
Ensure you have part F61 fitted the correct way with the chamfer facing part F16. Once assembled, I dry fitted this assembly against the sidewall to ensure all angles were 90 degrees.  The control column was glued deflected to the right and also tilted forward, the control surfaces, when fitted, will be glued to match, just to add a bit of life to the model.

With these subassemblies done, out came the Gunze H50 Lime Green to double for RAF grey green, whilst Floquil Bright Silver was used for the aluminium.  The seat was painted Tamiya XF64 Red Brown

With the base colours applied, a wash was made up of Tamiya black added to a 1:1 mix of Future and tap water.  
The parts were then matt coated, then given a dry brush of Vallejo Pastel green.
The various switches and electrical boxes were then picked out in Vallejo black Grey and then dry brushed with a medium grey.
Eduard gives you a choice between using a decal to depict the instrument panel, or using a coloured P.E facia.  If using the PE, Eduard even gives you a blank panel to apply it to, saving you the trouble of sanding bezels and raised details off, as you would normally have to do.  

Well done Eduard.  The choice of p.e or decal also extends to the compass rose, again, I used the p.e.  The gunsight was left off to be added at a later stage

The various painted parts could now be brought together. I found the rudder pedals a little fiddly to add.  Eduard providing drawings from two different angles in the instruction book allowed me to work out how they attached.  Here, I deviated from the instructions and glued the fuselage halves together, having established through dry fitting the assembled fuselage tub could be added later by pushing it into position from below.
This then brings one to the construction of the wings which starts off with a rather complicated assembly of the wheel wells.  Remember my flippant line about checking part numbers against the instructions?  Well, you probably should do it here to avoid problems later on.  I built up one side at a time.  Time spent here ensuring all mating surfaces are free of mould burrs etc will pay dividends with a nicely fitting multi-part wheel well
I chose to paint the wheel wells now, in case I couldn’t get into all the nooks and crannies, once the wing was assembled.  With this done, the wing tops could then be glued to the one piece lower half. I surprised myself by remembering to not only glue the lower wing ID lights in, but also to paint them in the required clear colours.  These lights were deleted from Spitfires in mid-1943, so later builds than this did not have them.
The instructions neatly call out which decal options use them.

This model strikes me as one that has been designed with a lot of passion and with the modeller in mind, so I was a little surprised to see how Eduard has you assemble the exhausts.  It took me a little while to work out the orientation of the parts.  The exhausts also have to be assembled at this stage.  They cannot be left out, to be added after painting, in case you were thinking of doing that.  Take your time also ensuring you get a good join on the cowl halves, parts I1 & I2.  You want to minimise clean up as much as possible in order to save as much of that fine rivet detail as you can.  Check out the fit on these wing roots.  No filler required here

Similarly the stabilisers, wingtips and ailerons slot in with no problem. 
 I slightly deflected all the control surfaces to reflect the tilted control column in the cockpit.  
I deviated from how the instructions would like you to assemble the radiators and just added the sidewalls so that I could paint the interiors easier.  The grills were first painted black before being dry brushed with silver.
Only then did I revert to the instructions and add the roofs.  In hindsight, I think this was a mistake as I managed to introduce a small step in one.  Lesson learned:  Follow Eduards instructions!  Crazy, Right?

With construction complete, it was time to look to painting, which will form the next part of this review.

Bruce Anders

Thanks to Eduard for sending me the kit to review and build
Look for the next part of this guide when Bruce paints & weathers his model - It's already coming along very nicely...