- Product Name : Spitfire Mk.VIII Weekend edition
- Product Number : 84139
- Manufacturer : Eduard
When Eduard added the Spitfire Mk. VII to their already successful Mk.IX it was well received in the modelling community. With the release of the Weekend Edition the decision was made
. Any Spitfire in Royal Australian Air Force or South East Asia command markings will always be attractive to me. So the kit was purchased and without any shame climbed to the top of my build pile shouldering aside an Eduard Bf 109E-3 that was planned for the next build.
So much has been written about the Spitfire that it needs very little introduction. The Mk VIII was an adaptation of the Mk VII without the pressurised cabin and was intended to become the main production model of the Spitfire. When the “interim” Mk IX proved itself to be adequate for the RAF it was decided to use the shadow factory at Castle Bromwich to produce that version only: the Mk VIII Spitfires were all built by Supermarine.
Apart from the lack of pressurisation, the Mk VIII differed little from the Mk VII. Some early production models had extended wingtips but the majority were fitted with the standard version; according to Supermarine’s Chief Test pilot Jeffrey Quill “When I am asked which mark of Spitfire I consider the best from the flying point of view, I usually reply ‘The Mark VIII with standard wingtips.’ I hated the extended wingtips…They were of no practical value to the Mark VIII and simply reduced the aileron response and the rate of roll. There were three sub-variants for low altitude (LF Mk VIII), medium altitude (F Mk VIII) and high altitude (HF Mk VIII) which were powered respectively by the Merlin 66, Merlin 63 and Merlin 70 engines.
The F Mk VIII’s top speed was 408 mph (657 km/h) at 25,000 ft (404 mph for the LF Mk VIII at 21,000 ft (6,400 m) and 416 mph (669 km/h) for the HF Mk VIII at 26,500 ft), with a service ceiling of 43,000 ft (41,500 ft for the LF Mk VIII and 44,000 ft (13,000 m) for the HF Mk VIII). The two main tanks were given an extra 11 gal for a total of 96 gal which, along with the wing tanks, allowed the fighter to fly for a maximum distance of 660 mi (1,060 km) with a full internal fuel load and 1,180 miles (1,900 km) with a full internal load and a 90 gal drop tank. Provision was made to allow the Mk VIII to carry a single “slipper” drop tank of 30, 90 or 170 gal capacity. With a 170 gal tank, the aeroplane could fly over 1,500 mi (2,400 km). When carrying the 90 or 175 gal tank the aircraft was restricted, once airborne and at cruising altitude, to straight and level flight. A maximum external bomb load of 1,000 pounds (1 × 500 lb (230 kg) bomb attached to the centre bomb-rack plus a 250 lb (110 kg) bomb under each wing) could be carried. Source Wikipedia.
With the production of the Mk IX, the Mk VIII was soon serving in the far flung corners of the globe from the Mediterranean Theatre of Operation through to South East Aisa command in the fight against Japan. It was with the Royal Australian Air Force that the Spitfire Mk Viii gained one of its most distinctive schemes; and this was with 457 Squadron. Originally formed as the second Australian squadron in the United Kingdom in 1941 it served with distinction through to 1942 before relocating to Australia to face the Japanese forces in the region.
It was during this time that the Grey Shark was born with its distinctive mouth superbly suited to the sharp nose spitfire, it has become an iconic sight to this day at aviation shows.
Although intended as a predominantly out of the box build additional purchase of the Eduard LOOK set was made to provide Seatbelts and cockpit console. Additional paint masks were also purchased from Eduard.
As always with kits of this type, construction began with the cockpit. Without the photo etch of the profipack edition this was a fast build with simple layout and minimal clean up of parts required. The only additional work being the drilling of the lightening holes in the framework to provide a small element of additional detail.
As much assembly was performed as possible prior to painting and then Mr Surfacer 1500 Black was applied to all areas that would form the interior of the cockpit.
With the surfacer dry, the interior was sprayed with Mr Paint Interior RAF Green with some areas being over sprayed with a lightened version of the colour to give some depth and variation in the colour of the cockpit area.
Details in the cockpit were then brush painted with GSI Mr Color paints trying to combine the kit instructions and photos from the internet to provide a semi realistic interpretation of the cockpit. The cockpit seat was sprayed with a blend of Mr Paint Dark Earth and Red for the distinctive bakelite type seats used in this aircraft.
Once everything was painted a wash was applied to dirty things up a little and provide more depth and variation to the area.
Finally, the seatbelts and Instrument panel were
fitted and the cockpit was sealed into the fuselage and attention was turned to building the rest of the aircraft.
With the completion of the cockpit the rest of this kit does fall together very rapidly and easily with the most parts being used in the construction of the wheel wells. Fit was incredibly good and in some areas the parts very nearly clicked together with very little need for glue. The radiators were assembled and painted prior to attachment to the wings with the area they were being fitted also being painted with the underside colour prior to them being fitted.
The rest of the kit was rapidly completed with the exception of the exhausts which for some reason always provide me with a challenge on an Eduard kit. These were left aside and the
cowling left off for the painting to allow for the exhausts to be painted and weathered prior to fitting after the painting had been completed.
After masking the canopy area the entire aircraft was based coated with Mr Surfacer 1500 grey before black pre shading was applied to the panel lines. Then the first colour to be painted was the white leading edge ID bands which were then masked after drying.
Turning to the underside of the aircraft was painted with Mr Paint Medium Sea Grey which was lightened by 25 percent white and with the first coat applied was repainted with un lightened Medium Sea Grey in between the panel lines to darken these and trying to give
the impression of depth and wear on the undersurface. Whether this was wholly effective on such a light colour is open to interpretation and is a matter of taste. But I can tell myself that I can see it even if the photos don’t necessarily show it
Upper surfaces were sprayed with Mig Ammo chipping fluid around the wing roots before upper camouflage colours of Mr Paint Ocean Grey and Dark Green, then chipping along the wingroots behind the walkways was done with a stiff paint brush, Chipping was quite heavy as I wanted to represent a well worn aircraft that was used regularly. Panels were then lightened up by dilution of the grey
with 25 percent white and the green with 25 percent yellow to create a lightened look.
Because this aircraft was repainted in the field I cut masks out of kabuki sheet for the upper roundels and painted Mr Paint Ocean Grey and Mr Color Foliage green to represent the new painting on the wings and the rear parts of the fuselage. Once done the entire model was sprayed with Mr Color clear gloss varnish prior to decal application.
Decal night is always wine night as I start with the stencils which admittedly are nowhere near as extensive as would be found on a jet but still I don’t mind the excuse to enjoy the odd glass of red
Decals were treated with Micro Sol and Micro Set and conformed very well to the models panel lines and rivets. Following the decals a quick application of Mr Color gloss over the decals before weathering began.
As previously mentioned, the intention was to create an aircraft that was weathered as if used heavily in active service. This started with the propeller. Sprayed first with aluminium followed by more chipping fluid. The propellers then had their yellow
tips applied before the main black was applied. After the paint had dried a stiff paint brush was again used with water to achieve the general wear on the blades starting from the leading edge. After decals and a matt coat were applied final scratches were applied using silver and grey watercolour pencils to simulate debris strikes on the propeller. This was my first attempt using this method and overall am pleased with the result.
AK interactive panel line was used to highlight panel lines and rivets before additional streaks were applied from various
points on the aircraft with black and brown oils using Mig Ammo streakers.
Exhaust weathering was applied using Mig Ammo pigments in a first attempt to achieve a rusty weathered look to the exhausts. Whilst not up to the standard of more experienced modellers I am certainly pleased with the result and will look to improve my skills with this methods.
Exhaust staining was done with Tamiya weathering pastels and I tried to keep this fairly light as Rolls Royce merlins were run quite lean and didn’t leave as much exhaust staining as their
German counterparts from what I can tell in photos.
After a final coat of Mr Color Matt Varnish. More panel lines and rivets were highlighted with a combination of normal graphite pencil and silver water colour pencils.
Overall this kit was fun and straight forward to build. I enjoyed the weathering process and trying out new methods that I will hope to improve in future builds. I hope you enjoyed reading this and choose to share your builds with us.