One of the great things about the Internet is it has allowed small shops all over the world to sell some very high quality products that many of the “big” manufacturers overlook. Kiwi Resins in New Zealand is one of these shops- and seeing their resin set that combined ICM’s Mk. IX kit with resin and decals to convert it to a Mk. XII in one of the UK model magazines caught my eye.
I contacted Dave Lochead from Kiwi Resin and said I would really like to get my hands on the kit, as the Mk. XII is not one of the typically modeled Spitfire variants. Unfortunately, Dave replied back that due to a problem with supplies of the ICM base kit, he was sold out. Too bad, I said, let me know if that changes.
Then he replied back “I can sell you the resin parts, if you like. All you need is an ICM Mk. IX.”
If I like? 🙂 My saying is “You can never have enough Spitfires.” I promptly replied back “I laready have the ICM kit in the stash… set me up!”
Dave uses PayPal, so despite the distance between the pines of North Carolina, USA, and…. well…. I’m not sure what the dominant tree is in New Zealand, but whatever they are, payment of NZ$40 was easily transacted, with NZ$10 shipping. Dave was very responsive to my emails, answering questions I had quickly, even with the time difference. (In fact, since New Zealand is ahead of the US because of the international date line, technically he often answered my questions before I asked them….. hows that for customer service? 😉
The package arrived very quickly- I placed the order on the 12th, and it was on my workbench on the 20th. The parts were packaged neatly in a small box, separated into several small zip bags. One bag held the resin parts, another decals, and one more contained two vacform canopies. A single page instruction sheet describes the modifications needed to the base kit in order to fit the nose to the fuselage.
On closer examination, the resin parts are well cast in a cream colored resin that doesn’t feel too brittle, so sanding and preparing parts should not be a problem. The casting blocks are placed in such a way that removing them from the part will not be a problem. There are a few small pin-hole sized bubbles here and there, but they will be easily taken care of with some Mr. Surfacer or similar filler.
The nose is very nicely cast. Dave is right to be proud of the nose, as it looks beautiful. My skills with a camera don’t do it justice. Dave told me he “spent a lot of time on the nose profiles of the “short” Griffon”, as he felt that no one had captured it quite right. Comparing the resin nose to photos of the Mk. XII in my references, I’d say that Dave and Kiwi Resins got it right.
Other parts include weighted, 5 spoke tires, exhausts, Mk. XII style underwing oil cooler (similar to what was on the Mk. V, a more narrow cooler), a nicely shaped spinner and four blades, and an excellent seat and control column.
The tires are some of the nicest I’ve ever seen, very sharp and nicely cast. Their weighting is nice but not overdone. The underwing cooler has a nice replacement panel to attach to the wing for mounting the oil cooler intake on. The seat looks great, as does the control column.
The instructions are simple, giving clear directions on what to remove from the base kit, and how to get the resin nose properly fitted on. Decals are provided for two Mk. XIIs, EN625/DLK and MB882/EBB. You’ll still need the base kit supplied roundels, stencils, etc. Two vacform canopies are supplied, though on comparison of the kit canopy and vacform canopies, I’ll probably opt for the kit canopy, as vacform and I don’t play well together. 🙂
I’m very pleased with this conversion set, and look forward to getting the kit on the workbench. Look for a future build report on using Kiwi Resins Mk. XII conversion to build this interesting member of the Spitfire family.
Thanks to Dave Lochead and Kiwi Resins for putting up with all my questions with great patience, and for producing such a nice conversion set.