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Kit preview: Pacific Coast Models’ 1/32 Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc

Steve Budd sent in this great preview of Pacific Coast Models’ Spitfire Mk. IXc, an aircraft that you can never have to many of.

When I wrote my full build report for the 1:48 Airfix Spitfire MkI elsewhere on the site I commented: “Has there ever been an aircraft type modelled in plastic that’s been more heavily scrutinised with each release than Mitchell’s Spitfire? It seems that the many compound and subtle curves of this quintessentially British and uniquely beautiful aircraft have taxed the abilities of toolmakers to the limit and beyond. Launching a Spit at the modelling public has become something of a white knuckle experience for manufacturers, as they brace themselves each time for the jury’s decision on their product”.

A modelling friend spoke to Ken Lawrence (of PCM), when he first mooted the intention to release a big scale Mk IX, cautioning that he needed to ensure that the product was thoroughly researched and accurate. It’s apparent from what’s in the box that Ken certainly took that to heart and gave the designer of the superb Czech Master Resin 1:72 kits significant input in the creation of the PCM model.

This is a true multi-media Spitfire ‘feast-in-the-box’ that provides everything necessary to add a real beauty of a Mk IX to your display cabinet. It also provides scope for those for whom a box full of goodies is never enough (me) and would like to add bits and pieces to bump it up another level (examples of this include cockpit wiring, selector boxes, the elevator actuating rod and a floor to link the two sidewalls).

The plastic is by Sword and I believe the Spitfire is PCM’s second project to hit the shelves in conjunction with this Eastern European manufacturer. The plastic is smooth and shiny and the engraving delicate and neatly applied. There’s a little flash here and there but it’ll disappear in short order under your usual finishing techniques.

The separate cannon covers suggest a Mk IXE and Mk XVI are in the pipe line and a Mk VII and Mk VIII hopefully as well.

The resin is presumable cast by CMR and looks gorgeous. The accompanying photos will reveal which parts are provided in this medium and there are no surprises in store here. Eduard were contracted to supply an etched fret to round out the pit and a selection of external details and as you’d expect, their quality is top drawer too. My etched fret OCD is prepared to overlook the supply of a ‘QS’ post war harness, rather than the standard Sutton fitting that more commonly appeared in the Mk IX in wartime…but if you do the Italian option (circa 1947) you can sleep with a clear conscience…lol. If it’s all too much though, Eduard do a Sutton replacement in their generic belts range.

A large decal sheet from Cartograph is supplied with six separate options and enough stencils for one aircraft. The choices are certainly varied and mine are all in perfect register. Builders should note that the desert option ‘ZX-6’ was fitted with the short intake (marked ‘Not For Use’ on the instructions) and not the long one shown in the side profile. While we’re at it, put the fish tail exhausts on it and the covered hub wheels are probably also correct for a sandy environment as this was a simple combat mod to keep mud and sand out of the wheel bearings.

Jon’s favourite ‘JE-J’ (got anything to do with the fact that the pilot’s got ‘John’ in his name twice?) is included but has been reported elsewhere as having an ‘iffy’ Sky tone. Similarly, the US insignia for option ‘WZ-JJ’ may be incorrect but my references don’t confirm or deny this (all of which is included only for the sake of completeness and is not a criticism of the kit). If six options are not enough for you then brace yourself for the three after market sheets Eagle Cal have already released, giving nine further choices.

PCM have struggled to keep up with demand, finding twenty foreign orders as much as they could handle in a day, due to the volume of paperwork. Their success is entirely deserved and it seems the modelling world will snap up as many as they can churn out. All credit to them and to Ken for giving us such a delightful model.

So, cook up all this quality together and PCM’s big Spitfire becomes a full English breakfast of late morning, sleeping in, sunny and dry, no work today, kit-bashing pleasure. Buy one, consume it and wash it all down with some delicious paint. Just don’t limit yourself to one.

Steve’s bio:
“I’m Steve Budd, based in London, England. My birth certificate says I’m 49 years old but that can’t be right as my head stopped at 19…

I am officially the luckiest guy on the planet – married to a (fortunately) very understanding wife and three great kids, topped off with a self-contained modelling shed that sometimes gets down to -4c or lower in winter; perfect conditions for modelling those November 1943 T-34s!

I took Shep Paine’s and Verlinden’s advice to heart many years ago in keeping the builds broad spectrum – aircraft (WWI, WWII, anything post WWII), armour, figures, dinosaurs, sci-fi and occasional things that float. Each discipline has techniques and approaches that can be transferred or migrated into the others. I can’t count the times one form of modelling has helped out in another, plus a mix of subjects keeps the interest and fun factors high (I’ve often thought kits should be rated in reviews like sun cream – ‘…this ones a fun(sun)-factor 25…’

The infamous modelling stash currently tops 300 but I’m trimming lots of dead wood periodically on E-Bay and only picking up new stuff pretty infrequently.”