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Kit preview: Hobbyboss’ Spitfire Mk. Vb/Trop

The IPMS chapter I belong to, Lafayette Scale Modelers, recently held it’s annual show and contest. As at most shows, a raffle was held. Part of the raffle was a table full of Hobbyboss’ 1/72 scale Easy Assembly kits- the whole line of them.

As at most raffles, I came away with a good haul. For my $10 of tickets, I walked away with (among other things) Hobbyboss’ Spitfire Mk. Vb/Trop. (My son picked up 3 Hobbyboss Bf-109s!)

I’ve heard good and bad about thse Hobbyboss kits. I’ve already built one of their P-40s, and though it was quite simplistic in terms of detail, it was a fun build, and turned out pretty decent looking- especially given the fact that these kits cost less than $10.

So I thought I’d share my impressions of Hobbyboss’ Spitfire- my all-time favorite airplane.

The kit, as with all Hobbyboss 1/72 kits, is packed into a slick printed, very colorful box. The box art is the built kit in an “action” sjhot- prop blur and all. Opening it up, I saw their typical, simple four-page instruction sheet, printed on high quality, magazine-like paper, with color markings in full color. The decals are of good quality, certainly better than you would expect in a kit of this price. Two sets of markings for North African based Spitfires are provided.

The parts are packed in the unique Hobbyboss manner of a plastic “tray”, protecting all the parts from any shifting or movement. The fuselage, as with all of this scale from HB, is a single piece unit of very good quality and casting detail.

The cockpit is about as basic as you can get and still qualify for the term. A simple seat and stub of a stick are molded in, as is a flat panel where the IP should be. Scratch building detail would be difficult, but not impossible, certainly. The enclosed nature of the fuselage would make it a challenge. Still, some belts added to the seat, a scratch built IP with some Mike Grant Decals for the instruments, and a bit or two of styrene glued along the interior would make it reasonably interesting.

The wings fit snugly along the bottom of the fuselage, and most of the Hobbyboss kits are cast in such a way that with some careful trimming and test fitting, and judicious use of something like Tamiya Extra Thin Cement, you could just about completely eliminate any wing gap. I wish other, more engineered kits would fit this nice. The fit is so snug, in fact, you have to be careful aqbout doing it before you are ready.

The rest of the bits are nicely cast. The fabric detail on the horizontal stabs are adequately portrayed, and the exhausts, radiators and other parts more than do the job. Oddly, no gear doors are supplied, and having checked some Spitfire references, I know that at least one of the Spits portrayed should have them.

I suppose for a lot of modelers this might be a “fatal flaw”…. I don’t believe so. Grab some sheet styrene and make the doors. I actually have a P/E set from an Airfix Mk. V that will do nicely. If a kid bought the kit, I’m sure they’d be more interested in slapping it together and getting to battle.

Still- Hobbyboss, if you happen to read this… how about adding those in? 😉

The propellor is another oddity… it looks more like a bombers “feathered” prop, with the blades almost paralell to the line of flight. Again- if it’s really bothersome, cut them off and re-mount them, I suppose. I’ll use them as-is…. my goal always being fun.

The clear parts are a bit thick but clear enough. The picture on the box makes it look like the fit will be a bit “large”, but they use the closed canopy. As an open one is provided, perhaps it will fit nicely. We’ll see!

Overall, I believe this little kit will build into a nice Spitfire. I know I was impressed with the P-40M, and my son has built three or four of their 109s, and all look very nice.

If you are concerned about the little details I’ve mentioned, you might not be too jazzed up about this (or other) Hobbyboss kits. However, if you’re like me- someone who builds for fun and is very budget consciuous, this Hobbyboss Spitfire will probably fit the bill perfectly. And as their line of 1/72 scale kits has something like 50 or 60 aircraft, you could do a lot of building for not a lot of money.