Sometimes you just have to build a Spitfire. 🙂
Or in my case, you just have to build every Spitfire you can get your hands on. And I really enjoyed getting my hands on this Otaki Mk. VIII.
I picked it up at a model show. The vendor was selling an Academy Spitfire Mk. XIV for $12, and if you bought one kit, you got to pick another from the “free” box. And there was the Mk. VIII. Two Spitfires for $14- you can’t beat that.
I’d built an Otaki kit previously- the AMT re-boxing of their P-40E. I thoroughly enjoyed that kit, so I looked forward to getting started on this one.
Both this kit and the P-40 fit what I call the “perfect profile”, at least for me. Fewer than 60 parts, not too much fiddly stuff, no P/E or resin, and a simple, satisfying build.
The cockpit on the kit is simple enough. If you’ve built a Revell Mk. II, or an Airfix Mk. I, V or IX, the cockpit is very similar. “Simplified” is the best word- seat, stick, rudder pedals, IP, rear firewall and a few sidewall details. I painted it with Humbrol acrylics and Pollyscale acrylics. Standard colors- RAF interior green, Spitfire seat color (or Panzer Red Brown for the purists), and black. A bit of drybrushing and a quick oil wash and it was done. As the kit does not come with an open canopy option, it’s not too much of a problem how simple the cockpit is. OK- even if it did have an option for an open canopy, it’s no problem. For an OOB modeler like myself, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
Once the cockpit was in the fuselage, things fit together very well. No major seams to close up, good wing fit, the tailplanes fit fine, and before long it was ready for painting.
I decided on an RAAF scheme that was RAAF foilage green over RAAF sky blue for a simple reason- it was simple. I used a handy-dandy Aeromaster set for the decals… Aussie Spitfires, Pt. III (AN48779). (I actually have Pt. IV also, but not the next installment, Aussie Spitfires Go On Vacation… ba-dum-dum…. ;))
Sadly, Pollyscale is no longer producing paints, and my bottle of RAAF Sky Blue was dried up. I had a decision- search for the perfect paint and order it/drive to the store and buy it, or look for a close match. Spying a bottle of my son’s RLM 65 on the shelf, I added a little white to it, and what do you know, RAAF Sky Blue!
Thankfully, I did have some of the Pollyscale RAAF Foilage Green, so that went on the uppers. The nose was Testors Acrylics red from the little square bottle. 🙂
(Note to any paint manufacturer…. maybe think about filling the gaps Pollyscale left…. bet it would sell….)
This particular bird, according to the decals notes, was kept clean and polished. So after a coat of Future and decaling it, I thought about leaving it glossy. But it was too glossy. I thought. So I thought “I’ll weather it a little bit.” It was shortly thereafter that I discovered that a “little bit” of weathering is something beyond my grasp.
So call it looking sort of rough after a hard day flying low in a dust storm and hail. 🙂
This is a great little kit. I have seen it on the shelves of the best hobby shop in the word, Hayes Hobby House in Fayetteville, NC, in an Arii box. (Along with several others kits.) Perhaps they’ve been re-released? In any event, they are a bargain, marked at about $17, I believe.
If you do have a chance to pick this kit up, I recommend doing so. It’s a great, relaxing build, and a lot of fun. And hey- it’s a Spitfire- you can’t got wrong!