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Build Report: Hasegawa’s Spitfire Mk. IX “Battle of Britain”

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As I mentioned in a previous build report for Hobbycraft’s “Civilschmitt”, I loved the movie “Battle of Britain”. I think it was that movie that really started my fascination with anything and everything Spitfire. While the Hurricane was the more numerous type, the Spitfire gets much of the credit. And simply because of the fact that there were more flying Spitfires than Hurricanes at the time of the movie’s making, the Spitfire’s reputation in that famous battle was only further cemented.

But regardless of those facts- the Spitfire was, and is, in my opinion, the most graceful looking aircraft to ever wing through the blue skies. And it’s looks were not all it was about- it backed it up with stellar performance in combat. And it’s certainly the model I prefer building over all others!

So I was very happy to undertake this Battle of Britain “Skipper’s Spitfire” build, using the Hasegawa Spitfire Mk. IX kit.

In the movie, as there weren’t any flying examples of the Mk. I available, other Mks. had to be used to represent the Battle of Britain Spitfires. Certainly one of the most famous was a Mk. IXc, MH434, which is still flying to this day. For the movie, it played various “roles”, but the most notable was “AI-A”, the aircraft flown by Robert Shaw’s character “Skipper”. For the movie, the cannon barrels and stubs of the Mk. IXc were removed, as were the bulges over the cannon breeches. Red gun cover patches were placed where the Mk. I gun barrels would have been, and “cordite streaking” was added to try and give the look that it’s guns had been fired.

For the kit, I chose Hasegawa’s Mk. IX. I have the choice of Eduard’s new Mk. IX, The Italeri (Otaki) Mk. IX, and Hasegawa’s. Despite the shape issues that are well documented with the Hasegawa’s kit’s fuselage, I much prefer it to the Eduard kit, which I was very disappointed with. While the Eduard kit is certainly the more accurate, I really prefer a more pleasant built experience than I do absolute accuracy. (In fact, I even prefer the Italeri kit over the Eduard, as far as enjoyment of the build goes…) The Hasegawa kit is nicely detailed, and goes together with very little fuss at all. In fact, this one didn’t even have the few minor issues I’d had in previous builds, for some reason.

I did make a few minor modifications to the model though. First, I removed the attachment points where the cannon barrel and cannon “stub” were, and then I removed the gun cover blister. I cut away most of it, then sanded down the rest. I added some sheet styrene to the back, and then filled the hole with Tamiya Basic Putty.

For the paint, I knew the topside colors would be dark earth and dark green, so that was easy enough. The underside though was not as simple. In the real Battle of Britain, generally the Spitfires would have been Sky Type S on the underside, which actually sort of a pale green color. In the movie, however, the color at various times appears to be a pale blue, or even a gray color. After watching the movie flight scenes more than a few times (thank you Youtube!), and especially a short piece about the making of the movie, I decided that to be faithful to the film, light blue appeared to be the best choice.

For the light blue, I used Tamiya Sky Blue and Flat White, mixing it to TLAR standard. (That Looks About Right.) On the uppers, I used Vallejo Model Air for the Dark Earth, and Tamiya Dark Green 2 (RAF).

Decals were from fündekals. I’m afraid to say I was a bit disappointed by the performance of the decals. I found them to be quite brittle, though I’m not sure if that is the fault of the decal or my storage. I store my decals in a notebook with clear sleeves, and keep it in an air conditioned room away from light. Generally this has not presented a problem. In addition to being very brittle, a very large number of applications of Solvaset were required to get them to come close to settling down, and even that barely made a dent. I opted for the Hasegawa markings for the upper roundels, and the difference was immediate- those settled perfectly with Solvaset. I do know that this set was one of the early efforts from fündekals, so perhaps it’s not a good example of their work. I have several other sets and do plan to give those a try also.

Overall I was very happy with how this build turned out. I thought it was neat to be able to have these “actors” sitting on my model bench.

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