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Build Report: Hasegawa 1/48 Spitfire Mk. VI


Throughout the life of the Spitfire, many variants were produced to deal with specific situations as World War II progressed. One of these variants was the Mk. VI, designed to be a high altitude interceptor. Unlike previous Spitfires, it had a pressurized cockpit, and extended wingtips to allow it to gain more altitude. This variant was very similar to the Mk. V in overall configuration.

Hasegawa did a great job of providing all the parts for the Mk. VI to their outstanding Mk. V kit. All that is needed is a bit of research to refine a few details.

The “base” kit is a Mk. Vb, released quite a few years ago. It’s a very solid kit, with good overall fit and detail. Additional sprues include the extended wingtips, a small air intake, and a four-bladed prop and spinner. Markings for one aircraft were included in the kit.

The cockpit of the kit was reasonably detailed- not quite as nice as the Tamiya kit, but certainly getting most of the major parts included. The seat was replaced with an Ultracast resin seat. One minor modification was moade, that being the addition of a piece of sheet styrene over the back of the aft bulkhead, to simulate the enclosed cockpit area of the Mk. VI’s pressurized cockpit. The interior was painted throughout with Tamiya XF-71 IJN Ccokpit Green, being a close cousin to RAF Interior Green. (And required no mixing….) The instrument panel and other details were painted with black acrylic hobby paint, and drybrushed with light gray enamel paints. A coat of Future was applied, and an oil wash then brought out the various details. This was followed by a flat coat of Vallejo Matt Coat, and the instrument panel was finished off with a drop of Future applied to each instrument face. The assembled fuselage was then fitted into one fuselage half, along with drilling out two small holes just below the starboard exhaust area for the cockpit air intake, and then all was buttoned up.

Seam cleanup was minimal, though as with all models some attention was required to ensure a smooth finish when under paint. Seams were taped off with masking tape, and Tamiya Basic Putty applied. Once that had time to cure, various grades of sandpaper were used to smooth everything out, and finally all panel lines were restored using a razor saw and #11 blade.

Another modification needed to be a bit more accurate for a Mk. VI was to fill in the panel lines representing the cockpit entry door, and also to fill in the canopy rails. The Mk. VI did not have a sliding canopy, but rather the canopy was set in place by ground crew, and a air seal was inflated to hold it in place, and allow for cockpit pressurization. Tamiya Basic Putty was applied in these areas, and then blended in with various grades of sanding sticks.

The wing to fuselage fit was reasonably good, though some Tamiya Basic Putty was required to fully close things up. Masking tape was applied along either side of the gap, and then the putty was applied. The masking tape was removed, leaving a small “trail” of putty. Using a cotton bud moistened with nail polish remover, the putty was smoothed out and blended on. This allowed for minimal sanding to finish things, and only a slight rescribe was needed in a few places.

The same procedure was followed in closing a small gap on the underside of the model where the aft portion of the wing met the fuselage. This is an area of some difficulty on most Spitfire kits.

With the addition of the underwing radiator, oil cooler and the tailplanes, a final check for gaps was performed, and then painting began.

The canopy sections were first airbrushed with the cockpit color, Tamiya XF-71. Next, and band of XF-21 was sprayed around the aft portion of the fuselage for the Sky recognition band. This was masked off with Tamiya masking tape. The undersides were then painted with Tamiya XF-83 Medium Sea Gray 2 (RAF), and once given sufficient time to dry, Tamiya tape was once again used to mask the undersides in preparation for the upper colors to be applied.

The topside painting began with Tamiya XF-82 Ocean Gray 2 (RAF), covering the entire upper surface of the aircraft. Tamiya XF-81 Dark Green 2 (RAF) was then applied freehand in something close to the camouflage pattern. A final “clean up” was performed with a diluted mixture of XF-82, which corrected any XF-81 overspray, as well as providing any small adjustments needed to the pattern.

Paint chipping was applied with a Prismacolor silver pencil, and a coat of Future was then applied to the entire airframe in preparation for the decals.

The kit decals were used, and while they responded well to Solvaset, they were a bit thick. Even after a second coat of Future was applied in preparation for final weathering, the slight ridge around the decals could be seen.

Post-fading was accomplished using a highly diluted mixture of XF-55 Deck Tan, and post-shading using a dilution of 3 parts XF-69 NATO Black and 1 part XF-9 Hull Red. A panel line wash of burnt umber artists oils was applied to the panel lines, and a few dots here and there were streaked to simulate oil and dirt stains. The final loose parts were added- wheels, prop, exhausts and the like, and a flat coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish applied.

While the instructions don’t document a few of the minor adjustments needed to make a more accurate Spitfire Mk. VI, even right out of the box this will build into a fine replica. And with a few simple adjustments, you’ll have a reasonably accurate high flying Spitfire.