Revell 1/32 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXC

Some history

The Spitfire Mk IX was yet another ‘interim’ which went on to be produced in huge numbers by Supermarine and Vickers-Armstrongs. The demand from the Air Ministry to raise the performance of the fighter to match the Fw 190 and Bf 109 saw the Spitfire receive the two-stage Merlin 60/70 series for the first time. The Mk VIII would not be produced in time, but conversions of the Mk II and Mk V with the new engine could.

The Mk VC was chosen as the mark which would receive the Merlin 60/70 series with the least modifications and the facilities at Castle Bromwich were switched for production of the Mk IX. The first of three engines in series used was the 1,660hp Merlin 61, which was fitted into the F Mk IX. This variant was produced until 1943 and was followed by the Merlin 66 engine for the LF Mk IX which was a better performer at lower altitude. The Merlin 70 was fitted into the HF Mk IX with better performance being achieved at a higher altitude.

The latest Spitfire was fitted with an intercooler radiator which balanced the underwing ducting for the first time. The supercharger on the Merlin 60/70 series had a gear change that was introduced automatically by a barometric pressure ‘aneroid’ which helped to give the Mk IX a top speed 40mph faster than the Mk V and a climb rate of 4,000ft per minute. Comparison trials with a captured Fw 190 in July 1942 revealed that the Spitfire had closed the gap again and their capabilities were very similar.

The Mk IX also introduced the gyro gunsight for the first time and the 0.5in Browning machine gun which was denoted by the suffix ‘e’ when fitted.

The Mk IX entered RAF service with 64 Squadron at Hornchurch in July 1942 and, after suffering heavy losses, the type spearheaded the latest round of Circus, Ramrod and Rodeo operations. The first of many Fw 190s was shot down only a few days after the type entered service and, in September, a Mk IX carried out the highest interception of war at 43,000ft over Southampton. The mark also gained the distinction of becoming the first allied fighter to shoot down an Me262 when a 401 Squadron Mk IX claimed the kill on October 5, 1944.

By May 1945, there were still nine squadrons equipped with the Mk IX on home defence duties, five serving the 2nd TAF and 15 (including five with the SAAF) with both the Desert and Balkan Air Forces.

 

The kit

New from Revell in 2017 is this rebox of an old classic which originally appeared for the German company back in 1967. The kit featured here was first produced in 2014 and includes a number of updated and new parts from that period (Where has it been all this time?). Quoting Revell’s own spiel, the kit features; Detailed Mk.IXc wings and guns; Detailed cockpit and instrument panel; Detailed radiator; Rotating 4-blade propeller; Alternative bomb load and detailed undercarriage.

At first impression the eye is immediately drawn to riveting along the fuselage which is pretty comprehensive although the purist may find some may have to be reined in a little. However, panel detail appears to very good especially on the wing and the rivet detail seems to more subtle than the fuselage. The cockpit has been produced to a good standard but as always if you want more, Eduard are on hand. All of the control surfaces have been well-produced but that detailed undercarriage, certainly isn’t and the wheels and tyres are a bit of a disappointment. Again, both can be rectified with a bit of extra work and a decent set of weighted aftermarket wheels.

Decals are a single sheet produced by Cartograf to a very high quality. Options are supplied for a machine from 416 Sqn or 601 Sqn. The standard A4 instruction booklet presents the build in 73 clear stages with constant references to the necessary Revell paints needed. Despite a few niggles, if you were to build this Spitfire straight out of the box I’m sure you would not be disappointed. If you want to go the extra mile, then I would spend a little some of aftermarket parts which could makes this a show winner.     

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en. 

 

Product: Construction kit

Ref: 03927

Scale: 1/32

Parts: 154

Price: approx £25-£30

Manufacturer: Revell

Website: www.revell.de/en