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Revell-Monogram's 1/48 scale
Supermarine Spitfire
IIa

by Doug Duthie
 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa

Wing Commander Douglas Bader- 616 Squadron Tangmere 1941



Revell-Monogram's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.II is available online from Squadron

 

Introduction

 

Amongst the plethora of build articles of early Mark Spitfires, it is rare to see the venerable RevellMonogram kit featured. To make a change from the more common Tamiya kit, I thought it would be interesting to see how this compared.

The kit is described as a "Spitfire 11a" (i.e. "Eleven" rather than II). According to the SAM Modeller's Datafile, this kit was first produced in 1979 (assuming this is the same mould). The date on this particular kit, thoughtfully moulded very visibly on the lower wing, is 1994.

 

 

The detail was probably quite good for its time, but is now not up to the modern standards. The panel lines are raised but crisply moulded. The only engraved details are the canopy slider rail and the control surface hinges, all of which are heavily overdone. There is some detail in the cockpit, but this is fairly crude. The overall breakdown of the kit is fairly simple, with relatively few parts. .

There is the inevitable "unforgivable sin" of not representing the gull wing on the underside, which seems to be common practice on many early Spitfire kits. However, ignoring this, the kit gives a fair representation of a Spitfire. Comparing it against plans from SAM and Clint, the kit comes out slightly short in all dimensions.

 

 

Construction

 

Before starting the description of the construction, I should give a bit of background. After being out of modelling for so long, I needed a cheap guinea pig to try some techniques on, so I didn't ruin more prized kits later on. My main objective was to tinker with washes to highlight panels. This means recessed panel lines, and in turn this means rescribing (another first for me). 

The sidewalls had quite crude and inaccurate detailing. This was sanded off and replaced with formers made from plastic strip. Gas bottles were made from stretched sprue, which other components fashions from plastic card, brass sheet and wire

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The sidewall was scratchbuilt using plastic card, brass sheet, sprue and wire.


The detail on the instrument panel was spartan, so was removed. A replacement fascia was made from punched brass sheets. The backing for the instruments was made from white plastic card, painted black and then scribed to give and impression of the instrument details. The reflector side was not transparent, so this was removed and replaced with a disc of clear acetate sheet.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The instrument panel before the reflector sight was added.


The kit seat is too large and the wrong shape, and the mounting frame is over-simplified. An old Eduard PE set was used as a template for the seat, and cut one from 10 thou styrene sheet. The PE seat as is, would give a straight back with no detail. Once the seat was bent to shape, the back was cut free and bent around the shaft of a round file to give some shape and re-attached to the seat. Slots were drilled in the seat side and back. Cushioning for the seat back was made from 10 thou styrene card and scribed to give an impression of the stitching. The side profile of the seat isn't strictly correct as the depression for the parachute isn't represented.

For the seat truss, the side members were cut from 20 thou stock, and drilled with lightening holes. The seat frame was built from 20 thou and 1/16" brass rod.

The fuselage frame that the seat mounts to presented a problem. The kit part is a flat slab, with a couple of attachment points for the seat. The armour plate behind the seat should be in front of the truss mounted at an angle, but it is represented behind the truss mounted vertically. It wasn't possible to use the kit part as a template for the frame as it was a poor fit and was not symmetrical. In the end, A profile gauge was used instead to get the correct shape. The two pieces of armour plate were cut from 10 thou stock. The headrest was the only thing salvaged from the kit part. The end result is not perfect but should be good enough taking into consideration how much of it will be visible. 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The final scratch built seat with PE belts added.


As the kit does not represent the gull wing, a resin replacement section was obtained. The flat section of wing was cut out, and the insert was a snug fit. This was backed with a large area of plastic card to give some support and provide the wing floor for the radiator recess. A section was cut out of the fuselage, to allow for the insert. The insert appeared too flat to fit correctly, but dunking in hot water allowed it to be manipulated to shape. It transpired to be too thick, so plastic stock was used to fill gaps and blend with the fuselage and wing fillets.

After re-scribing with the gull will insert added.


The wings and fuselage were re-scribed, using the raised panel lines as a guide. The rudder and elevators were cut free, and plastic rod added to repair the leading edges. The solid exhausts were drilled out as was the carburettor intake. The cockpit door was cut to display it in the open position. A replacement was fashioned from an aluminium drinks can, which gives a better scale thickness.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

Markings for Douglas Bader's machine in early 1941 were chosen. Xtracolor enamels were used for the Dark Green/Dark Earth over Sky scheme with the help of Grant Elliot's excellent mask templates. While the kit has these decals for these markings, the colours appear slightly off, so the decals from the Victory Productions Spitfire Aces set were used.

 

 

Once sealed with Johnson's Klear, an oil wash of Burnt Sienna/Raw Umber was used to highlight the panel lines. Humbrol Matt Coate was used for the flat finish. The exhaust stain was added using pastels (unfortunately this looks too overdone) and paint chipping using a silver pencil.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Being inexpensive, this was an ideal kit on which to practice new techniques. However, it was an awful lot of work to bring up to a standard approaching more modern kits.

As there are quicker and easier ways of creating a Spitfire MkII, I would hesitate to recommend this kit unless you can't resist a challenge.

 

 

Additional Images

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright 2007 by Doug Duthie
Page Created 10 June, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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