Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc


Model review

A lot has been written about the Ocidental's Spitfire Mk IXe and I believe that everyone know that it is not the "best buy" kit. But I don't know if there is any choises when making a Spitfire Mk IX model in this scale. You can of course built a plane of Hasegawas Mk V with converting kits, but I chose the Ocidental's kit however. It is possible to built nice model of it, although it's pretty tough.

I built my model as Spitfire Mk IXc which also demands few changes to the kit, I'll tell you later about this. The overall look of the kit is quite good. The panel lines are sharp enough, but many small parts are molded too thick, so they have to make thinner and part of them must be replaced with scratch parts. The canopy is just passable, because the sliding part of it is much too thick. I used only the rear part of the canopy and replaced the other parts from Tamiyas Spitfire Mk I canopy from my spare parts. The cocpit interior is good enough for me. I think there is a mistake in the assembly plan so I made the cocpit interior "devise" installations in comparison with photo. I changed the bottom of the seat "concave", in the kit it was just thick plastic. The seat belts come from ExtraTech's RAF sheet, I also added the Sutton Y-harness of tape.

The biggest problem is the nose, it doesn't look like Spitfire Mk IX nose should and it must rebuilt. Shortly, the propeller axle should be 1,5 mm higher, which means that the engine cowling below and top of the engine must remould in right shape. Very good instructions of the operation can be found in Olav Hungnes's Spitfire pages, where you can find also much more about Spitfire. The spinner also has to shorten 3 mm and it has to sand more conical, sand it until you can almost see through it. The rear fuselage is 1,5 mm too long and it has to make shorter just front of the elevator.

The span and the eliptical shape of the wings is right, but the wings are about 1,5 mm too tick in the wheel well area. In wing root and inner end of the aileron the thickness is right. It can barely be seen normally and it is difficult to repaire. I just sanded 0,5 mm off from the upperside of the wings and the profile looked much better when looked from front. If the thickness of the wings has been divided smoothly, there has not been requirement to do just operation, because the impression to the overall look of the model was small. Before glueing the winghalfs together, the wheel wells have to rise up to the wings upper surface. Also the profile of the rudders must make thinner about 1 mm. I also sanded the pattern of the undercarriage legs little smoother. The diameter of the tail wheel has to reduce about 1 mm. The Ocidental's three gap wheel rims was not the thruth for Spitfire Mk IXc in 1944. The five gap rims where in use until 1944 and often they were covered. The four gap rims come in use 1944, usually in Mk IXe.

The armament varied between Mk IXe and Mk IXc. In Spitfire Mk IXe the cannons have moved to the outer cannon bays of the wings, about 30 cm outwards, and the inner bays got 0,5" MG's. Both of the two 0,303" MG's have removed from the outer wings. In Spitfire Mk IXc the cannons have to move to the inner bays, and you have to make holes to the outer wings for the 0,303" MGs. Ocidental have made the shell ejector holes for the 0,303" MG's to the outer wings but they lacked in Mk IXe. Mk IXc had the ejector holes but unfortenately the holes were in wrong places, so they have to replace with new ones in right places. Also the cannon barrels are 3 scale mm too short and in Mk IXc the barrels have different kind of shields. The cannons cover blisters have to move to the inner sides of the covers in Mk IXc. The last but not the least stage before painting is to carve the panel lines once more.

As I told before, I built the model especially as Mk IXc and I chose the British most famous ace "Johnnie" Johnson's plane in June 1944 during the Normandie landings, when the plane had "invasion stripes" painted in the wings and in the rear fuselage. I used the XtraColors paints for RAF, X1 Dark Green, X6 Ocean Grey, X3 Medium Sea Grey and X7 Sky. The X7 Sky was too green compared with the Sky in the decals, so I matched it little with light grey. The Invasion stripes can be painted with any black and white. The decals come from Carpena Decals "Spitfire Mk VIII & IX Aces" sheet which I got from T:mi Kuivalainen as the model too. The decals were good quality, but the red color of the roundels was too pale, so I took the roundels from the kits original Aeromaster Decal sheet. Both of the decals were good and they settled down well.

Addition: Ocidental has released a new kit of the Spitfire Mk IXc in 1/48 scale which has the nose shape problem corrected.

History

The Supermarine Spitfire is probably the most famous and possibly the most beautiful fighter ever built. The prototype first flew in 1936 and with the same airframe the Spitfire remained in production throughout the WW 2 being the only Allied fighter to do so. When the engines become more powerfull and heavier, almost the same airframe with minor changes could accommodate the increased power and size of them.

The main designer was Reginald Mitchell. The new Rolls-Royce PV.12 engine, which was later named Merlin, was used in the prototype. Spitfire was the first streched-skin all metal fighter in Britain. With its different versions it was the main fighter of the Fighter Command during the WW 2.

The Spitfire is always remembered as the plane that won the Battle of Britain, even though the Hawker Hurricane carried the major load. The Spitfire Mk I was in service at the opening stage of the WW 2. The Spitfire Mk V came in service in March 1941 and it was the most produced variant with totally 6478 planes produced. The Spitfire Mk IX was introduced in July of 1942. The production of the Mk IX was totally 5665 planes.

The Spitfire Mk IX was "urgent" version, which was designed to meet the superiority of the FW-190. The Spitfire Mk IX was designed for quick production with minor changes and it based on the Spitfire Mk V airframe. Actually it was Spitfire Mk V with strengthened fuselage and with the new RR Merlin 61 engine. The designing of the Spitfire Mk VIII had begun much earlier than the Mk IX, but it differed so much from the earlier versions, that starting of the mass production wuold have taken too much time and the RAF had not got it's planes when they were most needed. It come in service after the Spitfire Mk IX.

The Spitfire Mk IXc, MK-392, coded JE-J, was the plane of Lieutenant Colonel James "Johnnie" Johnson, the commanding officer of the 144. Wing in the summer and autumn of 1944. The 144. Wing consisted of RCAF Squadrons No 441, 442 and 443. The model represents the plane during the Normandie landings in June 1944. In this particular plane Johnson achieved 12 victories, all FW 190's and Me 109's, of his total 38 confirmed kills. He shot his last kill in 27.9.1944 while flying this plane.

Technical data of Spitfire Mk IXc

Engine 1660 hv Rolls-Royce Merlin 61
Dimensions Span 11,23 m; length 9,54 m
Weights Empty 2545 kg; max. take off 4310 kg
Performance Max. speed 657 km/h; range 700 km (with internal fuel)
Armament 4 x 0.303 Browning kk, 2 x 20 mm Hispano
Production 5665 (Mk IX)

Sources

  • Všistš, Sininen parvi, "Johnnie" Johnson (Otava)
  • Spitfire in Action, Squadron /signal publications
  • Late Marque Spitfire Aces 1942-45, Osprey
  • Allied Fighters of WWII, Bill Gunston
  • Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft, John Rawlings
  • British Aircraft of WW II, The Hamlyn Concice Guide
  • British warplanes of WW II, Aerospace
  • Internet

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