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Tom Cleaver
878 articles

Four ICM Spitfires

July 14, 2013 · in Aviation · · 11 · 2.4K

Back before there was the Eduard kit, before there was the Hasegawa kit, there was the kit, released first in around 1999 with the IX, the first series of kits to get anywhere close to accuracy with the Merlin-60 series Spitfires. The initial releases had lots of problems: short shots, warpage, etc., which led to bad attitudes toward the entire series from modelers; this was then exacerbated by the discovery that if one put the engine inside the cowling, nothing else would fit, and that attaching the cowling pieces without the engine and frame inside was a real jigsaw puzzle (easily solved with some Evergreen strips inside, for the glue to attach to), then there was the too-narrow rear upper fuselage (solved with a plug of Evergreen strip for those needing it) and a not-so-detailed cockpit (resin aftermarketfor those needing it, a good seat and instrument panel for those realizing you can't see much more in a Spitfire cockpit), and a good vac canopy (Falcon/Squadron). The kits were re-released with better molding, and the later marks (VII, VIII, XVI) between 2001-2003, but were overshadowed by the Hasegawa release, despite the fact that ISM had it right as regards fuselage dimensions. At the time there were quite a few decal sheets released by SuperScale and Aeromaster, so it wasn't that hard to come up with some interesting markings.

So, here is an ICM Spitfire VII in Pete Brothers' markings with kit cockpit, Falcon canopy, Eduard seat belts, and SuperScale decals; a Spitfire VIII in reverse-lend-lease used by the top Spitfire ace of the 31st Fighter Group, Leland Molland of the 308th FS with a Cutting Edge cockpit , Falcon canopy and Superscale decals; the obligatory JE-J early Spitfire IXB with Superscale decals, Eduard belts and Falcon canopy; and an ICM Spitfire XVI in kit markings for 74 "Tiger" Squadron, with a kit cockpit, Eduard belts and Falcon canopy (the kit bubble canopy being a bit short).

Each of these, with all the aftermarket included, would be cheaper than an Eduard kit.

None of the decals sheets are still in production, but they are still to be found. It wouldn't be that hard to do an Eduard kit with the extended wingtips from a Hasegawa kit, the retractable tailwheel option from a Hasegawa kit or an Airfix Spitfire XII, and get a Spitfire VII, not would it be that hard to take the retractable tailwheel option from a Hasegawa kit or an Airfix Spitfire XII and get a Mk. VIII.

But the ICM kits, as cheap as they are nowadays when you find them, are still good value with "some modeling skill required."

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

11 responses

  1. Hard to say which I like the best, as they're all terrific. ICM kits do take some work, but are a good deal as well.

  2. Profile Photo
    said on July 14, 2013

    Brilliant! Love the mk8 in US markings

  3. love them all Tom, Mk IX is one of my faves

  4. Don't know which I like the best. All are well done. Thanks for the build tips. I picked up the Russian clipped wing version with the intention of doing it in IAF markings. Gotta admit I like buying cheap & these fit the bill.

  5. I like them all Tom nice job

  6. Tom,
    Great looking Spits. How anyone could not like the beautiful lines of a spitfire would indeed be a mystery. You have taken them to a high degree considering they are ICM kits. When I read Paul's comment real fast I thought he was calling you Tom Mix. Must be my eyes and my age.

  7. i've all ways heard they were hasegawa knock offs...why do they look so much better` than any other spits

    • Given they came out two years BEFORE Hasegawa released theirs, being a knock-off would be a bit difficult, but never underestimate the ability of morons in the modeling community to Get It Wrong about anything and everything, from "All German airplanes were always two shades of dark green and light blue" to "ICM Spitfire kits are knockoffs of Hasegawa."

      There's a certain group of people in the hobby who make me intellectually embarrassed to share my favorite lifelong hobby with them. What did I do wrong?

      Fortunately, none of them are here (anymore), which is why I am. (here)

  8. then i'm not going crazy...they do look better...very good to know

  9. striking work by the way

  10. If anyone is interested, Squadron is having a sale from now (July 17) through the end of the weekend, and has all the ICM Spitfires going for around US$17.00, a good bargain. Pick up Squadron vacuform canopies and you're on your way.

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