ICM 1/48 Spitfire F. IXA
Remember the days when we Spitfire enthusiasts thought we were in hog heaven with Mk IX releases from Occidental and ICM? Well, that's been almost two decades and a blizzard of Eduard IX/VIII releases later, but here's an ICM Spit I finished back in 2014.
While the story of ICM's Spitfire series was mainly one of what could have been, they were basically good kits with few inaccuracies but inconsistent quality control. That was a shame, because they were fun builds if you knew where to apply 'modeling skills required.'
My F. IX A started life as ICM's LF IXe Czech release with clipped wings, Mk XII rudder and Vokes AeroVee carb intake. I'd picked up the kit around 1998 for about $7 at a model show, and I was wanting to do an early Mk IX, so an Ultracast resin short intake, full wing tips and prop blades to replace the thick kit blades fixed most of those issues. I stole the rudder from a Cooper Details Mk V correction set, and I replaced the somewhat lumpy kit wheels with a spare set from a Tamiya Mk Vb.
The kit suffered from sink marks along the upper and lower wings, but Bondo surfacing putty put those right.
Many are the warnings that the kit's engine firewall and instrument panel are a hair too wide and will induce flat dihedral when you fit the wings. I trimmed them and test fitted the wings, and all was fixed in about ten minutes.
Unless you want an exposed engine, the best route for fuselage assembly is to leave it out and stick up your spares box. Otherwise, assembly was straightforward. The Ultracast parts were drop-fit, and everything aligned.
I didn't want to fiddle with drooped elevators, so I installed a control lock from two pieces of styrene rod - easy and a fun way to drive contest judges up the wall.
Paints are Testor Model Master enamels. Decals are Eagle Editions from their Canadian Spitfires sheet, for Ian Keltie's F. IXA that later became Johnnie Johnson's JE-J. Weathering was done with a combination of pre- and post-shading, artist's oil washes and chalk pastels.
Since I was doing an early Mk IX, I had to rig it with a 'cheese cutter' IFF aerial from the stabilizer tips to the fuselage. I cemented small tabs on the stabilizer tips, drilled them out with a no. 80 bit, and drilled the fuselage lead-ins with a no. 78 bit.
I then carefully cemented the end of a long length of monofilament sewing thread to a section of thin brass wire. I threaded that through the fuselage holes after a bit of blind probing, removed the wire, and tensioned and secured each end to the stabilizers.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.