Pacific Coast Models 1/32 Spitfire Mk IXc
It may not have all the bells and whistles of Tamiya's 1/32 Spitfire IX, but the Pacific Coast Models kit gives you a pretty accurate Mk IX without having to worry about a stratospheric parts count. While in many ways a limited-run kit not for the inexperienced modeler, anyone familiar with the old Hasegawa Mk V kit should be pretty comfortable with this kit.
You get photoeched cockpit and intake details, plenty of resin - a well-detailed cockpit, accurate wheel wells, two styles of exhaust, spoked and covered wheels - and plenty of options including early carb intake, Vokes Aero Vee carb filter and wide and narrow cannon bulges.
The Cartograf decal sheet gives plenty of options for wartime and postwar Mk IX's, including Soviet and Italian examples. Some of the markings options have questionable aspects, however, but there are plenty of aftermarket decal sheets available.
The wheels looked a bit chunky, so I replaced those with Barracuda Resin five-spoked wheels. I also used a Barracuda Mk. V/IX resin cockpit door. Even with all that, I still managed to keep the parts cost below $100 - about half as expensive as the Tamiya offering.
The kit propeller blades are quite acceptable, but I scratchbuilt blades as I was also working on a conversion of the Hasegawa Mk V. into a IX with the old Paragon Mk IX resin set - I used the PCM blades as a master.
I cut away the kit elevators and installed drooped kinked-edge elevators from the Paragon Mk IX resin set - one of the few useful parts from that set.
As I got into the project, I also wanted some underwing store besides the typical slipper tank. I had built a 30-gallon slipper tank using the Airfix 1/48 Spitfire XII's tank as a pattern, but I really wanted a cylindrical tank. I researched drawings and photos and managed to eyeball a tank using styrene tube, the ends from a Monogram P-47 paper droptank, and plenty of styrene strip, rod and punched discs.
The overall finish is Testors Model Master RAF enamels. To simulate the field-applied invasion striping, I masked and sprayed the white areas and then the black areas just shy of wing leading edges. After that cured, I used Vallejo acyrlic white and black to hand-paint along the stripe edges and then dry-brushed white and black roughly up to the leading edges.
I used Eagle Editions decals to make a No. 125 Wing Spit for RCAF Wing Commander George Keefer. Weathering was done with a combination of artist's oil washed, acrylic pin washes, chalk pastels and Tamiya weathering powders.
Also, for reference and to save your sanity, you don't need to rig a radio aerial wire on Mk IXs (or most Mk Vs or many Mk IIs, for that matter).