Arii Spitfire Mk VIII 1/48
This kit was bought a few years ago from a vendor’s table at a local modeling meeting for what seemed a bargain: it came with Squadron vac canopies, Waldron cockpit placards and details and an Airwaves PE set. Upon closer examination, I noticed I needed decals since the ones with the kit are quite old and badly printed. Since I was going for decals…well, the wheels sure could be replaced as well. And the detail sets that accompanied the kit, though nice, just wouldn’ do. The exhausts were also very crude, as the gun barrels. They too would have to go. Checking my spares box, I found some of the parts needed for the cockpit from an old build of the Academy “pregnant cat” (seat frame and air bottles) as well as exhausts from the Accurate P-51 Mk I. Now I could order the rest from Barracuda: decals, wheels and the great cockpit set, and also Master’s metal cannon barrels. I ended up using some leftover PE and the Airwaves instrument panel too. If you wish to build this kit with an open cockpit, it really needs dressing up. Landing gear scissors also came from the Airwaves set. The canopy is a mixed bag: the windscreen is from Academy’s Mk XIV, the rear window from the kit and the canopy bubble was cut from the Squadron vac part.
Although the kit needs some replacement parts and upgrades, it has a good shape and very nice surface details. The horizontal stabilizers are very thin and scale looking, and even though the “gull wing” section of the underside is missing, the airframe looks great once assembled. Nowadays there are less bumpier roads with all the Spitfire “uberkits” from Eduard, but I had great fun with this Frankenstein of sorts.
In some detail shots the improvement added by the Barracuda parts is obvious. Other than the parts mentioned earlier, brake lines from thin metal wire were added, as well as a scribed fuel filler cap and a bit of riveting.
This RAAF scheme from the Barracuda sheet caught my eye, and to replicate it I first painted the camo scheme, added the fin flash and yellow leading edge stripes, and then sealed it all with Future. The white parts were then airbrushed and scraped a bit with a sanding pad. From then on the usual route: more Future, decals and weathering.
I like more “labor intensive” projects as this one and all the improvisation that goes with it – but for the next, I’m thinking of clearing my palate with a simple build, perhaps a Tamiya mustang straight oob!
Thanks for looking and, as usual, all feedback is welcome.
16 additional images. Click to enlarge.