The German Fw 190 asserted its authority as soon as it appeared over the English Channel in September 1941. It was so clearly superior to the Spitfire Mk. V that RAF Fighter Command curtailed operations due to unacceptably high losses. As an interim solution the RAF decided to fit the Merlin 61 engine into the existing Spitfire Mk. V airframe, creating a plane that matched the Fw 190’s performance at medium and high altitudes: the Spitfire Mk. IXC.
Modelers have long awaited a 1/32 scale Spitfire Mk. IXC, and with this release Tamiya did not disappoint. The kit includes more than 360 styrene parts, two photo-etched sheets, clear parts, magnets, screws, and markings for three aircraft. The quality of surface detail is crisp and precise while the fit of the parts is equally outstanding.
One highlight is the beautifully detailed Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Generally, model aircraft engines must be slightly scaled down to accommodate the thickness of the cowling plastic. In contrast, Tamiya’s cowl panels are molded to only a fraction of a millimeter in thickness, allowing the engine to be molded to full scale while the innovative use of tiny magnets permits the cowl panels to be fitted and removed for easy viewing.
The detailed cockpit sports an excellent instrument panel along with a photo-etched harness and optional seated pilot. All control surfaces are separate. The ailerons, elevators, and rudder are fitted with metal hinges, while the flaps may be posed open or closed. Alternate parts are supplied to display the undercarriage retracted or extended.
In addition to the instructions and a separate markings guide, this package includes a 16-page full-color booklet containing reference photos.
With this release Tamiya has set a new standard for injection-molded kits; the level of detail is second to none. Straight from the box this kit will build (in some 60-80 hours) into one of the most detailed mainstream models yet produced.
Originally published in the October 2010 issue of World War II Magazine. To subscribe, click here.