Don’t let this be a shock to you, but I built another Spitfire, an Airfix one at that.
This time it was the new tooling Mk. IX, the new version of the iconic aircraft that has been in Airfix’s inventory since…. well, long before I was born. I’d built the older kit last fall, and quite enjoyed it. Sure, it wasn’t a marvel of engineering. But it’s an Airfix Spitfire- what’s not to love?
Even before the new tool Mk. IX was released, I assumed it would be much like the Mk. XIX Airfix released about the same time. Which, by the way, I’d also built. (I told you I liked Airfix Spitfires…. :))
It took me a while to get the kit, as appearently the shortage experienced in Berlin extended to my hobby shop also. But when a new shipment arrived, my good friend Mike at Hayes Hobby House set one aside for me, knowing it was a good as purchased. And purchase it I did soon after.
A quick look in the box showed the IX was very much like the XIX. Simplified, minimal cockpit, single piece gear leg/door parts, slightly oversized panel lines, and very good, crisp molding overall.
Building the kit was no problem. No major fit issues… just a bit of sanding on a seam here and there, and a little filler at the aft wing/fuselage join. (Which seems to be needed on nearly every Spitfire kit by most manufacturers, for some reason.)
In terms of comparison, it’s certainly more modern and accurate than the old-tool version from Airfix. The Hasegawa Mk. IX has more petite panel lines, and more “busy” panel lines. In terms of shape the Airfix kit is beautiful. It comes with markings for Johnnie Johnson’s MK392, or a dark earth/middlestone scheme. The decals are good quality. Certainly not the top of the line, but much improved over Airfix’s efforts several years ago that I’ve used. No need to buy after-market decals at all here! All in all, it builds up quite nice out-of-the-box. The biggest selling point, for me, was it was less than half the price of the Hasegawa kit.
One of the areas that many modelers seem to focus on is the “inverted gull wing” on the underside of the fuselage. This time of the year, there are quite a few sea gulls hanging out in the parking lot of one of our shopping centers, though the beach is an hour or so away as the crow, or gull, as the case may be, flies. I drove up there and did an informal survey, showing them the inverted gull wing, and asking them, in their expert opinion as gulls, did it resemble their wings inverted?
When the results were tallied, about 4 out of 5 gulls surveyed agreed it did look like their wings inverted. The count may have been higher, but one just kept asking if I had any fish, and another tried to eat the model, so their votes did not count. One said he knew nothing of Spitfire’s, but did think my head was shaped like a Hellcat cowling. All in all, it was a great result. I left them some stale bread crumbs and a bag of Frito’s and called it a day.
I highly recommend this kit. It fits together well, looks great when complete, and best of all, it’s less than $10!
So welcome, new Airfix Spitfire Mk. IX. And goodbye, old Airfix Spitfire Mk. IX. I hope that your “son” has as long a life, and brings as much fun to modelers around the world as you did!