|Product Name||Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX|
|Product type||1/72 scale plastic model kit|
|Availability and pricing||Generally available in hobby shops the UK, or online through the Airfix website
Price around £5.69
This review is somewhat personal to me – a new tool Airfix 1/72 JE-J Spitfire Mk. IX. That’s right, the classic of Airfix classics which has been the top-selling kit of this company throughout the decades, is being replaced.
Introduced in 1960, the first “Airfix JE-J Spitfire” is older than I am. Its operational career lasted longer than any other Spitfire mark (or product). It was just this very kit that made an imprint on my young life, becoming a starting point for the lifetime interest in aviation. I was 10 years old, didn’t know anything about Airfix or airplanes, but Roy Cross’ dynamic painting adorning the neat and futuristic-looking blister package which held a handful of light blue plastic parts were enough to mesmerize my young mind. In an instant, and without even knowing, I became an aviation fan.
In front of me is a completely new JE-J kit from the same company, anno 2009, and many thoughts are running through my head. Can I do an objective review, without being carried away by nostalgia? I think I can. Let’s look inside the package.
In the Box
The Airfix Spitfire Mk. IX comes in a neat red-coloured box which is typical of Airfix’ new corporate design. The box art indicates that the company is no longer afraid of showing combat scenes on their boxes, although the war theme is suggested in an infinitely more subtle way than the “guns blazing, bombs dropping” style of the 1960s. Actually, this new box art seems to be created by means of CGI; a sign of times. I still like it.
Upon opening the box, one is immediately struck by the quality of the new packaging. This is a sturdy lid-type box, with the underside adorned by further red print. No risk for the parts being damaged inside this kind of box. The kit sprues come wrapped in a plastic bag, with separate smaller one for the canopy. Everything is nicely wrapped in a large instruction sheet, clearly printed on quality paper. For a sub-5£ product, it has an aura of seriousness and care about it.
The kit comprises three sprues in grey-coloured plastic, plus a clear sprue.
Assembly instructions are printed on a large, folded A3 sheet. The painting and markings schemes are provided separately, in colour. Additionally there is also a stencil placement guide. A very good standard for an entry-level 1/72 kit.
Markings are provided for two aircraft: MK392 JE-J, same markings but a different aircraft than the old JE-J kit. This time it’s a Spitfire LF Mk. IX which was Johnnie Johnson’s mount at the time of D-Day, in which he commanded the 127 Wing. This aircraft featured long carburettor intake. The decals provide a full set of invasion stripes and a Sky band.
The second option is ZX-6, Spitfire Mk. IX serial no. EN315 from Polish Flight “C” No.145 Squadron RAF, the famous “Skalski’s Circus”. This aircraft was regularly flown by Skalski himself.
Unusually for Airfix, the decal sheet provides a full set of stencils. Also, the red centres of RAF roundels have been printed separately to avoid any alignment problems during print. The decals look thin and are finely printed.