|Product Name||AZ Model Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I “Early”|
|Product type||1/72 scale plastic model kit|
|Availability and pricing||£17.25 at Hannants|
Right in the middle of the current onslaught of new Spitfire kits, AZ Model treat us with a series of Mk.I Spitfires. In 1/72 scale, Airfix has reigned in this area for the last thirty years (at least) with their very accurate but model-wise quite dated Spitfire Mk. I kit. The more modern Tamiya offering is nicely moulded, but not-so-nice in terms of shape-wise accuracy.
Another thing that makes this kit interesting is that AZ Model have covered just about every variation on the Mk.I and Mk.II Spitfires in five different boxings:
- AZM72087 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I early version
- AZM72088 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa “Aces”
- AZM72089 Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk.IG
- AZM72090 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.II LR
- AZM72095 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I Late version
The subject of this review, the “Mk.I early version” boxing, comes with the early flat canopy, Watts two-blade propeller (as fitted to the first 74 series production Spitfires) and three different decal options from No. 19 squadron during the 1938-1939 period. Also included on the sprues are both de Havilland and Rotol three-blade propellers. There is, however, no bulged canopy in the kit making this boxing a bit less flexible.
In the Box
The plastic is grey and quite soft with very delicate surface detail. A closer inspection shows that AZ Model has gotten most detail like hatches, bumps and blisters and intakes right. Interior is better than required with a closed canopy and a good basis for further detailing if built with an open canopy. The one thing that is not up to scratch is the chunky seat with a massive ejector pin mark right in the seat bucket that will be very uncomfortable for the pilot and almost impossible for the modeller to remove! It doesn’t look much Spitfire either…
Images of kit details, click to enlarge
The canopy is one-piece and rather thick and the windscreen looks suspect. Compared to photos of early Spitfires without the armoured glass panel the angle to the fuselage is much too steep giving it a wide and squashed look. The thickness of the plastic will also make it impossible to build the kit with an open canopy. A 3rd party canopy would really be needed here. Falcon has a “Spitfire Special” Clear-Vax set (No. 41) that includes a correct canopy, this might help but there is no guarantee that it will fit the AZ Model kit.
On the subject of accuracy: apart from the canopy it looks good to my eyes. I have checked it against a set of plans by Alfred Granger and outline is more or less spot-on. Some discrepancies exist when it comes to hatches and panel lines but in all cases it seems as if the model is correct when checking against photos!
Decals are well printed, in register and look commendably thin. A full set of stencils is included and one nice touch is the inclusion of fuselage roundels showing sloppily overpainted yellow outer rings for one of the decal options.
With a bit of care and basic modelling skills I expect this kit to go together quite well. My main worry is the canopy that is hard to fix and really lets the rest of the kit down.