Czech Master Resin (CMR) probably produces more Spitfire variants than any kit other manufacturer, and I suspect even exceeds those offered by New Zealand’s Ventura kits. Their Spitfire LF Mk IXE also serves to set a new benchmark in terms of accuracy and completeness. Several detailed in-box reviews are available by following these links: Hyperscale, Modelling Madness and Internet Modeller.
The kit is boxed with attractive artwork, and all parts are sealed in compartmentalised plastic bags. It consists of a mixture of CMR resin and Eduard pre-painted and plain Photo-Etch (PE). Suffice to say that CMR’s excellent resin mouldings are 99.9% pin-hole free with very thin attachments to the casting blocks. Here is a run-down of some of the kit’s options and features.
- Clipped or full-span wings.
- Resin wheels with hubs, or resin wheels designed to use one of several styles of PE wheel hubs.
- Flattened and round section exhausts.
- Two types of rear vision mirrors in both resin and PE.
- Spinner and separate blades, or spinner with mounted blades.
- Wing and centre-line bomb racks with resin or PE sway braces.
- Resin tail-wheel and leg, or separate resin tail-wheel and PE fork.
- Resin or PE pilot’s entry flap, plus a choice of gun-sight types.
- For the wing armament there are four or two cannons, two 50 cal barrels and sleeves, plus blanking caps for unarmed versions.
- In addition to Bf 109 drop-tanks (used by some aircraft on their ferry flight from Czechoslovakia to Israel) there are three bombs.
And secondly some features:
- A combined resin and pre-painted PE cockpit interior.
- Two canopies are provided along with an excellent Eduard masking set made from the same type of paper as Tamiya masking tape.
- Thorough instructions, colour-scheme guides and a photo-walkaround.
- A plethora of decal choices for Czechoslovak and Israeli machines, plus a separate full stencil set applicable to most Spitfires. These last two items are very high quality and printed by Tall Ho decals.
Upon opening this superb kit I was confronted with the choice of which version to model. In the end I settled on an operational Israeli machine for no other reason that it featured full-span wings with a very attractive natural metal scheme. I build models of aircraft from fall manner of air forces, and the opportunity to do a Spitfire Mk IX in colours other than grey and green was well worth taking.
Removing the parts from their casting blocks needed barely more effort than removing an injected kit’s plastic parts from sprues, so fine were the attachments. I was also pleasantly surprised with the excellent fit of the main airframe parts, which was on par with good injected kits. This good fit was to continue throughout the build with one small exception (see later).
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I liked the combination of resin and PE, which tended to optimise the properties of each to the parts being modelled, with a nice choice of medium in some cases to suit individual skills and preferences (such as bomb sway braces). The pre-painted Eduard components work well and save on time. It is a pity in some ways that a 1:72 Spitfire’s cockpit is so small, as several good details are hard to see.
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I learned some interesting information about E-type wings during this build from a friend who restores Spitfires for a living. Having noticed the outboard ammo hatches in the wings I checked to see if the model should have barrel holes in the wing leading edges. I was advised that the E wings on Merlin engine Spitfires retained the ammo hatches for the out-board guns, although no guns were fitted and no barrel openings in the wings were present. Instead the ammo bays were used to contain additional oxygen bottles. E-wings on griffon engined Spitfires did away with the out-board ammo hatches as the extra oxygen bottles were located in the rear fuselage for centre-of-gravity reasons associated with the larger engine.