High-octane Early Spitfire

Spitfire Mk.IIa

Eduard ‘ProfiPACK Edition’ 1/48, Ref. 82153

The Spitfire Mk.II series was built in about 920 units: it was an upgrade of the Spitfire Mk.I thanks to (amongst other things) the installation of a more powerful engine, the Merlin XII of 1.150 hp (instead of the 1.030 hp-rated engine for the Mk.I). This engine also used 100-octane fuel (instead of 87-octane on the Spit Mk.I).  The new Rotol propeller introduced during the Mk.I production run was installed as standard on the Mk.II. The engine was started with the Coffman pyrotechnic system, that required the fitting of a drop-shaped blister on the right hand fairing of the engine, one of the distinguishing feature of this Mk.II.  The armament was identical to that of the Spitfire Mk.Ia, that is four Browning .30 (7.7 mm) machine guns in each wing.

After giving us a superb Spitfire Mk.I in 2020, it is only logical that, given the commonality of many parts, the Mk.II caught Eduard’s attention.  Let us specify from the outset that it is indeed the IIa, not the IIb version featuring two machine guns of each wing replaced by a single 20mm gun.  And considering the number of pieces not to be used – there are 87 for the Mk.IIa – we can safely bet that a Mk.V will follow soon.

As mentioned in the title, this is a ProfiPACK edition: in addition to the six frames of injection-moulded plastic parts, one of which has the transparent parts, there is also a colour photoetched fret as well as a set of masks for the wheels, gun sight and cockpit glass parts. It is worth noting the change in style of the box, where the orange colour characteristic of the ProfiPACK editions has given way to a wood imitation, which gives a certain cachet to the packaging…

The construction obviously starts with the cockpit which, as we are used to at Eduard’s, is superbly detailed and gives pride of place to the use of photoetching, sometimes even offering the choice between it or a plastic part. Before gluing the fuselage halves, don’t forget to drill the small hole for the Coffman starter blister! Once the fuselage is closed, construction should proceed faster.  Of note are the separate ailerons, elevators and rudder, but there is no separate flaps. There is a choice between an open or closed canopy; this choice also exists for the small access door to the cockpit.

On the liveries side, five options are available in a period ranging from April 1941 to January 1942; three have the original camouflage of Dark Green and Dark Earth, the two other Spits are already painted with the new shades, Dark Earth being replaced by Ocean Grey (or maybe Mixed Grey?) and the lower surfaces painted in Medium Sea Grey.

No option however for a Mk.IIa of the 350 (Belgian) Sqn RAF… Indeed, when the 350 was created in November 1941, it was initially equipped with the Spitfire Mk.IIa.  Fortunately, our friend Syh@rt will come to the rescue and we will find the necessary decals to make either the MN-A (P7297) in December 1941, or the MN-F (P7976) in April 1942 in the set 48/908 dedicated to the Spitfires of the “350e Escadrille”.

Review by Didier Waelkens, pictures by Eduard & SyHart Decal.

www.eduard.com

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