In September 1941, a hitherto unknown German radial engine fighter appeared in the west European sky. The new airplane was superior to British fighters, most distressingly to the Spitfire Mk.V. The German design was soon recognized as the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A. The losses suffered by the RAF over western Europe rose rapidly and the crisis was serious enough that the RAF ceased the majority of daytime operations in November, 1941. The next attempt to resume these types of sorties was made in March 1942. Loss rates remained unacceptably high and the RAF was forces to stop ops once again. All this was thanks to the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A. The first response to the new German weapon was the Spitfire Mk.VIII, but the design changes were so complex that initiating timely production was not possible. In June, 1942, a German pilot landed by mistake on a British airfield delivering a completely intact Fw 190 fighter into RAF hands. Comparative trials between the Focke- Wulf and Spitfire Mk.V began almost immediatelly. These mock encounters confirmed the situation over the front – the chances of a British fighter surviving an encounter with the Fw 190 were slim. The only British fighter aircraft deemed suitable to oppose them were the Spitfire Mk. VII and VIII powered by the Merlin 61 engine. As mentioned above these were some time away of being ready for series production. But there was another way of getting a powerful fighter quickly - by mating the Merlin 61, with its two-stage supercharger, with the fuselage of the Spitfire Mk.Vc. Two Mk.Vc airframes, AB196 and AB197, were selected for this purpose and were strengthened with modified longerons to accommodate the more powerful and heavier engine. The example was finished on February 26 and the second on March 27, 1942. Flight trials were succesful and the order for series production was issued almost immediately. Series production began in June 1942 and the first Mk.IXs found their way to No. 64 Squadron in July. Performance improved significantly in comparison to the Mk.V. A top speed of 409 mph at 28,000 feet was higher by 40mph, and the service ceiling rose from 36,200 to 43,000 feet. The Mk.IX could climb at 4,000 feet per minute. The RAF finally had a fighter aircraft capable of opposing the Fw 190 A. Three main versions of the Mk IX were produced. The F.IX was powered by the Merlin 61 and was the only version on the assembly line in early 1943. The next version was the LF Mk.IX powered by the Merlin 66. This engine was designed to do its best at low altitudes. The third version, manufactired along with the LF, was the high-altitude HF Mk.IX with the Merlin 70. The majority of Mk.IXs manufactured were equipped with the so-called 'C' wing. Four 20mm cannon or two 20mm cannon and four .303 machine guns could be installed in the wings. From 1944, the strengthened 'E' wing was produced. Four .303 machine guns were replaced with two .50 heavy machine guns. Bomb racks for 250lb bombs were fitted under each wing typically. The Mk.IX became the second most numerous version of the Spitfire with a total of 5653 examples being built. The Mk.IX began to replace the Mk.V from June, 1942. Thanks to the new fighter, the RAF was ready to fight against the Luftwaffe over occupied Europe. Spitfire Mk.IXs served with the RAF to the end of war. In the postwar era, foreign air forces flew this version as well. Czechoslovak, Norwegian, Danish, and Canadian air forces operated numbers of Mk.IXs and they were not alone. Spitfires would find themselves in combat again. Czechoslovakia sold its Spitfire Mk.IXs to Israel in 1948 and these aircraft formed the backbone of the newly born Israeli air force in the fight against their Arab neighbours.
Info from Eduard's instruction manual
In the box Packed in Eduard's standard top opening box featuring a painted Spitfire on the box lid, the kit is well packaged and protected with all the plastic parts packed in two separate re-sealable bags. The clear parts are packed in their own bag. Decals, masks and Photo etch parts are also packed separately.
The contents include -
- 5 dark grey plastic sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- 1 set of photo etch
- 1 sets of masks
- decal options for six aircraft
- colour instruction booklet
Eduard have designed this kit with future versions in mind, so there is a lot of parts that are not used in this boxing, 64 parts are not used, also some internal parts for this version are also not used or in some cases replaced with photo etch parts, for future Weekend Edition boxing's.
External detail is stunning with recessed panel and rivet detail abounding over the wings and fuselage. Raised rivets and fasteners are also present around the cowl and machine gun ports.
The cowling is split into left and right halves (seems strange to mould it that way), and two optional cowlings are shown depending on which marking option you are doing.
The lower cowl is made up of two plastic parts and two P.E inserts and is separate to the main fuselage.
The wings like its bigger brother are moulded as one lower part and two separate upper halves.
The ailerons and the rudder are separate parts on the wings, while the flaps are moulded closed and as part of the wing.
Separate wing tips are supplied, as their are several in the box only one is used for this version.
The forward wing roots are separate parts as other variants have a different wing root.
The early rounded and tall pointed later rudder are also supplied as two choices again depending on which marking option you do.
The horizontal stabilisers are moulded as one piece each, with the elevators in the neutral position.
The propeller blades are moulded as one piece and the sprue attachment points are well thought out with the attachment at the hub.
Two types of exhaust stacks are supplied, round and fishtail designs, and as both are tiny they are not hollowed out (Eduard do produce two resin sets, which are hollowed out if you wish to improve this area).
All the undersides air intakes are separate from the wing and have P.E screens to augment the detail.
The remarkable part of this kit is the highly detailed cockpit. Separate sidewalls, floor and rear bulkheads are well detailed and have various plastic and P.E parts attached.
A choice of plastic or P.E armoured plate for the pilots seat is supplied along with a four part harness, which is pre-coloured.
The instrument panel also sports a choice of raised dials, blank plate for the inclusion of a three part photo etch I.P and a decal for those wanting the easy option.
I quickly built the cockpit up from the Overtrees boxing, and the detail is stunning. I actually didn't realise how small the cockpit was until after I had built it (had an optivisor on).
The canopy can be modelled open or closed, but if you wish to close it a little bit of surgery will be required on the fuselage halves.
The cockpit door can be modelled open or closed.
No engine is supplied for the kit (I hope Eduard are planning a Merlin to fit into the hole).
The undercarriage is just as detailed with the legs as one part each. Eduard supply three, four, five spoke and covered wheels for this kit. The hubs are separate from the two part tyres, so painting should be a breeze.
The landing gear openings have a oval shape to them which will keep the aficionados happy.
A one piece tail wheel is supplied which just slots into the rear fuselage.
External options for the kit are in the form of two slipper tanks, which fit under the fuselage, one centerline fuel tank, and two 250lb bombs for the wings.
The glazing is clear and thin. Different style canopies are supplied but only one is used for this version. Different parts are used for the open or closed canopy.
A Kabuki mask set is supplied for the canopy. For the main canopy the masks are just for the edges due to the curvature of the glazing, so a filler will be needed for the center portion. The rest of the masks for the windscreen and rear cockpit glazing are full masks.
Instructions and decals
The instructions are typical Eduard style, in a colour folded A4 size booklet.
The first page covers the parts trees with any parts not used highlighted in blue.
The build takes place over 11 pages and is easy to follow with internal colours for the Aqueous and Mr Color paints. P.E and optional parts are clearly marked. Any surgery required is highlighted in red.
All the paint and decal schemes are in colour with all four profiles of the aircraft shown.
As with the internal colours, paints are for the Aqueous and Mr Color range.
A full page stencil guide can be found on the back page of the instructions.
Six marking options are available, which are -
- Spitfire Mk.IXc - Spitfire LF Mk.IXc, MJ586, flown by Pierre Clostermann, No. 602 Squadron, Longues sur Mer airfield, July 7 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc - Spitfire HF Mk.IXc, ML296, flown by F/Lt Otto Smik, No. 312 Squadron, North Weald AB, Late August 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc - Spitfire LF Mk.IXc, MH712, flown by W/O Henryk Dygala, No. 302 Squadron, Summer / Autumn 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc - Spitfire LF Mk.IXc, MJ250, No. 601 Squadron, Italy, Summer 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc - Spitfire LF Mk.IXc, ML135, flown by Jerry Billing, No. 401 Squadron, Tangmere AB, June 7th, 1944
- Spitfire Mk.IXc - Spitfire LF Mk.IXc, ML135, flown by Jerry Billing, No. 401 Squadron, France, July 1st, 1944.
(same aircraft as option 5, but later on).
The decals, which there are two sheets are in register and are good quality. The smaller sheet has the decals for the stencilling with the larger sheet carrying the unit and national insignia.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.