This kit is a collaboration between Eduard models, from the Czech Republic, and Platz
, from Japan. It uses the Eduard plastic from new molds made in 2016. Platz
has put their own spin on it with new instructions, paint guides and Cartograph decals. Three of the four markings have not been offered before by Eduard. They include:
ZX-O EN335 145sq.
GZ-M NH495 32sq.
DH-N “Harpy” TB756 416sq.
LO-D MH526 602sq.
You may recognize that last one as the Spitfire flown by French ace Pierre Clostermann. Strangely there is no mention of that on the box or the instructions. I would think that a selling point.
IN THE BOX
1 clear sprue
4 sprues - some sprues are bagged together,
then all sprues are bagged together again.
Full color painting and decal guide.
I didn’t photograph the clear sprue because many of the parts had become detached and they were safer left in the bag.
This 2016 molding has been reviewed at Aeroscale before by both Andy Brazier and Tim Hatton so I’m not going to rehash their findings, but in short the detail on the fuselage is stunning. Fine panel lines and recessed rivets really pop. Eduard’s level of commitment to the details is high. The cockpit is nicely detailed though there are no seatbelts. The canopy can be built opened or closed. The same is true of the cockpit door. The plastic is a shiny dark blue-grey.
In Eduards’ nomenclature this would be a “Weekend Edition” since no PE parts or painting masks are included. They are available from Eduard though as aftermarket purchases, including instruments, seat belts and a resin engine cowl. Platz
has printed their own instructions (largely in Japanese) and full color paint guides, which they always do so well. The first page of the instructions has a sprue map with the unused parts greyed out. They have taken Eduard’s eleven ½ pages of build steps and distilled it into three full pages, and they have done it really well. You can download the original Eduard instructions from their website if you like.
There is one legitimate gripe about this kit; the two-piece engine cowl. This creates a needless seam that has to be filled and is finicky to fit. And some people have reported that the two-piece cowl is too narrow and does not even fit properly, and also that the fuselage didn’t fit into the wing root without sanding. The culprit for both of these issues is the firewall inside the fuselage. It sits between the cockpit and the engine bay. That part (B9) is too wide and a little too tall. Unless you shave it down a bit it will spread the fuselage, causing big seams and both the cowling and wings to fit poorly.
Before the fuselage was closed up, I taped both halves of the engine cover together. This allowed me to dry-fit everything and alter B9 as needed. Once I knew the fuselage fit well, I glued the halves together without the cockpit tub installed. After it dried, I added the internals; the entire cockpit tub can slide right in from the bottom. Part B8 is a little tricky to get inside the nose, but if you have trouble it can be left out. Its only purpose seems to be to add some sidewall support in the nose section.
This kit had me scratching my head for a while. Why does it even exist? Companies re-box other manufacturers plastic all the time. I thought perhaps the Eduard kits aren’t easy to find in Japan, but a quick web search dispelled that idea. Why not just buy an Eduard kit then? This one is made primarily for the Japanese market since nearly all the text is in Japanese. But is that all?
One of Eduard’s chief assets can also be viewed as a daunting inconvenience. They try to be very accurate, and are kind of obsessed with it. They have released this basic kit around a dozen times since this retooling as the Mk. VIII, the HF Mk. VIII, the Mk. IXc (early and late versions), the Mk. IXe, and the F Mk. IX, all in both Weekend and ProfiPack editions. I have built one of these before, and there are close to 80 unused parts in this kit. There are round wings and pointy wings and clipped wings and big rudders and small rudders and different wheels and canopies and radiators of various sizes. And each kit usually has multiple decal sets for several versions, but none of the kits have all the varieties of finishes used during the war.
“But…I just want to build a Spitfire” you might say. Platz
has broken the Spitfire into two categories, High-back and Bubble-top (previously released). And they have given us one generic kit with just about every flavor of late war Spitfire. There are two with the usual grey and green camo, both a standard (Pierre Clostermann’s) and a clipped wing version. There is one in desert camo with British markings, and there is one painted silver with the anti-glare hood (you could slap the pointy wingtips on that one and no one would blink). Musicologists scoff at the greatest hits record, but sometimes you don’t need all the deep cuts. This is a grab-and-go bag of Spitfire’s Greatest Hits! And there are so many parts for your parts bin, or to build whatever rule-splitting Frankenstein you want.
One more thing: look at the photo of the box bottom. There is a cardboard cut-out thingy that is explained in Japanese. I first thought was some kind of jig for wing alignment…or for assisting building somehow. But this isn’t a dainty bi-plane? This a muscular, solid Spitfire. The jig is in fact a cradle for transporting or shipping the finished bird. How clever. The cardboard is not very thick so I don’t know how sturdy the finished product will be, but this is yet another example of Platz
going the extra mile.
Now I’d like to see them design their own Spitfire. From what I’ve seen of other kits of theirs, it would be great; maybe a Greatest Hit.
Thanks go to Platz
for the review kit.