AIRFIX 1:72 SPITFIRE MK.A (1) SNAP-KIT
Reviewer: Peter Knight (email@example.com)
This spitfire version is the one which supposedly made history in the Battle of Britain arena in 1940. Of course, the Hurricane was the more successful of the two in this air-war but the Spitfire played a major and important role that was later over-accentuated by the historians of the modern era. It can be truly said that this is probably the most famous of British fighters in World War 2 and an aircraft which appears in almost every scale aircraft modeller's collection.
I picked this kit up quite cheaply on a sale in K-Mart, and no wonder, I realised it was a snap-kit - skill level 1, when I got home. Opening up the box reveals light grey styrene with raised panel lines and large snap-joints that will need to be sanded down and given the appropriate amount of filler. The decals are actually stickers and the kit is obviously marketed for the absolute beginner - and even under-age modeller. There is no glue required to assemble the model for obvious reasons although I would use glue in my build to get a more professional finished product.
Not much detail is provided in the way of the interior, which is probably not a bad thing because little can be seen through the thick and distorted canopy. There is also no wheel well detail to speak of. The cockpit consists of only an already assembled floor/seat/back wall and instrument panel. No other detail is provided such as control stick, sidewall panels or raised knobs. You snap these all into place, followed by the fuselage halves and encase the propellor then wings, tail and tailplanes. I followed the instructions in the logical order depicted but sanded my parts down and glued them into place, using filler to plug up the gaps. Interestingly, in most snap-kits you almost need to invest in a tube of filler but in this case only a relatively small amount was needed to fix up the holes.
Once assembled/snapped together the kit captures the lines of the Spitfire quite well - admittedly I had sanded down and reshaped a few parts so the snapped version won't be quite as accurate. But nonetheless it will be quite clearly a spitfire and also captures the unique gull wing shape from underneath that is commonly misrepresented on other more expensive Spitfire kits. Not bad overall look considering it is just a snap kit.
Decals...er...stickers are supplied for one version used during the Battle of Britain and naturally these will be thick and are only useful for the younger modellers which this kit is marketed for. I got hold of some aftermarket propagatem decals and used them to reproduce my own BofB version in RAF Dark Green, Earth and Sky blue undersides. They were a bit thin and included its own "Battle of Brittle" :) but did the job and gave the model a good finish.
Overall this is a very easy kit to build, especially if you go for the snap-together and sticker decals method. With a little bit of extra work for the higher skilled modeller it will give you a surprisingly good example of the Spitfire Mk.1/Mk.A version so is still worth the buy (especially if picked up cheaply). For the people it is intended for - youngsters and beginners - this is certainly a very highly recommended kit to build and get a Spitfire on your modelling shelf that is still quite accurate without the extra work. Two things this kit has taught me - firstly, read the box label before purchasing it and secondly, snap-kits in terms of accuracy, aren't so bad after all.
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