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Italeri 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.XVIe

Kit: No. 2646
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Italeri, from Testor, 815-962-6654, www.testor.com
Price: $31.50
Comments: Injection molded, 70 parts, decals
Pros: Good moldings, excellent fit, easy to assemble, good clear parts, excellent Cartograf decals
Cons: Gun-bay covers too small, wheel installation difficult, sink marks on the upper wing surfaces, crude bombs
One of the lesser-known Spitfires, the Mk. XVI was equipped with the Packard Merlin 266 engine. Later versions, like our review kit had "e" wing armament (letters designated the armament arrangement in the wing), a cutdown rear fuselage with bubble canopy, clipped wings, and a non-retracting, castoring tail wheel.

Italeri's contribution to the 1/48 scale Spitfire world is a repackaging of the Ocidental kit from Portugal. All panel lines are recessed, but the wing's lines are deeper and wider than those on the fuselage. Access panels on the fuselage are raised slightly above the surrounding surfaces. I had to clean up mold-parting lines on the landing gear struts and propeller blades. The clear parts are well-molded.

The cockpit interior is adequate, except for the harness decal - belts should have more heft in this scale. The cockpit can be installed from beneath before the wing joins the fuselage.

The kit is molded with the "c" wing and to accurately model the "e" wing, you must cut out the gun-breach covers and replace them with the provided "e" wing covers. The fit of the alternate covers wasn't great.

The wing's upper and lower parts line up perfectly, but the tips needed minor shaping. The wing-to-fuselage joints required no filler, and the horizontal stabilizers plugged tightly into the tail. The engine cover looks like it could use a bit more bulge, but it fit over the exhaust manifold without difficulty.

The landing-gear struts simply plug into square holes in the wing for perfect alignment, but they are fragile. The wheels must be pressed over bulged retainers on the axles, and that's not easy. Put them on before installing the struts into the wing.

The propeller spinner back plate is held by a washer inside the fuselage. The separate propeller blades attach with angled pins to the back plate for perfect alignment.

I chose the attractive gloss-black postwar Spitfire Mk.XVIe flown by the Air Officer Commanding of No. 21 Group. The instructions list Testor Model Master and Acryl paint numbers and are correct, except for the interior color (should be RAF interior green instead of pale green). The beautiful Cartograf decals, encouraged with repeated applications of Micro Sol, went on without problems.

The finished model measures a bit long, but the wingspan is just right. The squat stance of these Spitfires is nicely replicated. I spent only 12 hours on this model, but the paint scheme was easy. Modelers at all skill levels will be able to build this streamlined Spit.

- Al Jones

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