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Eduard 1/72 scale Spitfire Mk.21

Kit: No. 7012
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Eduard, distributed by Precision Parts Corp., 800 Proctor Ave., Ogdensburg, NY 13669, &613-224-9071
Price: $24.99
Comments: Mixed media, 146 parts (69 injection-molded plastic, 14 resin, 62 photoetched brass, 1 film instrument panel), decals.

Even if you think you know all about Spitfires, it would be easy to not be familiar with the Mk.21. It was the first Spit with the revised wing that became standard on the Mk.22 and 24. Mk.21s carried either the Griffon 61 engine with five-blade propeller or the Griffon 85 engine and six-blade counterrotating prop. Only 120 Mk.21s were built, and they were too late to see action in World War II.

Eduard's Profi-Pack kit contains typical limited-run styrene parts that require cleanup of mold-parting lines and block sanding of mating surfaces. Also provided are excellent resin castings of the rudder, elevators, wheels, seat, cockpit door, and other details. They are well cast, but to use the control surfaces, you must cut away their plastic counterparts.

Most of the top-quality photoetched parts go in the cockpit, and some of these are tiny. Be careful when you cut them from the frame; they can fly away and disappear! If you use the photoetched cockpit details, remove the basic detail molded inside the fuselage halves. While you are at it, thin down the walls to make the photoetched interior fit better. In step 5, the frame for the control column linkage is narrower than the floor, so I added a couple of styrene strips to close the gaps.

I followed the instructions on building the cockpit most of the way, but left out the forward and aft bulkheads, instrument panel, cockpit floor, and seat assemblies until after the fuselage halves were joined. These all fit through the open bottom before the wing is added.

My sample had a few sinkholes in the upper cowl pieces, and the replacement resin elevators should have the prominent ribbing sanded away; these were all-metal and should be smooth.

The wing/fuselage joints needed sanding, dry-fitting, and eventually a little filler. If you are a detail fanatic, you can add the itsy bitsy photoetched shutter actuators inside the radiators, but they will be hard to see. The ventral carburetor intake was too deep, so I reshaped it.

Choose a prop, assemble and clean up the hub first, then file the corners off the square peg at the base of each blade so you can adjust the pitch and fit.

My sample's three-piece open canopy didn't fit well, so I chose the one-piece closed canopy. Of course, with the canopy closed, you can barely see all that wonderful cockpit detail!

Painting was simple; I used Model Master Metalizer non-buffing aluminum sealed with Polly Scale clear gloss. The Propagteam decals are thin and fragile. In the scheme I modeled, the forward red stripes are marked backwards: No. 61 should go on the right side with the exhaust cutout facing up (62 goes on the left). When viewed from the side, the stripes should be centered on the center line of the prop hub, not above it. Put the forward fuselage stripes on first, then place the fuselage roundels, then the rear stripes. I replaced the insignias because the white portions were too wide for Type C roundels.

The completed Mk.21 is an attractive model, but the wings and fin appear too thick. The overall dimensions are within a few scale inches of the measurements in my main reference, Alfred Price's The Spitfire Story. I spent about 20 hours building the kit and would recommend it to experienced modelers because of the small parts and extensive cleanup.

- Ross Whitaker

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