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ICM 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.IX

Manufacturer: ICM (Ukraine), distributed by ICM, 2600 Spring St., Redwood City, CA 94063, 650-365-7200,
Kit: No. 48061
Scale: 1/48
Price: $19.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 153 parts, decals
Pros: Optional parts, engine and bearers, excellent instructions showing Mk.IX variations
Cons: A few fit problems, flash and sink marks, decals silver easily, instrument decal doesn't fit panel
The Spitfire Mk.IX, with its Merlin 61 engine and four-bladed prop, finally reversed the ascendancy of the Fw 190 over British fighters. The Mk.IX was introduced in July 1942, and by D-Day there were 34 squadrons of them.

ICM's Mk.IX is a highly detailed and intricate model with a detailed engine and multiple options. The moldings are well done and include a choice of open or closed canopy. Other options include a choice of rudders, horizontal stabilizers, wing gun blisters, wing tips, and the ability to open the gun bays, cockpit door, and cowling panels. You also can choose slipper gas tank, bombs, rockets, and six decal marking options. What a bargain!

The engine alone has 27 parts, not counting the supports or exhausts. There was a moderate amount of flash on many parts in my sample, and some slight sink marks on the back of the prop blades. In most cases, removing the flash rewards you with an amazingly good fit.

The 12-page instruction booklet has four pages of side and plan views for various versions of the Mk.IX. The instructions feature clear exploded subassembly views which call out colors for the parts.

The cockpit is nicely detailed, but there are no seat belts and the instrument panel decal doesn't fit well. The cockpit slips nicely up into the assembled fuselage halves - after trimming the sides and bottom of firewall (part No. B23). If this isn't done the nose will be too wide for the top cowling and there may be trouble fitting the wing to the fuselage.

Test-fitting showed some work would be necessary to get the engine and its supports into the fuselage and the cowl panels on correctly after it was in place. I decided to display the engine separately. With the engine out, I had to make a shaft and mounting collar for the prop and spinner and glue the exhausts in later.

The rear of the wing fillet area needs to be trimmed to allow the wing to slide back enough so that the wing root leading edges line up reasonably well. I had no problem fitting the wing gun blister panels and the horizontal stabilizers. I had to file down the landing gear strut pegs a little to make them fit into their respective holes.

I painted my Spit with Polly Scale acrylics and chose the decals for Wing Commander Johnnie Johnson's aircraft as it appeared on D-Day. The kit decals are very flat but go on easily and conform well to the surface. However, despite a clear gloss undercoating, the decals silvered easily.

The finished model appears right on the money in its dimensions and contours. I spent 38 hours on my model. While it takes longer to finish than the average single-engined fighter kit, you are rewarded with an accurate and highly detailed model. I recommend it to experienced aircraft modelers.


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