Revell-Monogram 1/48 Spitfire Mk II
Model, Text and Photos by: Adrian Milford
As most people probably know this isn't exactly a state-of-the-art kit. Although it is not up to some of the newest "tamigawa" standards, it's still a very nice kit. It has raised panel lines throughout, which, unless you are a real stickler for recessed lines, are just fine.
Construction began in the cockpit. I first painted all the major cockpit components with British Interior Green (Gunze H312). Once the main coat had dried I picked out the areas to be flat black and brush painted them with Poly Scale Flat black. A light dry brushing with silver brought out the detail in the instrument panel and some other areas. This was then followed up with a light wash of burnt umber to most areas of the cockpit. For the seat I decided to make seat belts using Tamiya masking tape and small pieces of thin wire. Using a picture as a guide, I made the belts and bent the small lengths of wire into small loops, which fit around the tape and resembled the buckles.
Next came the main body construction. This was the part of the kit I wasn't looking forward to, mainly because I would inevitably lose some raised detail in seam filling/ sanding. I was surprised though; the fit was actually pretty good. With a bit of sanding and dry-fitting I got the fuselage and wing-root joints to be quite close without the use of any putty. A dab of squadron white putty on each was all I needed to make the seams look the way I wanted them. The putty was applied with a toothpick, and then slowly wiped off with a Q-tip soaked in nail polish remover. This process works well around raised detail, and allows for the putty to be removed slowly, with very light stokes of the Q-tip. I left off the small details such as the landing gear and the smaller pieces to the end. The canopy was then masked using Tamiya masking tape cut on the canopy using a very sharp # 11 blade.
The raised panel lines (a bit too raised for my liking), were then very lightly sanded all over with worn 600 grit sandpaper to tone them down slightly. I went back and rescribed the detail lost on the fuselage spines and wing roots. As long as I didn't accent these scribed panel lines (with a wash or anything like that), they shouldn't be too noticeable from the raised detail around them.
I started by preshading the model using Tamiya Flat Black (XF-1). This was sprayed over all the panel lines and joints, to allow for these areas to have a slightly different hue on the finished model, which would allow the paint to look weathered. After this step I sprayed the undersides of the model using Tamiya Sky (XF-21), which was misted on in a few light coats, just enough to see a miniscule bit of the preshading still.
The bottoms were then masked off and the topsides were misted with Dark Green first (Gunze H 73). Then came the camouflage. There is a dispute whether the Spitfire should carry hard demarcation lines or feathered lines. There is some evidence that rubber "masks" were used to paint the patterns on, but some people believe that the pattern would also be free-handed on, or sprayed within the edge of the mask to minimize the amount of cleaning needed. I am not an expert on the topic, and I won't pretend to be. I asked around on an internet forum and found that to some degree the consensus would be the pattern would be tight - with a very fine amount of overspray. I decided to try to achieve this.
Using some drawings as a guide I lay tape down across the top surfaces to mask off for the Dark Earth (Gunze H 72) colour which was to be applied next. Rather than sticking the tape straight down on the surfaces, I ran a pretty fine piece of string about 0.5mm away from the edge of all the pieces of tape. This would allow the edge to be lifted up very slightly from the surface, and some feathering could occur.
Once the masks were in place I misted on the Dark earth in a few coats. Once this had dried I pulled the masks away, and the desired result was achieved. The paint scheme looked to be nearly hard-edged, but in some areas has a hint of a feathered edge - which was exactly what I was looking for.
Next came the decals. I had decided long before starting the kit that I wanted to build Douglas Bader's plane, and as luck would have it, his markings are included in this kit. Unsure of Monogram's decal quality, I proceeded with caution.
I prepped the model with a good coat of Model Master Metalizer Sealer. Much to my surprise the decals were great, and behaved wonderfully. They settled down over the raised detail nicely using Gunze's Mr. Mark Softer. After the decals had settled down I sprayed one more coat of the Metalizer Sealer on top.
Next I had to attach the landing gear, and the smaller details. The landing gear had been painted while the undersides had been painted earlier, so they were ready to install. I didn't like the look of the landing-gear joint, so I decided to strengthen it. I drilled a small hole up through the base of the landing gear, and a small hole where the landing gear was to connect to the plane. This way a stiff steel wire could be inserted in here (one end in the landing gear and one end in the wheel bay), and used to strengthen the joint. The gear were then superglued into place, and left to fully dry.
For the aerial behind the cockpit I used a product called invisible thread. I superglued one end down and allowed it to dry. Once it was dry I pulled the thread tight and superglued the other end to the tail of the plane. After this had dried there was a bit of a sag in the thread. This is easily remedied by using a match. By lighting a match, allowing it to burn for a few seconds, blowing it out, and then holding the freshly extinguished match under the thread, the heat of the dying match causes the thread to tighten up.
Despite its age and its pretty simple design, this kit surprised me. It was a blast to build and paint, and the detail really looks pretty convincing in the end. Its cockpit detail is quite good, and looks good with just a few easy additions, such as seatbelts.
I would definitely recommend this kit for anyone looking for a fun, quick build. I decided to build this kit to just take a break from the more expensive, time consuming kits, and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Value wise, I don't think this kit can be beat.
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