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Spitfire Mk.VIII and IX
 "No Cut" Corrected Fuselages

for Hasegawa 1/48 Scale Kits

 

Loon Models

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

LO48208  - "No Cut" Spitfire Mk.IX Fuselage Correction
LO48209  - "No Cut" Spitfire Mk.VIII Fuselage Correction

Scale: 1/72
Price: LO48208 - USD$21.75
LO48209 - USD$18.50
(Loon products may be viewed at the Loon Models website)
Review Type: FirstLook
Media and Contents: See review text
Advantages: Ambitious project addressing a high-profile error on Hasegawa's late Merlin Spitfires; high quality casting; simple solution to short Hasegawa fuselage (no cutting); Mk.IX set includes early stabs, small carb intake and wide "C" cannon covers.
Disadvantages: Some thin flash requiring cleanup; slightly wider engraved lines on rear fuselage.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


 HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

 

F i r s t   L o o k

 

Some model issues take on epic proportions.

One high-profile issue of recent years is the famous "short fuselage" in Hasegawa's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk. VIII/IX family of kits. It is generally accepted that the rear fuselage of these kits is too short with some further compound problems due to this dimensional error. These additional problems include misplaced panel lines. but more importantly, the taper of the lower fuselage line from the cockpit to the rudder is too pronounced. The spinner is also far too long, presumably to help compensate for the short overall fuselage length.

Bruce Archer conducted a detailed comparison between Spitfire Mk.IX kits in 1/48 scale shortly after Hasegawa's initial Spitfire IX release in 2001. His conclusion was that there was no easy fix to the Hasegawa fuselage dimensional problems.

And so, the modelling community noisily divided into two camps. Some modellers accepted that the Hasegawa Spitfire IX still looked okay, was nicely detailed and was easy to build; while others thought that the error was noticeable and rendered the kit unacceptable. Many modellers acknowledged the problem but built the kit anyway.

There was never any "right" or "wrong" to these different positions, but Loon Models now offers another option.

Loon Models has released two complete fuselage replacements in resin for building a more accurate Spitfire Mk.IX or the later Mk.VIII based on the Hasegawa kits.

 

LO48208 - Spitfire Mk.IX Fuselage Correction

Loon Models' 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.IX fuselage correction could not be much simpler.

Two complete fuselage halves are supplied in cream coloured resin. The halves are securely taped to cardboard to prevent the resin from warping in transit or storage. The entire package is shipped in small stout boxes.

 

 

There are no fuselage casting blocks or attachment points. These must have been cleaned up before packing. There is a little thin resin flash to clean up, but the casting is generally excellent.

The resin replacement fuselage is broken down in a similar fashion to the equivalent kit parts, except the empennage around the tail wheel is cast in place. This area is a separate insert in the Hasegawa kit.

Even the moulded sidewall detail is present.

This set also supplies an accurately sized and shaped spinner, the early-style horizontal stabilizers with non-kinked elevators; short carburettor intake (cast onto a new lower cowl part); and the early style, wide covers for the "C" wing cannon. These were designed to be used when two 20mm cannon were installed in each wing, but were seen used with other combinations too. Different style wheels might be required too. Check your references for individual subjects.

 

 

So, is this an accurate conversion? I can state that it looks much better than the Hasegawa fuselage, even using just the Mk.I eyeball.

 

 

Empirical data is a bit harder, as there seems to be a lot of detail and dimensional variation in published scale drawings.

For example, Loon Models state that they have used the SAMI Spitfire "Comprehensive Guide for the Modeller" as one of many references. As an experiment, I compared the resin fuselage to the 1/48 scale drawing of the Spitfire IXe in that book, and their lengths were identical. I compared the resin fuselage with the 1/48 scale drawing immediately above this plan (the Spitfire IXc); and the Loon part came up several millimteres short. And these scale plans were on the same page of the same book!

Compared to my Hasegawa 1/48 scale Spitfire IXc kit fuselage, the Loon part is approximately 3mm longer to the rudder hinge line. The position and size of the canopy is identical, but the height of the rear fuselage and the taper of the lower rear fuselage to the bottom of the rudder hinge line has been improved. Also, panel lines have been rescribed in different positions to reflect the overall increase in length of the rear fuselage. These new panel lines are very slightly wider than those on the rest of the fuselage.

It is important to remember that this is not a simple "plug". It is, in effect, a new rear fuselage. The fact that it it attached to the entire fuselage makes the modeller's job much easier.

Instructions are supplied as a double-sided letter-sized sheet. The parts really are simple replacements for kit items, so nothing more is really required.


 

LO48209 - Spitfire Mk.VIII Fuselage Correction

The Spitfire Mk.VIII was a more standardised version that the stop-gap Mk.IX. The early carby and wide blisters are therefore not included in this set.

The fuselage is set up for the retracting tail wheel with the cut out for the rear gear doors.

Apart from that, the same comments apply to this set as for the Spitfire IX fuselage correction.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Loon Models has tackled an ambitious project and delivered a very creditable result.

There is no doubt that the Loon Models Spitfire fuselage corrections combined with the new spinner will improve both the length and the proportions of the Hasegawa kit. The correction set does not fix every detail, but the big problems are addressed.

The simplicity of the sets is very welcome. Even relatively new modellers should be able to handle this conversion.

If you are someone who has been delaying building Hasegawa's Spitfire Mk.IX or VIII kits because of its dimensional woes, Loon Models' 1/48 scale Spitfire fuselages will be the answer to your prayers!

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Roll Models for the review samples


Loon Models accessories may be ordered from Roll Models: http://www.rollmodels.com/


Review Copyright 2003 by Brett Green
Page Created 09 October, 2003
Last updated 09 October, 2003

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