Spitfire kits

Discussion in 'First Impressions Kit Reviews' started by Leif Oh, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    The 1/33 Spitfire Vb by Halinski

    The Halinski "Kartonowy Arsenal" models are top of the line, and the new Spitfire Vb is no exception. The model will make a very fine companion to the earlier Hurricane in the same series, and the three year period between the kits is mostly noticeable in the 3D-instruction sketches, which became the norm with the P39N Airacobra, I believe.

    The kit is in the regular B4 format; four pages of coloured parts on thick (ca 0.25 mm, 0.001 inches); two pages of black & white parts and templates on thin paper; and five pages plus of instructional sketches. Be sure to order the English instructions from your dealer (should be free on request), since there are some stages of the build that have to be executed in a very specific manner and order (mainly cockpit interior and centre fuselage section; plus application of the wing covering with wheel-wells glued to the covering, not the structure).

    Halinski strangely enough has turned very restrictive in supplying pdf-files of English instructions directly from the head office by email, which is why I can't post them in the parts bin (I happened to get a hardcopy of a German translation from my dealer).

    As noted in the preview above (previous page), the aircraft modeled is the very same as the 1/24 JSC kit, although weathering and dirt has been added, which makes for a very realistic look (much like the Hurricane and other recent models).

    The faint suspicion that the livery has been based heavily on the JSC kit is strengthened by a mistake pointed out in the review of the JSC kit which is repeated here - although the lettering has been changed to the correct white nuance, the rear fuselage band and the spinner still are duck egg blue, which I believe is a mistake. Judging from photos of the real aircraft (see below) they should rather be cream or off-white, and for the true scale-modeler I recommend to recolour both items (which should be a relatively simple affair in Photoshop or similar).

    The internal structure of the model is built up with a very rigid framework and formers are quite closely positioned in the sensitive forward part of the fuselage, which is excellent. The rigid framework does not, however, extend all the way - the rear fuselage is cantilever cylinders with joining strips in the usual fashion.

    Personally, I think I will attempt creating additional rigid framework parts here, too, since that would enable all wiring for navigation lights to be installed before covering is attempted.

    Rudder, elevator, and ailerons are all built separately, and could be glued into desirable positions (not the flaps, though; it won't be that easy to create them in a deployed position).

    I have a question-mark for the shape of the top engine cowling which judging from photos and the drawing published in a previous posting actually should jut ut some distance from the lower fuselage below the exhaust stubs. Correcting this may not be so easy as just amending the formers, since the top engine cowling part of course will have to be distorted accordingly, and I for one am not sure how to accomplish this.

    Other details to be remarked on are the lack of a radio antenna in the instructional sketches I believe should be there, running from the top of the fin to the antenna mast. All parts are there, just don't forget to add the wire (correct me if I'm wrong on any of these points).

    If you are building the model with the wheels down, the landing-gear mechanical indicator on top of the wings (one cylinder on each wing which are flush with the wing when the wheels are up but protrude upwards a couple of inches when they are down) should be built in the protruding position, if memory serves me correctly. You'll have to make those small parts yourself; do some research if you intend to build a super-scale model.

    Otherwise the level of detail and finish of the aircraft is absolutely superb. The interior of the cockpit is a feast (although you could try to add instrument glazing; print an extra copy of the scanned instrument panel, make holes for the instrument in the top layer, and insert a layer of clear OH acetate film between layers). The pilot's seat and the control column will be particularly beautiful, I'm sure.

    Rounding up, my personal view of what should be done with this beautiful kit of course is: Scan it and enlarge it to 1/16 or at least 1/24-25. Add a little electric motor, rechargeable batteries, and LED navigation and identification lights.

    At a hasty glance, there are no parts that won't fit into standard A4 or letter format, even in 1/16 (the largest parts, the wing coverings, go on in four separate chunks, top & bottom of each wing separately).

    The Spitfire, and this kit of it, deserves to be brought out in full splendour!

  2. Ron

    Ron Member


    Thank you for that initial review :) I've been waiting to hear about this kit for some time. If anyone will do the Spitfire justice, it will be you. I can't wait to follow your build and if things permiit, follow in your footsteps

  3. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Thanks, Ron, but I haven't got dips on this one. Like you, I'll look forward to the first construction report - any scale, shape or form! - L.
  4. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    Leif, the Spitfire on the photo is not the one in this kit. Zumbach had more than a one Spit (I think there were four of them), and it is easy to recognize them, because each of them had a different Donald Duck picture.

    On the Polish forum the colour of RF-D letters was being discussed - some sources say that the letters should be of Sky type S colour (it was a standard painting scheme in that period). One of the modellers (Dyzio) has changed the colour, using a green coloured pencil (it must be done very carefully). CLICK

    What I didn't like in this model, are:
    - the rivets are too big
    - the tear-shaped bubble things on the upper side of the wings (close to the fuselage) are just 3D-printed, whereas it should be a separate part - like similar parts on the cowling (compare them to one another, the cowling ones are much smaller, and still not just printed!)

    Anyway, the model is really good... But not ideal. ;-)
  5. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Leif, thanks for the report. I guess you're not up to a build till you finish the P-39. I'll have to wait till it arrives at the North American suppliers to keep the postage within reason.

  6. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Swinger, thanks for relaying best available information! It seems, then, that the JSC kit might have been the correct one to start with, as far as colour of lettering goes. Interesting.

    And are you actually saying that Zumbach had four different aircraft, with the same registration RFD? Astounding. Could you relay some more from the Polish site on this issue? The Donald Duck figure sure seems identical to the one in the photo, as far it is possible to ascertain from the small 1/33 representation in the kit.

    If it helps any, the serial number of the RFD aircraft in the contemporary photo above is EN951. (Photo from Keystone Collection, printed in the book "An illustrated history of the RAF", by Roy Conyers Nesbit, Salamander Book, 2002.)

    As always on this site, you keep learning all the time. - L.
  7. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    OK, I've checked - not four, but three. ;-)

    Zumbach was one of the most successful Polish fighter pilots, and that's why he could have his personal aircrafts ("RF-D", D for Donald - he was called "Donald Duck"; later he had a Mustang "JZ" for Jan Zumbach). His Spitfires were: BM144 (the model, but earlier it had a different Donald Duck picture), EP594 and EN951.

    Take a look at these photos of Zumbach's 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, there are a lot of pictures with Zumbach's aircrafts:
    http://www.geocities.com/psp1945/303/303_pics1.html ("Sgt Popek" on one of the photos sits in Zumbach's Spitfire, and according to any other source, it is Zumbach himself, not any Popek :) )


    Here (on the decal) you can see the three versions of Donald:

    And it would be the best to read this book ("Zumbach's Donalds"). Unfortunately, I haven't got it.
  8. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Swinger, many thanks for excellent material and superior sources! I should have compared my own photo with my own sample of the model - different serial numbers, of course, but I just couldn't imagine that there were three Zumbach Spitfires with the same registration.

    I still have a lot to read up on the colour of the lettering. The decals in your link seem greenish to me; JSC has the same colour for both letters and fuselage stripe, while Halinski is more blueish for the fuselage stripe and off-white letttering. Both of them have modeled serial no. BM144.

    The photo of serial no. EN951 displays what seem to me to be off-white spinner, lettering, and fuse stripe - but then, that's not the particular aircraft modeled by by either JSC or Halinski.

    Seems I've been barking up the wrong tree from the start here. Another lesson.


    PS. The links you provided got so many viewers that the server was temporarily swamped. I'll be sure to return to them, of course. They were really excellent.
  9. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Spitfire colour schemes

    Swinger, and others

    Very interesting to study your links. At the very bottom of this posting you will find a comparative study of Polish 303 squadron Spitfires, made from one of the links Swinger provided. See: http://www.geocities.com/psp1945/303/303_pics2.html

    Top is a Spitfire II from May-July 1941. Note camouflage scheme in more brownish colours; greenish fuselage strip; blueish lettering.

    Middle is a Spitfire V from December 1941. Note different camouflage scheme (like the aircrafts modeled by JSC and Halinski); same colour on fuselage stripe and lettering (hard to determine what hue really, light blueish-greenish?).

    Bottom Zumbach's Spitfire Vb, probably from 1942. Same camouflage scheme as December 1941, but different colour (off-white) of fuselage stripe and lettering; also different positioning of letters (same as by JSC and Halinski BM144). Also note: thinner yellow roundel; different tail national emblem (same as JSC and Halinski BM144).

    The question then arises (and perhaps your Polish experts have an anwer already, Swinger): Did the change in colour of lettering & fuselage stripe, plus change in national emblems occur at the same time?

    In that case, also the BM 144 modeled should have off-white lettering, fuse stripe & spinner. The roundels are correct, see: http://www.homepages.mcb.net/bones/01UKAV/roundels/RAF_ROUNDELS.htm

    Added information (edited in), as I continued to search:

    In a review of a Hasegawa kit the reviewer states that "the tail band and the letters are supposed to be duck egg green", which would make your info totally correct, Swinger. See nice pics at: http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/magazine/2002/04/stuff_eng_malmborg_spitfire.htm

    However, a reviewer of the same decal sheet you cited states seemingly authoritatively: "... problems do exist with this decal sheet. The first problems to be encountered are found with the fuselage codes for four of the day fighter schemes. The codes were painted sky (type S) on the actual aircraft and these markings appear to be slightly too greenish and too dark for a 1/32nd scale model." See: http://www.largescaleplanes.com/reviews/TechmodDecals/Spitfire/Spitfire.htm

    Judging from this, it seems that JSC colours are too green, and Halinski colours of fuse strip and spinner are correct, while the lettering should be changed to that same colour, i.e. not green but sky blue (or same as stripe & spinner). Now we are getting somewhere - perhaps something you could bring up on the Polish list?

    On the other hand: In that case we have to assume that the colour photo published in a posting above has suffered deterioration. Lettering, stripe and spinner there seem very off-white. We also have to assume that the colour profile of the EN951 below is faulty. I'm not quite ready to buy that yet.

    From the same figure you can also see the differences between TWO COLOUR SCHEMES OF ZUMBACH'S BM144, namely from March and May 1941 respectively; the change in roundels an fin marking obviously took place in those months.

    You can also see the third Zumbach Spitfire Vb, EN951, WITH THE SAME MARKINGS as his second Spit, BM144, in May 1941. Alas, the aircrafts depicted ALL HAVE THE SAME COLOUR FOR FUSELAGE ROUNDEL & LETTERING, which doesn't help at all, since we know that changed between 1941 and 1942 (bottom figure of this posting). Very confusing.

    Immediately below this text, I've posted the decal manufacturer's own comparison between what is stated as the three Zumbach Spitfire Vb RFD. See: http://www.hannants.co.uk/search/?FULL=TM24002&ADD=TM24002

    From a seemingly authoritative Polish site it appears that Zumbach flew quite a number of Spits, among the the following models Vb: EN951 (RF-D); AB976; BM144 (RF-D); EP594 (RF-H). See: http://math.fce.vutbr.cz/safarik/ACES/aces2/pol/pol/zumbach.html

    It thus appears that there were only two Spitfire Vb RFD, namely BM144 and EN951. However, as found earlier there were two colour schemes of BM144 (the one modeled by JSC and Halinski), one of them almost identical to EN951 (apart from Donal Duck and location of serial number).

    From this it appears that the decal sheet discussed above in fact is faulty - EP594 is not a RFD, but RFH. On the other hand, every other source and manufacturer reproduces this mistake (if it is one). In which case we must assume that the seemingly authoritative Polish source just cited is mistaken, which I also have trouble believing.

    Further to the confusion: From a Japanese site it seems that the Donald Duck of the JSC and Halinski kits IN FACT IS NOT THE DONALD ON THE BM144, but on EP594 (not RFD, if the above is corret)! See: http://galland-web.hp.infoseek.co.jp/esau/zumbachspitmkvb/zumspit1.htm

    This is getting crazier by the minute! I'd better call it a night.

  10. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    Re: Spitfire colour schemes

    I think the last of the three Spitfires you've shown has a bad painting scheme - it is the same aircraft as the one on the colour photo you've attached earlier, and there we can see that the spinner, stripe and letters aren't white (compared with the definitely white circle in the roundel).

    BM144 is believed to have had two versions of Donald, so I think everything is OK. One of them had his bat directed downwards (the one on the black&white drawing on the Japanese site), and the other one - upwards (the one on Techmod decals)

    It is a Czech site. :)

    Dyzio on the black forum wrote that in that "Donaldy Zumbacha" book there is a painting with the BM 144 with sky/egg-blue spinner and the stripe, and gray letters. However, there are some photos in that book, too - Dyzio wrote that they may be interpreted just like the author did on the paintings, but Dyzio assumes the letters can be white as well. It's hard to say from black & white photos.

    The problem is that the RAF standard was sky type S/duck egg blue for spinner AND stripe AND letters. Of course for Zumbach an exception could have been made (for example, he wanted to have the rear view mirror at a better height... and look at the three pictures you've shown - RF-D's mirror is taller :) ). So, it is hard to say, but I think we can trust Haliński. :)
  11. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Thanks Swinger for putting all these question marks to rest, and sorry about the Polish-Chech cockup!

    Particularly good point you made about the difference in the colour photograph between the white in the roundel and the colour of the stripe, spinner & lettering - should have noticed that one myself.

    It was fun trying to get to the bottom of all this (amazing what you find if you put "BM144 Spitfire" into Googles), but I'll do what you suggest and trust Halinski on this one!

    Thanks again, Leif
  12. DN

    DN Member

    Guys, I don't know much about planes, but reading this post I can see what this board is all about. Salute!
  13. bholderman

    bholderman Member


    On page 2, there was a bit of discussion regarding Spitfires on film. I thought I would throw out my quick 2 cents. About 10 years ago, here in the US, Masterpiece Theater presented a multi-part series called, "Piece of Cake." I believe it was originally a BBC production.

  14. shrike

    shrike Guest

    I wouldn't use "Piece of Cake" as much of a reference as the squadron in the original book flew Hurricanes. Unfortunately Hurricanes are rarer than Spits, so they had to be switched for the filming
  15. bholderman

    bholderman Member

    True, but as I said, it was only 2 cents worth. Also, its been between 10-15 years since I saw it. Honestly, I cant recollect what they were supposed to be flying. But I remember enjoying it for the depth it looked at a squadron during the Battle of Britain, something that hasn't really been done on film. Regardless of historical accuracy, It was one of those things that I appreciated the effort.

  16. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    There's no reason to be sorry, I think I would also have problems in distinguishing for example Swedish from Norwegian. ;-)

    By the way, on a site of "A Question of Honor" book (which, as I hope, will find its place on my bookshelf today :D ; ehem, the site is www.questionofhonor.com ) there's a very interesting photo of Zumbach in his Spitfire. I have never seen it before:

  17. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Leif, Nobi, Cmdrted et al,

    I ordered the Halinski Spitfire on Friday along with their Hurricane..., Could it be that a latent form of Spitfire Fever is beginning to spread?

  18. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    I wouldn't be surprised. But the kit is kind of intimidating - so perfect (even in spite of Swinger's remarks), that you hesitate embarking on it. Seems it would call for some real committment. The pair of them, though - the Spitfire and the Hurricane - sure would make a nice couple hanging there from the roof!

  19. cmdrted

    cmdrted Active Member

    To make it more interesting it looks like another company has a Mk2 released.
  20. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    That's right, Mk II has just been released by Answer. It is an improved Tanie Hobby's Spit (released a few - or more than a few? ;-) years ago). This model is much less complex, much easier and much cheaper than the Haliński's one.

    Recently here in Poland the publishers tend to release the same models in almost the same time, often in the same painting schemes. However, the Answer's Spit seems to be directed to another group of customers (less experienced, with less money), in comparison with the Hal's Mk V.


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