Supermarine Spitfire Pt. 3
LifeLike Decals, 1/32 scale
Reviewed by Brad Fallen
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This release from Japanese decal manufacturer Lifelike Decals features four Spitfire Mk Vbs flown by the RAF and USAAF in 1942-43. Lifelike has chosen its subjects carefully to provide modelers with a good variety of the schemes applied to these mid-war Spitfires.
The aircraft are as follows:
Spitfire Mk Vb, AD196/XR-Q, flown by Sergeant Jack Evans of No. 71 (Eagle) Squadron, RAF Debden, August 1942. According to Lifelike’s instructions, Sgt Evans was killed in action in this aircraft on 27 August 1942. XR-Q was camouflaged in the RAF Day Fighter Scheme: Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey, with Sky codes, fuselage band and spinner. Setting off this otherwise standard finish is a large black-and-white skull and crossbones painted on the lower engine cowling, just behind the spinner.
Spitfire Mk Vb, WD-A, flown by Flying Officer James Montgomery of the 4th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group, Palermo, Sicily, August 1943. The instructions point out there is some uncertainty about the exact markings, paint colours and even model (Vb or Vc) of this Spitfire. Lifelike’s conclusions seem reasonable, although the text and illustrations contradict each other in relation to paint colour. The former describe WD-A’s upper surface colours as Dark Green and Middle Stone, while the plan view shows these as Dark Earth and Middle Stone. The latter seems more likely, but I would recommend checking your references. Both this aircraft and option 4 were fitted with Vokes air filters.
Spitfire Mk Vb, EN824/FU-U, flown by Pilot Officer John W. Yarra of No. 453 (Australian) Squadron, RAF Martlesham Heath, December 1942. P/O Yarra was shot down and killed in this aircraft over Holland on 10 December 1942. Again Lifelike’s research appears thorough, with FU-U described as finished in Dark Green and Mixed Grey over Medium Sea Grey, with sky codes, fuselage band and spinner.
Spitfire Mk Vb, ER821/QJ-R, flown by Flight Lieutenant Neville Duke, No. 92 Squadron RAF, Libya, March 1943. The instructions note that, as with option 2, there is uncertainty about the exact finish and identity of this aircraft. However, there appears to be no doubt that QJ-R’s main colours were Dark Earth and Middle Stone over Azure Blue.
As you may have already guessed, the highlight of this set for me is the quality of the instructions. These are not extravagant: each aircraft is depicted in port profile and upper plan view only, with undersurface scrap views provided as necessary. But camouflage patterns and decal placement locations are clearly shown, and the short column of text on each subject is invaluable. Eight references are cited, and referred to throughout the text in support of points made about each aircraft. Modelers looking for additional information have plenty to go on here, while those content to rely on the instructions can do so knowing these have been thoroughly researched.
The decals themselves come on four separate sheets: national markings and code letters; additional code letters, serial numbers and kill markings; nose art; and stencils. The stencils are clearly printed, with all words legible and correctly spelled. The nose art for options 1 and 2 is provided in two parts: the art itself, and a white backing decal to ensure there is no bleedthrough from the darker background colours. Finally, the national insignia and codes also look good; printing is crisp, and colours and dimensions appear to be accurate. There is a large amount of carrier film around some of the code letters, that I would carefully trim before application to minimize the chance of silvering.
Lifelike Decals produce first-rate sheets with their ones covering Japanese subjects being the best around. This sheet is no exception. It combines superb decals with some outstanding research that will allow you to an accurate model of the depicted machine.
Thanks to Lifelike Decals for these samples.
Text and Images Copyright © 2013 by Brad Fallen
Page Created 22 May, 2013
21 June, 2013
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