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Supermarine Spitfire VIII

by Graham Tarran


Supermarine Spitfire VIII


ICM's 1/48 scale Spitfire VIII is available online at Squadron.com



The Mk VIII actually entered service after the Mk IX, the latter having been rushed in to service as a “stop-gap” to counter the FW190 threat in the north European skies of 1941/2. Indeed it proves so successful that when the VIII entered service in 1943, it was not really need in that theatre so the majority went to RAF/USAAF units in N Africa & the Med or RAF/RAAF units in the Far East.



ICM's 1/48 Scale Spitfire VIII

I have had an example of the old Arii/Otaki Mk VIII for some time but been put off by the rather basic cockpit & lack of the Spit’s graceful “gull-wing” shaping under the rear wing (although the outline & mouldings are very good. I am at this time using the Airwaves Mk XII conversion set on this kit).

The ICM VIII addresses both problems very well. It is moulded (my example at least) in soft two tone white plastic. The box is of the useless opening end type with no depository for work in progress. It is also not nearly strong enough & a few more delicate parts on my example had been broken at some stage.

Inspection of the surviving parts shows them of good quality with a little flash here & there. Cockpit detail is good although I replaced the seat with an Ultracast after market resin example. A beautifully cast Merlin engine is included with all pipe-work, glycol tank & fire wall bulkhead detail. However I remember reading somewhere that the fit is not good so elected to leave it out of this my first effort.

However the news is not all good. The main wheels & rudder pedal were incompletely formed & once again were replaced by Ultracast resins pieces (as were the prop blades & exhaust stacks). In addition there are serious sink marks around the rear fuselage, cannon barrels & along the upper wings just ahead of the ailerons. All were filled & problem solved!




Construction is straightforward. Not using the engine means that the front of the fuselage halves “float” with no positive location until joined by the upper & chin cowling parts. The fuselage front plate must be attached to the front of the fuselage halves, rather than the front of the engine. Also, do not forget to install the exhaust stacks to the inside of the fuselage halves before assembling as these too are normally attached to the engine, in addition, the tail wheel doors must be cut out for a MkVIII. Fit of the cowlings which could have been dreadful with this method of kit break-down was really very good with only a drop of filler required. Additional filler was need at the wing/fuselage joint.


The underwing radiator/supercharger intakes needed a small amount of material to be removed for a good fit.

All internal areas were sprayed RAF interior green (the instructions recommend this colour for the wheel wells although I am pretty sure that this area was the same colour as the undersurface on most Spitfires).

The pilots access hatch can be cut out & a replacement part is included on the sprues although I am sure that if done carefully, the cut out part could be re-used here.

A one piece closed canopy is included as is a three part version for displaying open.


The ailerons of the VIII are of the short span type so need trimming to length. Wing tips are of the dreaded separate variety & require care & a little filler (these moulds double for the Mks IX, XVI & long span VII). A Mk VII could in fact be produced from the ICM VIII as many VII’s had their long span wings removed & the sprues do provide the cabin pressurisation intake.

A pair of cannon are provided for the gun bays which in turn have removable covers. Detail though is a little sparse so I omitted them & cemented the bay covers in place. The Cannon fairings are not such a good fit but they never are when moulded in two parts with the rear half as part of the main wing, even the Hasegawa Typhoon falls down here). Blanking caps for the 0.5” machine guns, not fitted the the C wing of the MkVIII, are provided.



Colour Schemes

Decals are for two USAAF examples in the RAF Dark Earth/Middle Stone/Azure blue scheme. However I wanted an RAF example so used Aeromaster sheet 48-464 to produce that flown by Gp Cpn Robert Boyd in India in 1944 with the white theatre i/d bands, slightly unusual in that they included the cannon farings.



Extracolors for the main scheme & Humbrols for the details were used throughout as per my usual practice with a coat of flat varnish after decalling.




All in all a very good kit. ICM also produce a Mk VII (an example of which I have ready to start) Mk IX & XVI “bubble-top”. The Hasegawa Mk IX is of course now available so I probably won’t bother with the ICM offering but for the money the ICM kit is still excellent value & I await release of the XVI with impatience!

Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2001 by Graham Tarran
Page Created 15 August, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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