Supermarine Spitfire VIII
by Graham Tarran
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Page Created 15 August, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007
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