The Mk. VIII might be referred to as the definitive Spitfire. Its two-stage Merlin engine improved performance considerably, yet this Mark retained the classic lines of the earlier Spitfires.
The RAAF received 410 Spitfire VIII aircraft, although 120 of the later deliveries were immediately stored and destined never to see service. The Spitfire Mk VIII replaced the Spitfire Mk Vc in four of the Australian Spitfire Squadrons. 85 Squadron soldiered on with their old Spitfire Vs until the end of the war. The Mk VIII was used until the cessation of hostilities in September 1945.
This is the old Arii/Otaki kit in 1/48 scale. If you want to build a Spitfire VIII or IX , you now also have the options of the ICM kit, or modifying the Ocidental kit. Considering the amount of extra work in terms of cleanup and filling required for the ICM kit, and the inaccuracies of the disappointing Ocidental kit, the old Arii/Otaki offering still stacks up very well.
Surface detail is by way of restrained engraved lines, but the detail is a little oversimplified and Arii have missed the "gull wing" feature at the rear of the lower wing root. Cockpit detail is lacking, and the clear parts are quite thick and distorted. Even so, it is a quick and simple model to build, and certainly looks like a Spitfire.
I built this kit around ten years ago. It was originally finished in a speculative two-tone green scheme. I was planning to break this kit up, but Chris Wauchop saved from the spares box.
He repainted the Spitfire in Ocean Grey and Dark Green, and added the markings of 457 "Grey Nurse" Squadron from Aeromaster's sheet 48-124 "Spitfires Down Under".
Another lovely paint job by Chris, creating a silk purse from a sows ear!
I recently bought a new digital camera (a Kodak DC4800) and decided to rephotograph this old model. The background is a photograph that I took at Bankstown Airport. I had the photo enlarged to poster size.
Painted and Decaled by Chris Wauchop
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