Thursday, June 29, 2017

American Hack

Spitfire F.VIII, JF470/HL*R, 308th FS, 31st FG Italy 1944

The Subject

This is an early Mk VIII, first flying in May 1943.  By June it was in North Africa and moved to Fano, Italy in late 1943.

According to records, it had the standard Merlin 63, which means it was not an LF.MkVIII even though some folks erroneously assume clipped wingtips equates to a low flying Spitfire.  It was likely delivered with extended wingtips and operations quickly noticed the extended wingtips were not necessary, actually reducing roll performance at the altitudes typically seen operationally.  

The 308th FS flew Spitfires in North Africa and covered the landings in Sicily.  By August 1944 they had re-equipped with the P-51D-5-NA and were escorting bombers flying north from Italian bases.

JF470 was kept as a squadron hack until about October 1944 when it crashed on landing at Fano, presumably due to flak damage.

The Model

This is the Hasegawa kit, number 00723 titled "Spitfire Mk.VIII 'U.S. Army Air Force'".

Typical Hasegawa quality, the model went together quite easily and is almost a weekend build.  I did not use the kit's stripe decals, but painted them instead as I generally consider stripes an easy improvement on the basic kit.

Of note, the Hasegawa late Merlin Spitfires are essentially all the same basic kit, but with differing sprues for the boxed variants.  The fuselage and wings support building a VII, VIII, or IX with the "c" wing and later narrow cannon bulges on the upper wings.

Accuracy-wise the Hasegawa Spitfire is anemic in the fuselage, mostly just aft of the cockpit.  I don't find it noticeable unless the model is placed next to an Eduard Spitfire of the same mark.


I've got a few more of these and I'll certainly build them given the ease and the fact that I've got so many decals.  They make a great "batch build" effort if one wanted to knock out 4-6 models quickly and use up those decals.

Thanks for looking...