1/48 ICM Spitfire Mk VII of 453 SQN RAAF

By David Harvey


I decided a while ago to do two Spitfires to use the Red Roo decals sheet 'Misplaced Interceptors' that was issued last year (2005) covering the Mk VII version that I didn't have in my collection. I then decided to do a Mk IX also using a Red Roo decal set that I had sitting in the stash. So I then needed to source three Mk VII/ Mk IX kits in 1/48. Thankfully ICM has produced one of the more accurate kits of these aircraft in 1/48, the only problem is that they can be a bit of a problem due to poor quality control at times. I managed to get the three kits from Earle at NKR for a reasonable price compared to the Hasegawa versions, plus the kits have all the parts needed for all of the Mk VII/VIII and IX aircraft in one kit.

The kit

As I said earlier the ICM kit can be a bit of a problem, it's relatively straight forward you just need to take care and test fit things. I have listed below a few points I found during the construction of the three kits.

  • You need to replace the following items - propeller, seat and wheels. I used Ultracast items sourced from Craig at Aeroworks for a reasonable cost.

  • When constructing the cockpit it makes life easier if you trim the joint area of the instrument panel to the cockpit floor.

  • The Mk VII was a high altitude interceptor and did not have the pilot hatch as the rest of the series has. Ensure you don't cut out the door as you will need to fit it back in again to make the correct look for the Mk VII.

  • Ensure you paint the interior of the wing section that is underneath the cockpit as it can be seen. Not readily but it is visible.

  • When you insert the cockpit into the fueslage, ensure that you don't push it in too far/high as the rear section of canopy is a very close fit to the head rest/armour plate. I put one of mine a fraction to high and had to trim down the armoured head rest a fraction to make the rear canopy fit correctly.

  • Check to see if the version you are after had the pilot head cushion or not. The Mk VII did have the cushion whilst the Mk IX didn't (I believe).

  • Don't fit the antenna until you are near completion as I broke them off two of the three kits prior to completion.

  • The wings fit the fueslage very well but can easily go out of alignment on the fueslage / upper wing section and sit too high.

  • Fit the cannon covers in the wing prior to joining the upper and lower sections of the wing. You will need to trim the covers prior to fitting. These are also replaceable with items from Ultracast but I didn't consider it worth while to do so as the only difference is the bolt holes on the edge of the ultracast items.

  • When attaching the wing tips take your time and fit them properly and you will not require any filler.

  • The flap area needs to be checked for ejection pin marks as I didn't notice it till it was too late and I had painted the underneath.

  • The lower engine cowl - I glued it to the wings prior to fitting the wings to the fueslage. This worked well for the Mk VII's (no intake on the cowl) but not so well for the Mk IX. You need to ensure that the angle of the cowl is correct against the fueslage. This is an item that you could replace as Ultracast also has a one piece item to replace the multiple piece item in the kit.

  • You don't require to put any of the engine components in the forward fueslage depending on how you want to attach the propeller. The cowls all go together well enough to enable the front plate of the propeller to be glued to them. If using the kit prop you need to put only the reduction housing (?) in the engine bay to give you the attachment point. Otherwise you can just leave all components out of the engine bay and attach a piece of tube to the prop and use that to be the joint.

  • To drill the hole for the Ultracast prop hubs the easiest way I found was to use the kit hub plate and mark the centre of the hub on the replacement prop and go from there.

  • The exhausts can be glued in place without anything inside the engine bay. You may want to build a backing plate inside to glue them too but it isn't required due to how they fit in the exhaust area.

  • The canopies are very thick and uneven on the inside but come up a little better with some future/One go, they may need replacement if you want the canopy closed. They fit well on the kit tho.

The rest of the build is simply a case of carefully fitting prior to glueing parts together. I was amazed at how well it went together considering the flogging the kits have received on a lot of sites. There are a number of small seams that require filling eg the rear of the fueslage/wing joint, but these are present on the Hasegawa and Tamiya kits as well.

You are given a number of options in the kit so ensure that you know what version you are building. You have 2 types of rudders (pointed and round), 2 different types of tail planes (different panel lines on them), 2 different types of wing tips (extended and rounded) and bombs/rockets. Obviously you end up with a fair amount of left overs for the spares box.


Painting and Decaling

I covered the clear parts in opaque Scotch tape and then sprayed the top camouflage colour with Hu 165 for the Medium Sea Grey and Hu 96 underneath for the PRU Blue. Once this had cured for a while I then gave it a couple of coats of One Go.

After it had all dried I attempted to apply the kit stencils and discovered that they are pretty much useless and need replacing. I managed to salvage a few of them but they silver badly and fall apart easily. The Red Roo Decals go on well and I had no problems at all with them. After they had dried for a few days I applied another coat of One Go over the top of them.

To weather the kits I thinned out Hu matt black with turps until I had a very thin soup and applied this to all the panel lines with a brush. After a few minutes I used a chux dipped in Humbrol enamel thinner to remove the excess black soup. I use the chux as it seems to have the right structure to not take away all of the soup where a tissue does.

After this I added all of the smaller items and completed the model.



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