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Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII 'Overtrees'

Scale: 1/48th
Manufacturer: Eduard
Material: IM

Kit Review
This kit was given to me by Karel Padar of Eduard a few years ago just after Eduard had introduced their Spitfire family and were about to release the Mk.VIII version. I only had a complete set of production sprues and no instructions so it sat in my retirement pile until the chance came to build a Mk VIII for the secretary of The Spitfire Society in the colours of a 92 Sqdn machine based in Italy as he had known the pilot very well and wanted a model of his aircraft. So out of the stash it came. All five sprues with 203 parts plus 14 clear.

Having downloaded a 12 page instruction sheet off the Eduard website first task is to identify and eliminate the parts that are not going to be used. There are quite a few destined for the spares box.
If you haven’t built a new generation Eduard kit before it pays to read the instruction sheet. It will reward you throughout the build. I am of the old school that primes and paints parts on the sprue before assembly so everything to do with the first two pages-yes, the first two pages deal with the cockpit alone-was painted and then pieced together. The cockpit itself is made up of two sidewalls to which you add all manner of instruments and controls. The seat assembly consists of four parts including armour plate. I managed to mess it up slightly by melting the armour plate attachment points through over-liberal use of cement. Next time I may just use cyano instead. You then need to take care to make sure that the seat sits properly square on the floor to make sure that it lines up with the rear bulkhead. I used a Yahu instrument panel and Eduard fabric belts to add a bit of detail. Then with the cockpit tub assembled and the engine compartment bulkhead and propeller mounting plate in place it is time to install and join up the fuselage. The fit is almost perfect. You then add both wing root leading edges having drilled a hole in the port section for the gun camera. Time to put aside and dry as the wings are next.
The wheel well assembly looks daunting at first but dryfitting one side first to the one-piece lower wing to work out the sequence pays dividends and the fit is absolutely perfect. Don’t forget to install the lower surface navigation lights before you join the upper wing halves. The instructions then have you assembling the two-piece upper cowl and the exhausts. I could not get on with the cowl assembly so obtained an Eduard Brassin one piece resin cowl (Barracudacast do one too). The exhausts are made up of four pieces, the pipes themselves, a lower mounting flange, upper flange and an end piece that joins it all together. I elected to leave them off until painting was done.
The tailplane assembly is quite clever. Just follow the sequence recommended by Eduard and you won’t go wrong. Don’t ignore parts F52 and 53. They are key to making sure that the one piece elevators and tailplanes mate properly and that the whole assembly remains straight.
Flip the model on its back and its radiator time. Each radiator comprises five parts. Again, careful dryfitting will ensure that it all goes together correctly. Again, fit is perfect.

Colour & Markings
With the basic airframe together it is at this point that I get out the primer and the paint, leaving ancilliaries such as exhausts and undercarriage off until later. A light coating of Mr Surfacer 1000 to highlight any imperfections -precious few, thankfully, then paint. 
I had been briefed to produce a specific 92 Sqdn Spitfire based in Italy in late 1944. This appears to have been a machine that had been repainted from desert scheme to temperate at unit level as the pattern followed the ‘A’ scheme but the colours had been reversed. The aircraft had a white tipped tail to this was sprayed first, then the undersides were sprayed with Tamiya Medium Sea Grey. I used a set of TopNotch masks for a Mk IX Spitfire to recreate the uppersurface camouflage, with Tamiya RAF Dark Green first, then Ocean Grey. I then masked and painted on the yellow ID leading edge bands. On reflection I should really have done them first. I must have been too eager.
Once dry and with any blemishes out of the way it was decal time. I used some Xtradecal ‘C’ type roundels for the upper wings, and Eduard bonus set for other national markings and robbed a Tamiya MK 1 Spitfire for the tail band. I used an HGW wet transfer set for stencils and the blue Squadron codes. These are pure genius. However you must use warm water to soak them off, make sure that you have the area where they are being applied soaked in Mr Mark Softer, Microsol or other solution and place them accurately. Then leave them for six hours. You then peel the carrier film off the decal using fingernail and tweezers.  Get it wrong and it is impossible to fix.  I had to make up the serial number from individual HGW letters on the sheet which at times was a bit heart-stopping. The ‘G’ code letter was impossible to find on any aftermarket sheets so I made it up from a ‘6’ on a Xtradecal P-40 sheet Turkish option.

Final Details
Once complete it is time to get the ancilliaries on the model - the upper exhaust mount flanges will need about 2mm trimming off the top to get the cowl to fit- and get it to sit like a Spitfire. The tail doors need extreme care – I used white glue to avoid any marking to the paintwork. You get no less than three canopy posing options, so I opted for the open door and canopy slid back . A spray of Mattcote, some exhaust smoke and cordite from a mix of Humbrol weathering powder and chalk, a tiny bit of chipping from a Charismagraph pencil and one Spitfire is done.

This is the most enjoyable kit that I have ever built. It demands that you study the instructions. If you take care, plan the build and dry fit as much as possible, more to test the sequence than anything, you will be rewarded with a model of which you can be proud. Eduard’s plastic engineering is amongst the best out there, the detail is phenomenal and assembly, given the earlier caveats, is well within an average modeller’s skill set. Small wonder that I have already invested in two more Mk .VIII kits and there is a set of Mk IXe Overtrees demanding my attention.

Paints Used
Humbrol enamel
78 Cockpit Green
19 Bright Red + 70 Brick Red (for seat)
2002 Metalcote

Revel enamel
8 Matt Black

Citadel acrylic
Boltgun Metal

​​​​​​​Tamiya acrylic
XF-81 RAF Dark Green 2
XF-82 RAF Ocean Grey 2
XF-83 RAF Medium Sea Grey
X-8 Lemon Yellow