Grace in Grays: 1/48th Hasegawa Spitfire Mk.IX
Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Hasegawa's release of their Spitfire Mk. IX was highly anticipated in 2001 as the Spitfire community was still looking for the ultimate kit as the Ocidental, MPM and ICM Spitfire IXs front-runners of the time all had some issues. Unfortunately Hasegawa found out the hard way just how critical the Spitfire community is. After some debate the modelling community split either accepting that the Hasegawa Spitfire IX still looked okay, was nicely detailed and easy to build; while others deemed that the errors rendered the kit completely unacceptable to build.
Notable Kit Features:
Very good parts fit
Finely engraved panel lines
(But then there is that shape issue)
I was looking for a quick build of a Mk. IX for my collection and stumbled on a low cost kit to depict F/L Don Morrison's (DFC, DFM) Spitfire Mk. IX of RCAF 401 Sqn. when he was based at Lympne (Kent). Morrison flew escort on 1st US Raid to Rouen (19AU42) and downed a Fw190 over Dieppe but flew through its debris suffering considerable damage. His engine seized, and he had to abandon his Spit over The Channel but was later rescued by High Speed Launch 177.
Although much anticipated when it was released with nice recessed panels and details when it was compared to drawings and the earlier ICM and Ocidental kits, the Hasegawa kit was deemed too problematic in shape. "Short in length; issues where the wing (which is in scale) sits on the fuselage; too pronounced taper from the cockpit to the rudder; the spinner is too long"... soon had this kit doomed with the Spitfire crowd. (Aeroclub later released a correction set to remedy the issues.)
On the flip side you can typically pick up these kits inexpensively second hand (got mine for $5), the fit is very nice, so if you don't mind the inaccuracy and just want a fun build...
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Built out of the box with the exception of the decals for Don Morrison's machine
What's that model maker saying, "You can never have too many Spitfires" (substitute your favourite aircraft... or two or three... for Spitfire). I especially like the rare non-standard Ocean Gray over Medium Sea Gray camouflage on this one. Paint was airbrushed on using my standard variation of paint tones during the spray with darker tones typically used along the panel lines (I never caught onto the black panel line under-spray method). Paint is followed by a gloss coat using Pledge Floor Finish > Decals > Oil base panel wash > Matt coat.
I still have a number of Spitfires in the stash from Tamiya & Hasegawa - (Mk.V) ICM - (Mk. VIII) ICM & Italeri (which is the Occidental kit) - (Mk. IX) and will probably pick up an Eduard and (later) Airfix example when I come across them at a good price to fill out my Spitfire collection.
The After-Build Report:
The 1/48th Hasegawa kit was criticized for having difficult to fix shape issues but it worked in this case for my purposes for an inexpensive, no-stress build (as I did not do any comparing with other kits or drawings - sometimes ignorance is bliss :) For these reasons I won't fully recommend this kit as there are better ones available now. The newer Eduard Mk.IX kit is considered one of the best Spitfires in this scale at present.
Completed build #211 - December 2017 using the 1/48th scale Hasegawa #09555 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers