First Look Review
Pre-War Spitfires
Pre-War Spitfires
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

As Mal Mayfield always says - you can’t have too many Spitfires. And I have a certain soft spot for the very earliest Mk. Is that were arguably closest to R. J. Mitchell’s original vision. So it’s especially welcome to see Iliad Design reprint their Pre-War Spitfires decals sheet, and  with the added bonus of an extra colour scheme squeezed in.

The decals are excellent quality, with crisp printing and pin sharp registration. Excess carrier is kept to a minimum, and the items are thin and glossy. The colours look very accurate, with a suitably dull red and a rich, but not overly bright, yellow.

The schemes featured are:

Spitfire Mk. I, s/n K9795 of 19 Sqn., Duxford, October 1938
Spitfire Mk. I, s/n K9843 of 54 Sqn., Hornchurch, summer 1938
Spitfire Mk. I, s/n L1088 of 609 Sqn., summer 1939
Spitfire Mk. I, (s/n painted out) of 19 Sqn., Duxford, May 1939
Spitfire Mk. I, s/n K9927 of 14 Sqn., Hornchurch, May 1938
Spitfire Mk. I, s/n unknown of 41 Sqn., Catterick, 1939

The subjects offer a mix of “A” and “B” camouflage patterns and underside colours, 2- and 3-blade props and flat or bulged canopies - and, most importantly for me, the fascinating variety in styles and sizes of national and squadron markings that appeared as the RAF geared itself up for the inevitable conflict to come.

The decals are accompanied by a useful sheet of instructions with good quality profiles and notes about the individual subjects on the front, and simpler plan views and “A” and “B” patterns on the reverse.

Iliad’s pre-war Spitfire markings are beautifully produced and will go very nicely with the Airfix Mk. I - or the Tamiya kit with an aftermarket propeller and canopy for some of the colour schemes. The aircraft in service during the crucial run-up to WW2 often tend to be unfairly overshadowed (probably inevitably) by those caught up in the thick of the fighting, so it’s great to see such an excellent sheet of markings devoted to them available again.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Excellent quality decals for some interesting colour schemes.
Lows: None noted.
Verdict: This is a great set lovers of the Spitfire and anyone interested in the crucial period on the eve of war.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 48003
  Suggested Retail: $12.00
  PUBLISHED: May 07, 2017
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Iliad Design!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


My history knowledge falls short again What is so special about pre-war spitfires. They first spitfire flew in 1936, and entered service in 1938. It appears to me that there was little time to create a pre-war tradition? If only Edgard would still be here He would have explained me to the very last detail .
MAY 10, 2017 - 01:22 AM
They are very pretty.
MAY 10, 2017 - 08:48 AM
Come on Drabslab, just have a look at the instructions in Rowan's post and you'll notice that they don't look like your average BoB-Spit marking-wise ! Apart from the markings, the plane itself looked quite different with flat canopy, tall radio mast and in many cases a huge 2-blade fixed prop. I miss Edgar too... Magnus
MAY 10, 2017 - 12:06 PM
I for one like the slightly odd look of these early Spits; those of us who work in 1/72 already have available alternate markings and parts that come with the newer Airfix Spitfire Mk. I/II. It's nicwe to see the same available in 1/48 too.
MAY 15, 2017 - 05:48 PM

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