by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HISTORYSpitfire Vb serial EN830 / NX-X fell into German hands after it crash landed on November 18th 1942 while being flown by P/O (Sous Lt.) Bernard Scheidhauer of the Free French Air Force, attached to 131 "County of Kent" Sqn. RAF. He and his No.1, P/O Henri de Bordas had been involved in a "Rhubarb" operation in Normandy. Sous Lt Scheidhauer was taken prisoner by the Germans and, like his aircraft, was transported to Germany.
Spitfire EN830 was repainted to German standards, dark green above and pale blue below, with bright yellow tail control surfaces and large, black crosses. Radio code letters CJ+ZY were painted on each side, below and, unusually, above the wings; and the British serial transferred to the fin above the swastika.
After the Merlin engine was removed, it was discovered that the Spitfire's front fuselage cross-section was very close to that of the standard Bf.110G's engine cowling. A new engine support was designed, and a standard DB 605A-1 engine was mounted to the fire wall. A 3.0m. diameter Bf.109G propeller was added, together with the carburettor scoop from a Bf.109G. After the DB605 engine was fitted the nose and underside was repainted yellow
After a brief period at Rechlin confirming the performance data, the modified Spitfire returned to Echterdingen to serve officially as a test bed. It was popular with the pilots in and out of working hours. Its career ended on 14th August, 1944, when a formation of US B-17 bombers attacked Echterdingen. The remains of the hybrid Spitfire were scrapped at the Klemm factory at Böblingen.
THE PACKAGINGThe set comes in a clear plastic box with the 12 resin parts on display. The carburettor scoop, pitot tube and cannon plugs are placed in their own bag behind the main parts. Behind the parts can be found the instructions, paint guide and the decals.
THE RESIN PARTSThe use of a plastic-like resin really makes these parts look like injected plastic components. All the resin parts are moulded in a light grey colour which appears to be strong and and not at all brittle. I can't find any discrepancies in the resin. My only concern is that the parts are very shiny and smooth, so some light sanding may be required for the primer to really stick to them.
The engine cowling is nicely detailed with some fine panel lines and recessed engine cover hinges. The resin plug is in a very easy place to remove, being at the firewall end. A razor saw should remove it easily, and as an added bonus I don't believe you will have to sand it down as it fits into the Spitfire fuselage as part of the mounting point.
The engine exhausts are very well rendered and also have a slight indentation at the exhaust opening. On top of one of the exhausts is a guard, that is meant to be there, so don't try to cut it off thinking it is waste resin. The parts should be pretty easy to remove off the pouring block with repeated scoring with a scalpel. Dry fitting in between sanding the exhausts should insure a snug fit.
The propeller blades are very thin with no sign of warping. They are extremely easy to remove from the block, as while I was handling them 2 of the blades came away and don't even require sanding to fit into the spinner. The spinner is a single piece with the cannon hole in the nose. The blades are easy to connect to the spinner as Fusion models supply a jig, so that the blades are all glued at the same angle.
The last casting block holds the final 3 pieces. These are a nicely hollowed out carburettor scoop, cannon caps (which are used instead of the cannons, as the armament was removed from the captured Spitfire) and the pitot tube which is incredibly thin and delicate. The utmost care should be taken when removing this part as there is a thin casting block attached to one side of it.
THE INSTRUCTIONSThe instructions are printed on a A3 size sheet on one side only with the text printed in English and French. In one corner it gives you a brief history of the aircraft, while in the opposite corner it tells you what parts of the Tamiya kit you will not need.The build sequence is described in both text and an exploded photo view and is fairly straight forward to work out.
PAINTING AND DECALINGThe painting and decaling guide are printed on an A3 size paper in shaded black and white pictures. There are 4 profiles of the aircraft in the camouflage scheme and with the help of some written text you can just about work out what colours are what, as the paint name shade and the shade on the profile are a little off. The camo scheme given for the DB605 Spitfire is Yellow (RLM 04) underside, cowling and rudder. Black/green (RLM 70) spinner and propeller blades. Dark gray/green (RLM 74) mottled over gray/violet (RLM 75) on the fuselage, with the same colours on the upper wings in a soft edge camo pattern. Whether these is the correct scheme is hard to tell from only black and white photos of the aircraft I have seen.
The decals look to be in register, but never having used these decals before only time will tell how they go on. The swastika that adorns the tail is made up of two pieces, so some careful alignment will be needed to match them up. The placement of the decals are pretty straight forward.
CONCLUSIONWhether you are new to conversions or an old hand, this will make up to an unusual and relatively easy conversion. With minimal clean up, some nice casting and easy to follow instructions Fusion Models have a great little conversion kit on their hands.
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