Spitfire IX Replacement Nose
Reviewed by Brett Green
Ocidental's 1/48 scale Spitfire IX was long anticipated and filled a surprising gap in model releases of the last twenty years. We had good reason to expect a respectable kit after Ocidental's very nice first effort with their Texan/Harvard family.
It was therefore all the more disappointing to see the bizarre errors on the new Spitfire kit when it was finally released earlier this year. The worst problems by far involved the bulbous nose and peculiar shaped spinner. The characteristic shark-like lines of the late-Merlin Spitfire were not captured. The kit has other problems too, but the nose is the show stopper.
Snowy Mountains' Models, the Australian distributor for Ocidental, recognised this problem and commissioned "Ron's Resin" to design an inexpensive solution.
This simple resin set comprises a new top cowl cover, a new nose and spinner. The resin is green in colour and medium-hard. My sample's only imperfection was one pin-hole in the nose section. Instructions are included.
The replacement nose and top cowl will vastly improve the appearance of your Spitfire IX. The nose corrects the thrust line and the contours of the lower cowl, while the top cowl captures the complex but subtle lines required to hug the top of the big Merlin engine. The spinner looks much better too.
This set requires the kit nose to be cut off in front of the wing root. This does not correspond to a panel, so care should be taken to follow the instructions and carefully mark the cutting line. Always cut less then trim to fit!
The resin casting plug at the rear of the nose can be left in place and used to help locate the resin part. This will ensure a secure bond. I simply ran a coarse file along the back of the nose plug before test fitting. The spinner and the top cowl required no cleanup at all.
I have already cut the nose off my Ocidental Spitfire and test-fitted the replacement parts. I chose to deviate from the instructions' suggestion by cutting off my Spitfire's nose before assembling the fuselage halves. This would allow me to adjust the width of the kit fuselage (sanding if too wide, shimming if too narrow) if required. This was not necessary - the fit and alignment was perfect. The total time spent on cutting, trimming, parts preparation and test-fitting was less than fifteen minutes.
The only additional task required by this conversion is to fill and sand the join line between the resin nose and the kit fuselage. This is a straight line and will be a simple matter.
Ron's Resin is also planning a new set of correct wheels, a choice of gun bulges, cannon stubs and rudders. These accessories will enhance the appeal of the basic kit even more.
Any modeller concerned about accuracy will have to do something about the nose of the Ocidental Spitfire. The resin replacement parts in this set are a great improvement on the nose contour of the kit, and will be much easier than trying to fix the problem with sandpaper and putty!
Snowy Mountains Models are supplying this nose free with every Ocidental Spitfire IX sold, or separately for $10.50
Thanks to Stephen Watkins at Snowy Mountains Models for the review sample
Review Copyright © 1999 by Brett