a-im-month.jpg (6572 bytes)

WTH Model Products’
1/72 Supermarine Spitfire Floatplane Mk. Vb


By Chris Banyai-Riepl

This interesting little conversion set is packed in a sturdy box and includes just about everything you will need to make the Spitfire Mk.Vb floatplane, except the Airfix kit for which the conversion is designed. The conversion includes both resin and white metal parts, as well as a decal sheet with decals to do all the Mk. Vb floatplanes and the one Mk. IX floatplane.

The instructions are verbose and thorough, with ample illustrations throughout. Following the instructions precisely will result in a no-brainer in doing the conversion, as everything is mapped out very clearly. The instructions mention using the Hasegawa Spitfire Mk. VIII/IX for the later Mk. IX floatplane, but in comparing the Airfix Mk. V kit to the Hasegawa IX kit, the rear fuselage of the Hasegawa kit is not as tall so some serious fiddling would be needed to get it to fit right. A better choice would be to use the Bilek/Italeri Mk. IX kit, which matches up much better to this conversion. The illustrations are very detailed in terms of what needs to go where. For instance, to attach the float struts to the wing, you need to measure out 29/32" from the centerline of the lower wing, then 1/4" in from the leading edge. Drill a 3/32" hole at that point, then 3/8" further aft, drill a 1/16" hole. Use these for pins to mount the struts to the wing. The rest of the instructions are as detailed, making this a simple conversion to do.

The resin parts include the floats and struts, a new tail & rudder, a spinner, stabilizers & elevators, replacement ailerons, exhaust stubs, and chin intake. All of these parts are very crisply molded with no visible air bubbles. All the parts are clearly marked starboard and port for the elevators, ailerons, and exhaust stubs. Some minor cleanup will be needed in removing the parts, but not much. The white metal parts make up the beaching gear, the propeller blades, and the wing cannons. The beaching gear will be a chore to put together, mainly because of the large number of very small, fiddly bits. But once done it should really look neat.

The decal sheet is basic and provides the yellow prototype "circle P" and all the serial numbers for the Mk. Vb floatplanes and the single Mk. IX floatplane. The serial number for a Spitfire Mk. I floatplane is also included, although the struts are different than what’s given in the conversion kit. Roundels and other detail markings are left to the builder to provide, and any aftermarket or kit decal sheet should have plenty to work from.

If you’re interested in Spitfires, you’ve probably thought about making a model of the floatplane versions. With this conversion set the job is made infinitely easier than scratchbuilding one, and with the detailed instructions and decal sheet, this kit will go together easily and quickly. The white metal beaching gear means you won’t have to display it on water, either, so it’s a winner all around.

pragolog-sm.jpg (5410 bytes)

browse-book-stack-rev.gif (3989 bytes)

Next: CMK Resin Figures
Previous: Contents