ICM 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI
In an effort to keep the Spitfire production rolling, the RAF began using US-manufactured Merlin engines. The Spitfire Mk.XVI was essentially a standard Mk.IX with the US-built Packard Merlin in place of the British-build Merlin 66.
In later models of the Spitfire XVI, Supermarine cut down the rear deck to allow for a teardrop-styled canopy to replace the original hood. This significantly improved rearward visibility and survivability. These versions of the Spitfire were typically assigned to interdiction missions.
ICM's offering represents the later Spitfire Mk.XVI with the teardrop bubble canopy. Molded in white styrene, this kit is still the most detailed Spitfire model straight out of the box, in any scale, on the market.
As some of you know, I've written some comparative articles to gauge the accuracy of the various Spitfire kit dimensions and profiles. For this review, I changed tactics slightly and I laid out my review sample against the 1/48 scale Spitfire diagrams found in 'The Supermarine Spitfire Part 1' by Robert Humphreys and published by SAM Publications. According to these diagrams, ICM nailed the length and profile of the fuselage perfectly. As before, the wings are spot-on in shape and dimension as well.
It shouldn't be a big surprise that this kit is basically the same as their Spitfire IX, save the new fuselage, canopy and revised interior. And as with the previous Spitfire releases, the model features nicely scribed details, the parts trees show a slight hint of flash, and there are no ejector marks in any visible areas. The one molding flaw that I've seen on these kits is still present on this version as well, there is a sink mark that runs along each upper wing surface just ahead of the ailerons. This won't take any time to fix.
The decals included in this kit cover two Spitfire Mk.XVI examples:
Spitfire LF.XVI E flown by Sqn Ldr K. Priak of 308 Sqn, 1945
Spitfire LF.XVI E of 74 Sqn, 1945
As with the previous ICM version of the Spitfire, this kit features positionable ailerons and rudder, open or closed gun bays, and open, partially open or closed engine cowling. The details inside the gun bays and under the cowl are very nice, with only a little wiring/plumbing needed to complete the illusion of scale reality.
While this is not a kit for the beginner, this is not a difficult kit to build. Care must be taken with all of the details that go into this kit as one misplaced part can drastically affect assembly and fit. I speak from experience as the last ICM Spitfire IX I built went together wonderfully, except that I didn't notice until too late that the cockpit interior had altered the lower fuselage/wing fit and resulted in an embarrassing zero-dihedral wing a-la Hurricane.
Nevertheless, ICM's Spitfires are still the most accurate and detailed 1/48 scale kits available and I highly recommend these kits to anyone with intermediate or better skills.
Our sincere thanks to ICM for this review sample.