spitfire mk 8 RAAF Eduard model kit

Eduard Aussie Eight Dual Combo -1/48 scale

Back in September 2015 Eduard released this limited edition 'combo' which as the name implies, contains parts to complete two model aircraft. The Spitfire Mk VIII basic kit was originally released in early 2015 and having built it, I can say it is without doubt the best 1/48 kit of the Spitfire Mk VIII on the market.

Kit Parts

The parts list in the Aussie Eight package includes two sets of plastic parts, high quality photo-etch parts,  sheet of pre-cut masking tape for the canopy and a small plastic bag with resin wheel parts. The tyres have a block, tread pattern intended to represent the Dunlop Australia made tyres fitted to the RAAF Spitfires.

spitfire mk 8 raaf eduard kit

The mis-spelt 'Donlup' and other detail is grossly overscale and should be carefully removed. As with most resin wheels on the market these days, they will need to be flattened to simulate the weight of the aircraft.

While it's hard to fault the plastic parts provided, Eduard for some reason did not include two 30 gallon slipper tanks. These fuel tanks became an indispensable addition to all RAAF Spitfires used operationally and many of the aircraft depicted on the decal sheet simply won't look right without one of these tanks under the belly.

Decal Sheets

What distinguishes the kit release is the decal sheets that give the modeller a choice of no less than 31 colour schemes for some 29 individual Spitfires. The decals are printed by Cartograf and are the best in terms of decal print quality I have ever seen.

Three decal sheets are contained in the kit, one for stencils, a larger sheet with all the national markings and the main decal sheet, which is larger than A4 in size, with all the codes, serials and personal emblems. There is also a small correction sheet that corrects some relatively minor details.

The instructions with the kit include a 12 page assembly booklet and a 32 page, A4 size painting and markings guide with full colour 4-views for each aircraft.

spitfire raaf eduard aussie eight decal
spitfire raaf eduard aussie eight
spitfire raaf eduard model kit

Camouflage and Markings

The camouflage and markings interpretation for many of the aircraft is unfortunately incorrect.  It wrongly assumes that the RAAF did not have any paint available to match the Spitfires original RAF colour scheme. We know that this is incorrect as the Spitfires were shipped to Australia complete with tins of matching camouflage paint and in addition to this supply, the RAAF also had at its disposal locally manufactured, RAF camouflage specification paint.

The RAAF Air Depots were for the most part responsible for the repainting of the Spitfires prior to their allocation to a squadron. We know that they used very closely if not precisely matching paint to alter the RAF roundels to RAAF specification. This involved overpainting the yellow surround to the fuselage roundel and reducing the size (on some but not all Spitfires) of the upper wing roundel with Dark Green and Ocean Grey paint. It seems likely they used British manufactured paint for this work as this explains why the colour match is so good.

We also know that squadrons and repair and salvage units had ample stocks of RAF colour paint and they therefore did not have to use RAAF Foliage Green instead of RAF Dark Green for patching and partial repainting of Spitfires that retained their original RAF Dark Green camouflage colour.

As for the squadron codes, we know from the analysis of a wealth of information that these were more often than not white in colour and not the light blue (or even a blueish tinted, off-white; see 'Decal Application and comparison' section) as depicted on the main decal sheet. Also, there is overwhelming evidence that No. 457's Spitfires had the 'Grey Nurse' script applied in white paint and not the light blue colour as depicted on the decal.

Unfortunately most of the 31 aircraft depicted have inaccurate decals. Where there are notable errors in the camouflage and markings I have made comment under the description of the particular aircraft.

A58-484/CR-C, flown by Group Captain Clive Caldwell, CO No.80 Wing, Morotai, Netherlands East Indies, March 1945. RAAF Foliage Green and RAF Dark Earth over RAF Azure Blue.

Rank pennant ‘triangle’ is for a Wing Commander but should be a Group Captain pennant  with a single thicker red strip. This could be corrected with a fine brush and red paint.

Decals for the serial number are incorrect. On the port side the serial ‘a58’ and ‘484’ were not in alignment and secondly, the starboard side serial was not the same as port side.

The codes CR-C were actually somewhat darker than that provided on the decal.

Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

Although not explained in the instructions, the mismatched rudder detail is supported by a beautiful water colour painting prepared by an RAAF artist at Morotai in early 1945. Although not mentioned in the kit instructions, at the time the aircraft had the replacement rudder it also had wide, upper wing cannon blisters and 4 20mm cannon fitted! Photographic evidence indicates that the replacement rudder was only a temporary fix while the original rudder was repaired.  

A58-411/QY-P/'Betsy', flown by Flying Officer Peter Bullock, No.452 Squadron, Sattler Airstrip, Northern Territory, Australia, September 1944.  Foliage Green and Dark Earth over Azure Blue.

A58-435/QY-T, flown by Flight Lieutenant William 'Ron' Cundy, No.452 Squadron, Sattler Airstrip, July 1944. Foliage Green over RAAF Sky Blue.

Pegasus is slightly misrepresented in the decal but the colour is correct.

A58-477/ZP-Q, flown by Flying Officer Alf Glendinning, No.457 Squadron, Sattler Airstrip, November 1944.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

A58-513/UP-X/'A.V.B. The 1st', flown by Squadron Leader Ron Susans, CO No.80 Wing, Morotai, June 1945.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

A58-528/CRC, flown by Group Captain Clive Caldwell, CO No.80 Wing, Clark Field, Philippines, March 1945.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

Colour scheme may have had predominately RAF Azure Blue on underside. Codes were white not light blue. No rank pennant carried. Of note is the decal pennant is wrong for this aircraft anyway as it is for a Wing Commander whereas it should be for a Group Captain. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

A58-379/ZF-Z, flown by Flight Lieutenant David Glaser, No.549 Squadron, Strauss Airstrip, Northern Territory, September 1944.  Overall natural metal with black anti-glare strip.

 A58-482/TS-V, flown by Squadron Leader David Glaser, CO No.548 Squadron, Darwin Civil Aerodrome, May 1945.  Foliage Green and RAAF Dark Sea Grey over RAF Medium Sea Grey (or equivalent local greyish blue).

A58-429/QY-V/'Rima III', flown by Squadron Leader Lou Spence, CO No.452 Squadron, Sattler Airstrip, late 1944.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

Codes should be white not light blue and the stencil lines on codes are incorrect. 'Rima III' script was almost certainly white not light blue. Code letter positions incorrect. This aircraft was kept in immaculate condition with a glossy coat of wax and was one of a number of Spitfires that had the wing tips removed to improve low level manoeuvrability.

A58-457/ZP-Z/'Sweet As A Song', flown by Squadron Leader Tom Trimble, CO No.457 Squadron, Sattler Airstrip, late 1944.  Foliage Green and Dark Earth over Azure Blue.

Analysis of high resolution scans of period photos reveal that the personal markings detail on the decal is probably incorrect. It also seems likely that this aircraft had an overall Foliage Green upper camouflage.

A58-516/QY-T, flown by Flight Lieutenant Des Cormack, No.452 Squadron, Morotai, December 1944.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

Codes should be white. Serial font is incorrect. It seems to represent a hand painted serial but this interpretation is not supported by photo evidence. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

A58-504/QY-R, flown by Flying Officer Rex Watson, No.452 Squadron, Balikpappan, Borneo, August 1945.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

The colours used on ‘Jiminy Cricket’ are almost certainly incorrect. Background circle was white not light blue. In the absence of clear photo evidence I doubt this aircraft carried kill marking as depicted on the decal. A review of high resolution scans of existing photos do not reveal these markings. Serial font is incorrect. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

A58-609/ZP-F/'Grey Nurse', flown by Flight Lieutenant Bill Cable, No.457 Squadron, Morotai, February 1945.  Foliage Green, RAF Dark Green and RAF Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

Grey Nurse script was most likely the same as standard type seen on other aircraft in the squadron. The stencil used on the real aircraft was made from a sheet of aluminium that had been carefully curved to sit flush onto the aircraft ready for spaying with white paint. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

A58-651/UP-Z/'Judy III', flown by Squadron Leader Ken James, CO No.79 Squadron, Morotai, May 1945.  Foliage Green, Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

‘Judy III was almost certainly white not yellow.

A58-606/ZP-W/'Grey Nurse', flown by Squadron Leader Bruce Watson, CO No.457 Squadron, Sattler Airstrip, January 1945.  Foliage Green, Dark Green, and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

The sharkmouth is depicted as having a grey ‘mouth’ whereas recent research suggests it was rendered in a ‘salmon pink’ colour only to be later overpainted in a glossy, fire engine red.

Again codes should be white. Grey serial is incorrect as it should be slightly misaligned. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

A58-606/ZP-W, flown by Squadron Leader Bruce Watson, CO No.457 Squadron, Labuan, Borneo, August 1945.  Foliage Green, Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.  Note that – amongst a number of minor changes to A58-606's previous finish – the name 'Grey Nurse' is now missing.

Codes were white not light blue.

A58-517/UP-F/'Hava-Go-Jo!!', flown by Flying Officer Norm Turnbull, No.79 Squadron, Morotai, April 1945.  Ocean Grey and Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey with white tail surfaces and wing leading edges.

For some reason a replacement decal sheet has been included with a darker shade blue code letters. This is incorrect as the codes on this aircraft like many others in the squadron were most likely white.

The elephant is very well printed but the clouds around it lack the ‘3-d’ rendering. To Eduards credit they have included an extra decal that appears to be a bullet shot from the elephants nose. This is plausible given that ‘Dumbo’ in the Walt Disney feature film of the same name used to shoot peanuts out of its snout!

A58-602/RG-V/'Grey Nurse', flown by Wing Commander Bobby Gibbes, Wing Leader No.80 Wing, Sattler Airstrip, December 1944.  Foliage Green, Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey. 

The scoreboard is incorrect as the Vichy French roundel colours are incorrect. To Eduards credit they have spotted the error and added a supplementary decal sheet with a tiny replacement roundel this time in the correct colours. The decal is so small  the error probably wouldn’t be noticed unless you get a magnifying glass out.

The decal used light blue for the codes RG-V. This is incorrect as the codes were white. Grey Nurse script was also white not light blue. This is supported by analysis of high resolution scans of original photos.

White rear fuselage band was angled back in alignment with the fuselage/tail joint line. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

JF630/FL-C, flown by Flying Officer Larry Cronin, No.81 Squadron, RAF, Palel, India, 6 March 1944.  Dark Earth and RAF Middle Stone over Azure Blue.

The mid-blue code colour doesn’t match the photographic evidence for this aircraft and it had standard wing tips during the relevant period.

A58-312/DL-R, flown by Flight Lieutenant D.M. Gossland, No.54 Squadron, Truscott Airstrip, Western Australia, July 1944.  Dark Earth and Foliage Green over Azure Blue.

The use of yellow for the squadron codes seems very unlikely. I’m not sure what evidence there is for this interpretation.

A58-430/QY-V, flown by Flying Officer Jack King, No.452 Squadron, Tarakan, Borneo, July 1945.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

This aircraft is known to have ‘high viz’ 60:40 white/blue roundels in all positions. Also, new research suggests that it may have had a personal emblem and kill marking painted on it for a brief period but this is subject to verification.

A58-518/CR-C, flown by Flying Officer Jack Pretty, No.452 Squadron, Morotai, December 1944.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

CRC codes were white not light blue. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

A58-522/UP-A/'Hal-Far', flown by Flight Lieutenant Len Reid, No.79 Squadron, Morotai, March 1945.  Dark Green, Foliage Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

Codes and ‘Hal Far’ were white not light blue.

A58-631/ZP-V/'Grey Nurse', flown by Flight Lieutenant George Scrimgeour, No.457 Squadron, Labuan, Borneo, June 1945.  Dark Green, Foliage Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

Codes and Grey Nurse script were white not light blue.

A58-303 of No.1 APU, Laverton, Victoria, Australia, late 1944.  Overall natural metal with white tail surfaces and wing leading edges.

A58-370/DL-W, No.54 Squadron, Darwin Civil Aerodrome, May 1945.  RAAF Dark Earth and probably RAAF Light Earth over Azure Blue.

The use of yellow for the squadron codes seems very unlikely. I’m not sure what evidence there is for this interpretation.

MT687/BQ-C, No.451 Squadron, France, September 1944.  Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

A58-526/UP-L/'Avagrog', No.79 Squadron, Morotai, May 1945.  Dark Green, Foliage Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

Codes were white not light blue. Colours and detail of personal emblem are questionable.

A58-543/UP-?, flown by Warrant Officer Hubert Eccleston, No. 79 Squadron, Morotai, May 1945.  Dark Green, Foliage Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey with white tail surfaces and wing leading edges.

A58-419/ZP-Y/'Blondie', flown by Flying Officer Fred Inger, No.457 Squadron, Sattler Airstrip, October 1944.  Foliage Green over Sky Blue.

A58-602/RG-V/'Grey Nurse', flown by Wing Commander Bobby Gibbes, CO No.80 Wing, Morotai, April 1945.  Foliage Green, Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

The scoreboard is incorrect as the Vichy French roundel colours are incorrect. To Eduards credit they have spotted the error and added a supplementary decal sheet with a replacement roundel this time in the correct colours. The decal is positively tiny and probably wouldn’t be noticed unless you get a magnifying glass out.

Decal used light blue for the codes RG-V. This is incorrect as the codes were white. Ace of Spades emblem did not have a black border as depicted on the kit decal.

Grey Nurse script was white not light blue. This is supported by analysis of high resolution scans of original photos and evidence on the template used. White rear fuselage band was angled back in alignment with the fuselage/tail joint line.

Poster and Reference Book

Included for free with this offering from Eduard is a nice A4 size, full colour, side view of UP-F with the elephant personal emblem under the cockpit and a A4 size, soft cover, full colour reference book. This 104 page reference book reminded me of the old Kookaburra publication, 'Spitfire Markings of the RAAF pt2 and many of the photos in this classic 'picture book' are reproduced in this new reference book. The new book and the old Kookaburra book can be found on-line at scribd. https://www.scribd.com/doc/284946178/Aussie-Eight-Spitfires

spitfire raaf eduard model kit

Unfortunately the new book has a number of glaring errors in it that are obvious from even a casual flick through the pages.

The book has 4 chapters, 'The RAAF and the Spitfire VIII, 'Camouflage and Markings','Spitfire Pilots' and 'The Shootdowns'. The chapter 'Spitfire Pilots' gives a mini biography for a number of Spitfire pilots many of which would be familiar to those interested in RAAF history. Regretably this chapter seemed to have been included at the expense of explaining and providing supporting evidence for some of the camouflage and marking interpretations for the individual aircraft depicted on the decal sheet.

If you are interested in some of these pilots you may like to do a quick google search and also have a look at some of the books on the subject such as Kristen Alexander's 'Clive Caldwell Air Ace' and the autobiography by Ron Cundy, 'A Gremlin on my shoulder'. I like autobiographies as you are getting the story direct from someone who really knows what happened! This book is a great read and it also explains the reasoning behind Ron choosing to have a Pegasus emblem on his Spitfire.

The errors of fact in the book such as that found in the last chapter 'The shootdowns' is particularly disappointing as much of the primary source material is actually available on-line. The description of F/O Kings notable final 'kill' is inaccurate and poorly researched. After this, I didn't bother reading the book in any detail.

Decal application and comparison

I tested the kit decals together with some sceen printed decals from Aero Imageworks 'Shark Attack!' and also made a comparison between the screen printed roundels and a Alps printed one.

spitfire aussie eight eduard kit model decals

I was interested in see how thin the kit decals were and how they compared to Aero Imageworks screen printed decals. The kit decals are marginally thicker than AI's screen printed decals but they have a finer, higher resolution printing resulting in very fine detail that surpasses that achieved on AI's decals. A good example of this is the 'Jiminny Cricket' emblem on QY_R A58-504. The detail on the kit decal is just that little bit finer and more precise than the AI version. The problem however is that the colours used on the kit decal are inaccurate and this fine detail simply isn't noticeable except when viewed as a high resolution scan.

As for the colours used on the kit decal, I knew from my experience as a decal producer that the light blue, pastel colour used for the codes and other elements was likely to look lighter when applied to the model. To test this I applied some of the kit decals to a painted model and observed that the light blue codes and 'Grey Nurse' script did take on a very light blue colour, more of a white with a light powder blue tint. This is a lesson for kit reviewers who fall into the trap of offering an opinion on the colour accuracy of a decal that includes elements printed in a light pastel colour.

spitfire eduard raaf aussie eight decal model

In the photo left, the kits 'Grey Nurse' script decal looks more of an off-white than a true Sky Blue. The photo lighting has in fact tended to reduce the blueish tint which in natural light is more obvious than it appears here. The white horizontal line has been added for colour reference purposes. For the average modeller this is going to be an acceptable representation of the 'Grey Nurse' script. However, for the rivet counter, stickler for detail type modeller, who wants it to be spot on, its going to be unbearable to look at a kit with these off white, blueish decals.

 

spitfire raaf eduard aussie eight model kit

In the above photo I compared the opacity of the white portion of a standard RAAF roundel. The big surprise here is that the Alps printed decal actually had better opacity than the screen printed decals! The Alps printed decal was also thinner and bedded down better than the screen printed decals.

spitfire raaf eduard aussie eight model kit

Although this is probably taking detail beyond the limit, in the above photo I compared the kit decal to the old AI 'Shark Attack!' decal. The kit decal has a number of errors (highlighted in red circles)in the stencil font style when compared to the serial used on the actual aircraft that is well represented by the AI decal shown above.

Conclusion

The kit costs $125 when purchased on-line from Eduard but I have seen it for sale elsewhere on-line for only $77 USD. If you have an interest in the RAAF in WWII or Spitfires in general, this kit will no doubt be of interest. There's a lot parts in the box including some very nice photo-etch parts together with a free poster and reference book to complete the offering. The kit is ideal for the novice or average modeller who isn't a stickler for detail and is happy to have a model that looks nice on the shelf. For the experienced, pedantic modeller who is looking to build a highly accurate representation of an RAAF Spitfire this offering from Eduard will most likely be unsatisfying.

See review of the 1:72nd scale version Eduard Aussie Eight Combo kit here.

 

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