Eduard 'Aussie Eight' RAAF Spitfire Mk VIII Dual Combo -1/72nd scale -In box Review

  eduard spitfire mk viii

After the release of  ‘Aussie Eight’ in 1/48 scale (see review here) it was to be expected Eduard would follow this with its limited release in 1/72 scale.The title is a little cringeworthy but its better than say, 'Gidday Mate Spitty Eight' or 'Stone the Crows Eight','Fair dinkum RAAF Spit Eight' you get the picture. Like the 1/48 version, this small scale kit comes in a big box packed with plenty of parts and colourful printed matter. There are sufficient parts to make two models complete with resin wheels and photo etch parts. Of note is the photo etch cockpit instrument panel that is beautifully made and will really lift the appearance of the cockpit.

Kit Parts

  

The parts are moulded in grey plastic and look crisp with no flash or ejection pin marks. Surface detail is the usual recessed panel lines and rivet detail that is a little over-scale but won’t be overly noticeable under a layer of paint. Clear parts are thin and crystal clear. The resin wheels look well made but are a little over-scale in detail. Eduard are noted for their quality, photo-etch and you can see why. The detail is excellent but you will need a magnifying glass and tweezers to cut and glue these tiny parts onto the model. The instruction sheet is easy follow with the usual exploded diagrams although care needs to be taken to ensure you use the right parts for a particular aircraft.

All up it looks to be a superb kit that we’ve come to expect from Eduard. If the 1/48 version is any guide, this kit will go together with precision. I hoped they would include a couple of 30 gallon slipper tanks, something missing in the 1/48 kit, and the good news is they are there together with the 90 gallon tank. Curiously the instructions show these parts are not to be used! You will need to add a slipper tank as most of the aircraft depicted on the decal sheet won't look right without the 30 gallon tank under the belly.

  

Decal Sheets

Included in the kit is a large main decal sheet printed by Cartograf, with markings for some 32 camouflage and marking scheme options, one more than was included in the 1/48 scale kit. The first 31 are the same as provided in the 1/48 kit except for a minor change to the serial font of RG-V A58-602. In addition to these markings Eduard has included one more scheme option, a No 548 Squadron aircraft, TS-O with a personal emblem below the cockpit of a cute little Scottish terrier playing the bagpipes! Separate decal sheets are provided for the national markings and stencils. 

The decals are  excellent quality but unfortunately it is a scaled down version of the 1/48 sheet complete with all the errors. This was an ideal opportunity for Eduard to correct the colour choices to reflect the evidence but for whatever reason they simply left it the same as the 1/48 sheet.  

Like the 1/48 scale kit, this kit includes an A4 size booklet with 4-view, full colour camouflage and markings diagrams for each option. To assist in painting the clear parts, pre-cut painting masks are included.Details of these schemes can be seen on the Eduard website.  

In the listing below I've made comment on the accuracy issues I indentified with the decal which is essentially the same as the comments made regarding the 1/48 version of the kit.

  

Camouflage and Markings

The comments below were originally made for the 1/48 scale kit and apply equally to this 1/72 kit.

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 and Ocean Grey upper disruptive  camouflage scheme.

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 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. (I wonder how long it will take for this to be corrected, perhaps in a 'weekend' release of the kit?)

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. At the time the aircraft had the replacement rudder it also had wide, upper wing cannon blisters and 4 20mm cannon fitted. The added outer cannons were almost certainly Ocean grey with Medium Sea Grey undersides.

Photographic evidence indicates that the replacement rudder was only a temporary fix while the originalrudder 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 and spinner rings were almost certainly black not red. 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.

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.

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 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 but did not taper as depicted. 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. Code 'A' configuration is incorrectly 'mirrored' port and starboard.

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.

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 and did not have the taper as depicted.

A58-319/TS-O/ flown by F/S R Buchan, No. 548 Squadron, Darwin, November 1944.  natural metal finish.

Simple natural metal finish with a cute personal emblem.

eduard spitfire mk viii

Reference Book

In addition to the kit and decals there is a 112 page full colour reference book that is an expanded version of the 104 page book included in the 1/48 scale 'Aussie Eight' kit. The extra pages cover a bio of the pilot of TS-O and a small chapter, ‘Four is better than two’, on the use of 4 cannons on a small number of RAAF Spitfires.   

The rest of the book looks to be the same as the previous edition except for the inclusion of a new photo and amended side view diagram of RG-V a58-602 (see p51).It's interesting to observe that this new (to author) photo that resulted in a change to the marking interpretation of the tail band and serial of this aircraft wasn't sufficient to  result in a reassessment of the rest of the markings. 

Unfortunately the new version of the book isn’t an improvement over the original and the last chapter ‘Four is better than two’ is at the very least misinformed in its discussion on Spitfire armament development. What the author should do is focus only on discussing and describing the camouflage and markings and dispense with 'Spitfire Pilots' biographies, ‘Shoot downs’ and ‘Four is better than two’ chapters. 

The book can be seen here at Scribd, https://www.scribd.com/document/339890667/Aussie-Eight-RAAF-Spitfires-2nd-Ed or download pdf here.

eduard spitfire mk viii

eduard spitfire mk viii

eduard spitfire mk viii

Conclusion

The comments I made in the 1/48 ‘Aussie Eight’ review apply to this kit. Why they haven’t corrected at least some of the really obvious errors on the main decal such as the rank pennant for CR-C A58-484 is surprising, especially when they did go to the effort to improve the accuracy of the serial font for A58-602.Overall the kit is for me a disappointment because so much of the main decal, while of excellent quality, is simply inaccurate and doesn’t do justice to such a high quality kit. Also, keep in mind that 1/72nd scale is fine for big, 4 engine bombers, but a small fighter like the Spitfire in this scale fits in the palm of your hand. I couldn’t help thinking, such a big box for an oh so tiny model! 

If you are an average modeller who doesn't know much about RAAF Spitfires and has a preference for 1/72 scale, this kit will most likely be of interest. It will set you back around $75 USD but I've seen it as low as $55, so shop around. However, as I said about the 1/48 version, if you are a stickler for accuracy, already have some knowledge of RAAF Spitfires and 1/72 is not your usual scale, you will probably pass on this kit.

 

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