Spitfire Mk.XVI Bubbletop - RW393, No. 601 Squadron RAuxAF, 1949
In September 1941, a hitherto unknown German radial engine fighter appeared in the west European sky. The new airplane was superior to British fighters, most distressingly
to the Spitfire Mk.V. The German design was soon recognized as the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A. The losses suffered by the RAF over western Europe rose rapidly and the crisis was
serious enough that the RAF ceased the majority of daytime operations in November, 1941. The next attempt to resume these types of sorties was made in March 1942. Loss
rates remained unacceptably high and the RAF was forces to stop ops once again. All this was thanks to the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A. The first response to the new German weapon
was the Spitfire Mk.VIII, but the design changes were so complex that initiating timely production was not possible. In June, 1942, a German pilot landed by mistake
on a British airfield delivering a completely intact Fw 190 fighter into RAF hands. Comparative trials between the Focke-Wulf and Spitfire Mk.V began almost immediatelly.
These mock encounters confirmed the situation over the front – the chances of a British fighter surviving an encounter with the Fw 190 were slim. The only British fighter
aircraft deemed suitable to oppose them were the Spitfire Mk. VII and VIII powered by the Merlin 61 engine. As mentioned above these were some time away of being ready for
series production. But there was another way of getting a powerful fighter quickly - by mating the Merlin 61, with its two-stage supercharger, with the fuselage of the Spitfire
Mk.Vc. Two Mk.Vc airframes, AB196 and AB197, were selected for this purpose and were strengthened with modified longerons to accommodate the more powerful and
heavier engine. The example was finished on February 26 and the second on March 27, 1942. Flight trials were succesful and the order for series production was issued almost
immediately. Series production began in June 1942 and the first Mk.IXs found their way to No. 64 Squadron in July. Performance improved significantly in comparison to the
Mk.V. A top speed of 409 mph at 28,000 feet was higher by 40mph, and the service ceiling rose from 36,200 to 43,000 feet. The Mk.IX could climb at 4,000 feet per minute. The
RAF finally had a fighter aircraft capable of opposing the Fw 190 A. Three main versions of the Mk IX were produced. The F.IX was powered by the Merlin 61 and was the only
version on the assembly line in early 1943. The next version was the LF Mk.IX powered by the Merlin 66. This engine was designed to do its best at low altitudes. The third
version, manufactired along with the LF, was the high-altitude HF Mk.IX with the Merlin 70. The majority of Mk.IXs manufactured were equipped with the so-called 'C' wing.
Four 20mm cannon or two 20mm cannon and four .303 machine guns could be installed in the wings. From 1944, the strengthened 'E' wing was produced. Four .303 machine
guns were replaced with two .50 heavy machine guns. Bomb racks for 250lb bombs were fitted under each wing typically. The Mk.IX became the second most numerous
version of the Spitfire with a total of 5653 examples being built. The Mk.IX began to replace the Mk.V from June, 1942. Thanks to the new fighter, the RAF was ready to fight
against the Luftwaffe over occupied Europe. Spitfire Mk.IXs served with the RAF to the end of war. In the postwar era, foreign air forces flew this version as well.
Czechoslovak, Norwegian, Danish, and Canadian air forces operated numbers of Mk.IXs and they were not alone. Spitfires would find themselves in combat again.
Czechoslovakia sold its Spitfire Mk.IXs to Israel in 1948 and these aircraft formed the backbone of the newly born Israeli air force in the fight against their Arab neighbours.
The Merlin 266, built under licence by the Packard Motor Company, powered the next version, the Spitfire Mk.XVI. The early production examples were – except for the
engine - almost identical to the Mk.IX. Late production blocks had bubble canopies and redesigned rear fuselage.
2. The Kit
The Spitfire Mk.XVI Bubbletop Weekend Edition Eduard | N. 84141 | 1:48
Version for : RW393, No. 601 Squadron RAuxAF, 1949
An excellent kit, the surface detail is recessed, and is of the highest quality, the pieces fit together very well, with the engine and accessory parts of the Eduard, a very realistic model can be made.
I have used the following accessories:
Eduard Spitfire Mk. XVI cockpit 1/48
Eduard Spitfire Mk. XVI wheels - 3 spoke 1/48
Eduard Spitfire Mk. XVI engine 1/48
For more information on the assembly and painting phases, you can see the previous article dedicated to the Spitifire MK IXe at the following link: https://lodettiangelo.wixsite.com/site/spitfiremkixe