Thanks to aftermarket wizard AlleyCat Models, you can now transform Eduard’s 1/48 Spitfire Mk.VIII into a PR.XI reconnaissance airframe, as CHRIS CLIFFORD reports.
Reconnaissance is a fascinating subject with much variety in potential kit builds. The fact is not lost on AlleyCat Models, which has just released a useful new 1/48 resin conversion for an RAF Spitfire PR.XI, focused on Eduard’s Mk.VIII tooling. Set ACM48071C Supermarine Spitfire PR.XI RAF Europe & Middle East provides new upper wing halves, the deeper chin fairing, gull wing section with camera ports, the oblique camera bay hatch and electric fuel pump fairings for the wing undersides.
Above: Resin and vac-form parts form the basis of AlleyCat's conversion.
Also provided are two sets of vacuum-formed cockpit glazing, one canopy featuring the trademark recce blisters, plus a neatly printed decal sheet carrying markings for six different PR.XI airframes. All but one wear PRU Blue (an invasion stripe-adorned machine among them), while the anomaly is in bare metal with a black anti-glare panel on the upper nose, and black covering the front third of the wing upper/undersides. It's recommended that Eduard’s Mk.VIII is employed for this project as it has the retractable tailwheel seen on Mk.XIs. Simple surgery is required on the kit fuselage and lower wings, but it’s nothing to vex experienced modellers. Note that some of the liveries shown on the instructions are not available, those being on AlleyCat’s separate 1/72 PR.XI decal sheet. The actual 1/48 options are:
• PL890/T, (formerly 16 Squadron) Air Dispatch Letter Service , OC 2TAF Comms Wing, B.151 Bückeberg, June-September 1945
• PL823/O, 16 Squadron, Melsbroek, Belgium, January 1945
• EN677/G, 682 Squadron, Pomigliano/San Severo, Italy, March 1944
• MB935 ‘I Spy’, Flt Lt Eric Martin, Melsbroek, Belgium, September 1944
• PL775/A, 541 Squadron, RAF Benson, June 1944
• PL915, Mediterranean and Middle East Communications Squadron, Heliopolis, Egypt, 1946
The set costs £30.60 via online retailer Models for Sale, and it’s a great way to create a 1/48 PR.XI that mostly comprises Eduard styrene quality… rather than trying to build this interesting type through limited-run means. Note that AlleyCat also offers same-scale PR.XI conversions with markings for RAF over India, captured by the Germans, and Royal Danish Air force, available through the same source.