Tamiya 1/32 Spitfire Mk.VIII – Matt McDougall – Austin, Texas

Tamiya’s epic Spitfire kept me sane. I found myself laid off shortly after cracking into the kit, and the sheer pleasure of the build provided a much-needed escape from the daily stresses of the job hunt.

What’s there to say about this kit that hasn’t been said. The detail is phenomenal, the engineering clever, and the fit is just about as good as you’re like to find in this hobby.

The cockpit was finished out in a mix of Model Master and Vallejo paints, and tarted up with a Barracuda seat and cockpit door, and Eduard cockpit set. I also used Eduard’s seatbelts, since at the time I don’t believe HGW was really on the scene yet.

The beautiful Merlin was accentuated with Barracuda rocker covers, and I got the red Rolls Royce emblem to stand out by painting it red, then drybrushing the area around it black. MIG oil stains and pigments helped create the effect of a dirty engine in hard use.

Overall, the construction was a wonderful experience. The kit isn’t exactly a shake-and-bake. It’s too complicated for that. But if you pay attention you’re rewarded with fit that’s to die for. I largely skipped aftermarket on the exterior, save for a set of Master Hispano 20mm cannons, Scale Aircraft Conversion gear struts, and Barracuda’s resin wheels.

Painting was done with Model Master enamels, as I’d been having trouble with Tamiya paints dusting in the brutal Texas summer. Decals were a mix of Tamiya stencils and Barracudacals main markings for “Fargo Express”. I’ve always been a fan of USAAF Spitfires, so I knew from the outset this was the one I wanted to do. The Barracuda decals performed flawlessly. The Tamiya stencils did not…and I kick myself to this day for missing the second Barracuda sheet containing stencils until after I’d done the decal work.

Everything was finished off with Flory Dark Dirt wash, chipping with a Prismacolor pencil, and exhaust and dirt stains in MIG pigments.

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