On November 1st, Doogs’ Models kicks off its first ever kit giveaway. Two lucky winners will receive two fantastic kits, voted on by you, the readers!
In the lead up to the giveaway, I’m going to be announcing the kits every few days. Two at a time. One aircraft, and one armor.
Today, we’re down to the final two.
Aircraft #5 – 1/32 Pacific Coast Models Spitfire Mk.XIV
There’s probably no greater aircraft/engine association than the Spitfire and the Rolls-Royce Merlin. Even seventy years later, the two are practically synonymous. It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that the Merlin was already being replaced as early as October 1942 by the Rolls-Royce Griffon. The first Griffon-powered Spitfires, the Mk.XII series, suffered at higher altitudes from the single-stage supercharger. By January 1944, however, a double-stage supercharged Griffon entered service in the Spitfire Mk.XIV.
My personal favorite Spitfire variant, the Mk.XIV featured an enlarged cowl with bulges to accomodate the larger Griffon, numerous internal changes, and a mean-looking five-blade Rotol propeller. The new engine gave the Spitfire renewed vigor and speed and performance that not only stunned German opponents, but gave the Mk.XIV the juice to chase down the V1 flying bombs that tormented Britain throughout 1944.
I have to admit – while I like Spitfires well enough – I’m far from a Spitfire fanatic. I actually think they’re rather awkward looking, with the massive wing and thin-stick bodies. But building Tamiya’s wonderful Mk.VIII fired my interest, and got me itching to build a Mk.XIV. For a time it looked like I would be shunted into Academy’s flawed 1/48 kit – which I actually built growing up – and then out of nowhere Pacific Coast Models introduced this number. Lacking in all willpower, I ordered one immediately.
The kit itself is a limited production run, and makes heavy use of mixed media. The main airframe is styrene. Not as sublime or ambitious as Tamiya’s late Merlin Spits, but still rather good. The cockpit, 5-blade Rotol prop, exhausts stacks, Hispano cannons and other bits are rather well-executed resin, and the kit includes an Eduard PE set with an instrument panel that looks suspiciously similar to the one I used in the Tamiya Mk.VIII. I’ve been chomping at the bit to build this kit since I got it, and am impressed enough with its execution that I feel it deserves a place in the voting*. I honestly don’t know if it will pull out, but if it does, whoever wins it will be in for a treat.
*To avoid any confusion. I own a copy of this kit. If it pulls out in the voting, the winner will receive a brand new, unopened, not-mine example.
Armor #5 – 1/35 Bronco Bishop 25-pdr Self-Propelled Gun
The years between World War I and World War II saw a massive leap forward in tank doctrine, but strangely, not in the area of mobile artillery. In the early war years, every major army found itself faced with a similar problem – its artillery could not keep up with its tanks. Necessity led to the development of the self-propelled gun. The “Bishop” was Britain’s early answer, a 25-pound gun mounted atop a Valentine chassis. It was slow and cumbersome, and it’s tall profile made it a juicy target, but it served ably in North Africa and Italy before being replaced by the M7 Priest.
Honestly, the subject itself doesn’t thrill me so much as the manufacturer. I picked up Bronco’s 17-pounder Archer around Easter, and on opening the box was overwhelmed by the amount of detail thrown into the kit. The parts count was staggering, but the detail work on the parts themselves was moreso.
So when Bronco released another Valentine-based SPG, I was sold from the get-go. To my mind, this one is a journey kit versus a destination kit. It’s one you tackle for the awesomeness of the kit itself, and the experience of building it.
Well…that wraps up the kit reveals! What do you think about the choices? Got a favorite? Got one you despise?
Don’t forget to drop back by on November 1 for the official giveaway kickoff!