Airfix’s Big Spitfire – Improved

Spitfire Site

Here is  my recently completed 1/24 scale Spitfire Mk. Ia. The model is based on the old Airfix kit. The Merlin engine is from ...

Here is  my recently completed 1/24 scale Spitfire Mk. Ia.

The model is based on the old Airfix kit. The Merlin engine is from the 1/24 Airfix Hurricane as this was far more detailed than the original Spitfire one. Furthermore,. the egnie had plumbing & electrical wiring added using copper wire and the black PVC insulation stripped from it. The kit engine mount was scrapped and I made a new one from soldered brass tube and plastic stock. I cut off the kit nose and used the underside of it as a base to build up the frame around

The frame that the cowling panels were attached to was also replaced with a new scratch built one.

The pilots seat was modified with a Milliput leather back and the Sutton harness was fabricated from masking tape and fuse wire. Most of the cockpit levers and controls were replaced with ones made from scrap brass & plastic. The instruments are scanned from a photo film instrument panel from another Spitfire kit then cut & sandwiched between the panel and a backing plate of plastic card. The result looks quite pleasing but a little thick. You can’t really see this in the cockpit, though if I was doing it again I would make a thinner panel as well.

Underneath I walled the undercarriage wells with plastic card and added detail to the wheel wells. The wheels up/down indicators on the upper wing surfaces were opened out and set in the “wheels down” position.

References were unclear on the exact camouflage colour on the underside for this aircraft. I had about equal sources saying it was “sky” or “night & white” Preferring the look of the quintessential sky colour I opted for this scheme.

The paint was Gunze acrylics applied with an airbrush. I used some pre-shading on the underside to break up the single colour. Detail was brought out with enamels and a brush. Wear was simulated with aluminium paint and a soft lead pencil. Then the whole model was sealed with a flat base coat.

The serial number that came with the kit decals was incorrect ending in a “0” instead of an “8” this was rectified by robbing the Hurricane once more for the right digit.

Greetings from Perth, Western Australia.

11 Comments | Add New

By Andy Thompson  |  2011-01-11 at 17:37  |  permalink


Firstly I’d like to say how impressed I am by the finish and the attention to detail on the model. I have one of these myself and intend start it soon including as much detail as possible, but I’d like to ask you one question.

You quoted in your article, ‘The Merlin engine is from the 1/24 Airfix Hurricane as this was far more detailed than the original Spitfire one.’ Can you expand on this comment please. Obviously I have the standard Airfix Merlin from the Spitfire but if anything can be changed for a ‘better item’ then I will do it.

Thanks in advance.

By Andy C  |  2011-01-12 at 01:39  |  permalink

Hi Andy
Thanks for your coments it’s good to know others appreciate your efforts.
In regards to the Merlin engine, this did indeed come from the 1/24 Airfix Hurricane kit and as I mentioned the moulding is far better detailed than the one from the Spitfire kit. I added further detail to it as well.
For a full story on this kit and the methods I used you might be interested to see a full six page article that was published in Fine Scale Modeller Magazine’s November 2010 issue. I beleive back issues are available from their website.
Thanks again Andy

By Andy Thompson  |  2011-01-12 at 10:38  |  permalink

Hi Andy,

Thank you for your reply and for the information you’ve provided. I will indeed check out the edition of Fine Scale Modeller you have mentioned.

Do you know if the Hurricane engine is capable of having the electric motor installed inside? I plan on integrating the wiring for the motor as part of additional detailing on the engine. Also, I don’t suppose you would be willing to provide all the Hurricane engine part numbers from the instruction kit. I could then contact Airfix and ask for the necessary parts (even if I have to pay a small fee) rather than buying a complete 1/24 Hurricane kit.

Kind regards,

Andy T

By Andy C  |  2012-04-30 at 08:30  |  permalink

My apologies for not coming back sooner. I don’t visit the site frequently & actually had no idea my Spit was still there.

In answer to your questions:

I believe the Hurri engine can take the airfix electric motor.

The main parts are Nos 4 through to 23 inclusive, then 33 – 40 inc and part 53

Once again sorry for the delay in replying.. I shall visit more frequently in future hopefully.


By James  |  2011-02-03 at 11:25  |  permalink


Great model, I’ve always hoped Airfix will to an update on this great model and fix up the wheel wells and engine. I have bought the Tamiys 1/32 Spit and it would be so nice to see the equivalent in 1/24th. My involvement at one time with a Spitfire Mk XVI, leads to a point of interest. I see you have opened up the indicators on the wing. I think these are actually landing flap flap indicators? The flaps are operated by compressed air and are spring loaded in the up position. The air pressure forced them down. On selescting flaps up, air is released at the flap switch in the cockpit (very loud hiss when on the ground, engine off!), and the flaps then “snap” shut under spring tension. If left out, they would stay down as such, however most Spitfires would bleed air pressure in the system (brakes and flaps being pnuematic) overnight so to speak, and eventually the flaps would pop up. Once more, a great model, very nice.

By Andy C  |  2012-04-30 at 08:37  |  permalink

James thanks for your comments. It raises an interesting point. If these apetures are the flap indicators where would be the wheels up/down indicators as I understand these also existed

I remember seeing a picture with stencelling on the the wing reading “wheels up when flush” or something similar (of course I can’t find it now)

Thanks for your comments and sorry for a late reply as stated in another post I did not realise the Spit was still on the site & receiving comments.


Andy C

By PAUL NIEUWENHUIS  |  2011-07-06 at 07:20  |  permalink

Hi Andy, great job recreating a model of Al Deere’s personal mount.One of the most humble and interesting aces in the battle of Britain.I too have bought this model but it did not come with the KL-B registration or the Kiwi 1 which Al had painted on his aircraft.Could you possibly help me out with where I can obtain these decals from for this 1/24 airfix kit.As you are probably aware Al’s nephew Brendon Deere has purchased a mk 1x spitfire and painstakingly restored it back to its original glory in his uncles livery and flies this aircraft around the different airshows in NewZealand..I have seen this aircraft flying and been up close to it on a couple of occassions and it is good to see history is not lost.Would love to get the correct livery so I can build this model Paul N

By Andy C  |  2012-04-30 at 08:46  |  permalink

Hi Paul

My kit came with the markings for Al Deere’s machine (Airfix)

The Airfix website shows different markings supplied on the current boxing, I can only suggest you try the aftermarket decal companies.

As with the other post sorry for the late response.

Good luck


By Andrew B  |  2013-03-24 at 20:41  |  permalink

Hi Andy,

Great model and it brings back many pleasant memories. This was the first large kit I made in the 70s and I also remember the Mustang which I particularly liked. I hope Airfix have resolved the wing fitting defect as the model wouldn’t have the 7 degree dihedral without major modification.

This kit really lends itself to modification and extra detailling. In later years I converted the large Airfix Mk1 to a Mk XVIe by cutting down and rebuilding the rear fuselage, enlarging the fin and rudder, moulding a teardrop canopy, making a four bladed prop and new spinner, clipping the wings, adding wing cannons shrouds (1/72nd scale F-104 wing tip tanks) and removing the machine gun ports and panels etc.

Best regards.


By Andy Cooper  |  2013-04-26 at 05:21  |  permalink

Hi Andrew
It seems there is a few Andrews interested in Spitfires.
As you can see I don’t visit the site often & I’m surprised that my Spit is still here.
Sounds like you had more on your plate with the conversion. Is it on the site?

I haven’t made a Spit for a while so it must be time for another go.
I have a 1/24 scale Trumpeter MkV.. looks like a nice kit in the box and more detailed than the Airfix offerings.

Cheer for now Andy C

By john chase  |  2015-02-09 at 17:32  |  permalink

It looks lovely and brings back many happy memories…….I have to say though, having gone to all the trouble of replacing the engine and mount, and the other improvements you’ve made ….you seem to have ignored the main problem with this kit, the lack of dihedral in the wings when it was assembled straight from the box. I spent a while correcting this first ………as its often a problem with Spit kits.

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