RM653 – No. 41 Squadron RAF Eindhoven, Belgium, February 1945
At present there are thirteen 1/48th scale Spitfires on my flight line including a Mk.XII made from bits left over from five different kits, however most models are from the traditional sources with only a few minor tweaks here & there.
The subject of this article, the Spitfire Mk.XIVc, also falls into the bits & pieces category, using parts from kits that are surplus, or the spares box .
Academy has been praised for its moulding detail quality & criticised for the contour inaccuracy of their Mk.XIVc kit (and the ‘e’) in this area. The fuselage depth is around 2mm. too deep & results in a rather overweight representation of the real thing.
This was solved by cutting the nose horizontally under the exhausts, removing the surplus & re-gluing to match the dimensions of the next part of the fuselage.
As I had several Tamiya Mk.V. kits in the cupboard, I picked one to provide this part as well as the tailplanes, cockpit details & windshield. I elected to use a vac-form canopy after comparison with Tamiya; only because of the thinner transparency & marginally greater length. The fillets on the Tamiya fuselage have always struck me as being too ‘fat’ & these were sanded down to what I feel were better proportions, giving a much slimmer appearance to the fuselage.
I used an Italeri Mk.XVI wing as this had a number of advantages: No carving or rescribing necessary, no bulges to remove, no holes to fill in plus the wing root matches the Tamiya shape almost perfectly. The wing chord is too broad however & some trimming of the trailing edge inboard of the ailerons helped to correct this.
A bonus is that the Tamiya wingtips are an excellent fit to the Italeri wings.
Fin & Rudder
I have removed the Tamiya fin forward of the centre panel line & have done likewise to the central part from the Academy fin as an aid to vertical alignment.
The Academy rudder has been retained, but given some reshaping to the mass balance & the repositioning of the hinge line by adding a sliver of card to the rudder’s leading edge.
Radiators & Intakes
The Academy radiators have the advantage over others in that they are of sufficient depth although a trifle too narrow. Plastic sheet added to each side & sanded to a subtle curve seemed to fit the bill. Radiator flaps & carb. Intakes were used as is.
Spinner & Propeller blades
Spinner courtesy of one of my IPMS colleagues who provided me with a resin example. (Thanks Dave). Prop. blades: The Academy prop. blades are too short & thick & have too long a spigot at the base. I have added the necessary 1 ½ mm to the base of each blade on the mounting spigot & sanded to shape as well as thinned them considerably. Not much alternative as the Griffon engine goes ‘round the other way to the Merlin. I have used a magnificent new set of exhausts from Quick Boost – a fabulous fit; they provide the finishing touch to what is my favourite model.
Tail wheel doors from spares box; thinned to look better. Spare Hasegawa housing to suit the retractable style. Wheels & oleos were taken from Academy, both for tail & main units (stolen from an unwanted earlier effort).
Painting & Decaling
The standard European three colour scheme has been used but with variations which came into being in the early part of 1945, i.e.: Spinner painted black & tail band painted out. Upper wing roundels have not been modified as this alteration seems to have been ignored in many cases (plus I couldn’t find any photo references showing this on an early production ‘c’ wing Spitfire XIV.)
Paints used were from Gunze, Aeromaster & Polyscale. Surprisingly little filler was required & all I needed was some Squadron white filler & some correction fluid.
Decals used were from Academy, Italeri, & the generic Aeromaster code sheet.
Additional bits: Whip aerial installed on fuselage spine, IFF aerial mounted under starboard wing. Scratch built seat belts. Radio access hatch filled on port side & re-scribed in correct position for Mk. XIV on stb’d side.
So there we have it – major & minor parts from five or six different sources to make one Spitfire Mk.XIVc.
Late mark Spitfire Aces. Osprey
Spitfire in Action. Squadron Signal Publications.
Spitfires – The Anzacs. Malcolm Laird & Steve Mackenzie. Ventura Publications
Spitfire. Wilson S. Aerospace Publications.
Spitfire, Mustang & Kittyhawk in Australian Service. Wilson S. Aerospace Publications
Instructions: As the parts come from Tamiya, Academy, Hasegawa, Italeri, Aeroclub & Falcon, kit plans etc are pointless. General Arrangement & Details were sourced from the above references & detailed plans from “The Supermarine Spitfire Pt.2, Griffon Powered”, by Robert Humphreys – Modellers Datafile – SAM Publications.