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Tom Cleaver
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Kitbashing a 1/48 Spitfire XIVc

August 30, 2013 · in Aviation · · 8 · 1.8K

In 1/48, there is no really good injection-molded kit of the XIV. The Academy kit is too deep in side profile, as well as way too "fat" in plan view between the trailing edge of the wing and the tail surfaces. One can get the really excellent Falcon Spitfire XVIII vacuform (which you can see built up among the other models here on my blog) and make a late Spitfire XIVe with bubble canopy, and it is possible to graft on the "high back" rear fuselage and the standard canopy to get an earlier Spitfire XIV with only having to modify the rudder to a slightly-narrower chord. One could also get the Aeroclub Spitfire XIV fuselage conversion to use with a Hasegawa kit, but those are sadly no longer available.

I had a Planet Models resin Spitfire 21 which had a bad wing. Rather than pitch the entire thing, I saw that the nose was based on the Airfix Spitfire 22/24, so it was right, though the rear fuselage was based on the Academy kit and was thus wrong. I had several Hasegawa Spitfire IXs I had obtained at a modeler's estate sale. While the fuselage is wrong, the wing and cockpit are excellent. I decided a little might result in an acceptable Spitfire XIVc.

I taped the Hasegawa fuselage together and measured the right distance to the fuselage carry joint using a Airfix Spitfire 22/24 fuselage as a guide, and then cut the tail off, and sanded the upper fuselage line right. I also cut off the cowling to fit the resin Planet Models nose. When I tried putting the Planet Models tail on, I saw it was a whole 1/8 inch too deep! I cut it apart to use the Hasegawa retractable tailwheel pieces, then reassembled it to fit and sanded down the lower area of the rudder to fit the profile line.
After I had the fuselage halves properly assembled (lots of C-A glue on the inside), the project became a straightforward assembly. I used the Airfix Spitfire 22 spinner, and the Planet Models prop blades which were wrong for a Spit 21 and just right for a XIV.

The model was painted with Xtracrylix RAF Ocean Grey, Dark Green and Sea Grey Medium, with sky band and spinner. Decals came from the dungeon to do one of the 610 Squadron Spitfire XIVc's in the famous Charles Brown "Flight" photos from the first public flight of the Spitfire XIV in May 1944.

Of course, hopefully by the end of the year Airfix will take us from our sorrows by providing a new 1/48 Spitfire XIV - their PR XIX shows they'll get it right.

Reader reactions:
2  Awesome

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

8 responses

  1. Tom, Nice job with this "Frankenstein" build! All that cutting/sanding and super glue paid off here for sure. The Mk XIVc is my favorite version of the Spitfire lineage. I built two of the academy MK XIV kits a long time ago out of the box and they don't look as lean as yours- especially in the fuselage nose! Did all of the Mk XIVc's have the large cord type rudder?

  2. Diligence, patience, commitment, mental illness. Superior work nonetheless.

  3. Kit bashing is a lost art, but you've resurrected it!

    • Actually, I go back to the days when kit-bashing was the norm, if
      you wanted something good. 40 years ago to get a close-to-accurate Spitfire IX in 1/72, you needed the fuselage of the Matchbox Spitfire IX, the wings of the (original) Airfix Spitfire IX (the solid ones), the tail feathers and landing gear of the then-new Airfix Spitfire Vb.

      And starting out with Guillows balsa and paper models or balsa solid models scratchbuilt meant you left behind early any fear of not getting it right with a saw. (Of course I was young enough then to be ignorant of the fact they were "difficult", so I just did them - the way an aerodynamically-implausible bumblebee flies)

  4. Fantastic job, Tom, I'm really impressed with the work (and knowledge)that has gone into this model.

  5. Looks great Tom! I have a very similar conversion in progress right now, I hope it turns out half as good as this one!

  6. Tom,
    As usual this is a very nice build.

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