Kitbashing a 1/48 Spitfire XIVc
In 1/48, there is no really good injection-molded kit of the Spitfire 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 kitbashing 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.
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.