Supermarine Seafire XV in 1/48
Let me start by saying I'm not the world's greatest modeller. Nor am I the fastest. I am however a Spitfire/Seafire-holic and what you're now looking at is a seven month labour of love.
But let's start at the beginning…
This is a story of a 1/48 scale kit bash. The end result of which probably isn't 100% accurate but I wanted to do a close-as-possible rendition and at the same time stretch my modelling skills.
A rejuvenated Airfix, bless them, has been releasing some fantastic aircraft kits the last few years in both 1/72 and 1/48.
When the Spitfire XII was released I bought one the day it hit my local hobby shop. A year later a Seafire XVII was issued and I went and bought a set of Freightdog decals (FSD48-008) thinking I'd replace the kit ones when it came time to build it.
Then, sometime late in 2012, I stumbled on an article, from memory it was on the Britmodeller site, stating that historically the Seafire XV was a combination of the XII (fuselage) and XVII (wings/tailplane/rudder). Good lord, I had both these kits and, as luck would have it, the Freightdog sheet had an XV as one of its subjects. Clearly I was in business!
So over the Christmas break I started work. Then in January, on this site, Tony Prince posted pictures of his take on the same Airfix Seafire XV build. And a beautiful job he made of it too. I found his work inspiring. You can view Tony's model here:
My Seafire XV followed the basic premise in the on-line article mentioned above and Tony's build; that is, I used the fuselage from the Airfix Spitfire XII and the wings etc from the Airfix Seafire XVII. Then I added the following aftermarket items:
resin seat and wheels from Ultracast
Eduard photoetch instrument panel for a Spitfire XI
a set of Quickboost exhausts
brass cannon barrels from the Master range
I also added the strengthening strip under the cockpit – I'm not sure if late mark XV's had this strip but I believe they did if my references are correct. The air-scoop in front of the windscreen was sanded off and replaced with the hollowed out end of a Mk84 bomb!
Paint is Humbrol, lightened considerably as I felt Airfix's recommended colours were way too dark and not in scale.
Believe it or not I have applied weathering to the model. I admit it's subtle. I figured that as it's a post war aircraft the maintenance team would have plenty of time to keep it relatively dirt free. Besides, I couldn't bring myself to cover up my ever-so-carefully applied airbrushed paintwork! The aircraft I've modelled, SR572, depicts the one that celebrated the 2000th carrier deck landing on HMS Illustrious on 24th May 1950.
Pretty much every article I've read about these Airfix kits indicates they're a dream to build. All I can say is that they don't fall together with a shake of the box. Put another way, they're a builder's model as you're required to think and do some work to get a decent result. Or maybe it's all down to my building skills or lack thereof. Whatever, I found the going tough in places.
So what did I learn? I'm pedantic, I build at a glacial pace, I swear a lot when things don't go according to plan but above all I've really enjoyed building something that I created with my own hands. It's not a masterpiece and it won't win any awards, but I don't care. I tried some new techniques, improved my airbrushing skills and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Which is precisely what our hobby is all about isn't it?