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Gregor d
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Review: iModeler Review – New Tool 1/48 Airfix Spitfire Vb

August 4, 2014 · in Reviews · · 22 · 5.1K

Some of you may well be asking why do we need another ? Hasegawa, and Tamiya have both produced excellent kits of the Vb, and there are readily available kits by some of the short run producers - Whether or not any of these have accuracy discrepancies I do not know but as we all know, from a profit making point of view in the modelling industry, Spitfires always sell well. Once again the kit is very competitively priced when compared to other companies offerings - RRP £16.99 in the UK ($28 US approx.) I got mine off Amazon for £13.99 (including postage).

Airfix's latest offering is of a similar quality to their 1/48 PRXIX or the XVII Seafire kits – that is to say IMHO very comparable to the high quality of mouldings of the big Far Eastern Manufacturers. Five sprues packed with parts fill the box. Once again there are various options included; three canopy styles (opened or closed, early/late style external and one internal armoured windscreens), choice of oil coolers, three styles of exhaust stubs, dehaviland and Rotol propeller spinners, standard and tropical (Volkes) air filters, pose able flying surfaces, and raised or lowered undercarriage. Unusually for Airfix Spitfires in this scale there is no lowered landing flaps option.

The parts on my example are all flash free and come with nice recessed panel detail – check out the photos. Some of the raised detail on the engine panels appear a bit heavy but will soon be reduced with a few swipes of the sanding stick. The “B” wing with its appropriate armament configuration looks correct to my eye, and also comes with the prominent strengthening strips, which I note from past comments in various places may or may not be appropriate. The cockpit detail merits special mention and looks suitably busy. It appears to me to have more details than previous kits, although the instrument panel is a bit bland relying on a decal to provide details for the dials etc. The control stick has the grip and column as separate parts, and the pilots seat is a subassembly with a recessed depression for the parachute. Please note that the instructions clearly indicate that the rudder pedals cannot be installed if you want to include the pilot figure. The fuselage section immediately in front of the cockpit comes separately with two options to suit which windscreen type you choose, and for once is detailed with the fuel cap. It all looks very good in the box. There are also bombs and associated cradles etc, but as with the fairings provided for a clipped wing variant, they are not required for the options offered in this kit. Clearly Airfix have another release planned for the future…..

Two decal options are provided – 1.) Malta Spitfire with tropical air filter based at Ta kali March 1942 of 249 Squadron RAF, and 2.) Markings representing a Vb from 317 (Polish) Squadron which is based on the restored example that currently flies with the Historic Collection at Duxford. The Malta option will provide you with some fun as it requires the debatable Blue/Grey hue applied in theatre, which apparently faded very rapidly due to the weather conditions. Weathering fans can have a field day with that one!

So what does the latest Airfix Spitfire give you that aren't already on offered elsewhere? Given the amount of options straight out the box, and the level of detail provided I'd have to go with value for money. The average modeller will get a nice result here without having to resort to lots of aftermarket products, with the usual exception of seat harnesses/belts. In conclusion this looks like another winner for Airfix and Spitfire fanatics. The mark Five apparently was the most numerically produced Spitfire, and for my money the best looking of the Merlin engine variants. I'm already in a quandary as to which of the kit options to utilise as I have always liked the look of the Spitfire with the Volkes air filter, and that blunt spinner, I might just have to buy another one, and build them both!

(Ed.) See also Tom Cleaver's build review of this kit at:

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

26 additional images. Click to enlarge.

22 responses

  1. Thank you for posting this review. Very attractive model. The only thins I'd like to buy from aftemarket - exhausts and vacu canopy for opened option. Great model.

  2. Thanks Gregor. Another kit I'm going to have to add to the stash.

  3. Thanks Gregor for giving us a peak inside the box. How are the exhaust stubs molded as single pieces or in upper and lower halves, and have they been "hollowed" out.

  4. Sorry guys, trying too hard today I guess! :). See above Rick. Exhausts singles unhollowed.

  5. Looks very good. Several 'proud' fasteners but nothing that can't be handled.
    I'm ready for Airfix to make a P-40B/C if they'll use the same crew that did this one! Yeah!


  6. Thanks for the insights, Gregor. I'd love to see both schemes.

  7. Plenty of options as the Mark V served on many fronts. Theres quite a few decal sheets out there too if you don't like what Airfix offer in the box.

  8. Great review, thanks for posting!

  9. Hey Gregor, cannot get enough Spitfires!
    Nice review mate, hope you enjoy the build mate.

  10. And I'm gonna buy some because many users and camouflage will be the first in the colors 352sq Tito partisan, Raf, Saaf, Malta defenders ...

  11. Thanks, Gregor. Fine review.

    Man, do we ever love our Spitfires. Value is..."what you get for what you pay"...and its clear we're getting a whole lot of very well-done plastic for not a lot of money. That's REALLY GOOD VALUE for us glue-heads. Me...I've got a bunch of Spits in the showcase, 3 awaiting paint, a few in the stash, and this Airfix is a must-have.

  12. Thanks for the review, Gregor. I like the fact that they chose some fresh schemes to feature in this kit. Green/dark earth and Malta blues have never been featured as OOB options in any 1/48 Vb kit that I'm aware of.

    I really can't wait for the Vc and (hopefully) new Seafire III.

  13. You definitely want to get the Falcon/Squadron vacuformed canopy for whichever type you want to use. The one complaint I can see pretty obviously is those windshields are "lacking". Everything else looks great and it's pretty obvious Airfix bought themselves a couple of Eduard Spitfire IXs and went over them closely (a good idea). The cannon bulges are the best looking for the Vb I have seen on any kit.

    People will definitely want to pick up the Victory Productions Decals sheet, "Spitfire: Aces of the Empire" which has a number of Vb options.

    I'm not sure what those bomb racks are for, since the Vb only ever carried bombs on a centerline crutch - these are for the Mk.IX and later versions. The deep slipper tank will allow you to do one of the Spitfire Vbs flown off carriers like USS Wasp to resupply Malta.

    I'm going to be interested to see if the Spitfire XII wing I have left over from my Seafire XV "kitbash" will be useable with this kit - if so, a Vc will not be hard to do.

    I should be getting the review kit in the next couple days and will get right on it.

  14. Thanks for all the feedback folks. The new Spitfire from Airfix is a nice kit, i'm looking forward to seeing it built up in its various guises 🙂

  15. I've ordered two, so I can do one trop and one not 🙂

  16. Thanks for the review and pictures Gregor. I too am in love with the spitfires curves and looks. I will also buy two of these so that I can build both variants.I fully liked what I saw in the review.The build will be very enjoyable.

  17. I have the kit now. It is really nice, except for one thing: the canopies are REALLY BAD. There's a lot of distortion in them, and the windscreen for the early external armor glass version looks like no Spitfire windscreen I have ever seen. Getting the Squadron/Falcon Spitfire I canopy for the Tamiya kit is going to be MANDATORY. Fortunately, it will fit (I've checked).

    For some reason, Airfix is having a lot of trouble with clear parts right now. The 1/24 Typhoon canopy is arriving broken, and those that aren't broken show the same kind of molding distortion this does. Whoever the Indian company is that is doing these kits, they need to step up their game on clear plastic injection molding.

    Other than that, it's really nice. Those with a stash of aftermarket decals will have a lot of options. I'm doing mine from one of the six options on the "Spitfire: Aces of the Empire" Sheet.

    The kit is even better than the Mk22/24/47 kit was. (Which also has bad clear parts)

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