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Tom Cleaver
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Review: It’s here!

June 13, 2019 · in Reviews · · 17 ≡

Just picked up the new Spitfire FR XIVE at the LHS.

Looking through it, this is the we've always wanted. Accurate shape, accurate dimensions. Good detail.

Note in the photo of the sprues that the wing comes full-span, and that both the early narrow-chord and later wide-chord rudders are supplied. There is also the early and later bubble canopy. This means you can do the FR XVIII as well as the FR XIV.

Moldings are crisp, clear parts are clear. Decals are good.

For those who are already complaining that it isn't the "high-back" Spitfire XIV, do consider that in marketing a product with different variations, it's always good to put out the one that may be the lesser-seller first. The high-back will certainly be on its way.

Do note that the first run has already sold out with pre-orders at the Airfix website, and orders by the major online sources (which is why I pre-ordered two from Hannant's). Amazingly, kits have already reached North America within a week of UK release. The LHS snagged two, of which this is one. Get 'em while they're still available. Do not wait.

I've long said that the company that did a Spitfire XIV right would have a license to print money. Airfix finally realized what they were sitting on. You can officially consign the Academy kits to the doorstops they've always aspired to be.

Buy. In. Confidence.

Reader reactions:
11  Awesome

1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. Those sprues aren't really molded in pink, are they...? 🙂
    (...not that it would matter...)

  2. Love the way that even after all these years of building, you are still excited by the hobby.


    • My favorite sub-type of my favorite airplane, which I fell in love with as a kid when I saw the Charles Brown photo of one coming head-on that was the frontispiece of my First Edition copy of "Wing Leader," the first "serious" airplane book I ever bought (age 11 - which I still have).

      Been waiting a looooooonnnnnnnngggggg time for the right kit to finally show up.

  3. Thanks, Tom. I have one on pre-order from Airfix. Even though it will only sit on the stash for a while, I'm still wanting my next Griffon powered Spit.

  4. Yes indeed... it looks superb!

  5. This looks like a good kit, but I hope that they changed the way the main landing gear strut is attached. That is my only complaint about the newer Airfix Spitfires. Almost every kit has a flaw, some more than others. We modelers are always quick to point them out which is sad when you think about it.

    There’s yet to be the “perfect” model.

    Having built up several of these new tool Airfix Spitfires, I compliment the details they have packed into them. You really can’t complain about them especially when you consider the price. Airfix has come a long way...

    Maybe you can take some better pictures and write up a comprehensive kit review ?

    I think it would be well received by the masses.


    • They changed the landing gear to what you (and everyone else) would like.

      There will be a full-build review at Modeling Madness next Thursday that will be here next Friday. Did I mention the kit assembles very nicely without need of putty (so long as you clip those sprue nibs)

    • As a matter of fact, after attaching the main gear, I can say Eduard's new method of assembly and attachment is so good and so foolproof, I wash every company that produces Spitfire models would steal this and use it. Absolutely foolproof and equally accurate. Proper alignment is guaranteed!

      • Thanks for answering my question Tom. Out of all the Spitfire kits I have built or seen built, I particularly like the new tool Tamiya Spitfire landing gear arrangement the best. There’s absolutely no way to goof up with the new Tamiya Spitfire landing gear. It’s a one piece unit that includes both struts. Here’s a picture that our very own “Martin” included in his magnificent kit review a little while ago.

        I was seriously thinking about getting one of these new Airfix Spitfires too. But after reading the comments about some parts being warped and others short shot I’m having second thoughts. What a shame as this really looks fantastic. If they could get the quality control taken care of this one is an absolute winner.

  6. Thanks, Tom. It's a great looking kit!

  7. Our LHS had 2 this afternoon. It now has none thanks to a couple of IModeler alums. I got mine ?

  8. I got three, Tom. Like you I was surprised to see two at my LHS in Chicago. Snagged them immediately. The third was ordered from Hannants and arrived a few days ago too. Unfortunately, that kit has a lot of short shot parts on Frame”A” and badly warped right wing. I notified Airfix and await a response. The bubble tops are actually my favorite Spits, especially the Griffon powered variants.

    • That doesn't sound like good news. I'm expecting mine from Hannant's any day. My kit had a warped right wing, which is fixable due to the softness of the plastic, but still something that shouldn't be. No short-shot parts.

      I have sent an e-mail to my contact at Airfix telling them I am going to include a long "editorial" in my review about their failures with quality control when they have the kits done in India. The second run of the Meteor kit, which is completely faultless and was produced in the UK, is proof they can get it done right and on budget, in the UK and that the Indians are completely unreliable, since this happens in EVERY KIT done in India. Airfix is now making world-class kits that can compete successfully with Tamiya and Eduard (in final look at a minimum), but letting the bean counters keep running things - which has always been their Big Problem - is kicking them when they don't need to.

      • You’re right, Tom. Airfix is my favorite brand these days but QC really needs more attention. I had the same issues with the Meteor. The UK made kit was flawless, the Indian kit warped but buildable. I also bought a 1/48 Hawk some years ago that was terribly warped and had two left fuselage halves and no righties! They replaced that in a week. Anyways, I’m looking forward to all of the great builds we’ll see of this nice XIV kit.

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