Speed Silver Spit! 1/48 Airfix Spitfire Mk.XIV

June 19, 2019 · in Uncategorized · · 17 · 2.7K


1/48 Mk.XIV


Packaging/Decals/Pubs: 10

When Airfix went to the red box, it was a revelation. One that signaled that they could indeed make attractive boxes that made you want to buy the kit. Adam Tooby's fantastic modern artwork sealed the deal. Almost literally. The instruction sheet has set a new standard for 3D exploded views, and their color coding is a smart stroke. Also, the full color paint and decal guides have finally come to the state of the art. Airfix has also switched to the glossy type Cartograph decals which are colorful, on register, and lay down beautifully.

Sprues: 8

This incites a lot of controversy. This kit is molded in the soft, light Indian plastic. And it's love or hate. I personally love it. Because it's soft, it's easy to cut and sand. On the downside, it's soft, so it's easy to cut and sand. So, you can easily cut off too much, or inaccurately if you're not careful. And because it's easy to sand, you can lose detail very quickly. Filling and sanding is my least favorite task, so I don't mind the softness. The softness can also soften some of the detail. But mold seams are starting to show up more prominently lately. Also, the part gates have almost no land to them. The gate goes right up to the part, so when you nip it off, you end up cutting into the part itself. Right off the runner. This has been a long-standing issue. It's time for Airfix to step up in this area.

Shape: 10

Shape looks good. It captures the lines of the classic fighter well. I'm sure the Spitfire illuminati will nitpick, but I see no major or medium issues.

Subject/Cool Factor: 9

As a whole, you can't get cooler than a Spitfire. It's a mainstay and a supremely cool airplane, to this day. However, this mark isn't exactly one of the most coveted. It's not a Mk.V, or a Mk.XI. The Mk.XIV, while important, is not one of the most popular in the line of Spitfires. In fact, a story is told of the commander in the far east rejecting the mark because it didn't look like a Spitfire should look. So, for coolness, it loses that one point. Engineering: 8

The shape is spot on, the modern methods Airfix uses to gather its data is working quite well. However, it's getting let down by the sprues, as mentioned earlier. While Airfix's new kits have been wonderful for the last 13 years, it's high time to take that next step. Yes, their financial woes have hurt them in recent years. But now with more stable footing, fixing those niggling issues with the sprues, and really honing in the detail should be imminently possible



Fit: 9

Some engineering decisions are puzzling. Such as why they chose to make the front fuel tank a separate piece, which did create some issues. Why they didn't make the wingtips a separate piece, instead of having you cut it off, to add the clear clipped wingtips. That didn't create any issues, but a strange decision nonetheless. Clipping the top of the vertical stab to fit the larger rudder though, that makes perfect sense. Also, no issues were created there. The sequence for adding the wing panels also left a gap to deal with. I suggest going the traditional way and adding the bottom wing piece to the top two panels and then adding it to the fuselage.

Detail: 9

Detail is fantastic, however, as mentioned before, the detail can now be homed in just a bit more. Perhaps it's a limitation of the Indian plastic. But if that's the case, then some new solution may be needed. Just keep the plastic softish!

Effort: 9

I built this kit in one night. It went together beautifully. But the small issues mentioned before do take appoint away.

Value: 8

Airfix kits have come up in price in the last few years. They're no longer quite the value they used to be. Economics dictate this, and I get it. You used to be able to get 90% of the detail of a kit for 2/3 of the price. Now that's upped to about 3/4.

Fun Factor: 9

Fats and easy, fun build of a subject we've had no new tool of for a while.


Add it all up and the D score is...89 out of 100

Just missing out on the Grade A kit. It's fun, it's modern Airfix, it's fairly cheap. It just needs that little bit to put it over the top. Perhaps we see that jump in the kit.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. Nice work, but as to the wing assembly, if you make a complete wing subassembly, it is difficult to pop it over the extrusions for the wheel mounts, and you will get a nasty little step at the upper wing/fuselage joint that is hard to get rid of. If, on the other hand, you do it as Airfix says, that wing/fuselage joint will be nice and smooth (said after doing it wrong on the first kit and right on the second). It's also a good thing the wing is molded full-span, since cutting the tip off is far easier than gluing a separate tip on for aliignment.

    The MSRP price of this kit is half that of the new Tamiya Spitfire.

    The soft plastic is c r a p, since the Indians also have terrible quality control. Two people here who have the kit have short=shot Sprue As for the horizontal stabs that are unusable. Of the three kits I have, the one I did that's reviewed Thursday at Modeling Madness had a badly-warped wing, but fortunately the soft plastic let me bend it into shape. The second kit had a minor short-shot in the upper left horizontal stab that was fixable with Mr. Surfacer filling it in. The third is all OK. However, the clear parts on all three are distorted because they were pulled from the mold too soon. The good news is, Airfix will do a second run, and it will be done in the UK, with a harder plastic that molds better, and there won't be the QC problems. (I found a similar problem with the P-40B, and the Tomahawk II release is from the UK and perfect - the situation was the same with the initial Meteor run from India as compared to the second run from the UK, as well as the Korea and Mustang IV second run releases compared to the P-51D first release). Airfix should just drop the Indians since they obviously don't know what they're doing. QC will kill Airfix's new releases if they don't do this. Harder plastic makes it easier to get rid of join seams without losing detail by sanding through too easy.

    Personally, as a Spit boffin, I find the Griffon Spitfires far more reminiscent of the type's racer origins.

    Nice result on your model.

    Xtradecal has 48-127 and 48-130 with Spitfire XIVs and FR 18s on both, for additional possibilities.

    Welcome to iModeler.

    • I hadn’t heard about the QC problems, and I’ve not run into any yet. I’m still a fan of the Indian plastic. The British last I had inconsistent detail, even softer detail, and was more difficult to manipulate. That was really a pain to work with on the Victor. So much so, I sold off the one I built, along with the P-40B. I’ve not been pleased with that plastic at all. Sucks to hear they’re gonna do a run of these kits in that plastic. Like I mentioned, it’s a love/hate thing.?‍♂️

  2. Nice work, Daniel. You built it in a day? Wow! What silver paint did you use?

    I’m one of the guys with the short shot parts on one of the three kits I bought. I’m going to do two XIVs and one FR18. These variants are actually my favorite Spitfires. These are very nice kits, but the QC is a problem. I’m not pleased with their customer support this go around either. One email to the UK is now 8 days unanswered, and Hornby US states on their website that they don’t stock parts. They also don’t answer their phone.

  3. A cool looking Spitfire, thanks for the thorough review.

  4. Beautiful work...really nice build, sir.

  5. That's a great-looking Spit! Well done.

  6. BEAUTIFULLY built & finished, Daniel!

    This was a great review; well done & very comprehensive. Bravo!

    • Thanks! The score format isn’t fully mine though, I adapted it from Doug Demuro and his Doug score for rating cars. But it offers that more comprehensive look at a product. I thought it would fit for doing kits. Why not?

  7. Nice build Daniel.
    Great to see this Spitfire in speed silver!
    No real Q.C. issues on mine the plastic is soft but personally I dont mind that so much.

    • Hi David, I agree with you guys about the soft plastic. It’s easy to work with and sands well. The QC needs to be tightened up though. In addition to my short shot kit, I’ve bought seriously warped/ defective Hawk and Meteor kits over the last few years. Frustrating as Airfix is my favorite brand.

  8. Really nice finish.

    Never seen such a mean looking spit.

  9. that's a beauty...love those cowl humps...the "Spitfire Illuminati" gave me a chuckle

  10. That looks great! I also like the soft plastic and, so far, never had any trouble with the India issues of Airfix kits regarding poor injection. The downside, I think, is the landing gear legs: the PR XIX kit, for instance, suffers from very flimsy legs that can’t support the kit’s weight and tend to spread. Other than that, the softer plastic is easier to work with. Again, very nice build, love the silver paintjob!

  11. Lot of love around for the XIV. This is a very pretty example.


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