3 Spitfires to make 1: Spitfire Mk.XIVe High-Back Conversion from Eduard and Airfix 1/48 kits
As something of a Coronavirus lockdown special effort, I finally did something I've been thinking about attempting for months and which others including Tom Cleaver have done previously: A Mk.XIV high-back conversion kit bash. I built this Mk.XIVe high-backed Spitfire in 1/48 scale using Eduard's Mk.VIII kit as the base fuselage, Airfix's new FR Mk.XIV bubble-top kit for the Griffon engine, tail and radiators, and Eduard's Mk.XVI bubble top kit for an 'e' wing to complete Spitfire MN-F (tail number RB169) as flown by 350 Squadron, RAF from October 1944. Decals were from Xtradecal and the Mk.VIII and Mk.XIV kits.
This was a really in depth effort and I'm really not confident with filler, putty and rescribing but was surprised and delighted by how nice she looks in the end result! I've wanted to do a Griffon Spitfire for ages but wanted a proper wartime bird that saw large scale service and don't really like the bubble-canopy and cut down fuselage look of Airfix's fighter-reconaissance Mk.XIV. There are some older Mk.XIV kits out there (e.g Academy) but they are extremely inaccurate shape-wise so I didn't want to go for any of them. The Eduard Spitfires are the best out there in terms of shape and surface detail (at least in my opinion) in 1/48 scale - hence the approach chosen here to use as much Eduard plastic as possible and take what parts I needed from the Airfix FR Mk.XIV bubble canopy kit. For those wondering about the wastefulness implied - the Mk.XVI kit comes with two different 'e' wing sprues representing early and late modifications so I was able to take one for this project and will still be able to build the Mk.XVI in full later on.
Video build is available here for those interested showing all the steps:
Well done with the conversion
Looks great! I'm not much of a Spitfire fan despite my admiration for them, but I've gotta say the high back Griffons are my fav and you done it justice. Nice build!
Glad you like her Andrew - takes a lot of courage to own up to not being a Spitfire fan around here no? 😉
Interesting that you favour the high-back Griffon Spits given you aren't mad keen on the Spitfire family as a whole; as someone who has always loved Spitfires I find the Griffon engined beasts impressive and interesting but much less aesthetically pleasing than the Merlin equivalents!
I'll say, I do like the simplicity of say a MKI, but when it comes to the shape of your presented MKXIV, something about the streamlined tall rear fuselage, and how it excellently contrasts with the wide cowling bulges up front is appealing to me. It somehow contrasts, yet complements.. a geometric aesthetic.
When I say I'm not a Spit fan, it only means I've not taken enough to appreciate them, ey? 😉 Maybe someday I'll build one up..
Great work on the conversion!
Thank you Robert 🙂
This is a real treat ! This virus has caused some of us to do some things that we normally couldn't have done otherwise. I especially like how you posed your high back Spit, "MN*F" in the same manner as the one in the original photo. It looks identical ! Very well done my friend. I pressed the liked button too.
Aww, thanks Louis - much appreciated on all counts!
Great job. The shape is much better than the Academy version I built 20 years ago.
Yeah... poor Academy. Whoever gave them those dimensions when they were making the molds for that kit really screwed the company over!
Fantastic effort, Justin and the result justifies it. Excellent job. I REALLY loved the video. Thanks for sharing.
All the best!
Thank you Spiros! Very glad you like the video and the result. Thanks also for the group build invitation - I have a Ki-61 kit deep in the stash so will try to post on the Imperial Japan threat when I get round to building it!
That's outstanding Justin, really like the finished product. Good to hear you saved at lease another Spit for a later project. Using three kits to build one could get expensive.
Indeed it could! Although I managed to get the Mk.VIII and FR Mk.XIV for £40 together so at least those ended up not too brutal. But yes, will enjoy building the Mk.XVI at some point in the future (when I've had a slight break from Spits 😉 )
Really sharp work!
Appreciate you saying so Dale!
Looks excellent! Makes for a nice collection.
Thanks Greg 😀
Nice work but you really went about it the long way. the Airfrix FR XIVE has an "e" wing already. All you need is the upper rear fuselage from any other Airfix high-back Spitfire kit. Did I mention it's also cheaper?-)
Nice result here. The day Airfix modifies the fuselage of the Spitfire XIX and sticks it in with the rest of the trees from the FR XIVE, they will have a license to print money.