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Don Weixl
15 articles

1/72 Heller Spitfire MK 16E

July 26, 2020 · in Aviation · · 41 · 2.4K

Started Jan. 2020
Finished March 2020

This kit has been in my stash for over 40 years. The box art on this inexpensive kit from the late 70s caught my eye. A in bare metal finish is not that common. I was lucky to see the “Silver Spitfire” at the Kelowna airport on part of it's world tour last summer and was impressed by it's gleaming bare metal finish. This encounter spurred me into building this little kit. Lately I have been on “build it stock” mission, including using the kit decals.

kits from the 70s were pretty impressive for their day. Raised panel lines were very fine and restrained. Details such wheels and landing gear were quite good compared to other popular brands from that era. The weak link in my opinion was that the canopies were pretty thick and the decals had whites that were more of a cream colour. This wasn't uncommon for the era.

Assembly was pretty straight forward with no issues. A little bit of Mr. Surfacer 500 was used to fill seam lines. I skipped the primer and airbrushed the entire aircraft with Humbrol polished aluminium Metalcote paint thinned with lacquer thinner. The original kit decals were used. Hot water helped form the decals over panel lines etc.

I applied an acrylic dark gray sludge wash with a brush to bring out some of the details. The excess was rubbed off with a twin tip. No clear cote was used.

Reader reactions:
13  Awesome

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

41 responses

  1. WOW-O-LA: A great bare metal paint job on your model.

    Long ago when "Alclad" aluminum paint came on the market they said that you had to use their gloss black paint before you applied their aluminum color...not true...

    I painted 1/2 of a model with their black, then painted the whole model with their aluminum color.

    You could not tell there was color change, so I came to the conclusion that they wanted to make more money by selling you their black paint.

    "EXPERIMENT" is the name of anything you do in life.

    Anyway's... a great looking "BM" model you have. (BM is used for Bare Metal).

    • Thanks Rodney. Humbrol Metalcote is the poor man's Alclad, LOL.

      • Year's later Tamiya came out with "Titanium Silver" and I used it until I quit modeling in 2016. For my money; As they say here in the U.S.A; Tamiya's silver is as good as any other silver looking paint. I think I can add one of my BM,(bare metal) models here.
        Cheer's. Rodney in California, USA.

        1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  2. Interestingly, the airplane was actually painted in "High Speed Silver," and wasn't NMF. However, the silver paint you used managed to more accurately represent the actual finish, which is all to the good.

    Nice to see that model still stands the test of time after 40+ years since release.

  3. Great finish Don, hope you got the group discount with the J-29 & the P47. Always best to do a group painting. Another great looking kit from Heller. nicely done.

  4. A beauty of a Spit!

  5. Well done Don, looks good, they do look different in silver, my 5c in NM !

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  6. Very impressive, Don (@donweixl). I love building old kits, and this build shows you can great results from an old kit with just a little TLC. Makes me want to run out to the garage and dig out some of my own Heller kits.

    • Thanks George. I have been on a bit of an old kit building binge lately. It might be getting close to the time to break out a modern shake and bake kit, LOL.

  7. Well, mission accomplished indeed! A silver Spitfire is a treat to the eye, and your build turned out beautiful.

  8. Beautiful Spit, Don!

    Unlike so many purists, I really love those square-tip Spitfires.

  9. Very nice Spitfire, Don.
    It's indeed very unusual to see a Spitfire in bare metal, last year I saw one in Duxford, England.
    Very uncommon.

  10. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Beautiful work on this Spitfire Don. This is a finish not seen much yet this one looks the part.

  11. What a gem. Raised panel lines or not, they still look fine and sharp.

    Remember me building Pierre Closterman's Tempest V from Heller. It was an upgrade from Airfix for sure. Details were nice and sharp. It was my best build for a while till someone accidentally smashed it. Before internet we had catalouges to drool over. Airfix, Matchbox and Heller knew for sure how to provoke the lust with fantastic boxart. Heller took this a step further by also inserting sideviews of the decaling and painting options.

    • Thanks Stellan. I agree the box art back in the day was very impressive. I also built the Heller Tempest a while ago and enjoyed it. I wish I had kept the box art as I am now doing.

    • Stellan here is a photo of my Heller Tempest.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  12. Only agreeing totally with all above gents, Don @donweixl.
    This is a wonderful job of a sweet kit (as, I think, are most of the good old Heller kits).
    I find extreme pleasure on putting together old kits, they just look so nice when done, especially when they are marvellously done like your Spit.

  13. Thanks Spiros. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

  14. This is a great-looking Spit! I also really enjoy sprucing up the old kits - Heller, Frog, Airfix, Nichimo, etc. And I'm glad to see a fellow 1/72 enthusiast at work!

    • Thanks Greg. Not too shabby for a $4 kit, LOL. Not sure how long I will be able to keep building these tiny 1/72 WW2 fighters with my eyes but I will keep trying to reduce the stash.

  15. Beautiful modek, I have one to complete and I must say the older kits give me more pleasure than a lot of the newer mouldings.

  16. Nice job. That’s a Heller Classic. Great little kit.

  17. Love that clipped wingtip spitfire ! Evidently some got shot at by both AA Fire and aerial Intercept thinking they were Me-109 ‘s When they first appeared in the cloudy sky’s of Southern England.

    the box art is way beautiful. I never saw this Heller kit before .

    Your work and techniques are impressive. I am learning a lot thanks to imodeler and persons like yourself to get better at my “maquettes” which is French for models . Our modeling craft is “Maquetisme”. It being a Heller kit I thought to throw this one in there !

    Thank you.

    • Thanks for the note Bernard. I agree that the box art is beautiful. 1/72 Heller aircraft kits were about $3.50-$4.00 each when I was buying them back in the late 70s. Great value back then and still fun to build now. I have about 6 Heller kits left in the stash.

  18. That's a nice looking Spit, Don. Job well done.

  19. Beautiful BMF. Just perfect!

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