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PlaStix

Two 1/48 Mk.Vb Spitfires - Tamiya and Airfix (new) - Spitfire collection expansion project - FINISHED! - photos now in the RFI section - 08/06/15

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If Spitfires are not your thing then it may be worth looking away now as I'm going to try to make two 1/48 versions simultaneously!


A fair while back, when I decided I'd one day like to make the Eduard Mk.IX Spitfire, I didn't know at the time what I was starting. You can check out my finished version of the Mk.IX here. When I thought about such a lovely, quite expensive kit, I decided I ought to practice the skills I'd need to do it justice beforehand. So I practiced by making three 1/72 Spitfires and then moved onto a 1/48 Mk.XVI. Even before I'd started the Mk.IX I realised I was addicted to making Spitfires.

A few months ago I'd already picked up the 1/48 Tamiya Mk.Vb and then when the Airfix version appeared (and was quite cheap on pre-order on the big A) I decided to get one of those too. I had originally planned to make the Tamiya kit before the Eduard one but I ended up making the latter for the D-Day Group Build first.

So now it's time to expand my Spitfire collection by two.

I'm quite excited by this project and thought it would be interesting to see what the comparisons are between the two kits - I have little pre-knowledge about them other than reading bits and pieces about them on the web. Some people seem to be positive about both and others the opposite. Versions of these that I have seen built look pretty good to me but I'm not an expert on the real thing or the kits. In my head I have this idea that I might be able to use each kit to be make the other a better version but this may not work out in practice. I don't intend to do any major surgery on either, but rather just enjoy the type of thing I feel comfortable with.

Edit 21/08/15 - if anyone is interested there is a follow up thread to this one where I am currently making the Tamiya and Airfix (new tool) 1/48 Mk.I kits. I'm using a lot of the lessons I learned from this thread. If you are interested it can be found in the Battle of Britain Group Build section here.

So box and sprue photos first - I like the artwork on both:
15380419766_886f319b9d_c.jpg

In comparison the Airfix box seems a lot fuller of parts but I already know some of them won't get used:
15216793560_4a2a05ff0e_c.jpg

Tamiya box:
15216798530_ae57e35735_c.jpg

As there did seem to be fewer parts with the Tamiya kit I decided to bolster it a bit with Eduard Zoom set:
15216870478_25482126ca_c.jpg

Tamiya sprues:
15216717949_5dabc2e8f6_c.jpg

15403148092_c28b4be751_c.jpg

Some cockpit details - I really like making up the cockpits and both kits seem to have nice details - Tamiya:
15216884738_bc2bfba828_c.jpg

15216732929_e04fd98f6a_c.jpg

15216827150_317c3aed5f_c.jpg

Tamiya instructions:
15216743689_ebb202d4cc_c.jpg

Versions included in the kit:
15400319061_4905c2e922_c.jpg

Airfix sprues:
15216755259_913344a49c_c.jpg

15216759939_1ace00b3e2_c.jpg

Airfix cockpit detail:
15216995687_f7362b9d86_c.jpg

15403520385_5d3afe2be5_c.jpg

15216773969_b0c7b8db73_c.jpg

Airfix - new style instructions - not sure about these yet:
15403203652_40aa284b45_c.jpg

Possible versions in the box:
15216783109_4e9abd98d1_c.jpg

15400356221_a7a680894a_c.jpg

I have also got these bits left over from the cockpit of the Eduard Mk.IX and I might think about if they're better to use somewhere:
15217025717_b04595a975_c.jpg

I'm hoping to get some work started on these this weekend - all I've done so far is get all the parts washed in warm soapy water.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Kind regards,

Stix

Edited by PlaStix

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Hi Stix,

I think you're going to have some fun with these. The Tamiya kit does have some shape issues, one not-so-easy one to fix and a couple of ones that are easy to fix. I have done those fixes a couple of times and if you are interested I can point you to the needed information here on BM. In the meantime I look forward to seeing your progress.

Cheers, Jim

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This should be good Stix,they both look brilliant blank canvasses to do your magic on! The Tamiya version I built many moons ago and is a vice free

no hassle build,the airfix kit looks an equal to any far eastern product I,m just starting to cut plastic on the Revelgawa MKIX so I,ll be "nicking" a few

ideas if you don,t mind,best of luck.

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I'll certainly be watching this. I'm a Spitfire nut, having built 56 of them since 2007. :)

My all time favorite kit is the Tamiya 1/48 Mk. Vb, but by all accounts, the Airfix kit may soon be kicking that kit out of the top slot on my hill. I have two of the Airfix kits, but as I'm drowning in a commission build (seven identical P-47s due to be finished before Christmas), I can't start on them. So I'll be excited to see your progress.

My good friend Steve Budd wrote an article for AMW about the kit, and mentioned that part D33 did not fit well, so that may be something to keep in mind. But apart from that, he was quite happy with it.

Looking forward to seeing your work!

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What a marvellous idea, should be an interesting comparison.

I've made several of the Tamiya Mk1 Spitfires, which are a lovely kit to build and I'm sure the MkVb will be very similar. Go the new Airfix kit under my bench at the moment, looks to be more of a demanding build than the Tamiya kit, as in more parts to make the kit up.

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Hi Stix,I think you're going to have some fun with these. The Tamiya kit does have some shape issues, one not-so-easy one to fix and a couple of ones that are easy to fix. I have done those fixes a couple of times and if you are interested I can point you to the needed information here on BM. In the meantime I look forward to seeing your progress.Cheers, Jim

Hi Jim, thank you for your interest. Yes I would definitely be interested in seeing possible fixes. I'm relatively new at this, having been pretty much an OOB builder until fairly recently, but I'm interested in seeing what could be done even if I can't do it!

This should be good Stix,they both look brilliant blank canvasses to do your magic on! The Tamiya version I built many moons ago and is a vice free

no hassle build,the airfix kit looks an equal to any far eastern product I,m just starting to cut plastic on the Revelgawa MKIX so I,ll be "nicking" a few

ideas if you don,t mind,best of luck.

Hi Steve. Thank you for dropping by. I hope you'll be doing a WIP for your Mk.IX - I think you'll find I'm going to be borrowing ideas from you! Hopefully Wolwe will be starting his 1/48 Mk.IX too soon - it'll be almost like mini Spitfire GB.

you'll enjoy building both of them. I know I did.

Thank you SIlver Fox - I was very impressed with yours - I have it bookmarked for future reference!

And who says men can't multi-task!

Absolutely, although I'm not sure I can! We will see......... Thank you for dropping in.

I'll certainly be watching this. I'm a Spitfire nut, having built 56 of them since 2007. :)

My all time favorite kit is the Tamiya 1/48 Mk. Vb, but by all accounts, the Airfix kit may soon be kicking that kit out of the top slot on my hill. I have two of the Airfix kits, but as I'm drowning in a commission build (seven identical P-47s due to be finished before Christmas), I can't start on them. So I'll be excited to see your progress.

My good friend Steve Budd wrote an article for AMW about the kit, and mentioned that part D33 did not fit well, so that may be something to keep in mind. But apart from that, he was quite happy with it.

Looking forward to seeing your work!

Hi Jon. Wow I've still got a few to go then!! These two will be six and seven in my collection! Still that means I've got a lot more to look forward to! And thank you for the information- I will look out for that.

Kind regards,

Stix

Edited by PlaStix

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Count me in stix...now wheres the popcorn?!:-D

Hi crustydude - I will, thank you - I don't know but leave some for me!

What a marvellous idea, should be an interesting comparison.

I've made several of the Tamiya Mk1 Spitfires, which are a lovely kit to build and I'm sure the MkVb will be very similar. Go the new Airfix kit under my bench at the moment, looks to be more of a demanding build than the Tamiya kit, as in more parts to make the kit up.

Hi Doug, I'm hoping it will be interesting. I'm aiming to have a go at the Mk.I Tamiya at some point. You could always get the new Airfix version on the go early and we could compare notes.

Kind regards,

Stix

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I have got the Hasegawa MkVb too, which would widen the scope of the exercise. :hmmm:

Mind you still need to finish my MkXII off before starting another, hoping to get that done Monday or Tuesday.

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I have got the Hasegawa MkVb too, which would widen the scope of the exercise. :hmmm:

Mind you still need to finish my MkXII off before starting another, hoping to get that done Monday or Tuesday.

Hi Doug. It's up to you but I'd say the more the merrier! As I mentioned; I'm hoping to start this Saturday but if you've seen any of my previous builds I'm one of the slowest kit builders around! And I'm looking forward to seeing your finished Mk.XII.

Kind regards,

Stix

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Still love the Tamiya Spitfire, a classic kit and so easy to build. Good luck with your project :)

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Thank you for your interest Marty. The Tamiya one does look very nice and I'm looking forward to building it. I'm pleased that I hadn't heard a new version from Airfix was due so soon when I bought the Tamiya one, because I may have got it just yet.

Kind regards,

Stix

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My Tamiya MkVb is going to be converted into the Messerspit with the DB605 engine.

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Sounds even better - more variety! I look forward to seeing it in progress (hopefully in the near future.)

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Great more spit builds for me to watch.

My daughters bought me the airfix 1/24 zumbach kit. There are numerous 'elements' that better men than i can address. OOB will do for a first model in 30 years..

I can feel myself improving though with every part i address or tecnique i try.

Without this site it would be a mess. Please keep it up.

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Hi 40something. Welcome to BM. Sounds like you've got a good project to get yourself back into modelling with! Hope to see some of your progress here on BM.

Kind regards,

Stix

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I quite like the OOB markings on the new Airfix spit, do like the more unusual schemes. Can't wait to see your progress, we know they will be good :)

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Hi Woody. Thank you for stopping by.

I didn't get as much time on this as I'd hoped this morning - only about an hour and a half which gave me just about enough time to get some holes drilled. Like with the Eduard cockpit, some of the holes in the frames are there but not drilled all the way through and similarly some of them are missing:

Top left is the spare frame from the Eduard kit - (I'm using this as a comparison piece as the Eduard kit is considered by many to be the best detailed 1/48 Spitfire kit out there - I drilled it as a practice piece before doing the one I was using for the Mk.IX), bottom left are from the Tamiya kit and centre and right are the Airfix frames:

15225441868_caf5cbeb4a_c.jpg

So I got out the micro-drills and pin vice:

15413035416_155a4de7d7_c.jpg

Using a selection of drills I drilled out all the partial holes seen and added some new ones.

Airfix:

15413033626_bf7fa623bb_c.jpg

Seat support holes added:

15249499418_dd96cda234_c.jpg

Tamiya:

15249328119_bbd6f54628_c.jpg

Seat support holes added:

15436099075_4f02a4ed23_c.jpg

Airfix cockpit sides drilled out more deeply to give better definition:

15436096755_1ff212d5a6_c.jpg

Tamiya cockpit sides drilled - these were trickier because the frame they're in is thinner and I couln't go too deep as these are actually in the sides of the fuselage and I didn't want to risk going all the way through:

15436095615_854f61cb35_c.jpg

15249535087_05b84fcbe8_c.jpg

The three frames together after drilling: Left to right - Eduard, Airfix and Tamiya.

15413021426_6963cdef1a_c.jpg

The Eduard piece obviously has some more detail but I think the Tamiya and Airfix also look okay and, let's face it, they're going to be mostly hidden, although I am going to do both cockpits open.

More work in the cockpits tomorrow.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Kind regards,

Stix

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We're a strange breed us modellers. Great work on that drilling, but I fear most of it won't be seen without an Optivisor!!!!!

Doesn't stop us enjoying your craftsmanship though :)

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We're a strange breed us modellers. Great work on that drilling, but I fear most of it won't be seen without an Optivisor!!!!!

Yes but YOU know it's there. The Airfix Spitfire cockpits seem to get better with each issue, my resolve not to buy any more 1/48 Spits is weakening by the day.

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Looks great. I am going to keep my eye out and grab one of the new Airfix Vb's as soon as I see one.

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Hi Woody, Biggles and Simon.

With regards modelling details that end up hardly, or never, being seen; I just enjoy working on things like the cockpits and as you say I'll know it's been done. I couldn't not do them - and I'll have the photos I've taken as well.

Simon - so far it does seem very impressive.

Once again I didn't get a lot of time on this but I have got it a bit further.

As I wanted to get some painting done of the cockpit parts I began by cleaning up some of the mould lines and other bits of flash. There isn't much on either kit but there seems to be slightly more on the Airfix version. Also I noticed the Airfix plastic is slightly softer - not a problem just a comment.

Then, because I want both the cockpits open, I cut out the doors.

Tamiya before:

15257672099_6423d6f591_c.jpg

15441262081_5ca1d84c70_c.jpg

I used a craft knife from the outside - carefully scoring along the door panel lines. Out of the two the Tamiya one was slightly easier as the kit designers have made the plastic thinner for this cutting process, although there's one less line to cut on the Airfix version because of the way the front cover for the cockpit is designed as a separate part.

Tamiya with the door cut away:

15257875007_ed66cd28e5_c.jpg

15257734080_b62a8e0460_c.jpg

Airfix before:

15257877777_0e89cfd810_c.jpg

15421370666_1195b5f48c_c.jpg

Airfix with door cut away:

15257732990_50b07525ba_c.jpg

15257731120_964112d8ed_c.jpg

While I had the craft knife out I decided to cut and score along the lines of the elevators on the Tamiya version so I can have them dropped when on display. I didn't have to do this with the Airfix version as it has separate parts for this.

15257660639_4b253f86b6_c.jpg

Following this I did some filing and sanding of a variety of cockpit parts, on both kits, before I started painting with Humbrol 78, matt Cockpit Green. As ever I thinned it with water and applied it with a small flat ended brush. Unfortunately I didn't get time to take any photos.

I might not get any more time on this until next week.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Kind regards,

Stix

Edited by PlaStix

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Hey Stix, I've got the very same Tamiya's kit in my stash! :speak_cool:

Well, I'll take a seat and watch :popcorn:

Ciao

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