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Spitfire FR Mk.XIVe - NH909 of 273S RAF, Saigon Jan 1946. ++++ Finished + RFI ++++


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Ahh, the Academy Mk.XIV kit, such a shame...  Well moulded, fine surface detail, good fit; it almost has it all.  But, unfortunately, the shape absolutely sucks.  There's plenty of detailed commentary on Britmodeller and elsewhere on the how, why and where it falls down; in one thread I read a comment by @Troy Smith, and I quote, "the only accurate bit is the tail."  Here's his comprehensive description of all that's wrong, and how to fix it.  Troy's piece is comprehensive, inspirational and confidence building, and generated in me an unstoppable enthusiasm to attempt the fix(es) myself.  

 

Which lasted for about 30 seconds; unfortunately, that kind of surgery just isn't in my range of interest, much less my ability.

 

So, why build it?  I came by the kit when some months ago I saw a stash-clearing post on FB Marketplace and snapped up several of the offerings (incidentally, the Swordfish just completed was also part of that haul) which included an Academy 1/48 Spitfire FR Mk.XVIe.  It also included KMC's resin correction set which purports to address the rudder, radiators, spinner, prop blades, exhausts and entire nose, as well as the shortcomings in the cockpit.  How well the kit's failings in these areas are addressed by the KMC set I know not.  However, they can't make it worse(?), and besides there's very little choice in 48th scale Mk.XIV's as the Airfix offering is apparently almost as flawed as the Academy.

 

Further reason to build this one is nostalgic.  I built a high-back version of this kit way back in the late 1990's when I [re]took up modelling to pass the time while recovering from a badly broken arm sustained in a touch football game.  A small ironic aside; in a 10 year American Football career which included play at the highest level in UK and Canada I did not sustain an injury worse than bruised ribs, a torn ligament or mild concussion.  I broke my arm however playing *touch* football in a city league.  Anyway, back to my first go at this kit, I really enjoyed it and its relative quality absolutely blew me away as I was comparing it to my childhood memories of Airfix kits in a bag.  So, this one has some sentimental attraction, probably why I bought it, actually.

 

There's few things so anticipatory as a clean and clear bench with a new model sitting on it, ready to go.  Nothing but potential, nothing yet screwed up.

 

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Despite what you see there, I haven't decided on what scheme my "Sweet Fourteen" will be - or even if it will be one of the options on either the Exito decal set or the Montex mask set.  I'll decide nearer the time; I'm currently torn between a RCAF Germany occupation scheme on the Exito set and a Vietnam Jan 1946 RAF airframe.  The latter is a fascinating story with all kinds on historical downstream consequences and has some interesting paint and weathering opportunities...

 

I haven't begun anything my Spit yet so in lieu of some paint splashing or glue spilling pics, this is what is in the KMC Set.

 

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I had a few names in mind for this WIP which played on the inaccuracy of the kit parts but in the end it's a small plastic model which will be fun to build and will at least have a passing resemblance to an FR Mk.XIVe when finished.  If I'm lucky, it will even look like a specific one, too.

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by mark.au
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2 minutes ago, mark.au said:

besides there's very little choice in 48th scale Mk.XIV's as the Airfix offering is apparently almost as flawed as the Academy.

The only real flaws in the 1/48th Airfix kit are some tricky assembly, occasional poor quality control, and that it only done as a low back.  Dimensionally it one of the best.

You maybe getting confuse with commenst regading the Airfic MK.XII,  which does share many of the same faults. 

 

Go buy the Airfix XIV (or XVIII, same kit, not really an 18) and make you life easier. 

4 minutes ago, mark.au said:

that kind of surgery just isn't in my range of interest, much less my ability.

Most of it is a bit of plodding along, none of it is very difficult.   Much of the KMC look useful, though it does not fix the fundamentals.

 

Anyway, interesting to see the KMC kit in more detail.

 

cheers

T

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2 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

You maybe getting confuse with commenst regading the Airfic MK.XII,  which does share many of the same faults. 

Not the first time I’ve been confused by this kind of thing…

 

4 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

Go buy the Airfix XIV (or XVIII, same kit, not really an 18) and make you life easier. 

I may well do that, then I can build both of the options I’m considering.  My wife was saying just the other day that there aren’t enough models in my stash…. 😂

 

Cheers.

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Mark,

 

Good lord - I have the Airfix Mk.XIV sat right at the top of the stash! So Swordfish, P38, Mk.XIV. Are we in some weird parallel universe?! Very much look forward to seeing this one,

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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Looking forward to seeing what the KMC correction set can fo for this one  I built the high back  jkit in the early naughties and used the Daco correction set .  I have the Airfix XIV in the stash and it does look lovely.   

Chris

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3 hours ago, Dunny said:

Mark,

 

Good lord - I have the Airfix Mk.XIV sat right at the top of the stash! So Swordfish, P38, Mk.XIV. Are we in some weird parallel universe?! Very much look forward to seeing this one,

 

Cheers,

 

Roger


You forgot Avenger, my model twin buddy 😂

 

3 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Looking forward to seeing what the KMC correction set can fo for this one  I built the high back  jkit in the early naughties and used the Daco correction set .  I have the Airfix XIV in the stash and it does look lovely.   

Chris


Would it be too much if I started badgering you and Roger about another unofficial GB…?  😂😂😂

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Hmmm I would be up for starting a Spitfire Mark  I could do with having more on the go anyway😉😄 , now the pressure is off with the  Sea Venom, I can just do a bit here and there   so a Spitfire sounds great.

 

Chris

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Looking forward to your progress on this one 👍

 

It's timely because I'm just about to start on the Airfix XIV FR and Academy high back XIV, as two separate kits.

I needed to scratch the itch to build a griffon engined plane soon, with pointy things sticking out of the (essential) elliptical wings.

God knows why the manufacturers continue to release every version of Spitfire except the high-back one I most want to build.

 

Later on I might try a kit-bash special, when I feel more confident about the path set out by others of this parish.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Winded Penguin said:

Looking forward to your progress on this one 👍

 

It's timely because I'm just about to start on the Airfix XIV FR and Academy high back XIV, as two separate kits.

I needed to scratch the itch to build a griffon engined plane soon, with pointy things sticking out of the (essential) elliptical wings.

God knows why the manufacturers continue to release every version of Spitfire except the high-back one I most want to build.

 

Later on I might try a kit-bash special, when I feel more confident about the path set out by others of this parish.

 

 

Looking a Chris’ comment above it seems like there’s going to be a mini unofficial GB for the XIV starting up any day now!  Jump right on in :)

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14 minutes ago, mark.au said:

Looking a Chris’ comment above it seems like there’s going to be a mini unofficial GB for the XIV starting up any day now!  Jump right on in :)

This will be fun, will definitely build one, if okay to do so  Mark.

Chris

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13 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

This will be fun, will definitely build one, if okay to do so  Mark.

Chris

The more the merrier! would be grea5 to have a couple going Chris.

 

The KMC cockpit set is quite extensive, nothing to do with correcting the Spitfire shape but a enhancement in and of itself.  I’ve been having a bash at it the last couple of days.  It’s not my favourite modelling task, as some of already know, but it often brings its own rewards.

 

As usual, I began with a black base and then a misted a light covering coat of interior grey green.  I attached the bits and pieces and did some basic detail painting and then a dry brush.

 

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Next, a dark wash.  I’ve tried a new approach on this; thinned Tamiya smoke.  This has an advantage of “sticking” to the details better than a thin wash and requires much less clean up.  I don’t like that it’s  so shiny though.

 

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After the wash dried, it took a bit more clear flat than usual to get the finish as flat as I wanted it to be.  With flat and then a bit of chipping and highlighting it was done.

 

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The last thing was some Future in the dials and the main cockpit components were done.

 

I still have the the gunsight and compass to add before the cockpit is done and I can close up the fuselage.  But that will have to wait, Melbourne and Adelaide are on the agenda for the remainder of the week.

 

Cheers.

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7 minutes ago, mark.au said:

The more the merrier! would be grea5 to have a couple going Chris.

 

The KMC cockpit set is quite extensive, nothing to do with correcting the Spitfire shape but a enhancement in and of itself.  I’ve been having a bash at it the last couple of days.  It’s not my favourite modelling task, as some of already know, but it often brings its own rewards.

 

As usual, I began with a black base and then a misted a light covering coat of interior grey green.  I attached the bits and pieces and did some basic detail painting and then a dry brush.

 

spacer.png

 

Next, a dark wash.  I’ve tried a new approach on this; thinned Tamiya smoke.  This has an advantage of “sticking” to the details better than a thin wash and requires much less clean up.  I don’t like that it’s  so shiny though.

 

spacer.png

 

After the wash dried, it took a bit more clear flat than usual to get the finish as flat as I wanted it to be.  With flat and then a bit of chipping and highlighting it was done.

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

The last thing was some Future in the dials and the main cockpit components were done.

 

I still have the the gunsight and compass to add before the cockpit is done and I can close up the fuselage.  But that will have to wait, Melbourne and Adelaide are on the agenda for the remainder of the week.

 

Cheers.

Looking lovely Mark - the extra wiring really brings it to life!

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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19 hours ago, Winded Penguin said:

God knows why the manufacturers continue to release every version of Spitfire except the high-back one I most want to build.

Airfix in their 'infinite' wisdom said they won't do a high back...even though it really just requires a new fuselage, plus some interior bits and canopy. Would have been really easy to set up the toolings to do this, but for whatever rwason, they do not seem very good at this kind of mould maximisation.

Plus they now just stuck some extra armament in and called their FR XIV and Mk.XVIII ....  

I expect at some point Eduard will do their usual and cover everything,  they are at the mo wringing out the early Merlin versions...

19 hours ago, Winded Penguin said:

Academy high back XIV,

 

Later on I might try a kit-bash special,

OK, if you are a bit of a Spit-a-holic,  you can use accurate kits to help guide you on inaccurate kits. Very good for getting a 3D idea of shapes.  

I can see that I really need to pull out my Academy XIV high back, but I will say this,  to anyone.

If you are contemplating kit bashing or using the "correction" sets for the Academy, then correcting the Academy kit is not actually much more work,  the fixes, all  of them, may seem daunting but really they are not difficult.

For example,  since both the KMC and Daco require you chop up/off the Academy nose respectively, then you have nothing to lost by trying to fix the nose first, as it is to be modified/discarded.

 

The "hardest"  bit is the nose, and after I worked out what the basic correction was (plans, some dimensions and referring to correct kits)  it really wasn't hard.  

Heck, you can copy what the Daco nose set does just with the cuts into the nose ring really.

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235089908-opinions-on-academy-148-spitfire-mk14-and-kitbashing-a-mk14-from-airfix-kits/#elControls_4016531_menu

 

I did sketch out the main changes here,  Been meaning to compare the Academy vs Airfix XIV rocker covers.    I really do not get the aversion to trying out the corrections.     

 

One final point, if you have done the Airfix Seafire 46/47 kit as the Mk/47 with the contra prop,  you have a replacement for the Academy spinner,  as the 5 blade prop is an alternate part.

 

HTH

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I had a lot of fun using the Airfix Mk XIV bubbletop as a reference to correct and convert the Airfix PR XIX, add a vacuform Mk IX canopy and bits, then build 'em both as bubble topped and high backed Mk XIVe's of the same Squadron.

These days, I think the easiest approach would be add the canopy and spine to the bubbletop, but might not be as much fun!

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1 hour ago, Troy Smith said:

  I really do not get the aversion to trying out the corrections.     

 

The support and guidance is really appreciated. Just to be clear, the build will be my second in 40+ years. I'm only half-way through my first at the mo 😉

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2 hours ago, Winded Penguin said:

The support and guidance is really appreciated. Just to be clear, the build will be my second in 40+ years. I'm only half-way through my first at the mo 😉

OK, I spent years and years on here faffing about with kits and working out what was what and overthinking and obsessing......  in the end I just went for some simple builds I was less bothered about so I'd not overthink and actually get them finished!!!! 

 

We gets a lot of returnees,  I really recommend doing a work in progress thread,  you get positive feedback and useful hints and tips,  as well as seeing your work in a common context (again perspective on your work, and helps with the overthink) , site ethos can be summed up, polite, friendly, helpful, so don't worry of it has been 40+ years,  if anything I like builds like that more, as they are real, and encourage others.  

 

So, while I got good at fault finding and fixing,  all I got were boxes of meddled with bits.....   

In the end I just did this

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235052380-hurricane-airfix-72nd-fabric-wing-mki-oob/

this one has some comedy value

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235073488-spitfire-pr-xix-airfix-72nd-as-i-thought-it-would-be-easy/

Note, both are 72nd....  even though i 'model' in 1/48th..... 

 

current overthink... lack of decent matches for RAF paint in acrylics....    

 

If you are doing the 1/48th Airfix XIV low back,  note it can be a bit tricky in places, mostly with fitting the fuel tank cover.   if you have not seen it, this is well worth seeing

https://paulbudzik.com/models/Airfix Spitfire FR Mk XIV/airfix-spitfire-fr-mk-xiv-review.html

EDIT @Winded Penguin  note the video "A few fixes"  in particular.

cheers

T

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Cockpit is looking a bit tasty Mark, looks fantastic, great work,  I will get the kit out  tonight and start prepping and deciding which airframe to build. Thanks fella,  I wonder if Roger and Alistair will join in too😉

Chtis

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2 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

 

If you are doing the 1/48th Airfix XIV low back,  note it can be a bit tricky in places, mostly with fitting the fuel tank cover.   if you have not seen it, this is well worth seeing

https://paulbudzik.com/models/Airfix Spitfire FR Mk XIV/airfix-spitfire-fr-mk-xiv-review.html

EDIT @Winded Penguin  note the video "A few fixes"  in particular.

cheers

T

I found an easy way to get a perfect fit for the fuel tank cover. 

Dry fit the tank cover to the taped together fuselage, and fit pieces of sheet plastic into the gap until you find the thickness that gives you a TIGHT fit (if I remember correctly, it was .010"). Remove and cement the front edge of the cover to your .010 plastic sheet. When dry cut and sand out the excess plastic sheet (like removing 'flash'). You've extended (shimmed) the tank length by .010".

Next, the step on the bottom edge. Cut off any tabs on the tank cover flush with the inside surface.  Cement some plastic sheet strips on the inside of the fuselage tank cutout bottom edge sticking up maybe 1/8 of an inch. Dry fit the tank cover to each fuselage half, one at a time. If there is a mismatch, cement on plastic strip to either the tank cover, or your extended edge on the fuselage until you happy with the step (or lack of it).  Once you've  assembled the fuselage, the tank will flex enough to snap on with no putty required, and tight panel line seams.

Tank fit

 

Edited by Tail-Dragon
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7 hours ago, mark.au said:

The KMC cockpit set is quite extensive, nothing to do with correcting the Spitfire shape but a enhancement in and of itself.  I’ve been having a bash at it the last couple of days.  It’s not my favourite modelling task, as some of already know, but it often brings its own rewards.

 

Well I know you’ve said that before Mark; but for a man as doesn’t enjoy modelling cockpits, you don’t ‘alf make a fine fist of em.

 

The mind boggles how good they’d be if only you could be bothered…. :D

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2 hours ago, Tail-Dragon said:

If there is a mismatch, cement on plastic strip to either the tank cover, or your extended edge on the fuselage until you happy with the step (or lack of it).

you want a small step.

The tanks has a sheet of thin armour. 

the lighting slightly exaggerates this

2245.jpg

 

from

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234985655-supermarine-spitfire-mk24/

 

It's a Mk.24, but the fuselage is essentially the same as FR XIV. 

Less obvious on the Mk.XIV walkround here. but once you know what too look for

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235015241-supermarine-spitfire-mk-xiv-fr/

 

r02.jpg

 

and here

3870062133_428e1b33e0_b.jpgSpitfire mk. XIV. by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

HTH

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Thaks for the comments and likes gents - the added info is such a great enhancement to the journey.
 

Just as I was rushing out the door to the airport this morning I took an up to date photo of the progress.  It’s not a great shot but the assembled cockpit does look convincing.  I might even finish this one with the canopy back and door open!

 

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3 hours ago, Fritag said:

Well I know you’ve said that before Mark; but for a man as doesn’t enjoy modelling cockpits, you don’t ‘alf make a fine fist of em.

 

The mind boggles how good they’d be if only you could be bothered…. :D

 

Thanks Steve.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, it’s more that my thing is the airframe paint, weathering and finish, and cockpits are something that has to be done in order to get there.  Plus, they are all more or less the same, variations on a theme at least, so I find it’s a bit Groundhog Day doing them.  


Call it what it is, I have a short attention span!

 

Cheers.

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So you like a challenge then!  Good work on the cockpit, I think I still have some KMC bits in my big box of Spitfire spares.

Good luck.

 

John

PS: I built one out of the box many years ago, then later replaced the nose with a Daco one and painted it silver with Belgian markings, it still didn’t look quite right.

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  • mark.au changed the title to Spitfire FR Mk.XIVe - NH909 of 273S RAF, Saigon Jan 1946. ++++ Finished + RFI ++++

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