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Mike

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XII

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Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XII



1:48 Airfix

boxtop.jpg

This was the first Griffon engined Spitfire to see active service, and must have scared the pants off the Germans when they encountered it thinking it was sporting a Merlin engine. Although this mark wasn't long lived, it was an excellent low level fighter, being able to outpace Fw.190s and Me.109s with comparative ease due to the extra power of the engine and the clipped wings which provided enhanced manoeuvrability. It was also used as a V1 interceptor later in its service life due to its impressive straight line speed.

The model arrives in Airfix's red top opening box with another lovely piece of computer generated artwork showing a burning Fw.190 about to take a dive groundside while the pilot of our Spit watches its death throes. Inside the box you will find two sprues of grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, instructions and a nice decal sheet.

sprue1.jpg

sprue2.jpg

The moulding of the parts seems to be more akin to the recently released Sea Vixen than previous releases, with panel line detail more restrained, and rivet detail finer, which has to be for the good. Breakdown of parts is pretty similar to every other Spitfire of recent times, and detail seems to be good throughout.

The cockpit has raised instrument dials, although there are no instrument dials, and no decals to replicate them. Recourse to some Mike Grant Instrument decals would be a wise move if you want to detail this area. The rest of the cockpit builds as a framework that slips inside the fuselage, and includes rudder pedals, control column, seat with armour, various bottles & equipment behind the pilot, and the "roll-over" frame at the rear of the cockpit aperture. Carefully painted, this area should please all but the most demanding modeller.

Once the cockpit is inserted, the build is straight forward, and based upon recent experiences, should fit together well. The wings comprise a one-piece lower surface and 2-part upper, to which you must add the clipped wing tips. The watchword here is test-fit, as early builders (Jonners!) have reported that some sanding of the outer wing mating surfaces might be needed to ensure that the tips fit correctly. The cannons slide inside the pre-moulded cylindrical holes, making them quite a sturdy fit, so even I shouldn't be able to break them off easily.

It's possible to model the flaps in a lowered position for this kit, and alternative parts are provided with attachment lugs to get them set at the right angle. Despite the possibility of a fine from their commanding officer, I'm sure many a pilot accidentally left their flaps deployed as they parked up if they were a bit shaken up from a close call during their sortie.

The big Griffon power-bulges are separate parts that locate into two holes in the nose, so placement shouldn't be an issue. The four-bladed prop can be left loose, but you'd have to install the spinner baseplate and prop as a minimum, so it's probably better glued in place later to avoid knocking off those nice prop blades. The long streamlined spinner fits over the top of the prop, and has lightening hole detail on the rear edge, which will sadly get covered up once it's installed.

A nice touch is the movable part of the horizontal tail, which installs as one piece and is secured by a small slot-in part before the larger pointed rudder is installed. The tail wheel can be modelled fixed or the later retractable tail wheel, so check your references to see which type to use. The dished landing gear well covers are also of the later configuration, so if your chosen subject doesn't have them, you may well have to resort to the spares box, or do a little scratch building. Alternative parts are supplied if you're modelling your Spit wheels up, including half-depth wheels and different gear legs.

The kit comes with a flush-mounted belly tank, which you can choose to install or leave in the spares box, and you also get a properly scaled pilot figure with separate arms to use or consign to spares. He's nicely moulded, so do have a bash at painting him.

Now here's where we come to something unusual in the clear parts. If you're modelling your Spit with the canopy closed, it's straight forward. You get three parts to glue in place from back to screen, and the job is done. If you're portraying the canopy open however, you will need to remove a small portion of the rear part of the cockpit opening. Why? Because Airfix have moulded a separate "open" canopy that is double-thickness. You paint the inside of the lower part fuselage color, then cover that with interior green. The end result is the impression of two layers of glazing one over the other, and I have to say that my initial thoughts are that it could well work. My only concern is whether the seam can be seen from the inside, so time will tell. If this bothers you, simply source a vacform replacement and pinch the sliding part from it.

clear.jpg

The Mk.XII wasn't produced in great numbers, but you can model one of two airframes using the supplied decals.

  • Squadron Leader RH Harries mount from No.91 (Nigeria Squadron), RAF Hawkinge, May 1943
  • Flight Lieutenant Donald Smith (RAAF) No.41 Squadron, RAF Tangmere, October 1943

decals.jpg

Both aircraft are painted Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey, although the color swatch on the painting guide shows the Ocean Grey the same green as Dark Green. A minor goof, and one that's not carried over to the actual diagram.

Conclusion

It's great to see a new tooling of this mark, and I'm rather looking forward to building it. The detail is good, part count relatively high, and it's nice to see Airfix's engineers trying new techniques to get the job done. Recommended to Spitfire fans everywhere.

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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Very nice, hope they bring out a 1:72 version one day.

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Very nice, hope they bring out a 1:72 version one day.

I hope so too, it's a lovely kit although I'm not sure about that open canopy option.

Wez

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Hi Mike- great review. The wing fit is a minor thing - but one to watch as its more annoying than anything else.

If you want a Spit MkXII in markings that are a little more unusual - they did wear D-day stripes too:

SPITXIIDDAY.jpg

These are EB-Z and EB-X and the stripes look to be an odd size too. Theres a thread on it somehwere.

For modellers wanting to use the normal canopy in the open mode - it will fit - but you will need to thin the plastic in the rear edge - luckily the canopy frame is quite wide and this will hide the scraping and sanding on the inside. But it does work.

Also - watch some of the sprue attachment points - ther are quite wide, and need to be cut carefully ( ask me how I now!).

cheers

Jonners

roll on the Seafire XVII, if these models are what Airfix are going to be like - I think they are going to back in the premier league pretty soon

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Thanks Mike and Jonners, great review! I'll be adding a couple to the stash soon.

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Thanks for the review.

The sliding canopy at first seems rather strange, the way it is moulded. However, I spent one evening this week maskignthe canopies of my Hasegawa "Pete" floatplane. The rear cockpit canopy uses the very same technique as the Airfix part. In this case the rearmost part slides inside the front part, but Hasegawa obviously deemed it so difficult to mould as two pieces they used exactly the same idea. Masking was a bit of a headache to be honest, but I am hoping I can remember to paint the right colour first! so in the inside it will be topcoat then interior colour, and the outside framework will be interior colour, then topcoat!

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If i remember rightly,the old Frog Mk 14 Spitfie had the same open canopy feature.

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Can i just put a word in for the superb box art too. Once again Airfix's new man has done the business. And its good to see a bit of action in the pic too - its a warplane after all!

Jonners

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Can i just put a word in for the superb box art too. Once again Airfix's new man has done the business. And its good to see a bit of action in the pic too - its a warplane after all!

Jonners

Couldn't agree more!

New man has really done the business yet again - did you notice how many Airfix box tops got nominated as the best of last year on this site recently, really hits the spot and reminds me of my yoof!

It also makes me want to dig out Wing Leader by Johnnie Johnson, there's a chapter about him participating on a sortie with the Mk.XII wing and having severe misgivings about an aircraft being optimised for low level like the Mk.XII and yet post sortie he's convinced by the aircraft and tactics combination. Must dig that book out!

Wez

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If you want a Spit MkXII in markings that are a little more unusual - they did wear D-day stripes too:

That's how I'm going to build mine.

I really like this kit. Let's hope that Airfix do a series of later Griffon marlks to a similar standard. :pray:

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Couldn't agree more!

New man has really done the business yet again - did you notice how many Airfix box tops got nominated as the best of last year on this site recently, really hits the spot and reminds me of my yoof!

It also makes me want to dig out Wing Leader by Johnnie Johnson, there's a chapter about him participating on a sortie with the Mk.XII wing and having severe misgivings about an aircraft being optimised for low level like the Mk.XII and yet post sortie he's convinced by the aircraft and tactics combination. Must dig that book out!

Wez

The new artwork is superb and action-packed as well. Don't know the artist's name but they are at the top of the digital art game.

Reading Wing Leader at the moment and just finished the chapter were he talks about flying the Mk. XII. Cracking read.

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Nice one Mike.

I'll be off to ABC Models again now. Damm it!!!!!!

Chris.

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I've not had the chance to get the kit yet but it does sound promising. As for later Griffon Spits, maybe Airfix will do a nice job with the MkXIV series(fixing the problem nose as in the Academy kits) including a PRXIX? Even more, the 22/24 ought to get another airing once Eduard have finished with it as well as the promised Seafire 47 coming back.

As for 1/72, the Xtrakit is very acceptable.

Edited by Paul J

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That's how I'm going to build mine.

I really like this kit. Let's hope that Airfix do a series of later Griffon marlks to a similar standard. :pray:

ditto!!

jonners

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Airfix state on the box that this mark of spit only flew with 2 squadrons. (41 & 91)

This is not true.

It also flew with 595 squadron.

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Great review Mike.

Could I request that you also include a pic showing the inside of the fuselage?

Having a stalled Mk XII almost built (Aeroclub/Hasegawa) I was determined not to buy this one! Well, I've got the willpower of a squashed cockroach and Graham at Relish got an order a couple of days ago!

Jonners. How about some shots?

Dave

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If you want a Spit MkXII in markings that are a little more unusual - they did wear D-day stripes too:

SPITXIIDDAY.jpg

These are EB-Z and EB-X and the stripes look to be an odd size too. Theres a thread on it somehwere.

Great pic Jonners. Anyone able to find the thread?

Is that an unusual fuselage roundel on EB-X in the background? And is this a non standard fin flash on EB-Z. What is the the serial MB89?

IIRC the narrow stripes were seen on Spit VII as well.

Dick above mentions that 595 sq also had MkXII's, a build of one was posted on here

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=53627

The wild card being he did in AA co-operation unit markings!

This is my first attempt at posting photos, It's the Xtrakit Spitfire XII in the markings of 595 Sqn an AA Co-operation unit in 1945, two of my refs show the code as 'N' and one later found show it as 'Y'. Scheme is taken from the orders at the time, just wanted a different scheme. Next one will be in the (best guess)markings of the Fighter Leader School at RAF Millfield as part of my interest in north east based aircraft.

Photo052.jpg

Gary

I asked Edgar about this, he was sceptical of the scheme without more proof. Anyone with any more info?

(I know, I know, more info than Edgar!?)

Cheers

Troy

Edited by Troy Smith

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Great review Mike.

Could I request that you also include a pic showing the inside of the fuselage?

Having a stalled Mk XII almost built (Aeroclub/Hasegawa) I was determined not to buy this one! Well, I've got the willpower of a squashed cockroach and Graham at Relish got an order a couple of days ago!

Jonners. How about some shots?

Dave

I'll post pics in the morning in work in prog. cockpit is being painted at the moment. If I can find my thread on the D-Day striped Mk XIIs I'll post a link too.

Jonners - watching predator - so a bit busy :)

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I'll post pics in the morning in work in prog. cockpit is being painted at the moment. If I can find my thread on the D-Day striped Mk XIIs I'll post a link too.

Jonners - watching predator - so a bit busy :)

since I'm not watching Predator (how much mini-gun ammo can you actually carry, maybe 2 sec worth??) I had a search for the the above thread, which is here

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.p...hl=spitfire+xii

Brewerjerry supplies this info

It is on the spitfire site as EB-Z MB854

details :-

3501 SU, delivered to 41Sqn 27 july 44, initially EB-Y then EB-Z, Hit by flak engine cut bellylanded nr Brookland Kent Category B, 17 August 44 repaired on site, 33MU 3-jan-45.

bases were :-

June-July 1944: Westhampnett

July 1944: Friston

July-December 1944: Lympne

December 1944: B.64 Diest/ Schaffen

December 1944-January 1945: Y.32 As/ Ophoven

January-March 1945: B.80 Volkel

Cheers

Jerry

Dave T brown writes

Studying other Spitfires that belonged to Squadrons in 10 group. It becomes apparent that most if not all applied thinner invasion markings than the 18 inch bands specified in SHAEF Operational Memorandum No23.

Other 10 group Sqns of which Photographs / colour side profiles can be found showing the thinner invasion markings are

131 Squadron

165 Squadron

616 squadron

Pete Brother's Mk VII when he was OC the Culmhead wing which incorporated 126, 131, 616 and although not based at Culmhead 41 Sqn

The only other Spitfire units in 10 group were 1 sqn, part of 276(ASR) sqn and 610 Sqn of which I have never seen photos or side elevations published.

Another point about the heading photo is the large slipper drop tank that the aircraft is carrying. It is much larger than the 30 gallon slipper tank probably the 90 gallon looking at the size of it.

Is that an unusual fuselage roundel on EB-X in the background?

SPITXIIDDAY.jpg

cheers

T

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since I'm not watching Predator (how much mini-gun ammo can you actually carry, maybe 2 sec worth??)

You and I could carry 2 seconds worth. Arnie is a diffent kettle of fish! :D

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Great review, cheers.

The Mk XII is my all time fave Spit. That dainty MkV frame mated to a whacking great big Griffon....grrr. I love 'em.

Mus add this kit to my must build list now.

Dave

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Is that an unusual fuselage roundel on EB-X in the background?

It would look like a roundel with a smaller diameter red circle. Browsing through the Allied Wings book on the XII, there's only a picture of wha might be EB-X, believed as taken in January 1944. However it might be EB-Y, the picture is notvery clear. The roundel is hard to see... however it would be a different plane anyway.

The serial for EB-X with d-day stripes could be MB856, in service with 41 from July to september 1944. MB857 is also listed as having used X as individual letter and was with the squadron between July and december 1944. EN226 is again listed as having used X, and was in service between june and august 1944, so again might be a candidate.

Anyway, MB856 had the X letter on 4/7/1944 when it contributed to shoot down a V-1. 3 days later another V-1 was shot down by the same plane. On 16/8/1944 it was MB857 as X to shoot down a V-1.

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