Being a model citizen

A place where I can exercise my alter ego: model builder and modelmaker. Expect photos, scans, articles and links in the coming weeks

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In-progress: Spitfire Mk. XII, 1/48 scale

One thing I can say after almost four decades in modeling - few companies have come out with a good, solid Spitfire kit series. Some companies have had their successes - ICM with their Mk VIII/IX's, Tamiya's Mk I/V series - but damned few have taken the lead in any sort of comprehensive series of Spits.
So, if you're going to make any of the one-off versions of the Spitfire, it's pretty much an exercise in kit-bashing or scratchbuilding. And thus is the case with my Spitfire Mk XII.
If you're a modeler or a historian, the Mk XII is significant on various levels. It was the first Griffon-powered version to go into service, and it was the basis for the first Griffon-powered Seafire variant, the Mk XV. It also introduced and the 'teardrop' rudder and helped combat the Luftwaffe's 'tip and run' fighter-bomber campaign over England.

My Mk XII - like the real one - is a conglomeration of components from different Spitfire kits. The nose and spinner were taken from a Hobbycraft Searfire XV kit and grafted onto the fuselage and wings of an old Otaki Spitfire VIII. The rocker covers on the nose were adapted from an Airfix Seafire 46/47 kit, and the upper wing cannon breech blisters were taken from the folding wing panels in the Seafire 46 kit.
The landing gear and wheels were taken from an Airfix Spitfire Mk V, and the canopy is an Aeroclub vacuformed unit.
The carburetor scoop under the nose was carved from a styrene block and detailed with a scratchbuilt intake ice guard made of styrene and brass mesh.

Only in the 1990's did most mainstream Spitfire kit manufacturers finally depict correctly the 'gulled' secion where the lower wing meets the rear fuselage. Since the Otaki Spitfire is flat in that area, it took some sawing, bending and epoxy putty to create the correct contour. Also, the Spitfire XII used the series' earlier assymetrical underwing cooler arrangement, so I had to scratchbuild a tubular oil cooler (white plastic area under wing).

Overall, the effect is rather pleasing considering that the XII was basically a one-off hot rod to kill FW 190s.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice rustwork. With such an iconic plane, why do you think the models are not particularly great? You'd think someone would care enough to do it right.

11/26/2006 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

TY rain, but this is still at the 60 % constructionn stage.

As for why no good, solid Spitfire kits? Until 1993, the only decent 1/48 P-51 kits were by Monogram - one dated from about 1966 and the other from about 1976. DEcent Spitfire kits in 1/48 didn't start appearing until about 1993. If you wanted even a basically correct Merlin Spitfire VII or later, you were in for some surgery on the two available kits.

Hmmmm, another post in the works here . . . .

11/29/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...


3/28/2007 02:36:00 AM  

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