One of the things I love about modeling is the times that it puts me back in touch with my childhood. Despite the years, the hobby connects me with simpler times, when I spent many an hour building kits.
When I received my Airfix Club package in the mail today, I had one of those times.
If you are not familiar with it, you can find out more about the Airfix Club at the Airfix website. For a reasonable price, you can receive various catalogs and club magazines, club membership items, and- most important to me- a kit available only to club members.
Opening the box, I had a feeling of excitement much the same as I did as a child. A membership card, a club pin, a Spitfire pin and a card to collect Airfix Flying hours were all in the box. But the real prize really made me feel like a kid- a 1/48, club members only Spitfire Mk. XVIe!
Packed in a Limited Edition box, the kit itself is essentially the same sprues as the Airfix Spitfire Mk. IXc/XVIe, which I’ve enjoyed building previously. The only difference- aside from the limited availability- is the fuselage, which is the later type with the cut-down rear fuselage with bubble canopy.
The markings provided are for two very striking aircraft- one a black and gold scheme from RAF 21 Group, and the other an aluminum and red trimmed aircraft owned by Eddie Coventry of BAC Aviation.
The kit itself is very nice. Having built two of the Mk. IXs, and being right in the middle of the Mk. I from Airfix, I’m quite familiar with the pros and cons of the model. Detail is more than adequate, the cockpit having both cast sidewall detail and various parts to be glued in. With a bit of paint and a little modeling skill, it turns out quite nice right out of the box. Throw in some seat belts and perhaps a decal stencil or two, and it makes quite a fine office.
The fuselage is well shaped, and though it requires a little bit of filler here and there, for the most part it goes together well. Perhaps my eyes fool me, but the wings, which were a bit thick in the Mk. IXc/XVIe kit, appear to be markedly thinner on both the leading and trailing edges- nice! Experience with the latest Airfix releases showed me that the wing to fuselage join is improved greatly by using a piece of scrap sprue to spread the fuselage open a bit, and I would imagine that is the case with this kit also.
The clear pieces, in the form of the forward and aft canopy pieces, are very clear and reasonably thin. The canopy framing is slightly raised. Some might ask for more petite framing, but quite honestly, I appreciate having some height to the framing to make masking easier. I’ll trade a little scale size for ease of build any day!
Another nice touch to the kit was the inclusion of three bottles of Humbrol Acrylic paints- interior green, aluminum, and black. I’m looking forward to trying Humbrol paints. I normally use PollyScale paint, as that is what is available at my local hobby shop, but it will be nice to try out another brand of paint for comparison. I know many modelers worldwide depend on Humbrol for their paint needs, so it will be nice to see how they work out for me!
Here’s a picture from Airfix that shows both marking schemes. Great looking, and not the typical Spitfire markings.
If you’re a fan of Airfix or Spitfires, or simply want a great kit to build, you should certainly consider joining the Airfix Club. You’ll get a good value for your money, and will have a nice kit that probably not too many of your fellow modelers may have.
And maybe you’ll even get back in touch with that kid inside of you.