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Build Report: Airfix’s 1/48 Seafire Mk. III

Here’s a news flash- I love building Airfix Spitfires. 🙂 No news there, I suppose. This one has been in my closet of models for a while, waiting to be built. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to it. In any event- it was great fun to build.

The kit is interesting, in that it combines Airfix’s older Spitfire Mk. Vb sprues with a new set of parts to model a Vc, or a Seafire. The older parts have raised panel lines, and the new parts have recessed lines, so it’s up to the modeler to ignore this fact and drive on (perfectly acceptable in my mind), or to take a little extra time and scribe the fuselage panel lines to match the wings. I chose the latter route.

I decided to build the Seafire III option, which required cutting out a portion of the fuselage underside to fit in the recessed plug for the arrestor hook. This was the part where I went terribly wrong.

Airfix’s instructions show a simple diagram that indicates cutting out a portion of the fuselage, and fitting in the plug. There even appeared to be a handy line scribed in the fuselage to indicate where to cut. Ah…. but I’m smarter than that. I went out and read how others built it… the line was all wrong…. don’t pay attention to it. Cut here, not there.

I should know better…. you’d think I’d get the concept to listen to the words of the one who created the thing, instead of others. 🙂

Anyway…. I botched the plug. When I discovered that the cuts I’d made were wrong, I tried to cut where it appears Airfix originally intended me to cut. But now I had a giant gaping hole, and after filling it with Squadron Putty and sheet plastic, and sanding and sanding, it began to look rather horrible. I decided enough was enough- this Seafire would just look like a pregnant guppy. many folks would’ve tossed the kit, but I was actually enjoying this build, and after all, I was the one who cut it up all wrong.

And my real reason for building the Seafire III was because I think the FAA colors in WWII were really cool. So like all my other builds, I went by the rule “no one looks at the bottom of the model” and moved on.

Apart from my hacked up attempt to modify the kit, the build was pretty straight forward. Painting was done with Pollyscale paints- Sky underneath, Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Gray on the top. (Although why they call it slate gray mystifies me… it’s more green than anything.)

In the end, I was quite happy with the result, even despite the “bulge” underneath. The decals went down nicely, and sitting on my shelf (not looking at the bottom), it looks every bit the Seafire.

The kit is quite a value- from it, you can build a Vb or Vc, the tropicalised variant of both, or a Seafire III- tropical or temperate. There are several decal options provided- five if I recall correctly, so the cost of the kit is really a bargain. If I recall correctly, I think I paid about $17 for the kit- lots of modeling goodness for not too much cash.

Hopefully, before the year is out, Airfix’s new-tool Seafire Mk. XVII will join this kit on my shelf!