Build Report: Academy’s 1/48 Spitfire Mk. XIVe with airwaves Mk. XVIII conversion

One of the great things about my fixation with Spitfires is it’s about impossible to run out of new subjects. Whether it be a different paint scheme, a variation on a version, or different nationalities of users, there is an almost endless variety of Spitfire choices for the modeler of this wonderful aircraft.

I’d had this Academy Mk. XIVe in the stash for a few months, but had not decided what markings I wanted to do it in. Having previously built Academy’s Mk. XIVc, I knew the kit would be a good one. Despite the criticism this kit may receive for it’s shape, it is a build well worth the money. It goes together quite well, and is very enjoyable to work with.

In looking through my decals, I found Aeromaster set 48-527, which included some rather colorful markings for a Mk. XVIII version of the Spitfire. Further research showed that all I really needed to complete the conversion would be a larger rudder- cue the Aerowaves rudder from Hannants! A few clicks later and the resin was winging its way across the Atlantic to me.

Construction is very straightforward. The cockpit is nicely done. Perhaps a bit simple, but on par with most Spitfire kits. I went out-of-the-box for the most part, with only some Eduard belts added in to the seat. Assembly of the fuselage is simple, the halves going together quite nicely. Wing fit is excellent, with only a little work needed on the underside aft join- which practically every Spitfire kit I’ve built needs.

The addition of the resin rudder is simple enough. I carefully cut off the cast rudder, and the new one fit right in. I did find it helpful to make the cuts before assembling the fuselage.

As this model was a FR bird, I scribed in the lower camera port panel lines, and after having drilled out the camera ports, added some clear plastic sheet. The fuselage camera ports were already part of the kit, so that wasn’t a problem.

Painting was done using Tamiya XF-81/82/83 for uppers and lowers. The spinner was also Tamiya colors, masked off with Parafilm using the handy panel line cast into the spinner as the cutting guide.

When it came time to add the decals, I tried the decal for the nose stripe, but it was just not up the task of matching the complex curves of the Griffon-engined nose. Drawing a deep breath, I cut out strips of Tamiya tape approximately 4 scale inches wide (based on a measurement of the decals). I painted the nose yellow, then after masking off, gave it a spray of black. Removing the tape showed excellent result. the first black stripe is a tad wide, but the others worked out pretty well, and from a short distance I think it looks quite striking.

Weathering was done through airbrushed Tamiya XF-55 deck tan, Prismacolor silver pencils, and artists oils panel washes. I was quit happy with the overall results. Normally I finish a Spitfire, and though I generally am happy with the results, I always wish I would have done a few things different. With this one, I’m pretty happy as-is!

I highly recommend the Academy Mk. XIV kits, either the razorback or bubble-top. They are both excellent kits, with plenty of after-market options for upgrades and markings. They build up very well, and despite some shape criticism, no one will mistake it for anything other than what it is!