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Kit Preview: Airfix’s 1/72 Spitfire Mk. 22

It’s always a good thing when a new Spitfire kit is released. It’s an even better thing when it’s from Airfix.

Continuing on their path of releasing very nice and affordable new tool kits, Airfix has released the Mk. 22 version of the Spitfire, one of the very late Spits with the Griffon engine, big tail, and bubble canopy. Some folks say with ll the changes, it’s not really a Spitfire. Rubbish, I say. It’s called a Spitfire- it’s a Spitfire!

As with all of the recent new-tool releases in this scale from Airfix, the detailing is very good, inside and out. The cockpit is a nice, simple set of parts that will work well with an open cockpit. While I am sure Eduard (or someone) will release a photoetch set for this kit, I’m perfectly happy with building it right out of the box. I have a hard enough time working with the kit parts in this scale- photoetch is just inviting frustration for me.

The question in your mind, of course, if you’ve seen or built some of the recent Airfix kits, is “how are the panel lines”? Before acquiring the kit, I read one forum that said the panel lines were significantly finer. However, when I compare these parts to my other recent Airfix kits- the Spitfire Mk. I/II and the P-40B, they seem about the same. Perhaps a bit finer, but by a bit I’m talking hundreths of an inch. In any event, I’ve never found them to be a problem, and actually prefer them this way, rather then being too fine.

The breakdown of the parts is very similar to the Spitfire Mk. I/II kit. In fact, it’s pretty much identical. The parts themselves are appropriate for the Mark- nothing reboxed. But assembly follows the same steps, essentially. Armor to rear bulkhead, seat to armor, “bottomless” floor to rear bulkhead, stick to floor, IP to floor, pop it in the fuselage and close it up. It makes sense really- a very logical breakdown.

The parts are cast in the familiar type of plastic Airfix uses. It’s a bit soft, and almost waxy looking, but easy to work with. Sprue gates are a tad large, but nothing a razor saw and sanding stick won’t take care of.  There is a little flash here and there- mostly along the mold lines. I guess it’s better described as “enhanced seams”. Still, nothing that can’t be easily dealt with. Ejector pin marks don’t present too much of a problem, except for one right in the middle of the seat bottom. That one will be a bit of a minor pain to deal with, given how small the seat is. Test fitting the fuselage shows a good fit. The wheels are bulged, and keyed so they go on correctly without any fiddling. Two canopies are provided, one designed to be open, the other closed. They are not really thin, but not overly thick. They are nicely clear.

Two sets of markings are included- one for a silver/NMF bird, and the other for a DG/OG/MSG scheme with racing stripes for a Cooper Trophy bird from 1948. Frankly, I like both schemes, so I’m figuring I’ll need to build two. 🙂

The topper for all of this is the kit’s price- less than $10. While the kit has not reached the US, other new tool kits from Airfix of this quality in this scale sell for less than $7 at (I picked mine up through a fellow in the UK.) Given the quality of the kit, it is a real bargain for any modeler at any skill level.

I’m not sure if Airfix plans a Seafire version of this kit. I was curious to see if the parts layout indicated one might be coming. Oddly, the lower part of the rudder- where a Seafire 46/47 “stinger” would be, is cast on to the fuselage, while the rest of the rudder is separate. So it’s hard to say….

I suppose the only complaint I have is that Airfix seems to be spending too much time producing kits other than Spitfires. 🙂 Personally, I think they need to focus entirely on Spitfires (and perhaps a P-40 or two), in 72nd, 48th, and 24th scale. Leave the other “trivial” aircraft to the other companies. 🙂

Seriously, this kit is exactly what our hobby needs. Excellent engineering, great subject, pleasing to beginning and advanced modelers alike, and very, very affordable. Airfix- please keep doing kits like this!

Now, how about a new tool Spitfire Mk. XIV in 1/48 scale?