Build Report: Trumpeter’s 1/48 Supermarine Spiteful

While I’m not averse to building short-run kits of the more obscure aircraft in aviation history, I will always prefer a nice kit from one of the larger manufacturers. So I was really excited to see that Trumpeter released Supermarine’s “next generation” Spitfire, the Spiteful.

You’ll get arguments either way about whether the Spiteful “was a Spitfire” or “was not a Spitfire”. I’ll let others argue the finer points of that. What I do know is that Trumpeter has released a very, very nice kit. And it’s affordable too. What’s not to like?

The kit parts are very well molded, with very fine panel lines and the most fine rivet detailing I have ever seen. No more “Mad Trumpeter Riveter” here…. these look very good, and give the model a very interesting look and depth.

The cockpit is a simple tub, with simple sidewall detail. Rudder pedals, control column, seat and IP complete the simple assembly. I added some photoetch belts to give the seat a bit more life. While the interior is not very sophisticated, it works nicely enough for an open canopy build that should satisfy most modelers.

The real gem of this kit is the fit. It is spot on, no fuss, every bit as good as Tamiya. I don’t normally say that about a kit- I may describe it as Tamiya-like, which is close. But this kit just fits perfectly. Fuselage, wing roots, underside of the wing/fuselage join- all of it. I can’t raise a single complaint anywhere in the process of the assembly. (Note to Trumpeter: do them all like this one!)

The only nit I could raise, and it’s not so much a nit as it is a suggestion, is you may want to insert some card into the underwing radiators to prevent see-through. A nice set of photoetch grills are provided, and they look great- except if done out-of the box, you can see right through. So I added a bit of plastic inside just to block that off. (If you look in one of the photos, you can see where I did not get it perfectly enclosed. Imagine if nothing were there at all!)

The kit comes with several decal options. One option is for a Spiteful flown by the RAF. The other two are “what-if” options, one for a Finnish aircraft, the other for a Dutch aircraft. The decals look good, but it’s a very simple set- no stencils, etc.

I decided to do a “Monty Python” build (“and now for something completely different”), and gave my Spiteful Israeli markings. I though the Israeli “blue and tan” scheme sounded like it would look good. I could not find any information that seemed to nail down exactly what the colors were, however. Looking at the interpretations of other modelers, I saw everything from bright blue and light tan to mostly gray with a little blue and dark earth. So I figured I would just do what I wanted.

I mixed up some Tamiya Medium Blue with some gray, added in a touch of insignia blue, and just kept adding colors until I found a shade I liked. The brown was Flat Earth with some NATO Black mixed in, and the undersides were neutral gray lightened with white. I gave the model some light panel shading and paint chipping, and then added my decals. It’s not a very complicated scheme, really, just something to make it look different.

The great thing about doing “what-if” builds for this kit is that just about any Spitfire set of decals will fit nicely. Given the availability of Spitfire decals, you could really do an endless variety of markings that looked familiar, yet different. (The marking si used were actually from an Israeli P-51!)

I highly recommend this kit for any level of builder. It goes together so simply that a novice could build it with no problems whatsoever, and an experienced  modeler will have a field day with it. And given that it’s not very expensive- only $22.92 at scalehobbyist.com– it will not set you back very much at all. Dollar for dollar, this is one of the best modeling experiences you’ll find!

Now I just hope Trumpeter will follow up with a Seafang! (Ed. note: They did not too long after this was written.)

2 thoughts on “Build Report: Trumpeter’s 1/48 Supermarine Spiteful”

  1. I really like the paint scheme and markings you chose for this bird. Very nice to see something a bit off the beaten path and very nicely done! Can’t wait to start on mine.

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