I first built this kit back in 2008, and while the kit was great, I wasn’t real happy with how I finished it. Do you ever have one of those builds? Things are going along great, you’re getting to the finish line and it’s all looking good, and then suddenly things just kinda go sour?
It wasn’t a problem with the kit… I was just starting to use Tamiya paints and I had not quite gotten the hang of them. I think I over-thinned them, or something .. but the paint turned out bad, which affected teh decals, and the weathering… eventually I just gave it a dull coat and called it done.
So I’ve always wanted to get a “do-over” on this kit. Thankfully, there are plenty to be had at very good prices if you look around.
I won’t go to in-depth about the build itself. Suffice to say, if you’re thinking this is the “old” Airfix of raised panel lines and minimal detail, you’d be wrong. Even though the kit came out in 1997, it has fantastic fit, surface detail and interior detail. The best description I can give of the quality is “Hasegawa”. It’s not quite Tamiya… but it offers no trouble at all in assembly, and looks great.
One thing I do want to note as compared to my previous build. In that one, I needed a piece of sprue to act as a fuselage spreader to close up wing roots gaps. On this example, I didn’t have any need for that. The wing fit was near perfect- I just added some Mr. Surfacer to close up a few tiny gaps where the glue did not fully join the surfaces. It did require a little attention at the aft wing to fuselage join on the underside, but to be fair, every Spitfire I’ve ever built required at least some attention there.
It does get some criticism for the shape of the prop and cylinder covers. I don’t normally sweat stuff like that, but if you’re looking for some resin upgrades, Barracudacals has several new upgrades available for the prop, covers, air intakes, and some other parts. And there are several resin upgrade sets for the cockpit that are very nice. However, I was quite happy with things out of the box.
The paint is Tamiya… I’ve used it enough now that I am quite happy with it, so no paint problems. I used the “Spitfire Trio” of XF81, XF82, and XF83. Markings are for a Spitfire that participated in the Cooper Trophy races int he late 40’s. I didn’t do much weathering, working on the assumption that if it was going to be seen in a public event, the airframe would have been cleaned up and touched up to look presentable. I did do some light oil staining, as I’ve seen racers develop those stains in one run.
I highly recommend this kit. It presents no problems with assembly, and it looks great, even out-of-the-box. There are actually quite a few interesting aftermarket decal sets for it also, so you’ll be able to do some really unique schemes.
And it’s an Airfix Spitfire- what’s not to like?