When it comes to new kit announcements, few things spark my interest like a new Spitfire. And that anticipation doubles even more when it is an Airfix Spitfire. The iconic manufacturer has been doing a great job with their latest line of Mr. Mitchell’s Wonder. So I was particularly excited when I read that Airfix would release the Mk. XIX PRU version.
Of course, living in the US puts me at a slight disadvantage. Even after Airfix releases a kit, it seems to take weeks for it to filter its way to the US. And ordering directly from Airfix comes at a price of very high shipping. So what’s a Spitfire nut, on a limited budget, to do?
Ebay to the rescue. I’ve found if I wait just a few days after Airfix releases a kit, sellers will have them on Ebay, and usually at very reasonable prices and shipping. And that was the case here- I found one priced such that it was only a few bucks more than I would have paid for the kit here in the US, including shipping. So I was a happy camper! Especially so when the kit arrived in 5 days!
OK, enough blabbering about my adventure getting the kit… what is in the box?
The kit is made up of 98 parts, cast in light gray plastic. There are four sprues, one of which is a small clear sprue for canopy parts, camera lenses, etc.
If you’ve built the Airfix Seafire Mk. XVII, the type of casting for that model is very similar to this one. The plastic is slightly soft, with just the faintest hint of texture to it. Panel lines are very sharp, though a bit larger than many folks will like. (I actually like them myself… they hold a wash really well.) There is very little flash. Ejector pin marks are large and prominent in some areas, but not so that they interfere with the parts of the model that will be visible, thankfully.
The cockpit looks to be a real gem. It does a nice job of reproducing the enclosed cockpit of the XIX, with it’s extra oxygen bottles, sealed compartments and so forth, but the camera bays are also nicely represented, with all three cameras present- a real plus. Optional parts are included to allow the camera access doors on both sides of the aircraft to be opened up to show that detail.
All of the control surfaces are separate, and two sets of flap parts are included, one for open, the other for closed. If you’d like to pose your model as in-flight, parts are included for retracted landing gear. The clear parts look good, though in my opinion are not particularly thick of thin.
Two sets of markings are included. A No. 81 Squadron Mk. XIX, based in Singapore in 1954, with “The Last!” on it’s nose, is a nice choice. Also included are markings for a Swedish S.31 (Sweden’s designation for the XIX) are included. A full stencil set is also on the decal sheet. They’re printed by Cartograph, so I don’t know that I need to say more about the quality.
Instructions are in Airfix’s usual very well illustrated and clear style, with 36 total steps making up the assembly. A marking placement and painting guide are included in color, with Humbrol call outs.
The one item I am not totally thrilled about is the inclusion of a single piece for the open canopy option, like the Mk. XII had. While this does lead to a nice fit for the open canopy without it riding “high” like so many Spitfires are forced to, the part does require some minor surgery to cut away portions of the fuselage. While the portion to be cut are clearly marked in the plastic, the part itself is difficult to paint. No matter how you do it,, the inner portion clear part ends up looking like it was painted from the inside… it’s just a bit odd. I gave it a try on the Mk. XII, but realized it will be better to source a vacform main canopy, or just let the kit part ride high.
Overall, though, I am very happy wit this new release from Airfix. It continues the work Hornby has been doing since taking over the company of releasing well engineered, affordable subjects that are a delight to build.
I’ve already given the parts a good bath in soapy water, and plan to start right away- in fact, as soon as I hit “Publish” on this kit review!