This page was last updated on 06/11/2016
|Aircraft||Spitfire Mk. XII, EN625, DL*K|
|Kit||1/48 Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XII|
|Model Build Year||2015|
|Additions/Modifications||Victory Models Decals
Seat belts ()
Victory Models Decals: Spitfire - Aces of the Empire (VPD-48006).
2. Thomas, A., "Griffon Spitfire Aces", Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 81, 2008
The subject this model represents is the No 91 Sqn. mount of the CO, Sqn Ldr Ray Harries. He used this aircraft to achieve at lease two of his 9 kills in Griffon engined Spitfires to become the only Mk. XII ace. He was also the top Welsh ace with 16½ kills [Ref 1]. Reference 2 credits him with eleven victories (10/1/-) in Griffon Spitfires for a total of 15+3sh/2/5 plus 1 V1 kill. This aircraft was also used by Flg Off Ray Nash to achieve his two non V1 kills (2/-/- and 17+3sh V1) [Ref 2].
The Mk. XII was the first Griffon engined Spitfire to enter service. Early Mk. XIIs were manufactured from Mk. VC airframes while later builds used the Mk. VIII fuselage with the retractable tail wheel but retained the Mk. VC wing with the asymmetric radiator/oil cooler arrangement. 100 airframes were manufactured with serial numbers ranging from EN221 to MB882 and the kit provides decals for both the early and late versions, the former being the subject of this build and the latter being the last Mk. XII built, MB882.
This kit has a nicely detailed cockpit with a seat that has a well represented flare rack at the front. However, the flare rack was discontinued early in the production run of the Mk. IX, which started production some months before the Mk. XII and continued long after the Mk. XII run had ended, so I decided to remove the rack from the seat. The cockpit was otherwise built as it came except for drilling out the lightening holes in the fuselage framework behind the seat and adding seat belts.
Airfix have come up with a novel way of representing an open canopy. The interior of the canopy section has molding that represents the rear quarter window and part of the fuselage that the canopy slid over. These inside of the canopy needs to be painted the fuselage camouflage colour (fortunately this is only the green colour, so you don't need to worry about a demarcation line) and then the interior colour. The corresponding part of the fuselage needs to be cut away with the option to also cut away the cockpit access door as well, both of which I did. When attached, the canopy looks as though it is covering the rear quarter window and rear fuselage.
Once I had otherwise completed the kit and unmasked the canopy, I decided that it was sitting a little too far forward and took it off and cut away a little more of the fuselage and re-attached the canopy. I'm not sure if it was my fault or the internal cutting guide grooves provided by Airfix - still, it is better to cut too little than too much. If have one criticism, the rear of the canopy sits perhaps a little close to the fuselage sides at its base. Still, I think that the effect looks good and is much better than a high riding canopy.
The rest of the fuselage construction was fairly straight forward although the centreline engine fairing was awkward to blend in once I'd also added the engine rocker covers. On the Spitfire, the main fuselage fuel tank is immediately in front of the cockpit with a refueling point on top centre. The kit has an oddly shaped representation of this which seems to be too far forward and which also had a difficult to clean up centreline seam. I couldn't find a clear picture of this area to confirm any of this and so, reasoning that the Mk. XII is based upon the Mk. VC and Mk. VIII and would have a similar fuel tank, I filled the void in and drilled a new filler point further aft.One unfortunate fault in the kit is that there are mold release pin marks on the inside surface of the replacement open cockpit access door, meaning that they would be visible if used. I don't know why they didn't place them on the side that faces the fuselage and is therefore out of view. Rather than try and fix this I replaced the door with the one from my Tamia Spitfire Vb Trop kit.
I sanded the mating surfaces of the radiator and oil cooler fairings to thin them so that they better blended to the wing under surface.
Alierons slightly displaced
I added the exhausts after painting, including the weathering and exhaust staining. At this point I added the main undercarriage and was researching the brake lines when I came across Reference 4. One of the posts indicates that the torque link was not seen on Spitfires (excepting Mk VII and Mk VIII) until September 1945. A further search of Spitfire photos, both in books and the internet, showed that these were, indeed, absent. So, I removed them and touched up the undercarriage legs. I added brake lines to the rear edge of the undercarriage covers, as shown in one of the photos in Reference 4, before attaching the covers to the kit.
Next I added the radio mast, which did not require the wire from mast to fin a this stage of the war, and the IFF no longer used the fuselage to tailplane wires.
This spitfire was camouflaged in the Day Fighter scheme of Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey. It also had the standard identification markings of a Sky Type S spinner and rear fuselage band and yellow outer wing leading edges.
I started the painting by pre-shading the kit with black before painting the Sky Type S fuselage band and yellow wing leading edge. Once dry, I masked these and sprayed the underside Medium Sea Grey. I then masked the demarcation line and sprayed the Ocean Grey upper surface colour. The RAF created Ocean Grey by mixing 7 parts Medium Sea Grey and 1 part Night but the colour never became part of the British Standard 381c . Therefore, it is difficult to know exactly what the colour was like and there are a number of threads on the internet discussing this. So, I chose to use Gunze Dark Sea Grey for this build.
British aircraft camouflage was factory sprayed using mats that gave a hard edge to the demarcations. However, I feel that replicating that makes scale models look toy-like so prefer to free hand airbrush my kits. Therefore, next I sprayed the upper surface Dark Green free hand, following the pattern shown in the kit instructions.
Gun cover decals - inadvertent holes so now post mission
CONCLUSIONThis is the first Airfix kit I've built in 1/48 scale and the first since the 1980s. The quality of this kit is vastly better than the old 1/72 kits I remember and it is great to see them bringing out some excellent kits of interesting subjects in the larger scale.
This was a great kit to build and I'm hoping they bring out to more of the late marque Spitfires.