- Acquired: 2023
- Completed: 2023
- Wheels; Brassin
- Gun Barrels; Master Model
- Exhausts; Brassin
- Seat Belts; Eduard
- Decals; Xtradecal
Another project (and Spitfire) started on nothing but an impulse. That impulse came in the form of fellow modeller Andy King publishing a post on his blog on how he was tackling converting the above two kits to arrive at an early Spitfire MkXIV,
His clear photos and narrative indicated what seemed a fairly straight forward conversion, one possibly even I could handle despite my inability to constantly cut straight lines.
A mate very graciously sent me the required Airfix kits, those being the Spitfire MkVb and XIV. Thanks Norm!
First order of (de) construction was too cut the kits along the required panel line as indicated in Andy’s article, although I deviated from Andy in just cutting straight through the rear access hatch rather than cutting around it to make the cut easier. Take particular care around the fin fillet of the XIV. Once cut, I traced the fillet onto the Vb fuselage halves with a pencil so I had an accurate edge to cut to.
It was then a simple matter of joining the spine from the Vb kit to the lower fuselage of the XIV.
This had been the deciding moment. If this had not worked, the project probably would have been binned, but I was very happy with the result.
A tape together showed everything that needed to match up did
From here it was just a matter of assembling the spitfire as per the XIV instructions. The fuselage join did require some filler and subsequent rescribing of the lost panel line with that troublesome little jig just aft of the canopy. My work here was not great and I wish i had of had the patience to persist with it until I was truly happy with the result rather than settling for just “good enough”
If I could offer one bit of advice to modellers on the oft asked question of “How can I improve ?” it would be to persist until you are happy with your efforts rather than just accepting mediocrity. If only I took my own advice more often!
For the cockpit, the rear bulkhead from the Vb was married to the sidewalls of the XIV cockpit, and the fit of the fixed rear clear section from the Vb checked for fit. All good
What wasn’t so good though was when it came time to offer the lower wing section up to the fuselage, I could not get to mate to the wing fillets as it was fouling on the rear of the cockpit tub. Talking to Andy, he’d faced the same problem although in his case it was possibly due to him using the Eduard cockpit.
A long process of elimination and trouble shooting revealed the Vb bulkhead was not sitting as deep into the tub as it could. Remedying this sorted the problem and i got the lower wing fitted without further problem, and before you say “Bruce, that photo does not look like the fit is problem free,” the clamps are actually ensuring the underwing radiators sit flush with their cutouts. They mating surfaces do require some judicious sanding to ensure their fillets sit flush with the wing.
The top surfaces were then added for a nice tight fit. There was a small misalignment on the cannon stubs, but a skinny sanding stick paid short shift to that!
Annoyingly I had small flecks of paint pull up with tape all through the painting stage, no idea why as I had cleaned the plastic prior to painting with tamiya thinner X20A, and also used a primer. Nothing major, until I went to swab up some surplus Mig Ultra decal solvent with a cotton bud and removed not only the decal solvent, but also the clear finish and paint down to the plastic.
I have never had this happen before. It was easily touched up, although you can still see the scar. Also evident in the above pic are my dodgy scribing skills.
The camouflage demarcation was achieved by using the AML camouflage mask set. Its designed for the Academy kit, but still fits the airfix kit nicely. I managed to create a few ridge lines though with over judicious coats of paint.
Weathering was achieved with oil washes and spattering on Tamiya brown panel liner to represent spaces of mud kicked up by the propeller. Just needed to add the exhaust pipes and the mirror that came from a quick boost set and she was done
There exhausts were base coated in dark iron, then washed progressively with tamiya dark brown panel liner, Vallejo pale german camouflage brown and finally Vallejo white grey.
Im very happy to have this mark of Spitfire in the cabinet. A shout out to Andy King for doing the conversion as I never would have thought of it. Do check out his blog. He has always got something interesting on his bench.
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