Kit: Spitfire FR.XIVe

Scale: 1/48

Kit number: 2161

Manufacturer: Academy

Scale: 1/48

Price:$23 CDN

Media:  Injected Plastic

Decals: one variant, decals for one aircraft

The two new Spitfire mk. 14's released by Academy are excellent, and long over due ,replacing the older Hobbycraft version. The kit features fully recessed panel lines, with one exception, the APU connection and the lower port wing root. The Spitire mk 14 is my personal favorite for piston powered aircraft. I am very impressed with quality of the kit. I've heard through other people, some negatives about the kit. However no two 'experts' notice the same two problems. One person says its to long the other to tall, etc. The only possible out of scale feature that I noticed is that the wing root is a bit to thick, when compared to the Tamiya Mk Vb. However the Mk 14 had a new and reinforced wing , enabling the Spit to carry bombs, and rockets. So good enough for me. With all the petty criticism out of the way lets build an excellent kit.

I chose to build a Canadian Spit from my variant, so I faired over the side camera windows, which do fit very well. I added some extra detail in the cockpit, mostly the British style harnesses from the Edward spit Mk. VIII set. The well detailed cockpit is easily viewed through the open side door. The kit has opened cannon bays which are moderately detailed, the access panels fit so well I chose not to glue them shut. The wings and fuselage fit very well, the tail planes require some care and patience. The clipped wing tips required some simple filling on the under side. I do not know why Academy chose to mold the valve extensions for the front cowling as separate pieces since all Griffon powered Spits had this distinguishing feature. Anyway they fit very well, being blended into place using a liquid glue and putty mixture.

Drilling out the exhaust stubs adds great detail to the kit. I glued my front windscreen on prior to painting since there appeared to be very little to attach it to after painting. Be very carful with the rear canopy :  it is very thin, which is good, but pushing down into the sliding tracks can crack it. The weighted tires included are excellent, with separate wheel hubs make painting them a breeze. I did not use the slipper drop tank included with the kit. My radiators were built with the cooling flaps down. The five bladed prop and spinner fit well, being assembled after painting. Painting is simple; on the bottom paint it medium sea grey. The top sides are typical British ocean grey, and dark green. Not using the kit decals I chose to model a 402Sqd, aircraft AE * B of "Blackie" MacConnell based in Wunsdorf Germany April 1945. I got the decals I needed from two sheets by SMP decals. I do believe that the kit decals are incorrect, with the squadron codes being white. The aircraft from 451 Sqd (Austrilia) Should have a sky spinner & Sky squadron codes, unless this aircraft was used into 1947 about when the British started using white codes again. Overall I think the kit is very accurate, and any doubt over the decals can be solved with an aftermarket sheet.

The kit is simply wonderful to build and looks great on the shelf. The mk. XIV is so different looking from earlier Spitfires I would recommend this to any and all modelers. With the new decal sheets due out from Water Mark decals. I will build this kit again within the next two months. It is that good.

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