Airfix/ICM 1/48 Spitfire XIVe

KIT #:  
PRICE: Around £70-00 in total
DECALS: Robbed from Academy kit
REVIEWER: Frank Reynolds
NOTES: Kitbash using three kits


The Spitfire XIV was an interim type and very much a third generation evolution of the family.  A substantial redesign of the Mk.VIII, it entered service in early 1944. It was powered by a 2,000 hp Rolls Royce Griffon engine and introduced a very distinctive 5-bladed propeller. This was a wholly new style of Spitfire, heavier and more rugged, and competitive with later generations of fighter aircraft form the World’s major manufacturers. Late production versions introduced a cut down rear fuselage and bubble canopy providing its pilots with greatly improved all round vision. 957 were built, so it represented barely 4% of the total production run of the Spitfire family. A versatile aircraft it could be equipped with oblique cameras in the rear fuselage to undertake a fighter reconnaissance role. The XIV would see post war service in RAF Germany and the Far East and become part of the inventory of the Air Forces of Belgium, India and Thailand. Thailand received 30 reconditioned ex-RAF aircraft that served from 1951 to 1955.


This is number 56 in my current collection of 1:48 scale aircraft from the Spitfire series, just one more step on the road of my seemingly never-ending project.  It is the last of the sub-series that sets out to represent the 29 air arms that operated the Spitfire /Seafire family in squadron service. One variant that consistently proves a challenge is the Mk.XIV and its close cousin the Mk.XVIII. The only current mainstream kits of the Spitfire XIV, both high back and low back, in 1:48 scale come from Academy. They are neatly tooled, with good decals, but rather poorly executed in that the nose area is too bloated and to my mind it does not accurately capture the deadly beauty of the subject. However, since one of the Academy kits remains in my collection, a review is included below to complete the picture. 

One of the by- products of this major undertaking is a massive amount of spare parts that I have amassed from all of the kits built, a collection swollen also by the number of scrapped airframes that I have accumulated as I have replaced and updated some of the subjects in my showcase.

However it was by the good grace of my LHS, Spot on Models and Hobbies of Swindon in the UK, that this latest project emerged. A careless courier had delivered a consignment of Airfix models that really were kit bashed, the boxes were broken and crumpled, so I was offered a couple of  PR.19s and a Seafire 46/47  on terms that I could not refuse. This gave me the confidence to try what would normally be an expensive exercise – to combine the parts from three kits to provide the missing link in my collection.

 The plan was to use the Seafire 46/47 to provide the low back main fuselage, the whole tail section from the Spitfire PR.19, married to the wing and undercarriage from ICM’s Mk.IX/XVI.

 A kit bashing exercise of this kind always begins as a theory that the parts from the different sources can be combined satisfactorily and requires a certain amount of dry fitting, taping sub-assemblies together to see if is practical. The Spitfire PR.19 is state of the art Airfix, with crisp engineering and recessed panel lines. The Seafire 47 is a 1990s kit, a little less refined than current standards but still reasonably well moulded and with recessed detail. ICMs  IX/XVI can have moulding issues but my sample, in a Revell boxing, was clean and sharp although the parts are more thin and fragile than Airfix mouldings.

 The first trial required the Seafire 47 tail to be cut away along the prominent diagonal line through the rear fuselage just forward of the fin and tail unit then discarded. The remaining fuselage and nose would provide the foundation of the model. From the PR.19 the tail fin was separated along a similar cut line but keeping the fillet between the fin and rear fuselage; the unwanted fuselage goes into the spares box.. The two kits are almost 20 years apart and the different tool makers have different ideas as to the exact cross section of a Spitfire fuselage in this area, but it only required the tail parts to be packed out slightly along the joining faces with a sliver of plastic card and the new tail fitted to the fuselage reasonably well, requiring minimal filler. The prominent camera windows to the rear fuselage sides were drilled out at the same time.

 Although the Airfix  Spitfire PR.19, is effectively an unarmed high back Mk. XIV,  a cannon armed wing is required and although it has the potential to be converted to an armed version I chose to use the ready-made detail of an armed wing from the ICM  kit.


 I first built the wing from the ICM parts, consisting of the one piece full span lower section, left and right upper wing panels and clipped wing tips. ICM provide inserts for the correct cannon bay covers for the “e” wing armament where the cannon occupy the outer of the two wing stubs and the inners are blanked off with two small hemispherical plugs. A further advantage of the ICM kit in this context is the useful alternative parts for the wing tips and ailerons which include the smaller inset ailerons applicable to the Mk.XIV and matching clipped wing tips. 

 For the fuselage, I followed the sequence set out in the Airfix instructions. Commencing with the cockpit interior, the fuselage was assembled and allowed to set hard over a couple of days. The interior came from standard Seafire parts, with seat belts from painted masking tape. The interior is in a style common to most state of the art Spitfire kits with skeletal bulkheads to the front and rear of the cockpit, rudder pedals and seat. The instrument panel came from the kit decal sheet. The interior was first painted RAF Interior Green from the Xtracrylix range with details such as the control stick , rudder pedals and head rest picked out in Flat Black.

 Once everything had set  the wing was offered up to the fuselage halves to check where any fiddling and fettling was required. The upper wing joint was reasonable, requiring small strips of plastic card to close the joint with the fuselage fairings. The gull wing rear section of the underwing fairing came from the Seafire mouldings and the corresponding part on the ICM wing was cut away.

 The lower nose fairing required a little creative hacking in that the front half came from the Seafire mouldings so as to align with the propeller. The rear half came from the PR.19, enabling me to use the PR.19’s carburettor intake faired into the leading edge of the ICM wing.

 The tail assembly was all from unmodified Airfix PR.19 components complete with tail wheel doors. The underwing radiator assemblies came from the PR.19, requiring a little fettling along the flanges at the base of the side walls that fair into the wing lower surfaces.

 As a last detail I indulged myself by gluing on pair of the bulged upper nose fairings from a Seafire XVII onto the engine, since I believe that they look better, but the Seafire 47 fairings are probably just as acceptable. So I now had a basic airframe in the configuration that I wanted. The canopy and windshield came from the Airfix Seafire 46 mouldings.

Left to settle for 24 hours and with transparencies masked, the whole airframe was sprayed with auto primer from a rattle can to show up any dings and scratches which were treated with Revell Plasto filler and the primer then touched in.

 The main undercarriage came from the ICM parts, so as to give a strong assembly integral with the wing. The retractable tail wheel assembly, from the PR.19,  is easy to install since Airfix have moulded interlocking base plates that ensure that the doors are correctly aligned – a small point but one that will be appreciated by anyone who has tried to fiddle tiny Spitfire tail wheel doors into alignment on kits that do not have such a feature.


The missing subject in my collection was the Air Force of Thailand, a subject long overdue but one that I had been putting off due to the complexity of the project. . Ironically, the very decals that I needed came from Academy, in a Spitfire XIVe kit that I have now rejected as being too inaccurate for long term use in my collection. Academy produced a “Special Edition” boxing that went into my stash a few years ago, kit No. 12211. It includes a fabulous A4 size decal sheet by Cartograph with seven options for exotic and unusual Spitfire XIVes, being the Indian Air Force in two roundel styles, RAF Germany 1946, Belgian Air Force, Royal Thai Air Force and even a Canadian civil registered aircraft form the Cleveland Air races in 1949. The decals are perfectly printed in good register with strong colours and include full stencilling for one airframe.

 After a final aerosol coat of auto primer, painting could begin. The overall colour of the airframe is a plain silver, air brushed with my Iwata HP-C in Tamiya XF-16 Flat Aluminium, with the propeller spinner and wing tips picked out in Tamiya XF-1 Flat Red.

 The decals went on well over two brushed coats of Future/Kleer and responded effectively to Micro Set and Micro Sol.

The Thai aircraft are not well documented and are fairly anonymous, even lacking codes and serial numbers so the paint scheme is stark and simple, but presents one dilemma that occurs with other Spitfires in my collection, that of airframe stencilling. Is it worded in the subject’s  language? With poor photo references available I have no real idea, even if such decals were available, which is highly unlikely, so I contented myself with a few electrical earth stencils, the “No step” messages around the wing walk lines and the under wing trestle markings. Just to add a touch of contrast I used a wing root walkway decal from the PR.19 sheet. The final touch was to complete the airframe with two misted coats of Xtacrylix Flat varnish.


This has to be an exercise for a seriously obsessed Spitfire collector. If I had not been “gifted” two damaged kits this would have been an expensive exercise. It involves the sacrifice of an Airfix Seafire 46/47; an Airfix Spitfire PR.19; an ICM Spitfire IX/XVI and the purchase of an Academy FR.XIVe for the decals. I make that around £70-00 at UK prices.

 Yet, this is another tick in the box for the Spitfire and Seafire collection. It’s crazy, but I like it.

 The 29  international air arms now represented in my collection are from: Australia, Belgium, British Royal Air Force, British Fleet Air Arm, Burma, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France (Air Force), France (Navy),  Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Soviet Union, , Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United States of America, Yugoslavia.


Spitfire International by Helmut Terbeck, Harry van der Meer and Ray Sturtivant, Air Britain (Historians) Ltd 2002 

Spitfire, the History by Eric B. Morgan and Edward Shacklady, Key Publishing, 2000

Frank Reynolds

August 2014

Project courtesy of my LHS, Spot on Models & Hobbies of Swindon, England.

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