Pacific Coast 1/32 Spitfire XIVc/e

KIT #: 32015
PRICE: $69.95 SRP
DECALS: Seven options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver


            Development of the Spitfire to use the more powerful Rolls‑Royce Griffon engine began in late 1940 with the Type 337.  Extensive airframe modification to absorb the additional power was necessary.

      In order to gain further experience with the Griffon‑61, six Mk. VIII airframes were modified.  Experience with these showed it would be possible to create a Griffon‑powered high‑altitude air superiority fighter in a faster time frame than envisioned with the Spitfire XXI by mating the Griffon to the Mk. VIII airframe the way the Merlin‑61 had been mated to the Spitfire V.  Thus, third major development of the Spitfire saw the “interim” type produced in larger numbers and used more widely than the version developed specifically to use the more powerful engine.

      The Spitfire XIV, utilized a “beefed‑up” Mk. VIII airframe with larger radiators.  The first squadron to re-equip with the new type was 610, a former RAuxAF squadron which had been among the first equipped with the original Spitfire.  The Mk. XIVs arrived in January 1944. 610 gave a public display of their new mounts in mid‑May 1944 and managed a few fighter sweeps before D‑Day.

     The Spitfire XIV was intended to provide high altitude air superiority, to complement the medium‑altitude Tempest V.  Both types saw their entry into air combat over the Continent following D‑Day delayed by the deployment of the Fi‑103 “buzz bomb,” the first of which exploded in England two days after the invasion.  It was quickly ascertained that the best defense against these robots were standing patrols by the fastest Allied fighters.  Over the course of the anti‑diver campaign, which only ended when the launch sites in Belgium were overrun by the Allied armies in September 1944, the Spitfire XIV emerged as the most successful of all Spitfire types in destroying the “buzz bombs,” being flown by two wings at the time, with a third re‑equipping just at the end of the campaign.

      The Mk. XIV arrived on the Continent at about the same time the Luftwaffe re‑equipped with the Fw‑190D‑9.  The Spitfire XIV had superior performance above 25,000 feet, but most fights over the Western Front were occurring at lower altitudes.  Thus, as had been the case with the Spitfire since the first introduction of the Fw‑190, the new version just maintained superiority over the latest 190, with pilot quality (declining for the Germans) being the deciding element.

      By V‑E Day, 20 RAF squadrons were equipped with the Spitfire XIV in Europe, and the type had arrived in the Southeast Asia Theater.  While Spitfire squadrons quickly re‑equipped with the new airplane, the Pacific War came to a fast end before they could enter combat.


            There have been three Spitfire XIV kits released in 1/72 scale and two, by Academy and Hobbycraft, in 1/48.  None have been entirely “right.”  This kit by Pacific Coast Models is the first injection-molded Spitfire XIV in 1/32, and is the only Spitfire XIV kit in any scale to get the external dimensions right.

             As with other PCM limited-release kits, the model is relatively simple in production design, with a nicely-detailed cockpit and good decals by Cartograf for several different aircraft. After the release of the Tamiya Spitfire IX, some modelers said that the PCM kits were superfluous, but in fact I can sit my Tamiya Spitfire IX next to my PCM Spitfire IX, and from a distance greater than a foot there are no obvious external differences.  Yes, the Tamiya kit has greater detail, but the PCM kit is entirely acceptable, and this one is too.  Given that Tamiya is going to be involved over the next few years with the release of a later-version P-51D, the P-51B/C and the “next big thing” (smart money is betting on an F4U-1 Corsair series), this Griffon Spitfire from PCM is going to be what's there for Spitfire modelers who tire of doing the hyper-expensive Tamiya Merlin-60 series fighters.

            The kit has the best prop blades for a Griffon Spitfire I have seen in an injection-molded kit.  The radiators are the proper size and shape (which has been problematic with other kits).

             The one complaint I have is that the decals and profiles were created by the well-known artist, Richard Caruana, who makes his usual lazy mistakes.  Most prominently, he completely botches the Spitfire XIVe flown by Ginger Lacey, opting to create the restored 1980s warbird originally flown by The Fighter Collection at Duxford and today owned by Cinema Air in Texas.  For the record, Lacey's airplane was not in Dark Earth and Dark Green, and did not have clipped wingtips.  As with all other “high-back” Spitfire XIVs sent to SEAC, the airplane was in the standard Dark Green/Ocean Grey/Sea Grey Medium, with the standard European national insignia overpainted in Dark Green.  This is obvious to anyone who takes five minutes to look at the several pictures available of this airplane. I am not saying here that the decals are the problem; they are fine and dandy. The markings for all options are right, the colors are right, all is well with the world as regards the decal sheet. What I am upset about is the failure to do proper research about the PAINT SCHEME. If one does the Ginger Lacey airplane in the correct paint scheme (like the 132 Squadron airplane), the decals will be just fine on it.  

             Additionally, the seat is based on that from the Hasegawa 1/32 kit, which is too big.  If that's important to you, it can be cut down, or replaced with a resin seat from either Greymatter figures or Barracuda Studios.  I personally have never been put off by the seats in my Hasegawa 1/32 kits or the PCM Spitfire IX, which also uses that seat.


            Definitely the best Spitfire XIV released by anyone, and a nice simple kit that will build into an excellent model with a moderate amount of “some modeling skill required”.  It flies to the top of my “to do” pile.

Tom Cleaver

September 2011

 Review kit courtesy of Pacific Coast Models. 

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