AZ Models 1:72 Supermarine Spiteful “Special”

KIT #: AZ7277
PRICE: NZ$46.00
DECALS: Four options
NOTES: comes with “What If?” decals


The Spiteful was the last land-based development of the legendary Spitfire. Utilising an all-new laminar flow wing and a more powerful Rolls-Royce Griffon engine than ever before, the Spiteful bore very little resemblance to the first Spitfire of 1936. Indeed the type was at one point reportedly set to receive the name “Victor” as it was so different, but this was passed over. The first prototype (flown 30/4/44) was essentially a Spitfire XIV high-backed fuselage with the new wing, and so the first Spiteful was the Mk.XIV. The aircraft displayed a blistering performance, with Spiteful XVI RB518 achieving an amazing 494mph. This version boasted a three-speed Griffon 101 producing 2,420hp. It remains the fastest British piston-powered aircraft.

Due to the rapid development of the jet aircraft, and possibly also the unfavourable stalling characteristics exhibited by the prototypes, the Spiteful never achieved squadron service. The Spitfire line was dragged out a little more by the Seafang – essentially a hooked Spiteful sporting folding wings and a six-blade contraprop – but soon Supermarine itself moved into jets. Accounts vary, but around 20 of three Spiteful marks are believed to have been built. Sadly it appears no real remains of any Spiteful remain, but I remain hopeful someday someone will perhaps make even a fibreglass “shape” for display somewhere.

The Spiteful may have been an incongruous end to the Spitfire legacy, but it was a remarkable design in its own right. Besides, the thing screams “mean” just sitting there!


From what I gather this is the latest of three Spiteful kits available in 1:72: a fairly scarce Pegasus injection-moulded release came first, and more recently CMR came out with what looks to be a very fine resin kit. I don’t know of any vacform Spitefuls (There is one that was done by Rareplanes. Ed).

If the Ventura Spitfire 22 I reviewed a while back can be considered a good example of “early short-run”, then this Spiteful must surely be right up there with the best of “later/current short run”. Engraved exterior detail (but with some heavy-handed rivets, especially around the engine cowls), raised sidewall detail in the cockpit, a bare minimum of flash, and small sprue gates. On the downside though, there are several raised ejector pin marks such as on the inside of wing halves, which will need to be removed and sanded. There are also no alignment tabs as in more mainstream kits, but this shouldn’t pose a problem to the experienced modeller. Similar story with the horizontal stabilisers: butt joined, rather than with tabs and slots.

The massive underwing radiators are separate, and have some raised detail on the inside faces. The undercarriage doors are all separate and are commendably thin, but some may elect to scratchbuild their own. Separate wheel wells are also included and these have limited detail....mind you, not having ever seen shots of a Spiteful’s wheel well, this could well be 100% accurate! The carburettor intake is in two pieces and is hollow, the rudder is separate and the propeller consists of five blades, spinner and backing plate.

The cockpit is adequate for 1:72, especially with the fairly thick canopy included: you get a floor, instrument panel (with very fine raised detail), gun sight, control stick, seat and rear frame. The vertical plate of the headrest is supplied, but not the support shown in the painting instructions.

Strangely there are two parts labelled number 28 in the parts diagram, and these do not appear anywhere in assembly. They look suspiciously like the pitot tube seen in photos of the real Spitefuls, but the instructions have you make it from 6mm of plastic rod...which looks nothing like the real thing...perhaps production Spiteful XIVs would’ve had these? For my part I’ll use the number 28 in my build.

The one-piece canopy is the sole transparency included, on a very small piece of sprue. Framing is nice but the canopy is a little thick. The instructions suggest you can hack at the canopy to pose it open, but I believe most would either leave it closed or find a suitable vacform replacement (Spitfire 22/24 perhaps?). Despite being loose in the same bag as the main sprue, my canopy was totally scratch-free.

Which brings me quite conveniently to the decals. As the vast majority of MM readers will know, the Spiteful never made it to operational service. AZ released this Spiteful with decals for three prototype/pre-production aircraft, but this one comes with no less than four hypothetical schemes. They are all interesting and possibly realistic options. Firstly we have RN301/YB-A, a Royal Air Force machine in South-East Asia Campaign colours and roundels. Next another RAF machine, this time RN296 in an attractive post-war silver with a red spinner. The Finnish Air Force’s SU-213/2 is next, also in silver, whilst the last aircraft is a Dutch machine in standard day-fighter camouflage serialled H-83. All these options, including generic paint names, are depicted in glorious colour on the back of the box. The decals are quite glossy and thick, with a fair amount of carrier film. They look to be in register, although the white appears a tad ivory to my eye.


For the true Spitfire fan you simply must have a Spiteful in your line-up, and by price alone the AZ Model is my pick. The Pegasus kit seems to need a fair amount of bashing to make an accurate representation (see Peter Hobbins’ review here at MM), and the CMR kit is out of many modellers’ price there is the resin “scare factor” to be considered.

I’m more than happy with the AZ kit, as it looks to be accurate and fairly simple to build. There’s no resin or photoetch, but out of the box it will definitely look the part when complete. It will certainly make for an interesting comparison with my Airfix Spitfire Prototype K5054 when completed.


Spitfire: A Complete Fighting History – Price, Alfred; PRC 1991 - some great shots of the various Spitefuls, both in flight and on the ground.

Zac Yates

June 2009

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