JAYS Model Kits 1/72 Spitfire Mk.22
KIT #: JY0111
PRICE: NZ$25.00
DECALS: One option
NOTES: Short Run kit


The Mk.22 was the penultimate service Spitfire. With a two-stage supercharged Rolls-Royce Griffon 61 driving a massive five-bladed prop, the 22 was a true beast compared to the petite Mk.Is of the Battle of Britain. The low-back fuselage and bubble canopy provided superb visibility for the pilot, and the four 20mm Hispano cannon packed a real punch. Some early 22s were fitted with a six-bladed contrarotating propeller a-la Seafire 47 to both absorb the 2035hp of the Griffon and negate torque, but the majority flew with the large five-blade Rotol prop. New covers fitted to the wing fully enclosed the wheel wells, and a large vertical stabiliser and rudder combination (the so-called Spiteful-type tail) made the 22 quite different in appearance to the Spitfires that came before it.

 Despite the design advantages of the type only 272 of the type were ordered by the Royal Air Force, as jets were becoming increasingly reliable and capable. Export customers included the Syrian, Egyptian and Rhodesian air forces, but by 1955 there wasn’t a single example flying. After the type was superseded by the slightly improved (but outwardly similar) Mk.24, the Spitfire finally ceased production.

 Only one has flown in modern times: ex-Royal Rhodesian Air Force airframe PK350 which sadly was lost along with pilot Jack Malloch in a 1982 crash. Another example, PK624, is resident in the UK awaiting an airworthy restoration at Duxford’s The Fighter Collection, whilst three others are displayed or stored worldwide (one each in Australia, the UK and Zimbabwe). Rumours persist that at least one of the Syrian machines also remains, although this has yet to be established for sure.


JAYS Model Kits is a New Zealand company that has been formed to make use of the former Ventura toolings, and as a result the former Ventura Spitfire and Seafire kits (as well as a handful of others) have now been reissued in JAYS boxes. JAYS launched early this year and their models are available exclusively through their website (link below).

 If you are used to the so-called “shake and bake” kits from mainstream manufacturers, and you’ve not yet attempted a short-run kit, this may be the perfect kit to start on. This is the short-run of days gone by: very thick plastic, large sprue gates on every part, flash everywhere, no alignment tabs and a big helping of “modelling skill required”. There is one sprue of beige/tan plastic containing the two upper wing pieces and the single underwing; two of grey plastic with the remainder of the parts; two thin and clear vacformed canopies (one for use “in case of accidents during assembly”, according to the instructions); a white metal control column, a small amount of fine metal mesh for use in the radiators, and a fine decal sheet (more on this below). Instructions are on a double sided A4, one side having the three construction steps and some alignment detail, and the other providing paint, marking and stencil locations. No underside view is provided for roundel placement and paint, but the builder of this kit is likely to be clued-up on the subject anyway.

Outline looks pretty good. The planform of the Mk22 is quite different to earlier Spitfires, and this is pretty accurately represented with the kit. Surface detail is very fine, with the cannon and undercarriage bulges represented, as well as cannon ejector chutes. The large underwing radiators are moulded separate, as are the four Hispano 20mm cannon barrels, and the exhaust stubs. Oddly the upper cowlings are separate and in halves, possibly to facilitate the gap for exhausts. No tailgear doors are supplied, but both the main gear covers (with legs moulded on) and smaller wheel covers are supplied. Some may prefer to scratch replacements from thin sheet styrene, but they capture the curve of the originals in a way difficult to do yourself. The propeller comes as seven parts: five blades, spinner cone, and spinner backplate. Due to the thick sprue gates some may wish to replace this with a prop from another kit or possibly an aftermarket example, but to me the setup looks perfectly useable.

The interior can be compared with early Airfix kits: all the kit provides is a bucket seat with – shock horror! – no harness, and a instrument panel/bulkhead with raised representations of the rudder pedals. The instructions supply a template for a rear bulkhead on which to mount the seat, and suggests use of two thin plastic rods to simulate rudder actuating bars. This fails to take into account the fact the control stick has to mount somewhere! So the builder is left to their own devices here. There is no sidewall detail at all, just as well as the instructions ask you to thin the walls so that the bulkheads fit snugly. They also recommend the Cooper Details resin sets to add detail to the cockpit! Oddly the instructions show an arrestor hook and its mount being attached under the tail...

Given that Ventura made a big name for themselves as decal manufacturers, the sheet in this kit is very nice. One aircraft is depicted, this being PK656 as operated by 73 Sqn RAF at Ta Kali, Malta, in 1949, wearing ocean grey/dark green over medium sea grey. A full history of the original aircraft is also provided, providing some nice background detail. The colours look to be spot on, but there is a fair amount of carrier film, and some of the smaller stencilling is quite blurry. In fact all of the stencils, and the walkway stripes, are all covered with the same carrier film, so some very careful cutting will be required.


There are now several Spitfire Mk.22 kits floating around: the ancient Hawk/Testors injection-moulded “shape” more akin to a Mk.XVIII, the Pegasus short-run injection- moulded (reviewed here most ably by Scott van Aken), the recent CMR resin, and the Ventura/JAYS short-run injection moulded. This kit certainly looks to be accurate in shape – i.e. it looks like a Mk.22 Spitfire! – and if you’re keen to try these sort of kits then go for it, it’s as good a start as any. The only hassles I see in this kit are separating the smaller parts from the sprue, but with care it certainly won’t be impossible. Cheap and looks the part. 

You can find JAYS Model Kits at http://www.jaysmodelkits.com/


Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spitfire_(Griffon_powered_variants)

Warbird Registry: http://www.warbirdregistry.org/spitregistry/spitregistry.html#mk22


June 2009

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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