Revell AG 1/48 Seafire XV

KIT #: 04835
PRICE: $36.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Reboxed Special Hobby kit


The British Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most outstanding fighter aircraft of the Second World War. The basic airframe proved to be extremely adaptable, capable of taking far more powerful engines and far greater loads than its original role as a short-range interceptor had allowed for. This would lead to 24 marks of Spitfire, and many sub-variants within the marks, being produced throughout the Second World War and beyond, in continuing efforts to fulfill Royal Air Force requirements and successfully combat ever-improving enemy aircraft.

The Spitfire was also adopted for service on aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy; in this role they were renamed Supermarine Seafire. Although the first version of the Seafire, the Seafire Ib, was a straight adaptation of the Spitfire Vb, successive variants incorporated much needed strengthening of the basic structure of the airframe and equipment changes in order to survive the demanding maritime environment. As a result the later Seafire variants were usually heavier and, in the case of the Seafire XV/XVII and F. 47 series, they were very different aircraft to their land-based counterparts.

Tthe Seafire F Mk XV, was powered by a Griffon VI (single-stage supercharger, rated at 1,850 hp (1,379 kW) at 2,000 ft (610 ft) driving a 10 ft 5 in Rotol propeller. Designed in response to Specification N.4/43 this appeared to be a naval Spitfire F Mk XII; in reality the Mk XV was an amalgamation of a strengthened Seafire III airframe and wings with the wing fuel tanks, retractable tailwheel, larger elevators and broad-chord "pointed" rudder of the Spitfire VIII. The engine cowling was different to that of the Spitfire XII series, being secured with a larger number of fasteners and lacking the acorn shaped blister behind the spinner. The final 30 Mk XVs were built with the blown "teardrop" cockpit canopy and cut down rear fuselage introduced on the Spitfire Mk XVI. On the first 50 aircraft manufactured by Cunliffe-Owen a heavier, strengthened A-frame arrestor hook was fitted to cope with the greater weight. On subsequent Mk XVs a new form of "sting" type arrestor hook was used; this version was attached to the reinforced rudder post at the rear of the fuselage and was housed in a fairing below the base of the shortened rudder. A vee-shaped guard forward of the tailwheel prevented arrestor wires getting tangled up with the tailwheel.

390 Seafire XVs were built by Cunliffe-Owen and Westland from late 1944. Six prototypes had been built by Supermarine.

One problem which immediately surfaced was the poor deck behaviour of this mark, especially on take-off. At full power the slipstream of the propeller, which swung to the left (as opposed to the Merlin, which swung to the right), often forced the Seafire to swing to starboard, even with the rudder hard over on opposite lock. This sometimes led to a collision with the carrier's island. The undercarriage oleo legs were still the same of those of the much lighter Merlin engined Spitfires, meaning that the swing was often accompanied by a series of hops. As an interim measure it was recommended that pilots avoid using full power on take-off (+10 lb "boost" maximum was recommended). There were also problems involved with this swing being strongly accentuated in the event of an asymmetric firing of the RATOG equipment. In the event none of the "first generation" Griffon-engine Seafires were to use RATOG at sea unless they were ranged forward of the first crash barrier on deck.


The box side states this was made in the Czech Republic which means it is a Special Hobby kit that has been reboxed by Revell AG. This is not a bad thing as the Special Hobby kit is very nicely done and even has vestiges of alignment pins and sockets for several of the parts. My experience with these in the past has been that cutting them away will ensure proper alignment, though this may well be quite different.

There is no photo etch or resin in with this kit, probably the reason Revell chose it for reboxing, and it really does not need any. The cockpit is very nicely detailed wth a proper open floor, separate rudder pedals, two piece control column and armor plating for the seat. A set of belts would have been nice, even if just decals, and you are given a decal for the instrument panel. There are also detailed side walls with a few appropriate bits to be attached to them.

Wheel wells are separate as are the ailerons and rudder. The stinger tail hook is also a separate item and can be built with the hook extended. There are separate bulges for the upper cowling as well. The tail gear and doors are nicely molded with the main wheels having a separate outer hub. Main gear is nicely formed with two piece oleo scissors. A well done propellor is provided with individual blades. Hold back attachments are included for the fuselage side and you need to drill holes for these. You have options for two different radio masts and the cockpit door can be posed open or closed. A three piece cockpit covering is provided with separate windscreen and canopy. The box build-up shows the canopy as hinged on the right side, but we all know it slid back. The lone item for under the wings is a drop tank.

Instructions are well drawn with only Revell paint references provided so you will have to mix several paint shades. Decals are for two planes that are identical except for serials and codes. Both are shown as post-war planes, one from 806 Squadron aboard the Glory in September 1946 and is the box art plane. The other is from 801 Squadron aboard the Implacable in December 1945. Both are in Extra Dark Sea Grey and Slate Grey over Sky. One would best use just Dark Sea Grey for the EDSG as this shade faded rather quickly to DSG. Decals are somewhat matte and in good register. There are other schemes available from aftermarket should you wish one of those instead.


This kit is miles ahead of the rather awful Academy/Hobbycraft kit and well worth your effort to obtain. I am sure there is something 'wrong' with the kit as Spitfire experts are rarely satisfied and I'm sure the list is long, but to my eyes, it looks to be very nice.


March 2013

Thanks to me for picking this one up.

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