Airfix 1/72 Spitfire VI
KIT #: 4007 or 02046
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Brian Baker
NOTES: Easy conversion of a little known variant.


In 1941, in answer to a perceived threat of high flying Luftwaffe bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, the RAF ordered the development of a Spitfire variant designed to reach extremely high altitudes.  While modified Spitfire Mk. V’s were able to destroy a few Junkers JU-86P’s in the Middle East, the Spitfire Mk. VI was seen as the solution to the problem in the UK.  Taking a standard Spitfire VB as a basis, the prototype had a high-altitude rated Merlin 45 of 1,415 hp., a four bladed prop, extended wingtips, and a pressurized cabin.  Approximately 100 Mk. VI’s were produced during 1942 and 1943.

The Mk. VI’s service career was brief, as the pressure cabin was a problem, since pilots didn’t like the idea of having the canopy screwed down tight, making bailing out difficult.  The plane didn’t perform quite up to expectations, and it was eventually replaced by the “built for the purpose” Mk. VII, which used the Mk. VIII airframe, but no pressurized cockpit.  The Mk. VI was  used in the UK for home defense duties, and was operated by only five squadrons,  including Nos. 117, 124, 521, 602, and 616.  Later, a few had their wingtips removed, and were operated in a low altitude role, where pilots were impressed by their performance.


 To my knowledge, only one kit has even been issued of the Spitfire Mk. VI, one by Smer, of Poland.  This kit is reported to be a modified Heller Mk. V kit with extra prop, wingtips, and a few other minor details.  In fact, any Mk. V kit would probably be appropriate for this conversion, as the Mk. V is also produced in kit form by Academy, MPC, Revell, Heller, and Hobby Boss, as well as some other manufacturers in addition to Airfix.  I used the “old tool” kit, but the model might have been better using the “new tool” kit that has just recently come out.  Just be sure that you have a model with the “B” wing, with two 20 mm cannons and four machine gun installations.  (Believe it or not, Hasegawa did a Mk VI in 1/32 scale. Ed)


Probably the most involved part of the conversion was the creation of the “pointy” wingtips common to the Mk. VI and Mk. VII.  As I was building a new Italeri Mk. VII for another review, I just traced the outlines on a section of scrapped airplane wing section (I don’t know which kit it was from), and cut them to size.   The regular wingtips were cut off, and the new ones attached.

This wasn’t a difficult task, but it did require some careful trimming to get the tips to look right.

I used a four bladed prop from my spares box, and again, I don’t know the original source. I probably left off a couple of minor details, but overall, the airplane looks like a MK. VI, and I think that is the point. Other than those factors, the kit went together like a standard Spitfire kit, and this would be a good model for anyone who hasn’t done conversions but who wants to start doing this kind of modeling.

This conversion will require the following changes:

1.       Replace kit prop with four bladed version and new spinner. (The prop from a Hasegawa Mitsubishi J2M3 Jack is what I used.)

2.      Cut off wingtips. Make new ones. Harleyford book has a good three view in 1/72 scale,

3.      Remove canopy slide tracks and side cabin door.

4.      Add a slightly longer scoop under the belly.

5.      Retain tailwheel and exhaust stacks, as these were Mk. V type.


I modeled the airplane as shown in the  Harleyford reference, which is shown in a black and white tone three view drawing in the book.  The plane is in standard 1943 colors, Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey over Medium Sea Grey, with white squadron codes, band, and spinner.  The plane operated with No. 124 Sqdn., in the UK in 1943.

No information on where the decals came from was supplied, but I have to assume this one is a combination of kit and perhaps aftermarket sheets for the various codes and/or serials. Ed.


Try doing this one. It’ll be fun, and you’ll have something different.


The Mk. VI is covered in most Spitfire histories, including Harleyford’s “Spitfire-the Story of a Famous Fighter” by Bruce Robertson; William Green”s “Fighters Vol. 2”; and Peter Moss’s “Supermarine Spitfire”, a Dulcimus publication. There is a LOT of information available on the Spitfire, so you shouldn’t have any problem with documentation. In addition, there are numerous websites that you can google for information.

Brian Baker

September 2012

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