Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XII
Airfix 1/48 scale
u m m a r y
|Description and Catalogue Number:
||Airfix A05117 - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XII
|Contents and Media:
96 parts in grey injection moulded plastic; six parts in clear plastic; markings for two aircraft
From £13.33 plus shipping available online from Hannants
||Well detailed; accurate outline; useful options; straightforward construction; clever engineering for parts such as pen canopy; comprehensive decals; improved surface detail.
||This is the first time that we have seen a long-run injection moulded kit in 1/48 scale of a Spitfire Mk.XII, and Airfix has delivered a good 'un.
Reviewed by Brett Green
The Spitfire Mk. XII was the first Griffon powered Spitfire to see operational service. It was desinged primarily to combat the hit and run raids against the east coast of England.
With clipped wings and a single stage two speed blown 36 litre engine, it had the performance required to deal with these surface hugging raiders at low altitude.
Only 100 Spitfire Mk.XIIs were built, and these were issued to only two Squadrons – Nos. 41 and 91. No Mk. XIIs left England, and they operated solely in the defensive role.
Until now, there have been no long-run injection moulded kits of this landmark fighter in 1/48 scale. We have had a vacform conversion from Falcon (which I built around 20 years ago), a resin conversion from Bringuier (also many years ago) and a short-run injection moulded conversion from Aeroclub for the more recent Hasegawa Spitfire Mk.IX.
Enter Airfix with their all-new 1/48 scale Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XII kit.
The new Airfix Spitfire XII comprises 96 parts in light grey plastic, six parts in clear and markings for two aircraft.
Moulding quality is very good indeed. The satin texture of the overall surface is less pronounced than the last couple of Airfix releases, and moulding imperfections are rare.
Surface detail is by way of recessed panel lines. Unlike other recent Airfix releases, the lines are relatively narrow - a definite improvement. Control surface fabris texture is fairly subtle too.
Detail is good.
The cockpit featutres the correct "bottomless" floor, with separate parts for the various bulkheads, the seat and an instrument panel with simple but effective recessed dials. Decals are not supplied for the dials, which I think is a bit of a missed opportunity. The seat is moulded with the flare rack across the front. Check your references to see whetehr the Mk.XII was actually fitted with this feature. I believe that the rack was discontinued near the beginning of the run of the Mk.IX, in which case it will be a simple matter to cut it off.
A pilot figure with separate arms is included.
The exhausts as one piece for each side. The outlets are solid, so a little time with the sharp end of a hobby knife will be required to hollow them out.
The shapes of the sometimes tricky spinner and propeller blades look pretty good in this kit.
Control surfaces are all supplied separately, including the flaps. Keep in mind though that, unless the aircraft was being serviced, the flaps were generally not seen deployed other than while landing. The port and starboard elevators are moulded as a single part so you can't accidentally pose them out of alignment.
The narrow wing bulges are moulded as part of the wing - another common alignment problem bites the dust!
The main wheels are bulged and flattened, but a second set of unflattened wheel halves (the lower halves only) and alternate undercarriage legs are supplied for raised undercarriage - nice touch.
Two tail wheel assembled are offered - fixed (early) or retracting (late).
A three part clear canopy is supplied for the closed option. If you want to pose the canopy open, Airfix has a novel solution. The middle (sliding) section is actually moulded as part of the rear (fixed) section. The illusion is that the middle section is over the rear section. Some tricky painting may be required, but I like this unique idea.
A separate entry door is provided, but if you wish to use this in the open position you will need to carefully cut out the equivalent section moulded into the port side fuselage.
The gunsight and a lower wing landing light are also supplied as clear parts.
Parts breakdown is conventional, with locating pins and other devices that make this model perfectly appropriate for even less experienced modellers.
Two marking options are offered. Both are finished in standard Day Fighter Scheme of Ocean Grey and Dark Green upper surfaces witg Medium Sea Grey underneath. The spinner and fusleage band are Sky.
The decals are in register and show no sign of pixellation.
The decals are flat in finish.
The new Airfix 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.XII is welcome for a number of reasons. For a start, as the first long-run injection kit of the type in this scale, it will be easier to build than a conversion or a limited run kit.
It is also nice to see that this Spitfire is genuinely all-new, and that it introduces a number of improvements and innovations compared to the earlier 1/48 scale Mk.I and Mk.IXc kits. The surface texture is better for a start, and the panel line detail is noticeably finer and crisper.
The full-span elevators, the alternate up-or-down landing gear, the choice of fixed or retracting tail wheel and the clever open canopy arrangement are all nice touches too, and suggest that Airfix is geuninely interested in giving modellers something a bit different.
We may not be back to Airfix's halcyon days of the Spitfire 24 and the Seafire 47, but we are most definitely seeing progress in that direction.
Airfix has already announced a Seafire Mk.17 that we should see in a few months. I wonder what will follow that?
Whatever it is, I am looking forward to it!
Sample purchased by reviewer.
Text and Images Copyright © 2011 by Brett Green
Page Created 18 February, 2011
18 February, 2011
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