ACADEMY


1/48 Academy Spitfire Mk 14E


Review by David Harvey


Catalogue Number:

No 2161

Scale:

1:48

Contents and Media:

83

Price:

$26 +

Decals:

One choice

Review Type:

Build up

Today I will be doing a build up of the Academy Spitfire MK14e with replacement decals for a RAAF aircraft from Red Roo Decals.

Instruction sheet

Academy provides a clear set of instructions that is quite good for constructing the kit straight from the box. The construction stages are logical and for the most part easily understood and clear. The only problem I have with them is the clarity of some of the position of parts, they are a bit ambiguous if you have not made a Spitfire before. The painting instructions are pretty generic and you will need to go to your references or the web to get the correct colours for the cockpit.

Construction

I started with airbrushing all of the internal components with Humbrol 78 for the British Interior green. As the cockpit is in fact very minimal you can go to town on the scratch building if you want but I was doing a straight OOB for something different. I painted the instrument panel Black and then picked out the instruments with Matt white and a little drybrushing. The cockpit also received a wash of very thin matt Black to bring out the depth and then I dry brushed the interior of the cockpit with a successive series of lighter shades of Interior green. I lightened the green with matt white as I feel that this looks better and more realistic than using yellow. The one real point of Reference versus the Instruction is the painting of the seat for the aircraft. From Reference Photos I have seen and articles I have read they all seem to point towards the seat of late model Spitfires having a red Bakelite seat. I decided to paint the seat the Interior Green as I did have a picture of the MK14E and I couldn’t match the colour. Academy provides extra parts for the interior that can’t be seen for the aircraft i’m doing, eg cameras and air tanks, as they are hidden behind paintwork and the pilots seat. There is not a great deal of the interior of the cockpit that can be seen so you can do as much or as little as you want in it. The camera covers don’t fit that well in the fuselage and needed a bit of filling to make them look part of the fuselage. On the real aircraft they were often faired over by the units if they were not going to be used as camera aircraft.

I then moved onto putting the fuselage together. The fuselage goes together relatively easy with only a small amount of filler to smooth out the joint line. The area on the top of the engine was the hardest to remove all trace of joint line and there is still a faint line there. I also realised after I painted the aircraft that I needed to rescribe the panel lines I destroyed while filing. The exhausts were left till after I had painted the aircraft and also had the end of them hollowed out for a bit more realism. I next constructed the one part that I would definitely replace if I make another of this kit, the propeller (Aeroclub make replacement metal blades). The blades are poorly shaped and just don’t look right, but as I was making this OOB I used the kit prop blades. I airbrushed the tips of the blades with Humbrol Matt white (primer grey can also be used) and then sprayed on a coat of Matt Yellow. This process gives the Yellow one base colour as it is not the best covering colour. I left the propeller assembly off for attaching after the painting had been finished.

The wheel assemblies went together easily and were painted as per the instructions. The tail planes required a small amount of filing to remove some fine seams on the edges but when fitted to the fuselage there was no requirement for filler. The wings have hatches in them to allow for the wing cannon to be exposed if you so desire. I wasn’t going to use the cannon as the gun bays would require too much detailing to make them presentable. When the hatches were fitted I discovered that they required a bit of filler to make them blend into the wing. When I fitted the wing assembly to the fuselage it required only minimal filler to make it blend in. The area at the rear of the wing group that fits into the fuselage required some filler and rescribing as it wouldn’t come together or fit properly. The area where the wings join the fuselage at the leading edge also require filling and sanding to blend it in.

I then fitted all of the smaller parts prior to masking the aircraft for painting including the front section of the canopy. I left off the main canopy, wheels and propeller for ease of masking and painting.

Painting

Prior to masking off the aircraft for the camouflage pattern, I spray painted the underside of it with Humbrol 165 to match the Medium Sea Grey used by the RAF. When this had dried I used Scotch Tape to mark of the demarcation line between the Medium Sea Grey underneath and the Ocean Grey top colour. I then used Humbrol 164 to spray the upper areas of the aircraft. After this had dried for a day or two I cut out some paper masks and taped them to the fuselage by cutting squares in the paper and using scotch tape to hold them down through the mask. I sourced the paper masks by enlarging the kit plans on a photocopier till they were approximately the right size. Once this was done I sprayed the Humbrol 163 Green over the masks ensuring that the mask had a slight lift along the edge so that I could get a very tight feathered edge to the demarcation lines without the paint buildup that just using tape as the mask can bring along. I had also masked off the canopy with scotch tape and airbrushed them with the appropriate colours. The difference in demarcation lines can be seen by comparing the tail planes to the rest of the aircraft camouflage. The tail plane was masked with tape whilst the rest used the paper mask.

After a few days drying time I sprayed the whole kit with several coats of unthinned Pledge ‘One Go’ so the decals would have a smooth base to go onto. For some reason the main canopy took exception to me polishing it with toothpaste and crazed up. I then had to file the canopy to remove the majority of the crazing followed by 1200 Grit wet and dry then toothpaste and a cotton bud to remove any remaining scratches. Once I had achieved a reasonable polish to it I dipped the canopy in ‘One Go’ again to remove the last bit of fog from the canopy. This time it worked ok!

Decals

Once again a few days passed to allow the ‘One Go’ to dry prior to the application of the decals. For this model I didn’t really want to use the kit decals as I wanted to do an Australian aircraft. For this I went to a set produced by Red Roo Decals and picked up the set of decals for the aircraft of SQNLDR Graham Falconer, 451 SQN RAAF, Germany 1945. I have used a number of sets of Red Roo decals and usually have no problems with them, this time I managed to destroy a couple of the roundels. I initially put down a good layer of Microsol Decal solvent and slid a wing roundel onto the wing. The problem was that it slid onto the wing then promptly refused to move into place. I ended up tossing two of the roundels and replacing them with some that Grant Elliot sent me after I placed a plea for some replacement decals here. I ended up just using plain water in a puddle where I wanted the decal to go so it could move a bit. I used the kit decals for stencils and the aircraft data, this has turned out to be a slight problem as they silvered in a few spots. I was forced to use my ultimate decal solvent to try and fix them after they refused to settle down with MicroSol. For my ultimate solution I use Humbrol Liquid Poly in very small quantities. I put one coat over the decal then leave it to dry as it is pretty vicious stuff.

**WARNING** this method needs testing prior to using on big obvious decals like wing roundels as it does melt decals so they mould into panel lines and does damage some types of decals **WARNING**.

After the decals had had a few days to dry out I then sprayed the model with a coat of Humbrol Matt Varnish to blend the decals in and achieve the Matt finish that I wanted. The ‘One Go’ and the Matt Varnish also change the tones of the paints and makes them look good on this aircraft.

 

Weathering

I'm not a big fan of extreme weathering and prefer to use only a light amount of weathering to bring out the panel lines. For this I just used Humbrol Matt Black thinned right out with turps and run along the panel lines with a fine brush. After a few minutes I get a chux that has a small amount of thinners on it and wipe off the excess wash in the direction of the airflow. This brings out the panel lines and bolts as well as gives the impression of oil leaks being blown back along the aircraft. After weathering the aircraft I glued all of the remaining parts on and the kit was as good as finished.

 

 

 

 

Summary

I had planned to make this kit in a few days but thanks to work and other things getting in the way it took quite a bit longer than that. I enjoyed making this kit as it was relatively easy build that turns into not a bad looking model. There is an update set for the kit made by ‘Rons Resin’ for around $38 that corrects the nose and other areas of the kit that are apparently incorrect. The decals by Red Roo once they were on the aircraft were quite thin and are hard to see under a coat of Matt Varnish. Apart from the propeller I would not really worry about anything else as it looks good as is and paints up well.


 

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