1/24 Airfix Spitfire Mk.IA Part 1

by Massimo Moruzzi




This Spitfire seems to be one of the oldest 1/24 Airfix kits: molding is not very accurate and a bit of work is needed to fit some parts together; anyway, I did not check all the plane dimensions, feeling that overall scaling was good enough for me.

Instruction sheet is well detailed, except for painting hints that are very poor.

Colors I will refer to are all Humbrol Enamels; painting is done using bristle brush only.



I decided to reproduce the Spitfire Mk1a that I saw in London at Science Museum a few years ago; this is P9444 Spitfire marked “RN-D” that flew for Squadron 72 “Basutoland”; unfortunately, I did not take very useful shots of the real thing (I could not imagine I was to start modeling again!). Yes, the guy hiding the plane is me!



I started working with engine; additional detailing here was mainly devoted to reproducing wires and cables; I used different materials: various diameter copper wire from electrical cables, brass wire, steel wire and guitar strings; on the firewall behind engine are molded several lines; I sanded them away, then reconstructed them with copper wire painted black. Documentation for this detailing job was a set of photos of a later version of the Spit, not Mk I; moreover, I found difficult to reproduce each single cable, so my final goal was to give an overall impression of a cabled engine.

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Fitting engine cowling was quite a bit of work! The small aligning pins are very fragile, so I built new attachments, that in no way reproduce inside of the cowling but allow for easy opening/secure closing of engine bay. Alignment of the cowling is still not perfect, but after many hours of work with knife, plastic card, file and super glue (used instead of putty) I said: - ok: this will be enough for this project.
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I painted the exhaust using this technique: I gave first a coat of Gold (#16), and, when it was still wet, I brushed again with Coal Black (#85), thus mixing the two colors on the piece; I think it looks pretty fine.



I had good shots of Spitfire cockpit and tried to add several details especially to the side walls: cables are copper wire, some unpainted and other painted Beige Green (#90) like the walls inside; all the cables are glued with cyanoacrylate; switches, panels and boxes are scratch built with plastic card and sprue shaped with a file. Seat belts are toilet paper dipped in a solution of water and white glue (hint found on Rec.Models.Scale), then painted after drying and finally cut in strips; buckles are copper wire bent and painted Silver (#11). Seat cushion is again toilet paper processed as seat belt. Door opening mechanism is done with steel wire (the rods); fine wound copper wire (the coils) and plastic card (the handle and supports). I used sprue shaped with a file and a small strip of plastic card to make canopy handle. The pointing device and support supplied with the kit (the first is clear, the second is molded together with instrument panel) seem to be incorrect in shape and dimension, and are enough to vanish any effort in making a quite realistic cockpit; I found a good photo of the support, that I rebuilt from scratch using sprue and plastic card; I could not find any photo of the pointing device, so at the moment this piece is missing in my plane (nothing at all is better than the one supplied with the kit, in my humble opinion).


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Photos and text © by Massimo Moruzzi