Since many of you may have bought the 1/72 Xtrakit Spitfire 22 as it has racer decals, heres a short review.
First is the question of which late Spitfire to buy, and the answer is really……any of them. The Admiral kit has better wing shape, but poor cowling bulges. The new Airfix has poorer surface detail than the Xtrakit , but the Xtrakit has fit problems, and a poor spinner. On the whole I don’t think it matters a lot, they are all very good and all will build up into a nice Spitfire 22/24. Since the Xtrakit was nice and cheap and has decals for racers, that’s the one I chose.
The Xtrakit Spitfire 22 is dimensionally accurate, my only complaint is that the wing tips need squaring off a bit, which is easily done. Surface detail is lovely, amongst the best I’ve seen. The biggest problem is poor fit, some filling and sanding is necessary, but everything is relative, it’s a lot better than the Fujimi kit, which I thought was wonderful a few years ago.
The reviewer in Scale aircraft modeller international mentioned that his Spitfire ended up with a bent rear fuselage, so I was extra careful when I glued that up, but I can’t say I see any crookedness, it’s perfectly straight. The rudder doesn’t match up to the fuselage for some reason, maybe I screwed up, but I had to do add a bit of plastic and sand to fit, to avoid a gap.
The prize is taken by the propeller and spinner, it’s made up of a dozen small parts, and they don’t fit. I was building a HobbyBoss Mustang at the same time, and the difference in parts count is stunning, but that’s just something you have to accept, if it keeps the kit cheap and accurate, fine by me, and HobbyBoss kits are fun too, in a different way.
The canopy needed a lot of carving to make it sit nicely on the fuselage, I should have replaced it with a vac canopy, as it’s the weakest part of the finished model.
There are three photos of the same Spitfire PK542 flown by Jeffery Quill in the Kings cup race 1951 on the net. Apparently they changed the style of marking during the race or between races. I built the one with white squares behind the number, at least there is a photo of it, I still haven’t seen one with the red circle, like the box-art, how do they know it’s red not dark yellow anyway? What looks very wrong is those four beautiful canon, on the net photos they look like it had the later four canon stubs. In fact I found more photos of PK542, it did a photo flight with the Supermarine Scimitar prototype, and on those it’s obvious that it had the short canon stubs. So I’m sorry, but those had to go.
The Spitfire 22 had 4 inch longer u/c leg, and raked forward a bit more than most Spitfires . I’m not sure if I got mine right, as the Xtrakit certainly didn’t have a well engineered undercarriage fit, it was a bit of a happening!
Decals are super thin and nicely printed, though I think the small black texts turn out a little dominant. Something to think about is that they stick very well, but also very fast, after 2 seconds they can’t be moved.
For painting, I tried something new, I mixed Klear/future and SNJ powder, sprayed on, this gave a very fine and tough finish. To liven things up I painted some panels with Alclad white alu and Alclad semi-matt. The nose panels are darker on photos, I thought the nose might be in natural metal, it’s difficult to see on photos, so I did a sort of compromise, by first covering with kitchen foil, and then brushing and buffing on SNJ powder, it takes the shine off the foil, but you can still sense the aluminium underneath, it worked rather well I think.
I see this kit is still on sale at Hannants for £6, that’s a bargain in my opinion!