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Spiteful

Trumpeter 1/48 Supermarine Spiteful XIV Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2012 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Supermarine Spiteful XIV Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2850 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Simple build Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $34.95

First Look

Spiteful
Spiteful
Spiteful
Spiteful
Spiteful

Several years into World War II, Supermarine had learned from flight test and operational combat data that the Spitfire's wing was reaching its structural limit. As the first Griffon-powered Spitfires were entering service, it was becoming increasingly apparent that a new wing would be required to make use of the otherwise robust engine and airframe combination. The answer was to rewing a Spitfire XIV and this new wing, coupled with the Griffon engine and a larger vertical stabilizer, would become the Spiteful. The first Spiteful model was the Mk.XIV, carrying on from the Spitfire it started with. While 150 Spitefuls were placed on order, only a few were completed before attention was turned to turbine-powered fighters like the Meteor.

While the RAF was clearly moving forward with turbine-power, the Royal Navy was not convinced that the slow spool-up of the turbine engine would be suitable for carrier operations. For that reason, the Spiteful Mk.XV was modified for carrier use including counter-rotating propellers, a tail hook and folding wingtips. The resulting design became the Seafang which was also ordered but ultimately cancelled after a few airframes were completed due to the end of the war and viable carrier-capable turbine-powered aircraft designs.

Trumpeter surprised a number of folks with the announcement of this Supermarine Spiteful kit in 1/48 scale. While not the first to be produced in styrene, it is certainly one of the less expensive options available. Let's take a look:

This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details. There is no sign of over-engineering in this kit and there are some nice options.

Among the highlights of this kit:

  • Nicely laid out cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Photo-etched radiator grilles for the under-wing radiators
  • Positionable radiator flaps
  • Optional photo recce camera port side and behind the cockpit
  • Wheel wells and landing gear look good

As you can see from the images and features, this will be a straightforward build without any complexities and even a modeler with basic skills can tackle this kit with the only need for cyano being the installation of the photo-etched radiator inserts.

Markings are included for three examples:

  • Spiteful Mk.XIV, RB518, RAF
  • Spiteful Mk.XIV, H83, RNAF
  • Spiteful Mk.XIV, SU-213, Finnish AF

This is a nice looking kit and provides an interesting contrast to the standard Spitfire with that new wing. The inclusion of the Finnish and Netherlands markings options are a nice plus should you want to model a different color scheme.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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