Airfix 1/72 Spitfire PR.XIX Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||August 2009||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||2017||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple build, unique mark||Cons||One piece windscreen and canopy|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (BP)||£5.69 (about $9.30 USD)|
The history of the Supermarine Spitfire and its contribution to the defense of Britain and the air war in general is well documented in articles and reviews on the subject. The Spitfire Mk.V was initially intended to be an interim design while waiting for the parts/resources for the Mark III. The Mark V was essentially a Mark I/II airframe with a Merlin 45 engine replacing the Merlin XX. This 'interim' solution wound up being the second-most numerous variant of the Spitfire, the most numerous version being the Mk.IX.
The Spitfire PR.XIX was the first and last Griffon-powered reconnaissance variant of the Spitfire family. The PR.XIX was rolled out in late 1944 and was an unarmed aircraft equipped with two downward viewing cameras and a portside oblique camera behind the pilot. Extra internal fuel and a pressurized cockpit allowed the PR.XIX to safely reconnoiter remaining enemy dispositions and movements prior to the end of World War Two.
Airfix has tooled up one of the best renditions of the Spitfire PR.XIX to date. The kit is all new-tool and features nicely scribed details. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts.
The airframe is set up properly out of the box as Griffon-powered PR.XIX and not using a series of mix and match parts to create the variant. You can clearly see the wings lack guns as well as the ammo bay hatches on the top of the wing. The ventral camera holes are molded into the lower wing part as is the camera port aft of the cockpit.
The kit features a nicely tooled cockpit interior which would look nice from the outside but for one problem - the canopy, windscreen, and rear transparencies are all molded as one part, you don't have the option of posing the aircraft with the canopy open. While the clear parts are nicely clear, they'll distort or obscure any serious detail work you might put into that cockpit. There is an optional pilot figure included in the kit which would be visible. No decal is provided for the instrument panel.
The kit provides a seperately molded rudder, so you can pose it is something other than neutral position. The elevators, flaps, and ailerons are molded in place in the neutral position.
While the kit does provide parts to make it easy to pose the aircraft with its landing gear up, it does something I haven't seen in a while for the gear down option - the gear strut and gear door are molded as one part. The wheels are separate parts. While this might make assembly easier, it takes away from some of the detailing and will require a little more care in painting to hide this molding compromise.
The kit comes with markings for two examples:
- PR.XIX, PS888, RAF
- PR.XIX, 31040, Swedish Air Force
Kudos to Airfix for releasing this unique variant. This is another nice addition to their easy-to-build series that also feature a very reasonable retail price.
My sincere thanks to Airfix for this review sample!