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|
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!