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Iconicair 1/32 Supermarine Spiteful F14


JeroenPeters
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Iconicair Supermarine Spiteful F14

1:32 scale

 

Resin kit with white metal parts and photo etched steel parts

 

Manufacturer: Iconicair

 

Available for € 115 directly from Iconicair. 

 

Kit number: not issued

 

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Who is Iconicair?

Founded by fellow modeller Graham French  Iconicair aims to provide quality resin conversion sets and kits. The first product was a replacement cowling set and spinner cone for the Matchbox/Revell Spitfire 22/24. This set really improves the look of the ancient Spitfire. After that a very detailed battery starter was produced. Following these sets we have the company’s first complete resin kit. Shortly after Telford the kit became available. Since some items of the kit have been altered and improved such as the design of the wings, wheelbays and canopy.

 

Design and development of the Spiteful

By 1942, Supermarine designers had realised that the aerodynamics of the Spitfire's wing at high Mach numbers might become a limiting factor in increasing the aircraft's high-speed performance. The main problem was the aeroelasticity of the Spitfire's wing; at high speeds the relatively light structure behind the strong leading edge torsion box would flex, changing the airflow and limiting the maximum safe diving speed to 480 mph (772 km/h) IAS.  If the Spitfire were to be able to fly higher and faster, a radically new wing would be needed.

Joseph Smith and the design team were aware of a paper on compressibility, published by A D Young of the R.A.E, in which he described a new type of wing section; the maximum thickness and camber would be much nearer to the mid-chord than conventional airfoils and the nose section of this airfoil would be close to an ellipse. In November 1942 Supermarine issued Specification No 470 which (in part) stated:

A new wing has been designed for the Spitfire with the following objects: 1) To raise as much as possible the critical speed at which drag increases, due to compressibility, become serious. 2) To obtain a rate of roll faster than any existing fighter. 3) To reduce wing profile drag and thereby improve performance.

The wing area has been reduced to 210 sq ft (20 m2) and a thickness chord ratio of 13% has been used over the inner wing where the equipment is stored. Outboard the wing tapers to 8% thickness/chord at the tip.

Specification 470 described how the wing had been designed with a simple straight-tapered planform to simplify production and to achieve a smooth and accurate contour. The wing skins were to be relatively thick, aiding torsional rigidity which was needed for good aileron control at high speeds. Although the prototype was to have a dihedral of 3° it was intended that this would be increased in subsequent aircraft. Another change, to improve the ground-handling, was replacing the Spitfire's narrow-track, outward-retracting undercarriage with a wider-track, inward-retracting system. (This eliminated a weakness in the original Spitfire design, giving the new plane similar, safer landing characteristics, comparable to the Hurricane, Typhoon, Tempest, Mustang, and Focke-Wulfe 190.) The Air Ministry were impressed by the proposal and, in February 1943, issued Specification F.1/43 for a single-seat fighter with a laminar flow wing; there was also to be provision made for a wing folding scheme to meet possible Fleet Air Arm requirements. The new fighter was to use a fuselage based on a Spitfire VIII. See further Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spiteful

 

What’s in the box

 The kit arrived in a sturdy cardboard box, tailermade for the kit. Artwork is done by Pavel Rampir and shows two Spitfuls in fight with one banking away. Excellent protection for bumpy voyages or hamfisted postmen. The kit itself is packed in a relatively small cardboard box, but filled to the brim with resin. Bubble Wrap serves as a further protection of the kit parts. Upon opening you are greeted by several re-sealing plastic bags containing the resin parts.

 

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Bag #1

This contains the detail parts for the cockpit, wheelbays, cannon barrels, (tail)wheel doors, tailwheel leg and tyre. Mainwheels and spinner backplate.  The really small parts are again sealed in a small plastic bag. Every effort has been made to protect the fragile resin parts. These parts require minimal cleanup and no bubbles or faults were found on our sample.

 

Pitot, Cannon barrels...

 

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One piece tailwheel.

 

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Bulkhead, Canopy framing... These were significantly different than on the Spitfire.

 

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Cockpit details...

 

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Spinner backplate, gear doors... Note the holes in the spinner backplate to accommodate the Prop blade lugs.

 

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Very nice three piece instrument panel, Spade stick, seat....

 

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Wheels (not weighted) with nice separate hubs... 

 

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Bag #2

This contains both main fuselage halves, without tail and nose pieces.  The parts really look like injected moulded parts and are commendably thin. There is some slight flash present but this cleans up very easily.

Testfitting shows some irregular edges but when sanded slightly the fit is very precise. Our sample had no shrinking. The surface is slighty rough which needs to be polished. Normal practice in this type of kit. Fasteners are present but no rivets. Quite a contrast with the 1/48 Trumpeter Spiteful which shows way too dramatic riveting :)

 

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Bag#3

This contains both wings, undercarriage bay walls and the underwing radiators. The wings are half solid with

Seperate inner parts, which are tacked together with tape. The quality of moulding is excellent. The wings are dead straight and the innerwing parts fit very precise. Earlier production kits had two winghalves with a long resin spar. The new set up gives a very sturdy feel to it with no sagging or warped parts.

 

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Nice fit of the radiator... 

 

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Radiator housing and insides...

 

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Bag#4

This contains the inner engine bay structure. complete fiveblade propeller with spinner cone, exhausts with hollowed out openings, the top cowling and two sets of carburetter intake options. The short version and the later one with the intake just below the spinner. Very nice touch as several types of Spiteful are possible. The top cowling part looks very accurate. According to Iconicair’s Graham French copies of original Supermarine drawings were used to prepare this important part. The Spiteful had a taller fuselage which slopes down quite sharply towards the front. The Spitfire’s is much flatter.

 

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Bag#5

This contains the tall tail characteriscially for the the Spitful with moulded on fairing piece. This is quite fragile and care should be taken to clean it up as it has to fit snugly on the rear end of the fuselage. Some pouring stubs are present which have to be removed. There is some flash present but equally easily cleaned up with a knife. The large span tailplanes are one piece. The seperate rudder complete this package. Detailing is very nice with subtle rivetting and engraved panellines. For a first attempt this kit ouzes quality and attention to detail. 

 

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Note the stepped trim tab on the rudder to compensate for the prop's rotation force...

 

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Bag#6

This contains the white metal undercarriage legs and retraction jacks. Some slight cleaning up is needed but nothing serious. Quality of detail is excellent. A further small bag holds a piece of thick clear perspex. This is intended to fit between the insturment panel and the instrument decals to represent the clear glass. A nice touch. Finally a steel etch set is included for the radiator faces and armour plate behind the seat and head armour for the pilot. No seat belts are included. Strange but easily solved with a set of HGW Sutton harnes. 

 

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Instrument panel glass...

 

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The tube (tube? Yes the tube)

This contains the seperately packed clear resin windscreen and canopy. Clarity is excellent with no imperfections. Removing these needs some very careful work. But they really look like injected clear plastic. Maybe even better. If you wish you could do some polishing and dipping in future (or similar). If you look carefully you can see traces of the drilling machine that mastered these. Clearly showing this kit was designed in 3D software.

 

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Decals

These are printed by the Fantasy Printshop, and although relatively small in size have options for ten different Spitfuls. The few completed airframes only bore basic RAF markings such as roundels and fin flashes. Stencils are provided as well. A nice touch. Yellow dots and stencil markings are provided for the Rotol propeller blades The main instrument panel decals complete this package.

 

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Instructions

Even these are sealed in a plastic bag and are A4 in size. 8 pages are stapled together. On the front we have a black and white photograph of a built Spiteful . The first page has a concise history of the Spiteful. The second has notes on safety while working with resin and how to join the parts. Either CA or five minute epoxy is recommended. Cleaning the parts to remove mould residue is mandatory for paint adhesion. The instructions are very nicely computer drawn reproduced. In simple steps the modeller is guided how to assemble the kit parts. Fitting of the cockpit items is shown in detail with measurements in mm for correct placement. Every effort is being made to make the modellers’life easier.

 

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Not fifty shades of grey

The last three pages have painting instructions showing the standard ocean grey/dark green camouflage with  medium sea grey undersides. The demarcation lines are very sharp with no overspray. These aircraft were not much flown so very little weathering was present. The instructions clearly show the camouflage pattern, although  not to scale. The markings are shown in colour making decal placement very easy.

 

Conclusion

We have here a very complete resin kit of a very unique aircraft type. The only thing missing is a set of late type seatbelts. But there are plenty of aftermarket sets available. Why a Spiteful you would say?Although the type started as a Spitfire fuselage with laminair wings, it grew into a completely new type. This kit fills a gap in a collection of the Spitfire family or late generation piston engined fighters.

 

This is a resin kit, so it takes some skill to assemble it. We consider this Spiteful a very good choice for a first resin kit. Since this kit was released Iconicair has revealed that a Seafang (naval Spiteful) and Attacker (jet Spiteful) are being worked on too. Great news for Fleet Air Arm modellers.

 

Very highly recommended

 

Our sincere thanks to Iconiciar for the review sample.

 

This kit is availlable for purchase directly from Iconicair.

 

Cees Broere and Jeroen Peters

 

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Mine arrived yesterday. I've not done a lot of research yet, but it appears that only five of these were ever flown, one being converted to an FXVI with a more powerful Griffon. I also noted that one machine was used for initial Royal Navy trials (I believe this was NN667) .  I'm curious about the interior colour, was this the usual RAF grey green or black?

Incidentally the kit looks fabulous and Graham was superb in keeping me updated as to delivery etc.

.

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