1/32 Spitfire MkXIV using Paragon Designs conversion.."A beginer's tale"
by Steve Siviter

I thought that I would pluck up the courage to share my tale with you good people at LSP because it is this site that has inspired me to take on this project in the first place. It's not been long since I came across this website just a few months back after re-discovering model making as a hobby, and more importantly, aircraft in wonderful 1/32 scale.

I think that it is fairly true to say that from the point of someone who has always built kits straight from the box, it can be somewhat daunting to consider taking on a major conversion project. When a novice like myself stumbles across a website like LSP, and sees the incredibly detailed works that regular contributors display on the site, it is quite easy to sit back and say "I could never do that!"

Well folks, this is the point of my article here, to say to any novice who is in any way apprehensive about attempting a conversion that it can be done. Believe in yourself and just give it a go!! I have been truly impressed by the level of support that exists on the LSP website between everybody. It's great to know that if you're stuck for something, be it a kit or missing part, a decal sheet or just some advice, there will always be a queue of fellow modellers ready to offer their help. For a novice, or someone who has come back to the hobby, this can be quit heart warming….I am truly glad that I re-discovered 1/32 scale and the LSP website.

The Project.

I have always been fascinated to the point of obsession by WW2 aircraft, their history and the people that flew them. The apple of my eye has always been Mitchell's masterpiece, the Spitfire, and the MkXIV in particular has always been my favourite mark of this aircraft. I've always wanted to attempt a large scale model of the MkXIVe variant with the low back and clipped wings, but never had the confidence to do this until now.

Here are a few points about the project;

  • This is the first conversion that I have undertaken in any scale.
  • The first time that I have used resin and brass etched parts.
  • The first time that I have scratch built anything.
  • First time I have attempted to scribe panel lines.
  • And for the paint job, the first time that I will use an airbrush.
Me'thinks that I have bitten more off than I can chew, so be gentle with me!!! But all the hints and tips that I have picked up off of LSP have given me the confidence to give it a go….

The kit is based on the trusty old Hasegawa MkVb and is so far about half way through to completion. I used the Paragon Designs MkXIVe conversion set along with Warbirds Productions Universal C wing modified to an E wing. Cannon blisters and cannons came from Airwaves and the cockpit was enhanced using Eduard's photo etched set along with a few items from Waldron's cockpit placard set. Scratch built items have so far included cockpit items peculiar to the MkXIV, details inside the fuselage behind the camera ports, and the radiators. I think that I mistakenly got MkIX radiators with the Paragon set that I bought as the shape was all wrong for a MkXIV. They checked out far too shallow in depth and lacked that head-on square appearance. I elected to build these from plastic card and I am now much happier with the look of the model.

These photo's show the progress to date, and just for reference, the windshield is a spare early external bullet proof glass type tacked on to check the fit over the forward fuselage fuel tank cover. I still have a bit of work to do before I can spray, such as a few more panel lines and my plan to fashion the wing fillets from foil panels (another first!!) I am a little stuck for colour schemes at the moment for low-back, clipped winged MkXIVs as I haven't found that many photographs of this type. One option I have so far is an aircraft called "Fochinell" of 2 Squadron. Anyone else have any ideas??

I feel quite pleased so far with my progress, but know that I have made many mistakes that I would rectify on future models. There are probably all manner of gaffes and cock-ups on this model, but hey, you have to start somewhere. What I do know is that I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have attempted so far, and that is the whole point of the hobby anyway. I can't wait to tackle the next projects that I have lined up, namely a MkIXc and a Mk21, both courtesy of Vasko at Warbirds Productions, whose conversions for the Spitfire I cannot praise highly enough. Whether or not this model ends up in the bin or not is irrelevant, I'm just glad that I re-discovered the hobby and the LSP website. I had forgotten how much fun 1/32 scale modelling is, and all in this time when big scale modellers have so much to look forward to…I'm glad to be back.

So to conclude…if you are a novice to conversions, don't worry, just give it a go. You might just surprise yourself. Steve Siviter.

© Steve Siviter

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