Iconicair | Supermarine Spiteful F.14
Reviewed by Ray Peterson
Note: This was Iconicair’s first release and I should have done this review before the Seafang’s. Part of this review will be about the difference in parts which will make it sound like this is the latter kit, but it is actually the reverse.
The Spiteful was an attempt to get more speed and roll rate from a Spitfire by combining the fuselage from a Spitfire with laminar flow wings. Think love-child of a Spitfire and a Mustang. Anyway, the first prototype was basically a XIV fuselage with the new wings. Hence, the F.14 designation. The wing was set farther forward to correct center of gravity problems. This first prototype crashed due to aileron control rods jamming under G load conditions.
Speeds of about 25mph increase were achieved but it was found low speed handling was worse than a standard Spitfire and dirt on the wing could bring the speed down by as much as 50mph. With the Royal Navy selection of the Seafire 47 and the advent of jet fighters, the Spiteful and Seafang were doomed. Orders were cancelled and all existing airframes scrapped. The wings were later incorporated into the Supermarine Attacker design.
So enter Iconicair. They are the first manufacturer to offer the Spiteful and its naval sister the Seafang in 1/32nd scale. Iconair claims they are the first to produce this aircraft off of original data. I have no references on the Spiteful or Seafang so don’t have much to go one other than pictures on the internet. Shapes do appear consistent with those pictures. The kit was produced in CAD and then the original pattern apparently machined or printed as some of the interior, unseen, faces of the parts have tell-tale machine marks.
The kit is presented in a nicely produced 8” x 12” x 2” box with full color artwork on the boxtop. It is a multi-media affair, consisting of 121 parts. These include 90 resin parts, 2 clear resin parts, 5 clear plastic laser-cut parts, 6 white metal parts (landing gear), and 8 PE parts. Also included is a sheet of decals with artwork for one scheme and tail codes for ten different aircraft (with large underwing ID for three aircraft), and an eighteen-page A4 instruction booklet.
The resin parts are all extremely well cast, most with small casting nubs, which should make construction similar to building an injection-molded kit. Only the smallest parts need the most attention, as they will need care in removing them from their casting strips. Detail includes some rivet and fastener detail which is fine and crisp. Don’t forget to sand with water and/or use a dust mask to keep the intake of resin dust to a minimum.
The fuselage is conventionally cast with thin walls. The engine compartment is made up of an inner frame with four panels enclosing it plus two parts containing the twelve exhaust outlets. Different chin intakes are provided with a choice of the early, Spitfire style intake, and the later aircraft with enlarged intake with corresponding cowl panels.
Wings are partially solid, with separate panels at the wheel wells to allow undercuts and detail on the faces of the wing structure. Any plumbing at the join or wheel-wells would have to be added, if you can find and photos to go by? Since the wings are similar, possibly references on the Attacker may be used since they are supposed to have similar wings as previously mentioned. Control surfaces, with the exception of the rudder, are all cast in their neutral positions.
The cockpit is well detailed, made up of about forty parts, plus decals. Again, wiring could be added if you can find or extrapolate reference material.
The five-bladed props are nicely done, although some filler work will need to be done on the casting seam. They are keyed to the spinner to keep them all at the same angle.
The canopy clear parts are nicely cast and are very clear. They easily pass the clarity test. There are a few scratches on my copy, probably from shipping. With a Future bath they should sparkle.
Main landing gear are done in white metal and are well cast with very little pitting and clean up needed. The metal does not appear to be too soft and I think will support the model just fine. The tailwheel is a one-piece resin affair similar to what Hasegawa typically provides, i.e. wheel and fork are one piece. PE is provided for the radiator screen faces and cockpit armor.
The decals are done by Fantasy Printshop, appear to be in good register and thin. Markings are provided for ten aircraft, NN664 and NN667, RB515 through RB518, and RB520 through RB523, with artwork provided for RB517. They provide large underwing serials for RB517, RB522 and RB223. Apparently it is unclear whether the other aircraft carried those large serials. The paint scheme is called out for Ocean Grey and Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey.
Instructions are in the form of CAD exploded view drawings with notes. They are pretty minimal but adequate if studied well. As with any resin kit – or any kit for that matter – dry-fitting should be done to catch any problems and familiarize the builder with the assembly.
In summary, this is a professionally done kit of a very esoteric aircraft from the immediate post-war era. Along with a late-war bubbletop Spitfire XIV and its sister kit, the Seafang, one could make a nice display of the evolution of Supermarine designs. When the Attacker comes out, it would be an interesting display, indeed.
Available direct from Iconicair.
© Ray Peterson 2016
This review was published on Saturday, April 16 2016; Last modified on Saturday, April 16 2016