Airfix 1:72 Mk1a Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of World War 2. Though there were dozens of variants made over the course of the war, the Mk1a used in the Battle of Britain was really the one that captured the heart of the public.

Though the Hawker Hurricane was used to down the bombers sent by the Luftwaffe, it was the Spitfire that was sent to engage the bomber’s fighter escorts, Messerschmitt’s 109, in daring gladiatorial dogfights. As the civilians in the air raid shelters below waited for the ‘all clear’ to sound, they knew that the pots, pans and other scrap metal they had donated would be high above them now, keeping them safe.

In post war years the Spitfire has become a symbol of British victory. Up and coming kit manufacturer Airfix picked the Mk1 Spitfire to be their first aircraft kit, which was released in 1955. Ever since it has been a staple of Airfix’s line up, millions of Spitfire kits have sold, in various scales and variations, and the Spitfire has become synonymous with the Airfix brand.

However, I’ve never built one, and I feel that needs to change!

I’ve built a couple of Airfix’s older kits before, namely the DH.88 Comet racer ‘Grosvenor House’ and a Mitsubishi Zero. They’re very basic, but good cheap fun, and that’s what I was expecting of the Spitfire. However, at some point they’ve retooled the model and it’s actually a surprisingly well detailed little kit for the money!

Before we start, I tend to find it’s best to prime the sprues before assembly. Here they were primed grey, but you’ll probably find it easier to prime the kit white as the undercarriage of a lot of Spitfires were mostly white. There will be a couple of pointers that I make in this article so you don’t make the same mistakes I did in this build haha! I’m always learning too!

The kit comes with a full multipart interior, which is nicely detailed and goes together easily.

The instrument cluster is a waterslide transfer which happily sits in place.

The interior detailing extends to the fuselage.

I also chose to paint the insides of the wings which will be visible, as I’m building this model with the landing gear down.

The two halves of the fuselage fit together nicely. There were no signs of warping in the plastic or anything like that. I used a little filler to cover the line where the two halves of the fuselage meet.

The wings fit together really nicely. No need for any filler at all!

When I looked online, there were lots and lots of people who were suggesting different ways of masking off the interior areas that were already painted. I personally rolled up a bit of J-cloth and stuffed it into the holes. For the cockpit I also sealed the cloth in place with a bit of masking tape. It seemed to keep the paint out nicely.

I then masked up the camouflage using a ‘Pound Stretchers’ equivalent of Blu Tac. I’m not sure why the green looks quite so vibrant in this pic.

The blu tac works well as a mask but does leave a lot of residue. I found that you can wipe the residue off with a cloth that’s been sprayed with WD40.

I then really neglected my photography and just finished the model haha! There are couple of other notes I’d like to add before showing you the finished product.

Firstly the Spitfire has a lot of curves and some of the larger decals provided with the kit don’t always like to stick to them. A little Humbrol Decalfix (or equivalent) really helps keep them in place.

Masking up and painting canopies is another topic that a lot of different modellers have a different solution for. Personally I use The Army Painter’s ‘Insane Detail’ brush and a steady hand. The Army Painter brushes are expensive, but they last really well and I use the Insane Detail brush a lot! It’s a good investment.

Finally, I only did a tiny bit of weathering on this kit. I added a bit of black soot behind the exhausts with a black pigment.

All in all I think this a great value little kit, for both a beginner and a more advanced modeller looking for a fun weekend project.

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By Richard Francis


  1. Good job,, really well done. Last year I put one Spitfire together, a 1:72 from Tamiya but I got the camo collor wrong. But better than your kit is your text about the Spitfire, really well writen.

    1. Thanks! I built a Tamiya Bell X1 a couple of years ago. They make lovely little kits

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