Airfix 1/72 Spitfire 22
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
Based on the Mk 21, which itself was based on the Mk XIV, the type almost never reached production. The Mk 21 was improved with thicker wings to handle the cannon armament and a redesign of the wing itself. The flying characteristics of the Mk. 21 were so unsatisfactory that some recommended the Spitfire line be ended. However, the faults were worked out and the Mk. 21 was built, though not in the numbers hoped with only 120 being made.
The Mk 22 was identical to the Mk 21 in all respects except for the fitting of a cut-back rear fuselage and tear-drop canopy and a more powerful 24 volt electrical system in place of the 12 volt system of all earlier Spitfires. Most of the Mk 22s were built with further enlarged tail surfaces, similar to those of the Supermarine Spiteful. A total of 272 Mk 22s were built: 250 at Castle Bromwich and 27 by Supermarine at South Marston.
The Mk 22 was used by only one regular RAF unit, 73 Squadron in Malta. However 12 squadrons of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force used the variant and continued to do so until March 1951 and the aircraft was also used at Flying refresher schools. May 1955 the remaining F.22s were declared obsolete from all RAF units. Many were sold back to Vickers-Armstrongs for re-furbishment and sale to the Southern Rhodesia Air Force, Egyptian Air Force and Syrian Air Force.
This one is typical of their recent moldings in that the engraved lines are slightly less bold than on initial kits. This one, like apparently all new Airfix kits is molded in India. This is undoubtedly due to a more reliable labor force than it is a price thing as the Chinese have been notoriously difficult to rely on in many cases.
General detailing is excellent with nice interior sidewall detail and good wheel well detail. The latter is marred by ejector pin markings that, due to the depth of the wells, will be nearly impossible for most of us to remove. These pesky little buggers are also prominent on the inside of the seat, but since Airfix provides a pilot, it is assumed that this will be covered up. The kit offers the option of having the plane built in a flying mode with separate closed gear door options. A stand is offered as an option and while I have not seen any of these stands here in the US, it might not be a bad idea if some would be carried by stockists.
The interior is more than satisfactory for the scale with a nicely detailed framework, floor, control stick and instrument panel. A decal is supplied for the panel. The kit offers two canopy options, one for open and one for closed, though until Pavla or someone else comes up with an interior set, closed would be my preferred option.
Markings are included for two planes. The decal sheet is actually rather large and includes a full set of stencils. I have found Airfix decals to work well when I have used them. I am please that they got the different colors of red properly done. Anyway, the box art plane is an overall High Speed Silver lacquer and is one assigned to 603 Squadron (City of Edinburgh) in 1951. The other, in post war camouflage is from 607 Squadron (County of Durham) during 1948. It is marked as a plane that participated in the Cooper Trophy race of that year and makes for an interesting scheme. As usual all paints aside from overall are simply Humbrol numbers, requiring those who do not use or have access to Humbrol paint to hunt up a conversion chart.
While this is not the only injected Mk.22 produced in this scale (Pegasus did a short run version many years ago, and Hawk a Mk.21 even farther back than that), it is the best so far. I can easily see some of the later Spits being done using many of the same parts as this one as the differences were not all that great. I look forward to building this one and am sure a sheet of RAuxAF markings will follow soon.
Thanks to me for being so magnanimous as to purchase this one.
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