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Aeroclub + Hasegawa 1/48 scale
Spitfire Mk.XII

by Fernando Rolandelli


Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XII
MB840, 41st Sqn, RAF, February 1943

Hasegawa's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.IX is available from Squadron.com





The RAF’s constant quest to maximize performance for low-level operations resulted in the Mk XII.

The first model Griffon engine –the single-stage, two speed supercharged Mk II, giving a maximum output of 1735 hp - was mated to a Spitfire Mk.Vc airframe, deciding on the Mk XII denomination after many comings and goings. An ideal aircraft for intercepting 109s and 190s making nuisance raids at low level, it was 14 mph faster than the IX at sea level and 8 at 10.000 ft, with the IX gaining the edge as altitude increased.

As noted elsewhere, the fact that the Griffon rotated in the opposite direction to the Merlin gave the pilots fits, a problem aggravated in the later F.XIV due to the increased power. One hundred machines were ordered, later batches based on the Mk. VIII airframe, and issued to 41 and 91 Sqns. They were profusely used in anti-Jabo operations, for intercepting V-1s and in fighter sweeps over occupied France.

Something of a hybrid machine, the Mk XII combined the longer Griffon nose and spinner with a “straight” firewall (resulting in a shorter nose than the XIV) with a prominent bulge for the Coffman starter, “short” carburetor intake and round oil cooler; all had a “pointed” rudder and “c” wings, though the first batch had the fixed tailwheel of the V and the IX, while the later had the retracting unit of the VIII, and clipped wings without position lights and “full span” ailerons.

The Kit

The heart of this model is the superb Aeroclub conversion kit. Made to fit the Hasegawa Mk IX, it comprises a fuselage, propeller, radiator and blanking plate, and tailwheel doors, just in case. However, it could be mated to the wing of just any Mk IX kit of your choosing.

Myself, I used the Revell 04554, which is in fact the same kit with different decals, and which may or may not be cheaper than the Hase’s according to the vagaries of the market. I know the cockpit of the Hasegawa Spits to be quite good, so I contented myself with an Eduard Zoom PE, FE203, fundamentally because of the instrument panel and the seat harness. Decals would have to be necessarily generic, and came from several sources, Eagle Strike roundels, Ventura serials and Carpena code numbers. More about this later.






After a formal check on the compatibility of the Aeroclub fuselage with both the wing and the interior components, the building of this started in earnest. I opened the entry door, replacing the door itself with the one taken from Hase’s fuselage. Instrument panel went without a problem, but I used mostly the plastic parts for the rest. The PE parts I used I repainted, the Interior Grey-Green shade in them being particularly lurid and different from the Polly S I was using for the rest. The bakelite seat I painted a mix of Japanese Red-Brown primer and Black. I used the early reflector sight. I did not use the PE armor plates but thinned the plastic ones. Extra detail was scratchbuilt.

The fuselage parts require some preparation cleaning the flash and straightening the mating surfaces, but nothing else. Carefully gluing them in stages will suffice.

The fin is VERY thick, something I fully discovered when trying to mate the Hasegawa rudder to it. I had to resort to energetically sanding the exterior, but maybe preventive action by sanding the interior would have been better.

The unsightly and unreachable gap in the roof of the tailwheel well was blocked with a strip of Tamiya tape.


Windscreen fits well, though the “cheeks” under the sides are not evenly molded in the fuselage. I erased them and replaced tem by strips of styrene cut to shape. Rear quarter light window is a tad too small in width (but my fuselages always go a bit wide), and too long; I worked this area up with styrene and cyano.

The propeller seems daunting, but it is not. Once you get a good fit of the two part spinner (maybe lots of putty here) the blades can be inserted safely. The spinner fits well against the lip on the nose, even without the backing plate. I binned the metal exhausts, and replaced them by the kit’s; I placed blanking plates on the inside of the slots in the fuselage to insert them later. The exhausts are too deep, and some of them must be trimmed, taking care they do not fall apart! Elevators came from the kit, but they depict the “extended balancing horn” type; I rescribed them to backdate them to the earlier model. I installed the fuel filler cap as a final fitting, though it would have been much safer to do it earlier in the assembly; anyway, I am still suspicion of this “Merlin fitting” in the Griffon powered machine; in fact the plans in the SAMI book show a different arrangement; I actually assumed that John was right, and that it was likely that the minimally modified fuselage would still keep the cap in the same place, changing probably in later models with the “cranked firewall”.


The wing radiator blanking plate works wonderfully, though enthusiastic sanding is needed to keep it level. The plastic peels off if becomes too thin, so I recommend backing it (actually, I would fill the recess completely) with epoxy. I did not use the Aeroclub oil cooler, which seemed too big, but an Airwaves resin unit made for the Tamiya Vb. As in this kit, it stands a little proud of the wing’s surface, so some sanding is necessary. I also blocked the view into the cartridge ejector ports with small plastic rectangles. The mixed plastic and metal carburetor intake and base plate looked awful, but after several putty applications and more enthusiastic sanding it blended really well. Hasegawa’s front plate fits well to its lip.


I erased some upper wing bulges that did not show in my plans, but some more were killed during the vigorous sanding needed to blend the wing to the Karman fairings. These were restored using “Parsecs” epoxy. The underwing to fuselage join line also needed puttying and sanding, but nothing out of the ordinary. I used the “plain” hubs in the wheels (though there are pictures showing four-spoke ones) and did not install the link in the oleos. Hydraulic lines were made out of wire.



Painting and Markings



The normal Day Fighter Scheme of Dark Green, Ocean Grey and Medium Sea Grey is applicable to this machine, with a Sky spinner and fuselage band, and Yellow ID in the outer leading edges.

I used Xtracrylix paints throughout (the MSG rendition is quite dark), over Alclad Grey Primer (wonderful primer when it comes to detecting seams and sanding over it, but sometimes its adherence is not so good; masking tape can pull some bits of it).



Wheel wells and inner doors were painted undersurface color (MSG)


Well, I had a plan, but, as it is said, “no plan survives contact with the enemy”.

I had an Eagle Strike sheet for F.XIVs, one of which, from no. 41 Sqn., bore the “EB-U” code, in exactly the same typo, size and color (Sky) displayed on earlier Mk XIIs. Problem was that I had no picture of a “U” coded machine, but, in the well-known photo of no. 41 cruising in Squadron strength, an “EB-J” can be discerned. Cutting the upper left arm of the “U” would do the trick. I managed to make out the serial number MB840, which had to come from the Ventura sheet, and assessed that the machine had retractable tailwheel, so it was a late batch example, which was compatible to the serial. All seemed well, until I discovered that the EA sheet was badly misprinted. I mean, not misaligned, but the letters were completely out the backing film! Of course they disintegrated when I tried to maneuver them into place and of course the solution would have been ordering another sheet and waiting, but who can wait with an almost finished kit sitting on his desk! I resorted to a 1/72 sheet from Carpena, which had the exact size and color, though the typo was slightly different (mostly in the “J”… I should have taken a “U” and…) Other than that, I had problems with the numerous bumps on both surfaces of the wing (I shall shave off the round bulge over the outer .303 on my next Hasegawa wing) I mixed a good representation of the Dull Red color in the decals out of Red and Black and covered the gaps; the same was made on the tail flash.


The aforementioned picture shows the machines well chipped but very clean (at least of exhaust fumes); I wondered if all of them had been cleaned for a “propaganda” picture, but I think it is unlikely. Weathering began with some good preshading, which made its most on the undersurfaces and the OG component. Then I made a heavy wash with oils (there is another picture of a machine banking away showing vast amounts of dirt here); after that some chipping and over it I airbrushed the relatively light exhaust stains in a Brown/Black mix (no light powder stains are visible) and the same mix over hinges and randomly as streaks in the airflow’s direction and as light mottles.





I like Aeroclub conversions a lot; for a little more money and work, you can have a different, accurate Spit, and Griffon Spits really look the part. This Mk XII conversion has the advantage of being modeled on the Hasegawa kit, especially regarding the interior parts; it is also a bit tidier than the early F.21/XVIII conversions. Besides, man, this is the way of making a “c” wing!





  • “The Supermarine Spitfire Part 2: Griffon-Powered”, SAM Publications

  • “Late Mark Spitfire Aces, 1942-1945”, Dr. Alfred Price, Osprey Publishing.

  • “Griffon Powered Spitfires”, Warbird Tech Series volume 32, Kev Darling, Specialty Press.



Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2007 by Fernando Rolandelli
Page Created 05 October, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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