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Hasegawa + Airwaves 1/48 scale
Seafire Mk.XV

by Fernando Rolandelli


Supermarine Seafire Mk XV
Serial SW912, “134/T”, 804 Sqn NAS HMS Theseus, February, 1947


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I wanted to build a Seafire Mk XV. But, what exactly is a Seafire Mk XV?

It is not a navalized Spit F.XIV (like the Mark number could make you think); it is not quite either a navalized Mk XII. As many marks of Spit/Seafire, it is something of a mix and match. It seems to be composed of a short Griffon nose, as in the Mk XII cowling (though lacking the prominent Coffman starter bulge) mated to a Mk VIII airframe (but with a F.XVIII style rudder –wait, the fin leading edge was not modified!) and Seafire L.III wing (though the larger oil cooler led to a “symmetrical” appearance); the whole thing navalized.

A Conversion Work

Well, the basis for this project was the Airwaves SC48094 resin conversion. It is not perfect: the resin nose and spinner are gorgeous, but the exhaust are of the fishtail variety, correct only for the three prototypes; the “stinger hook” insert is sized for the standard Mk VIII rudder which is not correct; the “A-frame” hook is depicted stowed, and most of the remaining bits including the PE are more applicable to a L.IIIc. But that nose is so appealing….

The Donor kit

I used the Hasegawa Mk VIII. Now, if you have read it is crap, you have read it right! It is amazingly short. Mating it by the cockpit opening to an ICM Mk IX as, seen in the pictures, it lacks at least 2 mm both in the tail and in the nose areas. I decided to enlarge the tail, cutting in a panel line; this correction is a piece of cake. But the nose is hopeless… luckily, the conversion set would do the trick. On the other side, the cockpit interior is great, inviting you to scratch build the missing details, and the surface detail is excellent.





I decided first to cut everything and test the feasibility of the tail extension.



It was very easy, using internal styrene connectors. Then I furnished the cockpit and closed the fuselage halves.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The GS gunsight is rather small, but I let it be. I filled the extension with a two part resin epoxy called “Parsec” (we also have an irreplaceable household item there in Argentina, just like the famous Future…). Once it was roughly finished, I turned to the wings.


Okay, I filled several panel lines and hatches and scribed some others. The cannon covers have a straight panel line, not angled, like in the Mk VIII. Then I glued them and scribed the wing fold, taking as a model an MDC Seafire L.IIIc wing. I plugged in the outboard cannon stub and the machine gun openings, they were so, so irregular. They would be finished in Red dope tape, anyway. I modified the leading edge of the undercarriage doors, making them rounder.

Mating them

I fitted the wings with some care, most of the mating surfaces were gone with the nose, and then dry-fitted the resin nose. It was far from perfect, but it was workable, thinning most mating surfaces with a dremel tool helped a lot. The conversion provides the carburetor intake, but there is a big gap in the wing’s undersurfaces, which was filled with Parsec. The fit of one of the wing halves was considerably worse than the other (some cutting mistake here) so the gap was filled in the same way. Some bulges in the wing root were lost and made again in more Parsec.



After many sessions of filling and sanding, the primer showed that the nose and the rest of the fuselage already seemed to belong to the same aircraft in the same scale! By lucky design, there is a panel line on the join, but rescribing it on the various materials used to fair the parts to each other was no lesser feat. After this I fitted the reinforcing strip in the mid fuselage skinning. The PE part provided is useless, too wide. The SAMI book shows it ending just ahead of the firewall panel line, but the only clear photo provided showed it running much forward. I made it with Tamiya tape trimmed to shape. When priming, a further problem appeared: the previously neat, well-defined sunken rivets turned into potholes of unknown depth! After going around the problem, I opted for filling them with white glue, cleaning the excess with a dampened cotton bud. It worked (shall I try the method on the Trumpeter Tomahawk?)


I am able to report that there was not a single problem with these parts. Their fit was excellent and with a little of putty they seem to emerge from the solid plastic, as they should.


Ah, it was another story… The Hasegawa kit provides the standard and the extended Mk VIII rudders, nicely detailed both… The Airwaves conversion provides the moving part of the “stinger tail”, and it fits perfectly the “extended” Mk VIII rudder… Wait, something is wrong! Mk XVs with “stinger tails” had a “further extended” rudder, akin (but not identical) to the F. Mk XVIIIs’… Well, I had such a rudder in my spares box, and I proceeded to hack at it until it resembled the Mk XV’s.



After that, I cut the hook from the resin part and glued it. Gruesome work to say the least. No, the rudder for the “A-frame” version must also be modified from the Mk VIII “extended” one, by enlarging the trim tab.

Small fittings

They were added after painting, decaling and weathering, actually. The exhausts included in the conversion set are of the fishtail variety, only seen in the first three prototypes; I used the spare Hase ones, rounded as they should be. The cannon fairings unused in the kit were also fitted, you’ll recognize them immediately: they are the ones with the “Seafire L.IIIc look”! I do not know why Hase included them at all. No antenna was fitted, but the tail wheel guard was made of Contrail rod. I painted the various position and landing lights by the time-honored method of a Silver paint circle, topped by the appropriate Tamiya clear acrylic. Two very small slices of rod mimicked the catapult slings in the rear fuselage; the strengthening fishplates, prominent in L.IIIcs, do not show in Mk XVs. The leading edge hooks, visible on Mk XVIIs, seem not to be present in Mk XVs; I did not fit them.



Painting and Markings



SW912 was painted in the early post-war FAA camouflage of EDSG over Sky Type S; a most elegant operational scheme. The high separation line left most (or all?) of the rocker covers in Sky; the side view in the instructions conflicts with the upper plan view in this matter.



The most of this plane was Sky Type S, a very light, rather warm color which is ideal to show the usual preshading tricks. I painted a generous preshade in Burnt Umber over the Light Grey priming. Then I proceed to paint the Aeromaster Enamels Sky panel by panel, in almost translucent “mottle-and-strake” fashion… leaving enough of the preshade to give each panel a distinct character. Long and tiresome work, but it pays a lot. A particularly impossible to rescribe panel line in the firewall join was just mimicked by differential painting. With these areas conveniently masked with Tamiya tape, I painted the Extra Dark Sea Grey, from the White Ensign line, in similar fashion. This paint seems too translucent, but in the end it covers well and has a low shine. This particular machine had a replacement outer wing painted in Temperate Sea Scheme; I painted freehand the visible Dark Slate Grey areas, also using WEMM paints. I tried hard to reproduce the more weathered look of this older part; it certainly looks different. The Blue spinner was painted in some indistinct Humbrol Blue, nº 15, I think.

Weathering was made with the usual oils, airbrushed exhaust stains and silver chipping… all very, very restrained.


I used decals from the “The Aviation Workshop” Seafires sheet. Several Merlin- and Griffon-engined machines are depicted all related to the “On Target” booklet on the matter. That’s why the instruction sheet has no hint about the decal placement… wait, the booklet has none either! I wonder why they did not depict any British Pacific Fleet Mk. XV, and why they did so with Seafire Mk 46 “LA 546”, the same shown in the Grand Phoenix kit. The decals are first class, of Microscale quality; they stand much abuse (the large under wing serials must set on multitude of bumps and exhaust holes –I resorted to cutting each single letter and number) and they settle down very well on a gloss surface with the usual Set-Sol solutions. However, the images are just a bit larger than they should (a common defect of many aftermarket decals); it shows only when they must fit tight in between panels.





From a mess of resin, plastic and several kinds of glue and filler emerged a handsome model of a handsome machine. The scheme I chose is fairly classical, but wilder ones are available (French Aeronavale, Burmese AF in NMF!). I cannot explain why Airwaves (well, Hannants, nowadays) has discontinued this set, or why Aeroclub has chosen to make a conversion for the much duller Mk XVII instead (you could do the same conversion cutting the nose of the latter; cheaper and with lots of useful parts). In the end, using the Hase as a donor kit was a mixed blessing: once the rear fuselage is corrected (it is so easy…) the quality of the rest of the kit really shows.


Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Modelling the P-40
Hawk 81, Tomahawk, Warhawk and Kittyhawk
Osprey Modelling 15

Author: Brett Green
US Price:
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 January 10, 2004
Details: 80 pages; ISBN: 1841768235
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Text and Images Copyright © 2005 by Fernando Rolandelli
Page Created 02 December, 2005
Last Updated 02 December, 2005

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