The Supermarine Spitfire, Part 2: Griffon-Powered

Published on
August 18, 2011
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Robert Humphreys
Other Publication Information
173 pages, card cover, history, full color profiles, plans, and modeling section
Product / Stock #
Modeler's Datafile 5
Provided by: SAM Publications

This book answered a question that has nagged me for many years, since Frog first came out with their Spitfire 14 kit back in 1968. Why would Supermarine want to go away from the fabulous Merlin engine and try something new? Well, this book answered that question early on. The answer is 1700 hp for the Griffon vs 1030 hp for the Merlin.

The contents are:

  1. Enter the Griffon
  2. Super Spitfire
  3. The Spitfire in Belgium
  4. High Flying Spy
  5. Last of the Spitfires
  6. The First Griffon Seafires
  7. The F Mk 21 at Sea
  8. Spiteful and Seafang, the Last of the Line Modeling
    • Colour Side Views
    • Colour Interior Artwork
  9. The Basics
  10. Understanding the Subject
  11. Detailing
  12. Building the Spitfire and Seafire
  13. Camouflage and Markings


  1. Kit Listing
  2. Accessories and Conversions
  3. Decals
  4. Powerplants
  5. (Griffon) Spitfire and Seafire Variants
  6. Spitfire, Seafire, Spiteful and Seafang Genealogy
  7. Spitfire and Seafire Squadrons
  8. Foreign Operators
  9. Spitfire, Seafire, Spiteful and Seafang Production
  10. Bibliography

And inside the back cover is a great foldout with drawings of each of the types and variants in the book, all in 1/72 scale.

Chapter 10 would be of great interest if you want to build a really accurate Griffon powered aircraft. The chapter consists of a series of line drawings of the aircraft, starting with the Spitfire XII and ending with the Seafang 32. Each drawing is annotated with those little differences between marks, the details that make the difference between a Spitfire XII, XIV and XIVc. Also, notice that each drawing has a listing of kits for that type.

In the chapter on Building the Spitfire, it doesn’t just give you some verbiage about the kits available. Robert Humphreys has built and comments on 25 kits of Griffon-powered Spitfire, Seafire, Spiteful and Seafangs in 1/72 scale. Richard A. Franks does the Academy 1/48 Spitfire XIVc and e, since these are the only Griffon Spitfires, but he did 8 models from these 2 kits, including a couple of mods. The chapter entitled “The Basics” gives a listing of every kit ever released on these subjects, with comments on buildability and accuracy. Yes, this includes the Matchbox 1/32 Spitfire.

Overall Evaluation

Recommended. If you’ve got an old Hawk Mk 22, or a Fujimi Mk XIV/XIX, or any other Spitfire with the bumps on the cowl, you will find something to help you build the kit.

I bought this book at the IPMS National Convention in Omaha. SAM gives an IPMS discount, but the “show special” price was really a bargain. And now that I’ve got it home and have had a chance to read it (well, some of the reviews are pretty dense, so I skimmed them), I am impressed.

I have often said that the Japanese modelers feel that anything worth doing is worth overdoing to the nth degree. I would guess that the British feel the same way about the Spitfire.

Thanks to SAM for having their books at the IPMS Nationals, and to IPMS for allowing me to review the book. Thanks also to my ATM card which provided the cash to buy this book.


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