Airfix 1/48 Spitfire Vb




CDN$ 10.99


Two aircraft


Olivier Lacombe


Self-made code letters


The Spitfire Mk V is best remembered as the aircraft that valiantly fought to save Malta from Axis occupation.  The island was subject to incessant bombings, and the three airfields on the island were the islanders’ last line of defence.  A good number of pilots took to the air above the Mediterranean in the fighting over the island, but no one equalled George Beurling.  He never quite received the honours he deserved, yet he was the top-scoring Canadian ace of the Second World War.

 Instead of giving you a write-up of his life, check the link in the reference section for an excellent biography.  However, I can tell you that he was born just 20 minutes from my place, in Verdun on Montréal Island and after the war, he had a Tiger Moth that he parked at the old Terrebonne horse track (now built over) not 3 miles from the airport I fly out of.  Every time I fly I pass right over where his De Havilland was (and I get a proud feeling). He died in 1948 in Rome, in a Norduuyn Norseman he was ferrying to Israel.  Sabotage is the main factor to his death.


 Airfix’ Spitfire is an oldie but goodie.  It looks like the Revell Spit I, but with more parts.  My sample had little or no flash but numerous sinkholes marred the surface of the kit (especially on the fuselage and under the wings).  You can build the kit either as a standard Vb or as a Trop. one, with the big Vokes filter and the enlarged radiator.



   I started with the cockpit, painting everything Model Master RAF Interior Green, but the instrument panel and the seat cushion were painted Flat Black.  I dry brushed the instruments with Model Master Chrome Silver and the emergency crowbar Model Master Guards Red.  The control column was detailed using Flat Black, Aluminium (small jars) and Guards Red.  The interior was inserted in the two joined fuselage halves from below and the various seams/sink holes were taken care of with Tamiya Putty.  I glued the wings together and added them to the fuselage, again using Tamiya Putty to fill the seams away.  It took a couple of shots to really achieve a smooth wing root.  The last step was to glue the stabs and sand the seams.

 I also glued the prop together, using Model Master Flat Black for the blades and priming the sanded spinner with Model Master Light Grey.  I assembled the wheels, painted the hubs and the landing gear aluminium and went back with Flat Black to do the tyres.  I also used a felt-tipped pen to put black between the spokes.  I then glued the wheels to the legs. 

 I had now decided to do the Spit as one of Beurling’s on Malta so I glued the big Vokes air filter under the nose and the oil cooler fairing and the radiator under the wings.  All the seams were sanded smooth using Tamiya Putty.   The transparencies were masked, glued on the airframe and the aircraft was ready for the paint shop.  About the transparencies, Beurling’s Spit had the armour on the inside, but Airfix provides you with both styles of windshields.



The aircraft I chose to represent sports the standard Mediterranean Middle Stone and Dark Earth over Azure Blue.  I gave the underbelly a coat of Model Master Azure Blue, and then it was masked before the top colours were painted.  I also added the cannons, eliminating the seams with careful application of Humbrol glue and minimal sanding.  I first painted the Middle Stone using Gunze paint, and then applied the camo pattern with Gunze Dark Earth.  I don’t know why, but the pattern is reversed.  Where you usually have Dark Earth there is Middle Stone and vice versa.  This makes the painting of the pattern somewhat complicated.  If I’m ever confronted to the same camouflage again, I’ll paint the Dark Earth first.  While the aircraft dried up and the touch-ups were being made, I painted the spinner Gunze Red.

I used all the kit’s decals for the main markings, but grabbed serials from a Tally-Ho! sheet and used another Tally-Ho! sheet as a template for the white letters out of a Microscale sheet (why is there no white code letters sheet out there?).  My first attempts at cutting out them letters were not too good, but I managed to do an OK job.  The Airfix decals went on beautifully, but they were a tad off register.  The white letters gave me no troubles, but the serials were reticent to cooperate.  I however managed to reason them. 



I assembled the landing gears and found out that one was longer (or was it the other that was shorter?), so it was duly trimmed.  Even now, I think that the aircraft is not perfectly level (the oleos must not be inflated with the same pressure!).  The exhausts were painted Model Master Jet Exhaust and glued in place.  I applied just a tiny bit of Model Master Gun Metal to the tips of the canons.  The pitot tube was added at this time and the aircraft was shot with Future.

 I then shot the model with Poly Scale Flat, highlighted the control hinges with a pencil and unmasked the canopy to present my Spitfire Mk Vb to the rest of my collection (only the Fw 190 was not happy about it, I wonder why…)

Olivier will be glad to know that a new Aeromaster sheet just released carries Beurling's markings on it! Ed

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