Tamiya 1/72 Spitfire Vb




$20.00 MSRP


Four options


Scott Weir




            One of the greatest artists of the 20th century was Reginald Mitchell. In the 1930’s while diagnosed with terminal cancer he sculpted one of mankind's greatest works of art. The Supermarine Spitfire. If you’ve ever been to an air show to see one slip by revealing it’s ever changing aesthetics accompanied by the harmonious twelve cylinder Merlin choir at full song than you have seen PURE PERFORMANCE ART. Few aircraft designs can come close to the artistry of R.J. Mitchell’s swan song and masterpiece. Much to their chagrins many axis pilots found out what R. J.’s Mona Lisa was smiling about. Beauty can be deceptive, and in the case of the Spitfire ……. Deadly!

            The Mk.V fought in almost every theater of WW2. It was also the most produced variant with more than 6,500 deployed. The Spit V was essentially a MkI with a more powerful Merlin 45. The Vb mixed two 20mm cannon with four .303 machine guns giving the Spit Vb a bit more punch over the eight .303’s of the A wing.



             This kit is very similar to Tamiya’s MkI with two major exceptions.

1.      The wing has been retooled with the correct panel lines, bulges and armament of the B wing.

2.      A lot of extra parts for different variants of the MkV (  adding to the higher cost over the MkI kit) are supplied.

A.     solid and slotted main wheels.

B.     Standard, Vokes and Aboukir intakes.

C.     Standard wingtips and two styles of clipped.

D.     Slipper tank.

            Go to Scott Van Aken’s review of  Tamiya’s Spit MkI to get a basic idea of this kit.



          Once you figure out which one of the four variants to build things get pretty simple. After much pondering I decided to go with the one on the box top. First up were the sub assemblies consisting of the cockpit, fuselage halves, landing gear and wings. The canopy was masked then painted RAF interior gray green along with the cockpit and fuselage halves. Cockpit was installed to the fuselage along with the horizontal stabs which in turn was mated to the wings. Some sanding is needed along the spine, belly and wing leading edges. Next we add the radiator housing, supercharger and oil cooler intakes.


             The kit was then primed in gray. A coat of  silver was applied overall and let dry. RAF sea gray was sprayed on the undersides. When the sea gray had cured I masked the upper/lower demarcation lines and painted all upper surfaces RAF ocean gray. Since most of the earlier Spits seemingly did not sport the reeeeeeeeeeally tight camo I freehanded the RAF dark green. This also saves mucho time when you can keep the Mask Monster in his cage .Last on the list to be painted were the spinner, prop blades, wheels/tires and exhaust ports. She was then clear coated.

        Kit decals of #243 Squadron were applied. The upper star bird wing roundel did’nt want to succumb to the decal set but in the end laid down nicely. Another coat of clear and then dull coat were sprayed.

        After all was set and done I used a scribing tool to gently chip away paint where desired exposing the silver coat beneath the top coats. A raw umber wash was then applied to give her a battle hardened finish Prop, spinner, exhaust and main gear were installed and exhaust stains sprayed on.


         I started this kit on a Friday evening and finished it by Monday afternoon. More time was expended deciding which version to build than actually building it. This beauty practically jumped out of the box. It also wins the coveted N.P.R. award {NO PUTTY REQUIRED}.In closing I have to say there is no such thing as a perfect kit. Tamiya’s 1/72nd Spit Vb is nothing more than a very small scale model of a real masterpiece. But I believe it represents R.J.’s “Lethal Mona Lisa” quite well! I recommend this kit to any small scale  collector who does not mind the price of high art.


Squadron Signal Spitfire in Action

Osprey Publications, Aircraft of the Aces, Spitfire MkV Aces 41-45                                         

 Review courtesy of the styrene pile in the basement.

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