Biggin Hill, Kent 1942: 1/48th Tamiya Spitfire Mk.Vb
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
For a kit that is more than a quarter century old, the Tamiya 1/48th scale Spitfire certainly holds up well. The parts fit and engineering are still highly competitive and a number of options are provided to get you where you want to be (in a Vb) with little fuss.
Notable Kit Features:
Straight-forward build with low parts count
Minimal ejector pin marks (and typically in places not seen)
Well detailed cockpit with excellent fit
Pilot figure included
Optional armored glass
Option to easily cut out cockpit door to display open
Excellent finely engraved surface detail
Option to build clipped-wing version or standard-wing
Two styles of rear view mirrors provided
This is another of my RCAF Spitfire series of model builds. After acquiring Robert Braken's book "Spitfire The Canadians", I had plans to build a number of RCAF Spitfires. This one caught my attention as it had a modified paint job (which is fairly rare for British types during WWII). The aircraft was flown by Al Harley while he served with RCAF 401 Squadron. He had his personal markings added to this airframe with the letters "Do II" beneath the cockpit, named after his wife Dorothy.
Interesting fact: Al Harley was flying with Robert Stanford Tuck on the mission that Tuck was shot down and taken POW on 28JA42. Harley barely escaped a similar fate after clipping a tree and running a gauntlet of AA fire during the Rhubarb mission. Luckily both Harley and Tuck managed to survive the war and met again later in Toronto during a screening of "The Battle of Britain" film in the early 1960s.
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Added seatbelts made of tape (heavy foil works very well too)
Removed small raised wing stiffeners as they weren't present on this aircraft frame
(as you'll note, I typically build out of the box, without all the addons)
The paint job is a non-standard Ocean Gray and Dark Earth upper surfaces with Medium Sea Gray lower surfaces. It stands out a bit as another interesting addition to my collection of Spitfires in schemes less often seen.
If you prefer accuracy over ease of build, I believe the new (2014) Airfix kit reportedly best captures the cockpit detail and shape of the Spitfire Mk. Vb (Although I have no personal experience with the Airfix kit). The Tamiya’s kit is likely still the easiest to build and certainly still looks the part, all at a reasonable price, therefore I still recommend this kit. You shouldn't be disappointed either way you go.
Completed build #189 - December 2015 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #61033-1800 kit.
Feel free to ask any questions or post comments on the build - Keep on building what you want, how you want - Cheers