Written by 11:06 am My Builds

Completed : Tamiya 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb

Kit Info
Manufacturer: Tamiya
Scale: 1/48
Media: Injection Plastic

The Subject
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat, short-range and high-performance fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and her many allies during and after the Second World War. It was the most produced British aircraft in history and spawned many variants, with the Mk. V being the most produced at 6,487 built.

The Spitfire was perceived by the public to the be RAF fighter that won the Battle of Britain although it was the Hawker Hurricane that shouldered the majority of the burden against the Luftwaffe. It did however, suffer less losses and had a higher victory-loss ratio than the Hurricane. It’s much loved by its pilots and it would continue to serve air forces into the 1950s.

Pierre Clostermann was the highest scoring French flying ace who flew for the RAF in the Second World War. Clostermann was credited with 33 victories while flying 432 sorties between 1943-1945 in the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Tempest. He also claimed 225 motor vehicles, 72 locomotives, 5 tanks and 2 E-boats destroyed.

More info on Wikipedia

The Kit
This kit is my first completed since 2013. Yes, I’ve had a long Dark Age. I started on the Spitfire at the suggestion of my son who watched the episode of James May’s Toy Stories where he built a 1:1 scaled plastic Spitfire kit.

Tamiya is known for their shake-and-bake kits and this one pretty much came together without much problems: everything fit very well and it’s probably the kit with the least puttying I’ve done so far. The only issue construction-wise was the fit of the canopy that I wanted to close: seems like it’s meant to be posed open. I have to say though that the 1/48 Hasegawa Spitfire I did about a decade ago wasn’t complicated either. I find that prop planes have less fitting problems than modern aircraft probably due to having less parts in general. The one thing that’s more difficult on prop planes is masking of the canopy. The Spitfire’s canopy however is probably considered simple on that front.

I decided that this will be a straight OOB build with aftermarket decals: French Ace Pierre Clostermann’s Spitfire from the Eagle Strike 48059 British Thoroughbreds Spitfires Mk V/VIII/IX sheet. I also decided on a clean finish with only some preshading and panel lining. I figured if I’m going to start doing exhaust and gunpowder stains I should go all out with oil streaks and paint chipping too. I think I’ll be doing this KISS approach from now on. I have to reduce my stash quickly. 😀

I used the following colors for this kit:

  • Lifecolor UA093 Ocean Grey
  • Lifecolor UA095 Sky
  • Model Master Acryl 4714 Insignia Red
  • Model Master Acryl 4721 Insignia Yellow
  • Model Master Acryl 4744 Insignia Blue
  • Model Master Acryl 4757 Neutral Gray
  • Vallejo Model Air 056 Black Grey
  • Vallejo Model Air 072 Gun Grey
  • Vallejo Model Color 851 White
  • Vallejo Model Color 893 US Dark Green

The biggest challenge for me with this kit is probably the camouflage. I used Blutack masking and I had to do quite a bit of cleaning up after. The end results turned out well enough and in the scheme of things, it was probably the lesser issue of the whole build. Some notes for my reference for future projects:

  • RTFM! The markings was for a Spitfire Mk. IX and not the Mk. Vb I’m modelling! Gah! And I only found out when I was almost done. The only saving grace is that 99% of folks who see my model won’t know about the mistake. Still very annoying though.
  • I also need to improve my decal work in general. I ended up doing quite a bit of touchups by handpainting due to tears and cracks. I’m lucky I had spare roundels or I’d be screwed. The colors don’t quite match but I’d take it.
  • This kit was first released in 1994. The kit decals are really bad. They require double the work as almost all the markings require you to stack a white decal under the actual colored one. I hope modern Tamiya kits aren’t like this.
  • I need to do the panel lining under better lighting as I missed quite a few spots during cleanup. Still, the Vallejo Model Wash was pretty easy to use. I doubt I’ll go back to the oil paint + turpentine combo.
  • I’m lucky I got away with the disaster with using Future. I need to be more careful next time.

In the end though, this was the perfect kit to get me back on the saddle: it was a simple and straightforward build. I’m now motivated to start on my next kit as soon as I can.

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Tags: , , , , , , Last modified: 17 January, 2023