Media: Injection Plastic
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
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:
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:
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.
I have found that Future is a lot easier to airbrush when thinned. It was however, slow going as I let the Future cure for a day between layers. In the end though, I got a decent result out of it.
Time for decals! In my decals stash were 3 remaining markings from the Eagle Strike 48059 British Thoroughbreds Spitfires Mk V/VIII/IX. I chose to do Pierre Clostermann’s markings. Clostermann is the highest scoring French Ace in WW2. He did it all while flying for the RAF. The sheet only came with 1 set of stencils (which I’ve used already previously) so I had to mix and match with the kit’s decals.
One good thing about WW2 subjects is the general lack of stenciling compared to modern subjects. However, the Eagle Strike decals proved to be quite thick and resistant to Mark Softer. On the other hand, the Tamiya decals were very fragile with some shattering when detached from the backing. They also both took their time to separate from the backing. Some of the decals are also supposed to be placed on compound surfaces which caused some breakage and will need to be fixed.
I tried cutting pieces out of the remaining decals to patch up the broken ones but it proved to be time consuming and at all effective so I simply touched up by hand painting. I had to mix some of the paint to get as close as I could. The work wasn’t perfect but it’ll have to do. I was hoping subsequent gloss and flat coat will hide some of the imperfections.
And then the 1st disaster struck. To seal the decals I layered on Future and it was so thick it pooled on some of the surfaces. I carefully removed the pool of Future with windex which caused more than the Future to be removed. Yep. The white is the primer coat.
So then I carefully masked (making sure none of the masking tape touched the decals), then carefully sanded the offending area down, then carefully airbrushed the color.
In the end, I also had to respray some of the black walkway line as I got some green on the original decal. At least it came out OK. I then hand brushed on Future to gloss up the fixed areas to prep for panel lining.
For panel lining I decided to try something new: Vallejo’s Model Wash. It’s a water soluble solution that’s supposed to be used straight out of the bottle.
However, I’ve read that it’s better to thin it first before use so I decided to just try it at 1 part wash to 5 parts water. Using it was simple enough. You simply brushed it on and let capillary action help to get to all the nooks and crannies on the kit.
Let it dry a bit, then use a wet cotton bud to do clean up. Not intense enough for you? Just go over again until you’re happy with it.
I have to say it’s easier to clean up than the usual oil paint + turpentine mix as the wash doesn’t streak as easily as the latter mix.
I was finished in no time at all. Next I added the antenna. This will need to be touched up a bit. After this is the final flat coat, removing the masking tape around the canopy and attaching the rear view mirror, exhausts and spinner. And I’m all done!
And then while writing this entry, the 2nd disaster struck. It turns out the markings for Pierre Clostermann is for his Spitfire Mk. IX, and not the Mk. Vb I’m doing. Nice… /facepalm
Now it’s time to cleanup the camo. First up, I painted all the gaps that I missed out the first time round. I also took the opportunity to finetune the camo by using blutack on specific spots.
Sometimes the camera sensor catches more than the eye can see. This close-up pic clearly shows a very dusty surface even though eyeball 1.0 can’t see them.
Then the first disaster struck. The canopy fell off and during the process of re-cementing, some paint got melted off. This required some sanding and buffing again. I then handpainted the yellow and red sections on the front of the wings. These were masked, painted white, then insignia yellow, and more masking before painting insignia red.
Next I quickly put the spinner together. The nosecone was Lifecolor Sky UA095 (I also masked and sprayed the fuselage band in this color). The propeller blades were sprayed with Vallejo Model Air Black Grey 056 and the tips were handpainted the same way as the bands on the wings: a base of white with insignia yellow.
The landing gear is all Model Master Acryl Neutral Gray 4757 with the tires Model Air Black Grey.
The landing gear was attached and I then did final touchups to fix bleeding of paint and other spots that didn’t look quite right to me.
After I let the paint cure for another day or so, it’s time to glosscoat and start decaling.
Painting begins. The Spitfire I’m modeling is primarily 3 colors: Medium sea grey bottom with ocean grey and dark green up top.
First up, the bottom. Based on some research, Model Master Acryl Neutral Gray 4757 is a close match to medium sea grey.
As acrylic paint chip easily, I let each color cure at least 24 hours before masking. Obviously, masking off the bottom is next.
I used a pencil to lightly draw out the camouflage pattern on the fuselage. Then for the ocean grey up top, I went with Lifecolor Ocean Grey UA093.
I then masked off most of the grey and for the edges, I used rolled blu-tack to do the demarcation lines. I don’t trust my free hand skills so the blu-tack will allow me to have a harder separation between the two camouflage colors than doing it free hand.
For dark green I went with Vallejo Model Color US Dark Green 893.
And yes, it took awhile and the results were so:
And yes, it still needs some cleanup but I’ll need to wait for the dark green to cure first. Next time though, I think I’ll just lay on the first color over the whole kit, then the second color with blu-tack masking. Much less cleaning up to do for sure.
I’m getting closer to the finish line at least!