Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop of Sgt. George Beurling in 1/72 Scale

Sgt. George “Screwball” Beurling was the highest-scoring Canadian ace, with 31 credited victories, the majority of which were scored over Malta.  BR323 was one of the Spitfires he flew with 249 Squadron at Malta, achieving 5 victories with this aircraft in July 1942.  The dual drop tanks on the centerline were a field improvisation, the blue camouflage was applied in theater and has been interpreted in several ways.

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Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vc Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

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This Spitfire will be in post-war Greek markings. Mr. Color #5 was a good match for the blue in the Greek roundels. The natural metal finish almost did me in on this one though, as the soft Airfix plastic scratched easily and the Alclad made any scratches jump right out. I ended up buffing out scratches and re-shooting the Alclad a couple of times.

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Everyone agrees that several of the Malta Spitfires were oversprayed in blues, but there is little consensus as to what blues and to what extent they were covered. Here I have layered on two USN colors, Intermediate Blue and Blue Gray.

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For a darker blue Malta scheme I used Model Master Insignia Blue. I still have some stocks of the MM paints, although they do not age well and I often discover a few unusable bottles during every build.

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The last will be another Greek Spitfire in the more usual Temperate Sea scheme. This one will have the hybrid markings with RAF Type B roundels on the upper wings and Greek roundels in the other positions.

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A group shot all glossed up and ready for decals.

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This is the ugly stage of a “sludge wash” to bring out the panel lines. The sludge wash is a diluted dark gray acrylic mixed with a little dish soap. This is best applied over a gloss finish with the excess wiped away before it is completely dry.

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Here the excess has been removed with a damp cotton swab. Always work in the direction of the airflow and any streaking will add depth to your weathering.

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The finished batch. I borrowed some spare Type B roundel decals from the Eduard kit as the Xtradecal sheet didn’t have enough to do every subject I wanted. The only real flaw with this kit is the center sections of the canopies are not as clear as they should be, I replaced what I could with spares from Eduard kits which are much better molded. Overall though I am happy with these kits as they go together well and are fun builds.  In total I spent 26.5 hours on these, or about 6 hours and 40 minutes per kit.

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vc Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

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The fuselages fit together well with no surprises. I am intending to display two of the models with open canopies, and have removed the door pieces from the fuselage side.

 

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The wing assembly left a bit of a gap at the wing roots.

 

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There were also gaps around the filter. This problem was not present on all the models to the degree shown here so this may have been an error on my part.

 

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Perfect Plastic Putty is ideal for filling these sort of gaps as any excess can be wiped away with a moist cotton swab without damaging the surrounding details. Another trick is to go around the canopy mating surfaces with a black Sharpie. This will prevent the plastic color showing through at the joints and the Sharpie ink will not inhibit the glue from bonding.

 

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While I do love canopy masking sets some manufacturers are now demanding ridiculous prices for the convenience. On a simple single-seat aircraft I would rather mask by hand and save the money for additional kits.

 

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A coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 revealed a few seams to address. Always a good idea to check as I inevitably have some errors show through.

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vc Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

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This is the Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc, kit number A02108 released in 2020. This is a new tool and very much in Airfix’s home court as it replaces their older tools and, well, it’s a Spitfire. I’ll be building a small batch of these, hopefully as a painless build before trying something more involved.

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I was really pleased to see that Xtradecal issued a decal sheet targeting this kit, and it one with several interesting options. The Airfix kit has two decal options provided, one in U.S. markings and one in South African. I think at least one of the kit options should have been in Royal Air Force markings as this would have provided examples of the most common national insignia for the Spitfire.

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On to the sprues! The kit is molded in the soft light blue plastic we now expect from Airfix. The panel line detail has come a long way and this kit features finely scribed recessed panel lines. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how nicely these were rendered. There are also optional upper wing parts for the clipped wing version, no cutting needed.

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On the smaller parts sprues Airfix has provided the builder with a number of options. Both the Rotol and DeHavilland three-bladed propellers are provided along with their associated spinners. The Vokes tropical filter as depicted on the box art is included, as are parts for the standard nose panel and filter. Exhausts come with or without the gun heater tubes. The modeler can also choose to show the landing gear up and the canopy either opened or closed.

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The cockpit is well-detailed and builds up as a tub to be inserted into the fuselage. You must do this before joining the fuselage halves but it fits nicely.

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Here are two tubs assembled and painted. Seat belts are not included, I have made mine from masking tape. The instrument panel is the kit decal which is fine given what can be seen.

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia in 1/72 Scale

This is the Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia kit with markings from Xtradecal sheet X72117.  X4474 was assigned to No. 19 Sqn during the Battle of Britain.  It was flown by Sgt Jennings on 27SEP40 when he downed a Bf 109 of JG 54 south of the Thames.  It was later assigned to No. 602 Sqn where it was flown by Plt Off Archie Lyall to score a probable on 06NOV40.

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Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia Build in 1/72 Scale

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This is the Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia kit released in 2010, one of the first of the Airfix renaissance.  The kit is now well known to modelers so I won’t post sprue shots, those can be easily located on the web if desired.  The kit has several strong points but has been justifiably criticized for having overly deep and wide panel lines which are reminiscent of a die-cast model.

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One of the strong points is the interior.  The cockpit is well detailed, and the wheel wells are deep.  The plastic is soft compared to other manufacturers.  If you notice the fuselage halves are thick, but there were no sink marks on any of the parts so I suspect that is the reason for Airfix choosing the softer plastic.

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The cockpit painted up and washed with black acrylic to bring out the details.  The instrument panel is a decal, which is adequate but could be improved for those wanting more detail.  I added Eduard belts and seat cushion made from plastic stock and masking tape.

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Airfix has molded the landing gear legs as part of the doors.  Eduard’s Spitfire IX kits left a large bag of leftover parts for the spares box, so I raided the extras for some better landing gear components.

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The Eduard spares actually fit the Airfix kit pretty well.  Airfix provides some nice wheelwell detail, but this shot also illustrates the excessive panel line engraving.

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I sprayed the undersurfaces Sky and the upper Dark Earth, then masked the camouflage pattern with poster putty.

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I used Mr. Color for the uppersurfaces and Testors Model Master for the Sky.  I think the Mr. Color Dark Earth is a bit too dark and not yellow enough, and the Dark Green could be a little darker.  The colors should have a little more contrast.  For what it’s worth, the Model Master Dark Earth matches the tone of the Mr. Color paint, so maybe the problem is my perception.

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Here is a shot of the finished model.  Decals are from Xtradecal sheet X72117 for the Battle of Britain.  These laid down well but have a tendency to want to ball up so be careful when applying them.  As an aside I test fit a spare Eduard canopy to the Airfix fuselage, the Eduard kit is much more narrow compared to the Airfix.