Supermarine Seafire Color Photographs

Seafire Ib NX942 of 736 Naval Air Squadron is seen in the background as Sub-Lieutenant Harold Salisbury adjusts his flight helmet for the camera. The photograph was taken at Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton in September 1943. Complete fuselage codes are “AC-E”.
Ratings are seen fueling Seafire X4652 at Yeovilton, September 1943. Agricultural tractors were often used as towing vehicles. Yeovilton is currently the home of the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
A Seafire in the foreground at HMS Fledgling. Also visible are a Corsair, a Martlet, and two Barracuda. Poking out of the hangers are two Sea Hurricanes and a Hellcat.
A crop of the previous photo shows the wear on the paint at this Seafire’s wingroot. HMS Fledgling was the Royal Navy’s aircraft maintenance school. In April 1943 it was decided to use the facility to train WRENs as aircraft mechanics in order to release more men for front-line service.
Here is a series of outstanding color photographs taken aboard HMS Indomitable at Scapa Flow in March 1943. Indomitable was working up following the repair of bomb damage suffered during Operation Pedestal, the famous convoy to Malta. In the background is the Avenger-class escort carrier HMS Biter (D97).
A crop from the previous photo focusing on Seafire Mk IIc MB189 of 880 NAS. The aircraft are being spotted on Indomitable’s flight deck. Note the plane handlers have placed their chocks on the Seafire’s wings.
A fuel lighter passes down the side of Indomitable with Seafires of 889 NAS on deck. While U.S. Navy aircraft carriers were built with wooden flight decks during WWII, those of the Royal Navy were armored.
A magnificent view of the Indomitable’s camouflaged island structure behind two Seafires.
A Reserve Flight Lieutenant poses on the wing of his Seafire. Modelers note the amount of wear to the paint on the leading edge of the wing. This photograph has sparked discussion concerning the color of the underside of the nose and removal of the tropical Vokes air filter.
Three unidentified pilots with their flight gear donned over their dress blue uniforms, which seems a rather impractical outfit for flying. On the left is a Sub-Lieutenant of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Aviation), on the right is a Sub-Lieutenant of the Royal Naval Reserve.

Supermarine Spitfires of the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group Color Photographs Part II

Here are more photographs of American Spitfire Mark XI from the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron at Mount Farm, Oxfordshire, England in 1944. MB 946 has an impressive mission tally. The lighter hue of the PRU Blue on the fuselage where the upper portion of the invasion stripes have been removed is worth noting.
Ground crew are used as human sandbags to keep the tail down as the engine of this Spitfire is run up. The concrete disk visible in the foreground is an anchor used to tie down the wings of the aircraft.
A beautiful view of “My Darling Dorothy”, PA892. Wheel hubs were finished in either the PRU Blue or natural Aluminum, as seen here.
Another view of “My Darling Dorothy”. An unusual feature is that it appears the outline of the U.S. national insignia has been overpainted in PRU Blue instead of the prescribed Insignia Blue.
Diorama bait as the Spitfires are being refueled. Note the row of bicycles to the right.
“Marcella” warming her engine prior to take-off.
Another view of “Marcella” heading towards the runway. In the background is a Cletrac M2 towing tractor.
MB950 showing several touch-ups to her PRU Blue finish. Her wheel hubs are also PRU Blue, the white stripes are there to indicate if the tire has slipped on the wheel.

All photographs credit Imperial War Museum, Freeman collection, Robert Astrella photographer

Part I here:

Supermarine Spitfires of the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group Color Photographs Part I

The USAAF 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group operated the Spitfire Mark XI from Mount Farm, Oxfordshire, England. The Mark XI was a Mark IX airframe with all armament and armor removed and extra fuel and cameras added, optimized for high-altitude flight. This is PA944 with invasion stripes under the fuselage. (All photographs credit Imperial War Museum, Freeman collection, Robert Astrella photographer)
Another view of PA944 showing the wear and weathering of her PRU Blue paint scheme. Note the serial on her fuselage repeated on the vertical tail. Here is an interview with the pilot of PA944, John Blyth. Well worth watching here:
Not all the Spitfires were finished in the PRU Blue. Here is MB946 in an overall natural metal finish with a Dark Red stripe under the exhausts and black rudder.
Not all the Spitfires were finished in the PRU Blue. Here is MB946 in an overall natural metal finish with a Dark Red stripe under the exhausts and black rudder.
A close-up of PA842 shows the same finish as MB946 above.
A fine study of MB950 in overall PRU Blue before her serials were repeated on the tail. PRU Blue is generally represented by modelers as approximately FS 35164 or FS 35189.
MB950 from another angle. The PRU Blue degraded quickly, and this aircraft shows several areas where the paint has been re-touched.
A later view of MB950, showing the Dark Red under the exhausts and Olive Drab rudder. By this time her serials have been applied to the tail. Note the prominent exhaust staining. The Spitfire Mk. XI on display at the NMUSAF is serialed as MB950, although her markings do not match either version in these photographs.
Here are two PR Mark V “War Weary” aircraft used as hacks, EN904 and AR404. Worn-out aircraft were declared War Weary when they had exceeded their airframe life and/or suffered damage which precluded them from being pushed to their original design limits safely.
Another view of AR404 which reveals several details useful for modelers and a surprise – an RAF roundel on her upper starboard wing. This emphasizes the value of multiple views of the same subject, one can only speculate which insignia are on the other wing surfaces.

Part II here:

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.


Construction posts here:

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop of 249 Squadron in 1/72 Scale

This is a No. 249 Squadron Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop defending Malta in the Summer of 1942.  Many of the Malta Spitfires were re-camouflaged locally and the colors used are still debated.  This example was finished in an overall “dark blue”, I have chosen Insignia Blue for my model.


More completed Airfix Spitfires here:

Airfix RHAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop at Hellenikon in 1/72 Scale

This Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop was posted to the Greek 336 Squadron at Hellenikon in 1944.  The markings were gradually changed over from RAF to RHAF roundels, the Type B roundels on the upper wings were the last to go.


More completed Airfix Spitfires here:

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

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.
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.
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.
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.
A group shot all glossed up and ready for decals.
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.
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.
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.

More completed Spitfire pictures here:

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

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

Part III here:

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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Part II here: