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  1. After a run of difficult models, I fancied doing something simple for a change, at least that was the plan! So here is Airfix's 1974 model of the Spitfire Vb, which has been released and re-boxed several times. It is a reasonably accurate kit, although much simpler than today's CAD generated models. EN821, 243 Sqdn, Ouston, July 1942 (2) w by Philip Pain, on Flickr EN821, 243 Sqdn, Ouston, July 1942 (5) w by Philip Pain, on Flickr EN821, 243 Sqdn, Ouston, July 1942 (12) w by Philip Pain, on Flickr EN821, 243 Sqdn, Ouston, July 1942 (14) w by Philip Pain, on Flickr EN821, 243 Sqdn, Ouston, July 1942 (16) w by Philip Pain, on Flickr I had to find a replacement for the canopy, as mine had bad air bubbles. Also fitted a larger oil cooler (from a more modern Airfix kit), and scratch built two heating pipes coming out of the rear of the exhausts. The marking became a big challenge, as the real machine had obviously started life with 1941 style roundels (and their brighter colours), before being partly repainted into the mid-1942 scheme. Also the code letters were a funny size, which I couldn't quite find a match for. The letter 'M' is always difficult, as no matter how many M's you have on decal sheets, they never include the one you want, so I made mine using letter 'V's. It is a Spitfire Mk.Vb serial EN821 of 243 Squadron at RAF Ouston, Northumberland in July 1942. It was being flown by their commander Squadron Leader Allan E.Johnston when the "Aeroplane Magazine" took a series of photos, which have since been widely published. Does this one look familiar to you? 243 Sqn Ouston 1942 original by Philip Pain, on Flickr You will recognise it as the following art print that has become the most common Spitfire painting to adorn living room walls; Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mark VB of 243 Squadron by Philip Pain, on Flickr And then the story of EN821 gets even more interesting. Later on in 1942 it moved on to 65 Squadron, before being returned to manufacturers throughout 1943, for various updates and mods. In February 1944 it was transferred to the Fleet Air Arm, but apparently it was not 'navalised' or hooked, just being intended for shore based training. It was issued to 808 Squadron at RNAS Lee-on-Solent, and then on D-Day 6th June 1944 it was shot down by an enemy aircraft over Le Havre while spotting and gun-laying for Royal Navy warships. Sadly Sub Lieutenant Cogill was seen struggling to bail out, but he was killed. Most versions of D-Day say that the Luftwaffe was nowhere to be seen, but 129 allied aircraft were lost during the invasion. It must have been a rare event for an aircraft to fall to a Luftwaffe fighter. It is not known if EN821 wore navy camouflage, but it would undoubtedly have had full D-Day stripes.
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