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249 Sqn Spitfire


JackG
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Still haven't decided on exact serial code and fuselage code letter, but here is the kit I will be using along with other bits. The Airwaves resin C wing will be married to the Tamiya fuselage. Tried a quick test fit and it looks very good. I will have to do surgery on the bottom half in order to utilize the central part of the Tamiya kit.

regards,

Jack

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Edited by JackG
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I think you get the prize for most 'extras' so far Jack! Welcome aboard - I'm sure not to be alone in really looking forward to seeing this one come together.

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So I've decided on serial BR128 coded 3-W. This was a Bowery aircraft and arrived on Malta on May 9th 1942.

The build will represent Beurling as he flew this particular Spitfire on July 8th, scoring one Bf109 plus one damaged along with a Ju88 damaged. Of further interest, on July 22nd friend and fellow French-Canadian Jean Paradis would be flying this same mount. He was bounced and shot down while intercepting a morning raid.

I've taken one of the profiles from Osprey and photo shopped the codes as I plan to model them. It is interesting to note that the book still refers to BR128 by it's ferry codes during the time of it's loss. As explained to me by Graham Boak, once on Malta usual practice was to erase the number and retain the original letter as the lone individual marking on the fuselage. On another profile (#12) Osprey states the ferry codes for that particular subject were still in use 6 months after it's arrival. Hmmm...

So I looked at three options:

1). have "3-W" clearly visible

2). erase the "3"

3). overpaint the "3" with EDSG but still be slightly visible

I've chosen option three for now, but that might change once I get to the painting stage.

regards,

Jack

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Edited by JackG
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Great choice, Jack. And as ever so many possible permutations on the colour. I like the sound of semi-obliterating the '3' however.

I see all four cannons in place on the profile. That might make a rare bird too! As ever, lots of fun to be had getting the model to where you want it, looking forward to seeing how she comes together.

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As a Bowery arival, I suspect the cannons will have been removed before too long. It was mainly the Calendar aircraft away from Takali that retained all four. Sometimes it was the inboard one that was removed.

The other point to bear in mind with an early Mk.Vc is that they had an additional teardrop fairing on the upper wing over the aileron actuator. There's a good view of it on Barnham's aircraft, p.47 in the Osprey. I don't know of any plans which catch this, nor unfortunately which serial they stopped having this. It can be seen on aircraft being delivered by HMS Furious, some time later.

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Yes, the colour profile was just for marking purposes. For the gun layout I plan to have the inboard cannons removed as well as the outboard brownings.

Graham, thanks for the heads up about the additional fairing on the upper wing. Here's a pic of the Airwaves C-wing and my proposed fairing drawn in red - does size, shape and position require any adjustment?

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I will also have to fashion my own gun exhaust ports on the undersides of the wings, just like I had done with my Mk I Spitfire built earlier this year.

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In Wojtek Matuiak's book on the Spitfire Mk V (MMM Special), there is an interesting photo on page 51 ( google sample found here: http://www.milavicorner.0catch.com/spitfiresparamalta.htm ). It is a below decks shot of the Wasp during Bowery - which incidently also shows this actuator fairing.

The author of said book presumes that at this time the Spitfires were delivered in DarkGreen/DarkEarth/Sky - is this fact or another theory? I'm not sure if it is just the lighting, but in the photo it looks like there are two different shades present on the prop noses (anyone venture a guess to these colours?). Also note the second foremost aircraft and it's camou below and in front of the cockpit, the edges appear dark as a result of over lapping paint - temperate scheme applied over desert scheme?

Then there is Edgar's post from this thread: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=73781

"7-4-42, a Malta signal was received, asking that future deliveries should be painted in sea scheme, which, if complied with, could mean that Bowery a/c were Slate Grey/Extra Dark Sea Grey. No date known, but Lettice Curtis remarked on delivering freshly-painted Spitfires to Scotland."

So now I have three colour schemes to chose from plus the optional EDSG overpaint.

Maltadefender, you were not joking when you said "...as ever so many possible permutations on the colour."

regards,

Jack

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I placed mine a little further forward, and mine was somewhat larger (perhaps too much so) but it's a bit of a matter of judgement. I think it would be poor engineering to have a bulge quite so close to the edge of the panel, so I think I was justified in my first comment.

Wojtek has followed the AM line on this, but I do not believe it applied to these aircraft. There are a lot of photos of delivery aircraft in the high contrast of the desert scheme, and in the single colour that 249 Sq repainted the first deliveries, the single colour of Calendar (not necessarily the same), and that used subsequently. There is no report of any of these early aircraft in green and brown - although this may well have appeared in 1943. There is colour evidence that the Calendar aircraft were blue - a photo of Weaver's aircraft, plus verbal descriptions and colour painting by Denis Barnham; Spitfire ace, autobiographer and artist. Kiwi ace Jack Rae describes them as bright blue (I think without checking!) but I believe this applies to the Azure Blue undersides. (Note: Azure is a darker prewar colour, perhaps a little purplish - Azure Blue is the wartime light blue with no obvious purple. You can blame Humbrol for much of the confusion, getting it wrong in their Authentic series and ever since.) "Laddie" Lucas and Tony Holland were quite definite that their aircraft were blue.

Some of the low-light photos of aircraft on Glasgow dock, and on Wasp's deck awaiting the Bowery launch, do appear in a low contrast that could be TLS, but close-ups in better light show the high contrast of the Desert scheme

Following the initial repaints (described as a mixture making a dark grey) Malta is reported as asking for this to be standardised on deliveries, and Edgar has published an Air Ministry memo asking for an unspecified maritime scheme for what became Calendar. The aircraft on Calendar were painted on the voyage, but in a single dark colour that lightened on Malta. The aircraft on Bowery were not repainted on the voyage (Bowery was organised at shorter notice than Calendar) but at least some were after landing. Barnham does also report seeing a yellow and brown Spitfire shot down on Malta.

Later, because of shortages, only the lighter colour was overpainted, and with thinned paint. This is visible in some close-ups, and is reported by a painter from the Beaufighter unit as being borrowed Extra Dark Sea Grey. This is very dark when new but fades rapidly to a bluer shade - it is possible that more than one blue-grey was used on Malta but EDSG does seem to fit better than any other candidate. The photo of Weaver's aircraft appears more like Mediterranean Light Blue, but this was after some months in a hot climate. The quality of the paint appears very high, which rules out the sillier suggestions of ship or truck paints being used.

There have been many heated discussions about this: the description above has come from several years' study and is as factual as I can make it, given the inevitable unknowns.

Edited by Graham Boak
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Thank you Graham for that in depth write up. I will follow your lead and go with what I had originally intended , desert scheme with EDSG over top. Any suggestions for nose colour before the overpaint?

regards,

Jack

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Interior is done and fuselage halves are joined together.

Did the Van Gogh thing to the pilot's ear pieces and replaced with some stretched sprue. Scratch built the harness from masking tape and the tension wire is more stretched sprue; the two are joined together by a PE piece from a generic buckles and straps set from Aber. At the tail end added a brass rod for the rudder control arm.

regards,

Jack

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Thanks Rob...

Got the resin wings attached. Topside looks good though on the starboard back end, the fit fell slightly short by the wing root.

Bottom side is a bit of a horror story - filling and sanding I don't mind, but there is quite a bit of finely engraved detail in this area.

regards,

Jack

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Thanks lads, glad to see your approval.

All paints are acrylic, and first started with a sail colour airbrushed overall as it was a good base for the uniform as well as the skin.

- brush painted a medium skin tone (Vallejo 70860).

-followed with a pre-made wash also from Vallejo - (Fleshtone shade 73204) - looks similar to a slightly dark brown sienna

-highlights mixed from medium fleshtone and Andrea's light flesh and then another lighter round adding some white to the mix ... this is applied to forehead, nose, upper cheeks and chin

-looked kind of pale at this point, so applied another layer of the wash

The technique is pretty much based on the youtube

of Marion Ball method.

regards,

Jack

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Fantastic work so far, Jack. I'm going to check that 'how to' video pretty regularly from now on - adding my cheers for the pilot to the general chorus!

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Thanks maltadefender.

Well I've got the bottom wing ends filled and sanded, just need to bring back some of the lost detail. The fuselage area looks a bit different, more symmetrical in Osprey's line drawing of the C-wing. I've also looked at Special Hobby's boxing of the same subject, and they have some raised areas on four narrow strips of detail and no rivets on these. Any opinions as to which is a more accurate depiction?

regards,

Jack

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So I've found a photo which clearly shows the placement of the smaller fairing on the Vc wing. I hope this is what Graham was referring to.

No caption provided, but landscape looks it could be Malta. Can partially make out a serial number BR30_ .

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The wheel well fairings from the left over b-wing were hacked out and used as a basis for the tear drop fairing. With a sanding stick, shaped it to my best judgement. Final size and placement though are close, but can't say is 100% accurate. Not much longer and will be ready to throw some paint on.

regards,

Jack

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I think I've seen that crash from another angle. It wouldn't have helped much with the wing - good find.

Coming together very nicely.

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Did pre-shading on the undersides both with airbrush and 'hairy stick'.

There was a three page thread discussing sky blue, but there was no exact match for model paint agreed upon.

Since I had an old bottle of UK Mediter. Blue from AeroMaster, I decided to use that for mixing with white. It was a pretty elusive colour, trying not to add too much of the blue. Even more difficult was to capture the shade on digital. I had to manipulate the photo in photoshop to get it more accurate to what I see in front of me. In bright sunlight it looks off white, and pretty close to this chart.

regards,

Jack

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Top camou colours are on, waiting a day for the paint to cure before proceeding with the hairspray technique.

Wondering now if I buggered up the colour placement. It is A scheme but I have put dark earth were it is normally dark green on the temperate land scheme.

regards,

Jack

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It is A scheme but I have put dark earth were it is normally dark green on the temperate land scheme.

Well, the Spit in the Malta Aviation Museum has its camo on that way round, Jack! Looks fine to me.

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