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Happy birthday RAF!

 

I'm joining in with a Spitfire Vb in the markings of 457 Sqn RAAF when it was briefly based at RAF Jurby in the Isle of Man, using the recent Airfix kit and Xtradecals. This is just a placeholder for now - I'll start this build when I've made space in the production line, but as the Sea Hurricane in the Hawker GB is nearly done it won't be long.

 

I haven't built a Spitfire in a long time. Probably over 30 years. I think the last one was the Heller XVIe. It's not that I don't like Spitfires - the opposite in fact - but I just never seem to have got round to building one. If the centenary of the RAF isn't the time to build what must be the iconic RAF aircraft, when is? This also ticks a couple of other boxes for me - it fits with my small but slowly growing collection of aircraft with a Manx connection, and it's a RAAF squadron (so will satisfy Mrs Z who has been asking when I'm going to build something Australian!).

 

More soon when I get the box out and get started. Perhaps even tomorrow.

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Here's the box shot to kick things off. I've made a start today - painted most of the interior parts in interior green, but as I've not stuck much together it's not worth photographing yet. I'll dress up the cockpit a little with an Eduard zoom set, although the cockpit will be closed. I suspect that like the Sea Hurricane that I've just finished, this is going to be a straightforward, quick, enjoyable build - if so, I have a couple of other contributions to this GB in mind.

 

Spitfire Vb WIP

 

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Good choice Z,look's like we're shadowing each other with this one as well,great kit only tricky part is that fuselage plug forward of the cockpit

but with a little trim here and there it work's well,be good to see an Aussie bird (and I don't mean Kylie Minogue).

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Cockpit done. I added a few bits from the Eduard zoom set, but not all of it - mainly the seat belts and instrument panel. Also got the fuselage together but not photographed it yet. Steve is right about the fuselage plug - a bit of a tricky fit, but doable.

 

Spitfire Vb WIP

 

Spitfire Vb WIP

 

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Making some pretty quick progress now. Airframe assembled, since I took this photo I've got the canopy and cannon attached. I think it'll get a coat of primer tomorrow.

 

I like these modern Airfix kits, but I think I'll go for something a little more challenging for my next build.

 

Spitfire Vb WIP

 

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22 hours ago, Blitz23 said:

Very nice job, I'll be following as I've got this in the stash!

Thanks Blitz23! It's a nice kit, you'll enjoy it - just watch out for the fit of the fuselage plug.

 

21 hours ago, stevej60 said:

Great progress Z,I like the pace you work at!

Thanks Steve! I seem to get on really well with these new Airfix kits. They really do go together well - not perfectly, but very well - and seem to somehow make me want to keep building. Every one I've built seems to have gone together in a couple of weeks. Even when I stuck a prone pilot nose on the Meteor. That said, I couldn't build these kits all the time, it's started making me want to do something more short run. So my second build in this GB, which I've started today, will be a bit of a departure from the sophisticated 1/48 kits I've been working on and a little closer in quality to the Mi-10!

 

Today's progress - I've got a couple of days off work so although I'm spending time with the kids, some modelling is happening too - canopy and windscreen on, a few other bits such as the cannon, primed and painted sky for the rear fuselage stripe and also the spinner. Hopefully a couple more colours will be on tomorrow. Here's how it's looking:

Spitfire Vb WIP

 

I've also done a little reading about the squadron and the pilot. According to Wikipedia, 457 Sqn formed at Baginton in June 1941 and moved to the Isle of Man for training - first Jurby, then Andreas - later that year. As well as training, 457 escorted convoys in the Irish Sea, but didn't make contact with enemy aircraft. In March 1942 457 moved to Redhill where it became a front-line fighter squadron for the first time. 457's time in England was short-lived - it moved to Australia later in the year, based at Darwin before moving to Morotai and then Labuan in 1944 and 1945.

 

I'm building BP351 to represent the Jurby/Andreas period, using decals from Xtradecal. The instructions say it was based at Jurby, but there are two photos on the ADF Gallery site which show it with and without the kill markings included in the sheet and the later photo is captioned as being at Andreas, so I'm going to conclude that I'm building it as it was when based at Andreas. It was a fairly new aircraft at that point - seems to have been delivered in November 1941 - so it's not going to get much weathering (not that I do much of that anyway).

 

Which brings me on to the pilot who earned those kill markings - Johnny Gibson, who was a flight commander in 457 Sqn and its air firing instructor whilst it was in the Isle of Man. He was born in Brighton, grew up in New Zealand, and returned to the UK in 1938 to join the RAF. He got the kills - 13 plus one shared - in the Battle of France and Battle of Britain despite being shot down four times, and won the DFC during the Battle of Britain. He was only briefly with 457 - when the squadron was deployed to Redhill, he went back to NZ and joined 15 Sqn RNZAF, flying Kittyhawks and Corsairs in the Solomon Islands, where he earned a DSO to add to his DFC. He then returned to Europe and flew Typhoons with 80 Sqn. He retired from the RAF in 1954 and then flew commercially in Africa, including flying supplies and evacuating children in the Biafran War. He retired to the UK and died there in 2000. A very accomplished and interesting pilot.

 

 

 

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This is looking just superb Zebra and is a truly fitting tribute to the ‘Colonial Contribution’ which played a significant part during every theatre of conflict during WW2. Apologies for the late acknowledgment, however I’m on board now so will watch the finishing bits unfold. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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On 4/15/2018 at 10:21 PM, stevej60 said:

She's looking great!

 

On 4/16/2018 at 7:31 AM, Rabbit Leader said:

This is looking just superb Zebra and is a truly fitting tribute to the ‘Colonial Contribution’ which played a significant part during every theatre of conflict during WW2. Apologies for the late acknowledgment, however I’m on board now so will watch the finishing bits unfold. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

Thanks Steve and Dave!

 

Matt coat on, masks off, prop on. Not a lot left to do now.

 

Spitfire Vb WIP

 

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7 minutes ago, zebra said:

Not a lot left to do now.

Except crack open a cold one and marvel at its brilliance!! Might even join you in a typically Australian kinda way. 

 

Cheers.. Dave

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Yes that does look the Biz,Ithink we may be long lost cousin's Z,our modelling style's are similar as are our choice of subject's and it look's like

our benches are cluttered in the same way!!!!:D

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9 hours ago, Rabbit Leader said:

Except crack open a cold one and marvel at its brilliance!! Might even join you in a typically Australian kinda way. 

 

Cheers.. Dave

Thanks Dave! Although rather than a cold one I should buy some Spitfire ale which definitely shouldn’t be drunk cold!

 

9 hours ago, stevej60 said:

Yes that does look the Biz,Ithink we may be long lost cousin's Z,our modelling style's are similar as are our choice of subject's and it look's like

our benches are cluttered in the same way!!!!:D

We do seem to have been in sync a bit lately don’t we. And I’m incapable of keeping a tidy bench. It might start with space for a couple of models on it but all the tools and paint jars seem to gradually invade. There used to be enough room on this cutting mat for the Spitfire and the Super Etendard, now the Spit barely fits in!

 

also this isn’t the bench, it’s the end of the dining table. I moved a few things in from the garage in summer when it was too hot out there. Mrs Z (the Aussie Spitfire herself - and she was the one who came up with that) is starting to wonder when I’m moving it all back...

2 hours ago, Robert Stuart said:

That is looking good Z, I hope to see this finished soon :)

 

Thanks Robert!

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Finished. Nice kit, although the undercarriage attachment isn't well thought out and the fit of the fuselage insert forward of the cockpit needs some work, I'd build another. It's got me wanting to build more Spitfires, but on to the Argosy next. 

 

One photo here, more in the gallery shortly:

Spitfire Vb 1/48

 

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Lovely job on that RAAF Spitfire there Zebra. I like the clean lines and neat job of the paintwork you've managed to obtain. Top marks all round and a fitting addition to the 'Colonial Contribution' component of this GB. 

 

Cheers... Dave. 

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