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Middle Wallop's Revenge: Spitfire L1065 "PR-E" of 609 Sqn, flown by Sgt A. N. Feary, 14 August 1940


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I've been waiting until now to reveal my third entry in this group build so I can once again say "on this day 80 years ago".  Not to mention I didn't have the kit yet and wasn't sure how long it would take, with international post as it is right now.  Fortunately it came today in the post. 

 

I've chosen this aircraft as it's a fitting tribute to the ground crews who helped keep the fighters of Fighter Command flying, as you'll see.  Also the battle described below took place more or less over where I used to live in the New Forest region of Hampshire.

 

This combat appears to have been particularly confused due to many factors including heavy cloud and pilots' aircraft recognition skills (or lack thereof, noting that of course this wouldn't be easy in combat conditions looking through an armoured windscreen!).  Not to mention that the references I've used contradict each other at times.  But this is my interpretation of it, based on pilots' reports, Operations Record Books, and various references including the Battle of Britain Combat Archive (Parry), Battle over Britain (Francis K. Mason) and the Battle of Britain: Then & Now.  In fact Parry's book contains photos taken from the Ju88s on the raid, as a war photographer made up part of the crew on one of the aircraft. 

 

In the late afternoon of 14th August 1940, large numbers of aircraft were plotted approaching the West Country. On this day heavy clouds hampered the Luftwaffe's ability to mount large coordinated raids; instead up to 100 aircraft set out in small groups to attack a number of airfields. 

 

Among the various formations were three Junkers 88s of Lehrgeschwader 1, flown by Hauptman Kern, Oberleutnant Soderman and Oberleutnant Heinrici.  Two Spitfires of 609 Squadron based at Middle Wallop were airborne and were vectored towards the raid. These were Flying Officer John Dundas (Yellow 1, in R6961 "PR-P") and Sergeant Alan Feary (Yellow 2, in L1065 "PR-E").  The pilots spotted one of the Ju88s flying in the opposite direction and wheeled around.  Dundas engaged one of these aircraft, misidentifying it as a Messerschmitt 110, and fired a four second burst at it but he quickly lost it in cloud.

 

At this point the bombers dived through cloud to deliver their bomb loads on Middle Wallop airfield.  Kern's bombs exploded near No. 4 and No. 5 hangar and Soderman's landed harmlessly on the north-eastern edge of the airfield. Heinrici's bombs however scored a direct hit on No.5 Hangar, demolishing it and killing Cpl R. W. Smith, LAC H. Thorley and LAC K. Wilson, who were crushed by the hangar doors as they struggled bravely to close them to protect the Spitfires and Blenheims inside. Cpl F. H. Appleby was also injured by the blast.  The photo below shows the extent of the damage.

 

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Feary dived through the cloud hoping to intercept the bombers as they emerged, and at 8,000 feet he spotted Heinrici's aircraft finishing its bomb run. Feary gave chase and fired ten seconds of ammunition into the hapless bomber, which dived and crashed near North Charford.  Plt Off David Crook, who was flying one of seven Spitfires scrambled urgently as the attackers departed, spotted the downed Junkers and "had never seen an aeroplane so thoroughly wrecked; it was an awful mess".  Two of the four-man crew were killed.

 

This was the first of three patrols Feary flew in L1065 that afternoon. On his second flight he spotted four more Ju88s and attacked with no apparent result.  On his third he intercepted yet another bomber bombing the airfield but this escaped in cloud.

 

Feary flew throughout the Battle of Britain as the only NCO pilot on 609 Squadron, and was credited with shooting down five aircraft, with one probable, one unconfirmed shared, and four damaged.  He was sadly killed in combat on 7th October 1940 when he was bounced by Bf109s; he baled out of his stricken Spitfire N3238 but fell with his parachute partly opened near Warmwell.

 

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L1065 was one of 609 Sqn's veteran aircraft. Delivered to 609 Sqn on 6 September 1939, it flew with the squadron throughout the Battle of Britain.  Its first kill was a Do17 credited to Plt Off R. F. G. Miller on 13 July 1940.  Sgt Feary also used it to damage a Bf110 and destroy a Ju87 on 13 August 1940. On 7 November, L1065 was passed to 7 O.T.U. and was used by several other OTUs throughout the next few years before becoming an "instructional airframe" in 1947.  The below photo shows L1065, probably at Northolt in June 1940.

 

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This build will be dedicated to Alan Feary (Derby's "forgotten ace") and the ground crews of Fighter Command, many of whom were killed or wounded in their efforts to keep Fighter Command flying.

 

The kit I'll be using looks a gem:

 

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I may add resin extras such as exhausts if availability and time taken in the post allow.


Although I'm keen to get cracking on this, don't expect too much progress on this just yet, I'll make a start once there's more room on my workbench! 

 

Matt

Edited by MattG
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Great back story, remember reading about him when I was doing my research that ended in my Tamiya old tool Fl Lt Dundas build. Looking forward to seeing how the new Eduard goes together.

 

The Airfix Spit is meant to be a dream, I have just. had a few issues closing up the cockpit fit into the fuselage, in that it protruded to low and I had to sand the bottom down to allow the wings to fit...most likely something I done, but when I pushed the unit higher at the rear the bar above the rear of the cockpit was too high for the rear glass!! No doubt my problem!

 

Have read in a few places something about sink marks in the exhausts?

Edited by Tim Moff
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Great back story, great kit, great project. I'll look forward to following this one when you start. I'm still waiting on my Eduard kit, which will likely be a couple of Wellum Spitfires. Gotta love the postal service. I know, virus et al, but it had slowed up a lot before this happened. Hard to stay patient.....must stay patient.....

 

A good start having a photo of the subject - camouflage scheme and other details such as wear at the wing root and gas patch evident, early aerial, etc. I'll bet Feary had a hard time being the only NCO pilot on the Squadron. Must have been a bit lonely at times.

Edited by Peter Roberts
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16 hours ago, Tim Moff said:

Great back story, remember reading about him when I was doing my research that ended in my Tamiya old tool Fl Lt Dundas build. Looking forward to seeing how the new Eduard goes together.

 

The Airfix Spit is meant to be a dream, I have just. had a few issues closing up the cockpit fit into the fuselage, in that it protruded to low and I had to sand the bottom down to allow the wings to fit...most likely something I done, but when I pushed the unit higher at the rear the bar above the rear of the cockpit was too high for the rear glass!! No doubt my problem!

 

Have read in a few places something about sink marks in the exhausts?

I wouldn't beat yourself up with the Airfix Spitfire - I have had similar problems re: cockpit interfering with wing fit on other Airfix Spitfires, despite as you point out fitting everything as it should be. Not a fatal flaw but a nuisance, and one I'll keep in mind with future builds (ie. thin the lower wing inside and the cockpit tub outside towards the rear). Hopefully the Eduard kit doesn't have this issue. :) 

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17 hours ago, Tim Moff said:

Great back story, remember reading about him when I was doing my research that ended in my Tamiya old tool Fl Lt Dundas build. Looking forward to seeing how the new Eduard goes together.

 

The Airfix Spit is meant to be a dream, I have just. had a few issues closing up the cockpit fit into the fuselage, in that it protruded to low and I had to sand the bottom down to allow the wings to fit...most likely something I done, but when I pushed the unit higher at the rear the bar above the rear of the cockpit was too high for the rear glass!! No doubt my problem!

 

Have read in a few places something about sink marks in the exhausts?

Thanks Tim.  Yes the Airfix Spit does require a bit of care when building (guess how I know!) but it's still possible to make a really great build out of it.  We'll soon see how the Eduard one goes together but I did enjoy making their Mk.IX and this looks similarly engineered.  There are slight sink marks in the exhausts on mine but that should be an easy fix

 

1 hour ago, Peter Roberts said:

Great back story, great kit, great project. I'll look forward to following this one when you start. I'm still waiting on my Eduard kit, which will likely be a couple of Wellum Spitfires. Gotta love the postal service. I know, virus et al, but it had slowed up a lot before this happened. Hard to stay patient.....must stay patient.....

 

A good start having a photo of the subject - camouflage scheme and other details such as wear at the wing root and gas patch evident, early aerial, etc. I'll bet Feary had a hard time being the only NCO pilot on the Squadron. Must have been a bit lonely at times.

Thanks Peter!  Mine took five weeks to arrive from the UK.  Yes, the photo helps, and this aircraft will certainly be a test of my weathering skills.  I normally prefer subtle weathering as many of these aircraft didn't last long.  

 

Good luck with the Wellum Spits when your kit arrives, that's a great choice too.

 

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A great choice and very good, if sad, story.

 

I'm also building (rather slowly) a 609 Sqn Spitfire and there's some great detail in the film (originally posted by @alt-92 I think) of a 609 Spitfire;

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HIFc9xpguc

 

The film was made in June 1940 using what looks like a brand new 609 Spitfire. Useful cockpit and camouflage detail.

 

On 8/14/2020 at 8:25 AM, MattG said:

I may add resin extras such as exhausts if availability and time taken in the post allow

I bought the resin exhausts and they are only very slightly better than the kit ones. Yes the sink marks are there but they are underneath and as you said, an easy fix.

 

Best wishes for the build.

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Fantastic back story, I worked at Middle Wallop for a few years there's not much there apart from the camouflaged building to say it was a wartime station. I wish I'd done a bit more research while I was there, hadn't realised how busy the place was.

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3 hours ago, Ozzy said:

Fantastic back story, I worked at Middle Wallop for a few years there's not much there apart from the camouflaged building to say it was a wartime station. I wish I'd done a bit more research while I was there, hadn't realised how busy the place was.

There’s a lot more evidence out on the airfield. There are surviving aircraft ‘E’ blast pens, a Hamilton Sykes pop up turret in the middle of the airfield. The airfield itself, which is still europe’s largest grass airfield complete with fighter sized peritrack and pan handle dispersals, oh,  and the bomb dump with its unique Quetta hut. In fact MW is the least altered BoB airfield still in military use.

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Hi all, 

 

Thanks for the comments and likes so far.  It sure is a sad story and one that I feel really deserves to be represented in this group build.

 

15 hours ago, Johnson said:

A great choice and very good, if sad, story.

 

I'm also building (rather slowly) a 609 Sqn Spitfire and there's some great detail in the film (originally posted by @alt-92 I think) of a 609 Spitfire;

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HIFc9xpguc

 

The film was made in June 1940 using what looks like a brand new 609 Spitfire. Useful cockpit and camouflage detail.

Yes, there's some great cockpit detail in that video, it's a fantastic reference.  Thanks Charlie!

 

11 hours ago, Aeronut said:

There’s a lot more evidence out on the airfield. There are surviving aircraft ‘E’ blast pens, a Hamilton Sykes pop up turret in the middle of the airfield. The airfield itself, which is still europe’s largest grass airfield complete with fighter sized peritrack and pan handle dispersals, oh,  and the bomb dump with its unique Quetta hut. In fact MW is the least altered BoB airfield still in military use.

I remember going there when I last visited England in 2005.  It's a fascinating place, well worth a visit.  It sounds like it hasn't been altered too much since I was there which is good to hear.

 

Matt

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi everyone,

 

After a while itching to get on with this kit and not having much of a chance to do any modelling at all, I've finally managed to clear my workbench and make a start. First, if you haven't seen some shots of the kit I've posted some below.  It looks fabulous straight out of the box.

 

Matt

 

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OK, so here's the progress so far, starting with the Sutton harness as the instructions are a little confusing here.  The following sequence is how I went about assembling it so that the harness could be secured to the back of the seat as per the actual aircraft.

 

First, here are the two PE parts for the harness:

 

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I glued these together - small "Y" shaped part (PE9) behind the larger one (PE10) - using glue only at the top of the small "Y" (part PE9).  

 

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I then folded down the lower part of the "Y" of part PE9, securing it on the rear of the seat.

 

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Finally I folded the two parts over the seat and secured it at the front:

 

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I have also assembled the other sub-assemblies in the cockpit:

 

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Assembly is now going quickly as I have painted most of the smaller parts on the sprue.  Fit so far is excellent - I'm used to having to sand everything to fit as I've built many Airfix kits in a row, so this is a very nice change ... so far!

 

Matt

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I've taken today (Battle of Britain Day) off work to continue on with this build (and watch the Battle of Britain movie for the umpteenth time!) so things are continuing quickly.  I have now completed the cockpit tub and installed it into the fuselage.  I have assumed that the aircraft I'm modelling, which, being from the first production batch, would almost certainly have had some modifications during its lifetime so added have added the seat armour and later equipment provided with the kit.  I have also seen various comments both confirming and denying the flare rack (that's the bit with circles attached to the front of the pilot's seat) should be present on early Mk. I Spitfires - I have elected to add it as it adds interest!

 

Construction involved adding one sidewall to the floor, adding the various bulkheads and instrument panel, installing the rudder pedals then adding the opposite sidewall.  This order works but turned out to be tricky.

 

For the rudder pedals, I elected to ignore the kit's instructions.  These would have you cut the rudder pedal off its mount, install a PE replacement pedal and then fit a PE strap to the top of this.  I simply installed the strap on the existing plastic parts, which looks good enough to me.  Even so I ended up with the right pedal forward of the left despite aiming for relatively central, but that's OK - as you'll see later, I also installed the rudder deflected to the right so it all matches!

 

Next time I would try installing the rudder pedals before adding the sidewalls and bulkheads, which may make things easier.  Fitting the bulkhead containing the instrument panel may be mode fiddly with the rudder pedals already in place, but I think it would make installing the rudder pedals easier.

 

Anyway I'm quite pleased with the result, which is now sitting inside a closed-up fuselage with the lower wings fitted.

 

The wheel wells and spars took a bit of lining up but with a bit of care I achieved a good fit all round, and unlike some builds of this kit I've seen no sanding will be needed to get the top wing halves to fit.

 

That's all for today, hopefully I'll be able to show more progress later this week.  In the meantime I hope you like the pics so far!

 

Matt

 

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5 hours ago, MattG said:

I then folded down the lower part of the "Y" of part PE9, securing it on the rear of the seat.

 

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The belt should feed through the slot in the seat back and run up the front of the seat.

This section of the belt was to keep the pilot firmly down in the seat whilst still permitting him to lean forward, if the belt goes up the back of the seat it prevents forward movement.

The other section of the belt that runs back through the head armour was spring loaded to allow the pilot to lean forward, but could be locked in positon with a lever and bowden cable on the starboard cockpit sidewall for landing and takeoff so that the pilot wasn't thrown forward in event of a crash.

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24 minutes ago, Dave Swindell said:

The belt should feed through the slot in the seat back and run up the front of the seat.

This section of the belt was to keep the pilot firmly down in the seat whilst still permitting him to lean forward, if the belt goes up the back of the seat it prevents forward movement.

The other section of the belt that runs back through the head armour was spring loaded to allow the pilot to lean forward, but could be locked in positon with a lever and bowden cable on the starboard cockpit sidewall for landing and takeoff so that the pilot wasn't thrown forward in event of a crash.

Thanks for this very useful info Dave. I was going off another build that shows this method (which the Eduard instructions kind of shows, just not very clearly) and states others are wrong. I’ll bear your details in mind for my next Spitfire build!

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Hi all,

 

After @Dave Swindell's input I couldn't resist researching the Sutton harness to assist Spitfire builds I do in future (and help anyone building one in this group build).  It seems there are several types. 

 

The earliest is the Type "M" shown below.  The Spitfire Site (which also has another sketch showing the harness as I've built it, with the part of the harness labelled "1" below stretching over the pilot's shoulders and attached to the rear of the seat) indicates that the early Spitfires had this.  The next type released was the "K" which the aforementioned page indicates may be the same but with longer straps to allow for seat armour. 

 

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Later versions such as the Type QK appeared in 1943-1944 and would have been installed on later marks of Spitfire, but I won't go into this as it's outside the scope of this group build.  This may well be the type of harness Dave is referring to above - the Eduard Sutton harnesses for Mk.IX Spitfires matches what he's describing.  Having said that I'm sure I've seen some earlier Spitfires with these.

 

I'm no expert on these and could be wrong, I'm just passing on what I could quickly find in case it's useful. As always, the best idea is to check references where possible because several types of harness could be possible!

 

Matt

Edited by MattG
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Hi, when it comes to camouflage please note:

1. hard edged for RAF spitfires 1940

2. Sovereign Paints are matched to 'the paint reference Bible for the correct RAF colours WW2 British Aviation Colours of WW2 RAF Museum Series Vol 3 Arms and Armour Press.

I say this as I have seen so many soft camo's and simply wrong RAF colours.

 

Eduard I see have a tube sticking out for the headrest, pure imagination, why do they do that ?, its a dark brown leather faced an d'sided shallow cylinder shape with release studs around its edge for removal off an aluminium disc shaped base, sorbo rubber or rubberised horsehair filled. Enough pics on the internet show it. Looks like the fuselage has a flattish top aft of canopy as well, that's a 109 if so.

 

Merlin

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4 minutes ago, Merlin said:

when it comes to camouflage please note:

1. hard edged for RAF spitfires 1940

2. Sovereign Paints are matched to 'the paint reference Bible for the correct RAF colours WW2 British Aviation Colours of WW2 RAF Museum Series Vol 3 Arms and Armour Press.

Thanks for the information. You'll be pleased to hear I was definitely planning on hard camouflage edges!  

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On 9/15/2020 at 10:30 PM, Merlin said:

 

2. Sovereign Paints are matched to 'the paint reference Bible for the correct RAF colours WW2 British Aviation Colours of WW2 RAF Museum Series Vol 3 Arms and Armour Press.
 

Glad to know that the £60 I paid for a copy 10 years back might just have been worth it then - though there is not as much other info in there as I expected. I always take supposedly accurate colours in books with a pinch of salt, but a number of modellers have now said that these are about as close as you can get. I have come across "pirate" on-line copies from time to time, but the colour reproduction in those is not quite right. When my wife saw how small it is she thought I was mad paying that much!

 

Pete

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Fetching £120 or more now, worth its weight in gold, no one has ever created a RAF chart as such since 1976, no wonder the model paints are all over the shop regards colours.  Gunze Sanyo's  Dk Earth is an example !

Dark Greens often too 'green' and as for attempts at sky...

 

We also need some reference with flashing lights around the edges saying RAF camo dk green over dk earth had hard edges, as folk are so keen on airbrushed edges. Luftwaffe had soft edges and folk use masking tape, its all a case of observation not sheep mode !  Someone sees a soft edge at a show and follows it, or on the www. Always do your own research !  If anyone spots a soft edged 1940 Spitfire or Hurri post the image please.

 

Merlin

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Not bad considering it sold for £4.95 when originally released in 1976 like my copy!  There is a bit of a mystery over the number of chips - the cover says 32 (twice) as did the vendor, but mine has only 29, and so has the copy at the RAF Museum - I phoned them and asked! So either it is a misprint or perhaps they were going to include more colours but seem not to have in the end - makes you wonder what the 3 missing colours might have been in that case.

 

Pete

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all,

 

Although I had some brand new Humbrol paints ready to go, I decided to delay this build somewhat and order some Sovereign paints to try these out as per @Merlin's advice.  I'm very glad I did.  I was never happy with the Humbrol 30 that Airfix advertise as RAF dark green (Humbrol 116 seems closer but wasn't available from any of my usual sources at the time).  I'm not normally too worried about getting the colours exactly right as I know there was a fair bit of variation, but Sovereign dark green in particular looks so much better.

 

So here's where I'm up to - all painted and gloss coated.  I'm now ready for a big session of decalling, weathering and matt coating (I'll be doing the Blenheim at the same time) today and tomorrow.  

 

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Thanks for looking!

 

Matt

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6 hours ago, MattG said:

Sovereign dark green in particular looks so much better.

 

Why thank you sir, the colours are matched to the RAF Museum colour chips. You have made good use of them :) 

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

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Hi everyone,

 

I've made a lot of progress since the last update and I'm calling this one finished - my first completed group build!  

 

Decals went on well.  I was concerned about the decals settling down over all those rivets, but copious use of Microsol sorted that out with minimal silvering - phew!

 

Next came the weathering process.  I know this aircraft was heavily weathered, but I decided to mostly err on the side of subtlety (although I did a bit more underneath where Spitfires often looked very much the worse for wear!).  So, I did a panel line wash using a heavily thinned very dark grey, brushed on some Vallejo "smoke" as exhaust stains, and used a cut-down old brush and dried aluminium paint to recreate the heavily weathered wing root area.  I'm quite happy with the way it turned out.

 

A few final pics are below, and I'll add some more to the gallery in a moment.  Thanks everyone for your comments and feedback throughout this build, I've certainly learned a few new things along the way.

 

Matt

 

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