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1/72nd Airfix Spitfire Mk.Vc, 603 Sqn, Op Calendar, Malta 1942


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16 hours ago, 112 Squadron said:

Beautiful models Tony. I also appreciate how much research you invest into your projects. I learned a lot from this one about the often debated Malta schemes.

We'll Tony literally wrote the book:

 

https://books.google.ie/books/about/Air_War_Over_Malta.html?id=700zkgEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

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4 hours ago, noelh said:

LOL,... Cheers Noel,.... that one didn`t actually go to press after some disagreements with the publisher,..... it was this one,.... but they only published my first group of chapters in this book and never went ahead with the second volume,..... its a long story! This is the one that was published mate;

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Place-Beginners-Battle-1940-September/dp/1905414188#ace-g0979249316

 

Unfortunately it only ever received one review on Amazon! 

Edited by tonyot
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Thanks for the clarification. I didn't realise there was a bit of drama behind it all. 

 

I did actually see the published version for sale once, at Oshkhosh of all places. 

 

I just checked the link. There's actually two reviews there now, both positive. 

 

Maybe it's time to self publish the rest? 

 

 

 

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Lovely model Tony and really interesting research, which allows us to get a much better understanding of Malta Spitfire camouflage schemes and how they came about. (Love the two colours in the port side serial number box too - nice touch.) My only question is about the Sky Blue undersides: if these were new airframes from the factory painted in the normal fighter scheme of the time, why would the undersides be Sky Blue and not just bog-standard Sky?

 

Justin

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Another stunning example from your production line Tony loving the background stories too them elves of yours need a rest but really enjoying seeing these Airfix Vs in their different guises 

 

Kudos mate as always thanks for sharing

 

Eamonn

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7 hours ago, Bedders said:

Lovely model Tony and really interesting research, which allows us to get a much better understanding of Malta Spitfire camouflage schemes and how they came about. (Love the two colours in the port side serial number box too - nice touch.) My only question is about the Sky Blue undersides: if these were new airframes from the factory painted in the normal fighter scheme of the time, why would the undersides be Sky Blue and not just bog-standard Sky?

 

Justin

Cheers Justin.

 

Until later in 1942 there were no tropicalised fighters leaving the factory,..... before being sent abroad they were sent to an RAF MU to have the Vokes filter fitted and any other tropicalised equipment that needed to be fitted.  RAF Middle East has stipiulated that they did not want fighters with Sky undersides sending out,..... so my understanding is that Sky Blue was applied here as part of the overseas modifications,.... although it seems that it wasn`t always, new paint being low on the priorities I suppose and if paint wasn`t available, it was left off. The standard Dark Earth and Dark Green upper surfaces were retained on the earlier Spitfire`s and Hurricane`s until the Day Fighter Scheme made it onto the production line.  So now the Spitfire`s (and Hurricane`s) were ready to be sent anywhere in the world.

I have it on good authority,... from a number of veterans who witnessed it,.... that upon landing at Abbotsinch the brown and green Spitfire`s were modified to have desert schemed uppers by painting over the dark green using Middle Stone,..... obviously by now it was known that they were bound for the Middle East but would not be going to the Canal Zone MU`s where the final desert scheme was normally applied to newly arrived aircraft to the theatre at this time,... so quickly improvised steps were taken to do this before they were sent instead.

It was aboard ship that it was realised by pilots who had been sent out from Malta to lead the mission that the desert scheme was useless for Malta and a more suitable colour was required,..... the US Navy had such a colour on board and it was utilised. For later deliveries the problem of colour scheme was sorted out before embarkation,..... and a number of different schemes were utilised. 

Hope that helps? 

Edited by tonyot
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14 hours ago, noelh said:

Thanks for the clarification. I didn't realise there was a bit of drama behind it all. 

 

I did actually see the published version for sale once, at Oshkhosh of all places. 

 

I just checked the link. There's actually two reviews there now, both positive. 

 

Maybe it's time to self publish the rest? 

 

 

 

Thanks Noel,.... mate it is just too much hastle,..... writing that book and the haggling that went on with the content put me off writing forever,..... plus I couldn`t afford to fund a self published book.  Whatever I write about the Spitfire years, colour scheme wise much would simply be speculation and there are so many know it all`s out there that would revel in rubbishing it,......I just don`t want the grief. Much of the book is already written,... after all it was supposed to be one single book when I started until it was cut in half and then the final chapter of the first book was chopped at the last minute too,..... and I have the photo`s,..... but with my disability getting worse too, I just don`t have the energy or heart to do anymore.  

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3 hours ago, Homer said:

Congratulations on some fine models, well done 👏 

Thanks mate.

 

1 hour ago, Team Aer Lingus said:

Another stunning example from your production line Tony loving the background stories too them elves of yours need a rest but really enjoying seeing these Airfix Vs in their different guises 

 

Kudos mate as always thanks for sharing

 

Eamonn

Cheers Eamonn,.... yeah those little fella`s are exhausted now so I`m giving them a few days off now! 

 

1 hour ago, Bangor Lad said:

USS Wasp and Malta-bound Spitfires.... the gift that keep on giving!

 

Great work!

Thanks Dave,.... glad you like it mate. 

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That's really a stunner.  I love the weathering.  You really get a good idea about how well-used these Mk.V Spitfires were.  

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2 hours ago, John Masters said:

That's really a stunner.  I love the weathering.  You really get a good idea about how well-used these Mk.V Spitfires were.  

Thanks John,.... and this one is supposed to be quite freshly painted! 

1 hour ago, Buzby061 said:

Cracking Spit. Got a 1/48 Malta Spit on my ever lengthening to-do list.

 

Pete

Thanks Pete,.... it has got to be done mate,.... it is the law!

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That's sad about the book, Tony, but completely understandable - I can't imagine the aggravation that fighting a publisher could cause.

 

And those know-it-alls crop up in every walk of life, don't I know it, those sorts that revel in picking apart other people's work but never put their money where their mouths are.

 

Keep turning out your superb models, Tony, and dispensing wisdom to those of us with an ear to listen and learn.

 

Kind regards,

 

Mark

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Tony...........simply superb again.  I really enjoy the story behind the subjects you share here with us.  Your Mk.Vc turned out great!!!! :clap2:

 

Mike

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On 04/02/2021 at 17:19, noelh said:

We'll Tony literally wrote the book:

 

On 04/02/2021 at 21:30, tonyot said:

LOL,... Cheers Noel,.... that one didn`t actually go to press after some disagreements with the publisher,..... it was this one,.... but they only published my first group of chapters in this book and never went ahead with the second volume,..... its a long story! This is the one that was published mate;

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Place-Beginners-Battle-1940-September/dp/1905414188#ace-g0979249316

 

Unfortunately it only ever received one review on Amazon! 

Thank you, @noelh. I wasn´t aware of your publication. But I am quite sure now your book will receive at least one more review on Amazon in the short run, Tony. 😉

Edited by 112 Squadron
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3 minutes ago, 112 Squadron said:

 

Thank you, @noelh. I wasn´t aware of your publication. But I am quite sure now your book will receive at least one more review on Amazon in the short run, Tony. 😉

Cheers bud! 

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On 2/5/2021 at 6:00 PM, 2996 Victor said:

That's sad about the book, Tony, but completely understandable - I can't imagine the aggravation that fighting a publisher could cause.

 

And those know-it-alls crop up in every walk of life, don't I know it, those sorts that revel in picking apart other people's work but never put their money where their mouths are.

 

Keep turning out your superb models, Tony, and dispensing wisdom to those of us with an ear to listen and learn.

 

Kind regards,

 

Mark

Cheers Mark,.... sorry I missed your post,..... thank very much for your kind comments.  I don`t profess to be an expert at anything,.... I`m always asking questions and learning,.... it is those who know it all that you have to watch,.... and steer clear of!

All the best mate

                         Tony

On 2/6/2021 at 1:09 PM, Sky Keg said:

Tony...........simply superb again.  I really enjoy the story behind the subjects you share here with us.  Your Mk.Vc turned out great!!!! :clap2:

 

Mike

Cheers Mike,... thats very kind of you mate.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 02/02/2021 at 09:56, tonyot said:

Hiya Folks,

                 Yes I`ve built yet another Airfix Spit Mk.Vc,..... this time representing BR187M G-2 of 603 Sqn which took off from USS Wasp on 20th April 1942 as part of Op Calendar. Like many of the Calendar Spitfire`s this aircraft did not last long as it was crash landed by Sgt J.W. Connell of 601 Sqn on 4th May 1942 and written off on the 6th,...... but during this short time it was flown extensively and was used by Flt. Lt. William Douglas to damage a Bf109 on the 3rd May.

After delivery to RAF Abbotsinch in Dark Earth and Dark Green with Sky Blue undersides,.... the camouflage was converted on the airfield by covering the Dark Green sections with Middle Stone, the wing tips were removed and the aircraft transported to Glasgow docks to be loaded aboard the USS Wasp. While sailing for the Med the Spitfire`s below decks were repainted again on the upper surfaces because a blue-grey colour for flying above the blue Mediterranean waters surrounding Malta was preferable to bright desert colours and according to veterans who were aboard the carrier the paint used was the standard US Navy Blue Grey. As the paint teams made their way along the deck (which the US captain stipulated should remain spotlessly clean!) they began to run out of paint and so thinners and also black were added to eke it out,..... so those painted last were quite different to those at the start of the line!  

 

Here is a Spitfire Mk.Vb after being tropicalised in the UK, wearing Dark Earth, Dark Green uppers and Sky Blue undersides,.... the same colours applied to Hurricane`s being tropicalised and sent abroad in 1941 and early 1942;

Spitfire-V-trop-T-OToole-Photo-Collectio

 

Here are Spitfire`s being loaded aboard the USS Wasp in Glasgow, wearing their fresh desert colours after the Temperate Land Scheme was modified at Abbotsinch,..... a few veterans mention a tent being used as a makeshift spray booth into which the Spitfire was wheeled as soon as it landed,..... others that work was also carried out in a hangar;

35-Spit-loading-d-FAIRBANKS-JNR-SCRAPBOO

PO-Jerry-Smith-RCAF-Lands-Spitfire-On-US

And being stowed away on the hangar deck;

Spitfire-Wasp-1942-2.jpg

Ready for take off,.... now wearing their new Blue Grey colours applied below deck;

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Note the US Navy Wildcat in the background wearing its own more faded Blue Grey scheme and that the Spitfire serial appears on a rectangle of the underlying desert scheme;

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50-F-Galea-via-S-Nichols.jpg

Here is a film still of BR187, G-2,.... the model subject,..... on Malta. Other photo` s can be found on page 29 of Steve Nichols excellent Osprey `Malta Aces[ book (Aces 83) and one shows that the outer cannons were later removed, leaving the inner cannons in place,..... although some Spit`s did fly in action with all four cannons fitted;

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 A four cannon equipped Spitfire Mk.Vc inside a Maltese fighter pen; 

Spit-Vc-in-pen-Cull.jpg

 

The Model;

For this Airfix Spit Vc (my 5th) I elected to represent BR187 still fitted with its 4 gun armament, as provided in the kit,.....but I modified the kit sliding canopy section by sanding the lower edges to make it look more accurate, the spinner was reprofiled to a more sharper shape and a set of wheels left over from an old Tamiya Spit were fitted as the hubs were more accurate looking, with a bit of old etched brass frame cut down to replicate a rear view mirror, which is sadly lacking from the kit. It was painted using old bottles of Aeromaster US Navy Blue Grey (as applied to the USS Wasp`s carrier group including the Wildcat`s which sailed with the 52 Spitfire`s) and Sky Blue was represented using Finnish Light Grey...... the model was brush painted as usual. 

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And here it is with another Airfix Spit Vc wearing 79 Sqn RAAF colours which was built alongside this one;

DSCF9691-NEW.jpg

 

Cheers

          Tony

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Spit !

great 👍

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29 minutes ago, Pierre Alzamora said:

Beautiful Spit !

great 👍

Thank you Pierre,.... very kind of you.

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On 2/5/2021 at 2:20 PM, tonyot said:

Thanks Noel,.... mate it is just too much hastle,..... writing that book and the haggling that went on with the content put me off writing forever,..... plus I couldn`t afford to fund a self published book.  Whatever I write about the Spitfire years, colour scheme wise much would simply be speculation and there are so many know it all`s out there that would revel in rubbishing it,......I just don`t want the grief. Much of the book is already written,... after all it was supposed to be one single book when I started until it was cut in half and then the final chapter of the first book was chopped at the last minute too,..... and I have the photo`s,..... but with my disability getting worse too, I just don`t have the energy or heart to do anymore.  


Such a shame Tony. I’ve read No Place For Beginners several times and thoroughly enjoyed the level of detail you covered. Is there no way of sharing the rest of your work online with a subscription fee or similar? Seems such a waste of your time and energy for it all to go to waste as well as those interested losing a valued historical view. 
 

Edge

 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Edge said:


Such a shame Tony. I’ve read No Place For Beginners several times and thoroughly enjoyed the level of detail you covered. Is there no way of sharing the rest of your work online with a subscription fee or similar? Seems such a waste of your time and energy for it all to go to waste as well as those interested losing a valued historical view. 
 

Edge

 

Sorry Edge,.. but that is that I`m afraid,.... but glad you enjoyed the book. The whole process sucked all of the enthusiasm that I had about the subject out of me. ..... it took 7 years to research too. 

 

6 hours ago, Wulfman said:

An excellent build, as usual !

 

Wulfman

Thanks Wulfman,.... again it is very kind of you, much appreciated.

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Hello Tony excellent Mk.Vc! You really addressed the weak points of the Airfix kit and turned it in to a beautiful accurate shape!

Question about the livery: you choose USN Blue Grey as top color while Paul Lucas suggested Dark Mediterranean Blue for the same aircraft. I understand that the matter is quite complicated but I would like to ask your point of view on this argument for future reference (should I try a Malta Spit once in my life!).

Thank you, great job!

Hello Tony excellent Mk.Vc! You really addressed the weak points of the Airfix kit and turned it in to a beautiful accurate shape!

Question about the livery: you choose USN Blue Grey as top color while Paul Lucas suggested Dark Mediterranean Blue for the same aircraft. I understand that the matter is quite complicated but I would like to ask your point of view on this argument for future reference (should I try a Malta Spit once in my life!).

Thank you, great job!

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