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Spitfire Mk1a P9398 KL-B 'Kiwi 2' (Al. Deere). Prop type?


Lindsey C
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Hi guys,

 

Sorry to annoy again but I have trawled everywhere, here and elsewhere. For the ongoing BoB shelf build I think the above would be a better shelf member for the Airfix 1:72 build than than P9495 DW-K, 610 sqd as supplied. I have Print Scale decals that will cover Alan Deeres's Kiwi 2 (though there is a glaring mistake in one of the fuselage decals!). It will suit my little book that will accompany shelf with details/history with the aircraft & pilot being so famous. I am presuming this spitfire had a Dehavilland prop or is this another one of those 'unknowns'? I know Kiwi 1 (N3183) had a Rotol Prop but am presuming Kiwi 2 had a Dehavilland Prop. Just wanted to check before I go to paint. If my presumption is incorrect another kit with Rotol Prop will have to cover this Spitfire.

 

Also, there is a very thin light line, halfway between the blades and nose, on the spinner of this and another spitfire shown on the decal sheet instructions. Was this present and if so, what colour?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Lindsey

Edited by Lindsey C
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According to the Wingleader book on the Spitfire Mk1 Al Deere's Kiwi I, aircraft N3180, had a Rotol prop and VHF radio (so no aerial wire) and was one of the batch of 22 new 'improved' aircraft so fitted and supplied to 54 squadron. It's the one he ended up crashing on the beaches at Dunkirk.

 

Not sure about Kiwi II, aircraft P9398, although I suspect it had the more standard De Havilland unit as the Rotol unit really didn't come into main use until the Mk II later in the Battle.

 

I also have a pic of R7159 (no codes) which shows a feint line/circle between the blades and the spinner tip and the same also on X4474/QV-I OF of 19 squadron but no idea what it's for and I don't see it on any other pics I have of Mk I's so personally I'd leave it off, however I'm sure the Spitfire experts out there will be able to offer a better and more comprehensive answer.

 

Regards

Colin.

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I believe, but could be wrong, after N3180 Deere's next Kiwi aircraft was P9383 but this didn't last too long and was shot down on 9th July 1940 when being flown by Pilot Officer A. Evershed. If that is the case then P9398 is actually Kiwi III.

 

Regards

Colin

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18 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

I believe, but could be wrong, after N3180 Deere's next Kiwi aircraft was P9383 but this didn't last too long and was shot down on 9th July 1940 when being flown by Pilot Officer A. Evershed. If that is the case then P9398 is actually Kiwi III.

Damned confusing. I have R6981 as Kiwi 3! 🧐  I could be wrong. 🤦‍♂️🥴 Got this info from Scalemail newsletter. Excerpt below. I have read of Pilot Officer A. Evershed being shot down so which blooming Spitfire was he in? 🤣

 

Scalemail February ‘18
5
Interesting news from the Battle of Britain Memorial
Flight....... OC BBMF, Squadron Leader Andy Millikin, has decided on
the new colour scheme to be applied to BBMF Spitfire Mk IIa
P7350 during its forthcoming ‘major’ servicing to be carried out by
the Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd over the next six months.
In keeping with its amazing ‘pedigree’ as the only surviving
airworthy Battle of Britain Spitfire, P7350 will wear the Battle of
Britain colour scheme of R6981, ‘KL-B’ “KIWI III”, a 54 Squadron
Spitfire flown by the high-scoring fighter ace Al Deere, who was a
New Zealander serving in the RAF.
Al Deere’s first three 54 Squadron Spitfires – N3180, P9398
and R6981 – all wore the code letters ‘KL-B’ and were all named
“KIWI”, with his logo and the name painted on both sides of the
aircraft under the windscreen quarter light. Deere came to grief in
all three “KIWI”s one way or another. In his first “KIWI” he was shot
down and forced landed on a beach near Dunkirk during the
evacuation. In “KIWI II” he had a head-on collision with a ME Bf109
and crash-landed in Kent on 9th July 1940, the day before the Bat-
tle of Britain officially began. Spitfire R6981 “KIWI III” then became
his personal aircraft until he baled out of it over Kent on 15th Au-
gust 1940, after being hit in combat with Bf109s. Subsequently he
ceased to name his aircraft “KIWI”, after fellow 54 Squadron pilot
George Gribble suggested it was not bringing him much luck!

 

Regards,

 

Lindsey

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This photo is often misidentified as N3180 "Kiwi" (1) but it was reportedly taken on 5 July 1940* and (in higher quality prints/scans) shows Deere with his DFC ribbon which had been awarded on 26 June 1940*.

 

Therefore this photo, if indeed from 5 July 1940, almost certainly shows P9390 "Kiwi II" on 5 July 1940, just 2 days before 54 Squadron records show it crashed with Coleman at the controls. 

 

It has a Rotol airscrew.

 

By this time P9390 had been with 54 Squadron since 25 April 1940 and had been flown by Deere since 1 June 1940.

 

It has lots of weathering and staining. 

 

* Spitfire The New Zealand Story, Gerard S. Morris, Reed Publishing, 2000.  

 

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Interesting subject . Likely had the early pump action u/c retraction, and looks like it has a mirror mounted inside the windscreen.

 

Fuselage roundel is unusual too, large red centre and narrow yellow outer ring.

 

Curious patches on wing - has it rained perhaps?

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37 minutes ago, wmcgill said:

almost certainly shows P9390 "Kiwi II"

Thanks for the info wmcgill. Very interesting.

 

Now I am even more confused though. You have thrown another Spitfire into the equation! Now I have N3180, P9390, P9398 & R6981 🧐

 

I think I will just build what is my interpretation of Kiwi 2 or build a completely different Spitfire flown by a less well known pilot. 🤣

 

Regards,

Lindsey

Edited by Lindsey C
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17 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

Graham,

 

Did these have a different profile from the later Rotol props on the Mk 2 please?

 

Regards

Colin.

I believe that they had a narrower root, but would expect the outer regions to be similar.  However I haven't seen anything very definite, but the fairly familiar views of the crashed aircraft on the sands.

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According to the Wingleader book the Kiwi emblem only appeared on the port side of the aircraft below the side windscreen panel.

 

Regards

Colin.

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You could always opt for the well known QV-K / P9386 flown by Brian Lane of 19 squadron which had a distinctive yellow spinner and would look quite distinctive along side your other subjects, plus it had the standard De Havilland prop. Wingleader suggests it had a 'bulged' canopy but pics show it to have the standard flat sided version with the push out panel.

 

Regards

Colin.

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7 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

According to the Wingleader book the Kiwi emblem only appeared on the port side of the aircraft below the side windscreen panel.

Thanks for the info @fishplanebeer.

 

And there is another unknown! Some sources reckon both sides for the Kiwi emblem with a handed version for each side. The image from @wmcgill shows a starboard emblem (unless the image got reversed along the line). It seems we just don't know and virtually all the fellows that were there at the time are gone from us now 😥. We just can't ask them.

 

Regards,

 

Lindsey

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58 minutes ago, fishplanebeer said:

You could always opt for the well known QV-K / P9386 flown by Brian Lane of 19 squadron which had a distinctive yellow spinner and would look quite distinctive along side your other subjects, plus it had the standard De Havilland prop. Wingleader suggests it had a 'bulged' canopy but pics show it to have the standard flat sided version with the push out panel.

That's already my choice for the Tamiya Spit @fishplanebeer coming behind the Airfix Kiwi 2. I already have the decals. Great minds think alike Colin! 😀

 

Regards,

Lindsey

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At some point KP will be releasing three 'new' versions of the Spitfire Mk1, one of which will include decals for both KL-B and QV-K although if the box art is correct then they've got KL-B wrong as it's N3180 but with the wrong (De Havilland) prop.

 

Re' the Kiwi emblem there is a pic of N3180 in the Wingleader book showing it from the starboard side with no emblem so it might be logical to assume that Al Deere did likewise on his subsequent aircraft as well, but who knows for certain? As for it being 'handed', assuming it was repeated on the starboard side on his later aircraft, this is quite tricky to determine as I found when doing a model of a JG27 Bf109F. All the decal sheets I could find showed their emblem as handed where as in fact it was exactly the same on both sides, as in facing towards the nose on one side and the tail on the other.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

 

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The orientation of the image posted by @wmcgill is correctly portrayed - note Al Deeres wings are on the correct side of his uniform and there is no sign of the pilot entry door. I have seen other references that at least one of the Kiwis (probably Kiwi II, I have also seen this image identified as P9398) had the insignia on both sides and this image certainly confirms it. 

 

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Edited by Biggles81
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On 30/09/2021 at 23:33, wmcgill said:

By this time P9390 had been with 54 Squadron since 25 April 1940

these famous images, from April or May 1940

spitpic004.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

 

show a pair of Rotol equipped Mk.I's, note the large roundel centre, also seen on 'B' above.   The hand written comment refers to 6 aircraft with Rotol props.  

 

Rotol equipped Mk.I's were very unusual,  as these props, with Jablo blades, were mainly used on Hurricanes before the specific Hurricane spinners became available.  

@Lindsey C without a photo, you can be pretty sure a BoB era Mk.I will have a De Havilland prop.

 

On 29/09/2021 at 23:55, Lindsey C said:

I have Print Scale decals

 

Print Scale are not noted for their research or accuracy. 

 

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To the best of my knowledge the Rotol prop fitted to Mk I Spitfires during this period was the RX5/4, 10ft 9ins diameter with RA 640 magnesium blade (Merlin III) also later used on the Mk II (Merlin XII). This blade was one of those tested during 1939 and used with the airscrews first fitted to aircraft delivered to 19 Squadron (probably single machine) and 54 Squadron (November and December respectively).

 

It seems there was a further delivery in July, the majority being received by 54 Sqdn.

 

When writing of combat that had taken place on 24th May 1940, Deere stated that his Sqdn. ‘were doing trials’ on the Rotol C.S. prop (quoted in ‘Air Battle Dunkirk’).

 

There are photos in early (1939) style markings of KL-O and KL-T so fitted to which I am unable to link but which @TroySmith has posted above. The blade section visible in the photo posted above by @wmcgill is clearly of the same type. There are close-up views of aspects of the blade, spinner and hub on the ‘French beach’ photos.

 

Here is a Mk II with that blade:

 

 

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The ‘flared’ wood ‘Jablo’ blades seen on the Mk II were of 10ft 3ins diameter and began to make an appearance during mid/late August 1940, 611 Squadron being the first so equipped.

 

Here is the well known photo of P7420, of 19 Sqdn. taken at Fowlmere during September 1940:

 

 

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As can be seen, the magnesium blade was that of a more typical contemporary steel/dural profile than the ‘Jablo’ blade of the Mk II and the Rotol variants which followed through to the Mk V.

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17 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

At some point KP will be releasing three 'new' versions of the Spitfire Mk1, one of which will include decals for both KL-B and QV-K although if the box art is correct then they've got KL-B wrong as it's N3180 but with the wrong (De Havilland) prop.

Hmm, this kit must not be based on the KP Mk1b tooling I have. It contains many parts not for use on a 1b. Desert filter, 3 prop & spinner types (including Rotol), alternative exhausts, extra wing bulges etc.

 

Regards,

Lindsey

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

At some point KP will be releasing three 'new' versions of the Spitfire Mk1, one of which will include decals for both KL-B and QV-K although if the box art is correct then they've got KL-B wrong as it's N3180 but with the wrong (De Havilland) prop.

I was thinking of N3180 as I have these decals too but it fell outside BoB dates falling victim during Dunkirk and I like the story of P9398 and the Bf109 collision. Interesting story for the 'Little Book' to be housed around the BoB shelf.  Still, I may be being too pernickety here and it will give a 'lead in' to the BoB. I could steel the Rotol from the KP kit though the blades look wrong to me. They are very wide at the root. Are these 'Jablo' Blades (top set) for a Mk2? They dont look like the Magnesium blades.

 

2d070b8d24aea94a3bbc2b0504248a11.jpg

 

Regards,

Lindsey

Edited by Lindsey C
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The top left blade shape is clearly taken from a Mk V Rotol blade profile and would be inappropriate for a Mk II.

The bottom left is possibly representative of the RA640 referred to above. The bottom right may be intended to represent a dH blade.

HTH.

p.s.

The root is actually that section below the flared part of the blade. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I wonder if the "sabre" appearance of the lower right-hand blade might be more representative of the Rotol designs?  Whether that makes the other one a good DH is another matter.

As I'm here:

it's fairly easy to compare and contrast the blade profiles of the Rotol magnesium and the dH DP55409.

Rear view of the latter:

 

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For the RA640 see above.

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Yes.  Which suggests that the RHS is the Rotol and the LHS the DH.   Neither particular good representations.

 

The presence of the later Jablo Rotol is because the kit was also released as a Mk.V.  Presumably with a desert option.

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